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Bangladesh's second LNG FSRU begins supplying gas to the grid

Dhaka — Bangladesh's second LNG floating storage and regasification unit started flowing re-gasified LNG to the national gas grid on Monday, doubling the country's LNG consumption capacity to 1.0 Bcf/d, local officials said late Monday.

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The 3.75 million mt/year Summit Group-owned Excelerate's FSRU started commissioning early Monday, a senior official at state-owned Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Co. Ltd. said.

The official said the country's two FSRUs flowed around 600,000 Mcf/d in total on Monday, with Summit's FSRU supplying around 500,000 Mcf/d of the total.

The Summit FSRU arrived at Moheshkahi Island in the Bay of Bengal on April 20 loaded with a commissioning cargo from QatarGas.

It has been positioned near the country's first FSRU, the Excelerate Energy-owned Excellence, which also has a capacity of 3.75 million mt/year.

The Excellence regasified 533,000 Mcf/d of LNG on Sunday, according to Petrobangla.

The Excellence arrived at Moheshkhali in April 2018, but technical difficulties relating to mooring the unit to the docking facility and connecting it to subsea pipelines delayed the delivery of its cargo by more than three months.

Since then, Bangladesh has shelved plans for three small-scale FSRUs following objections from the country's main port authority, a decision that disappointed commodity traders and shipping companies that were in talks with state-owned companies for LNG supply projects.

PIPELINE DELAYS

More constraints lie ahead for the new FSRU, as construction of necessary pipelines has yet to be completed, said a senior official with the Gas Transmission Company, a state-owned corporation responsible for expanding Bangladesh's gas distribution pipelines.

The current pipeline infrastructure only has capacity for around 650,000 Mcf/day, the equivalent of nearly 4.9 million mt/year, while both FSRUs are designed to regasify 500,000 Mcf/day each for a total of 7.5 million mt/year, the official said.

The 90-km pipeline connecting Moheshkhali to Anwara and the 181-km pipeline connecting Chittagong, Feni and Bakhrabad are still construction, with an estimated completion date of end April.

Despite logistical and commercial challenges, Bangladesh is set to become a key LNG importer in the coming years, supported by growing consumption, dwindling domestic reserves and expanding LNG import and pipeline distribution infrastructure.

S&P Global Platts Analytics forecasts Bangladesh's LNG demand to exceed 6 million mt/year by 2020.

Bangladesh is currently importing lean LNG from RasGas in Qatar and Oman Trading International or OTI in Oman under term deals for re-gasification in both FSRUs.

-- Azizur Rahman, newsdesk@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Wendy Wells, newsdesk@spglobal.com