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Bangladesh LNG FSRU finally docks, ready for imports from Aug 11

Dhaka — Excelerate Energy has successfully moored its floating storage and regasification unit to its docking facility in Bangladesh, and is expected to start injecting LNG into the pipeline network for consumption in Chittagong August 11, a senior Petrobangla official told S&P Global Platts Monday.

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The vessel Excellence, carrying 136,000 cu m of lean LNG from Qatar, arrived at the Moheshkhali Island terminal April 24, according to S&P Global Platts trade flow software cFlow, and was due to start injecting gas into the pipeline network for consumption in Chittagong from May 7, but technical issues and rough seas had kept the vessel stranded off the south coast of Chittagong for more than three months.

The vessel was successfully docked and connected to the subsea pipeline facility August 5, and is currently undergoing pre-commissioning work, the official added, requesting anonymity.

More constrains lie ahead, however, as the construction of the necessary pipelines is yet to be completed, Platts previously reported. The 30 km pipeline between Anwara and Fouzdarhat seems to be the major hurdle, while the 91 km segment of the pipeline between Moheshkhali and Anwara has already been completed and tested.

The current infrastructure only has capacity for around 250,000 Mcf/day, half of the 3.75 million mt/year LNG project's regasification capacity, said a senior official with state-owned Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company, which supplies the key consuming region of Chittagong.

Bangladesh's maiden LNG cargo is part of a 15-year long-term contract signed in 2017 between Petrobangla and Qatar's RasGas for 2.5 million mt/year of LNG, priced at 12.5% of the three-month average of Brent plus an additional 0.5%.

The cargo is due to make Bangladesh the first country to start importing LNG in 2018, and only the second since January 1, 2017, as Malta was the only new LNG importer last year. Bangladesh would effectively become the 41st LNG importing country in the world.

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 a healthy pipeline of LNG import and gas distribution projects. S&P Global Platts Analytics forecasts Bangladesh's LNG demand to exceed 10 million mt/year by 2023. -- Azizur Rahman, newsdesk@spglobal.com,

-- Abache Abreu, abache.abreu@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Geetha Narayanasamy, geetha.narayanasamy@spglobal.com