How Bangladesh Adapted for its Energy Demand by LNG Import

Bangladesh is all set to receive its first LNG carrier having 3.6 lac MT liquid natural gas through an FSRU which can re-gasify 500mmcfd natural gas to pipeline every day. A Qatar based company RasGas will supply LNG with mega ocean going LNG vessel. This is a huge achievement of MoPEMR, as Power division successfully achieved 75% of its ADP this year. This achievement substantiates the strong leadership role of Mr. Nasrul Hamid MP, state minister of Power Energy and Mineral Resource ministry. Bangladesh will enter in group of clean fuel user country besides Korea, China and India in Asia.

Bangladesh, a rapid expanding economy with a growing power demand have resulted in increased consumption of primary energy resources such as, Natural gas, Coal and Oil. During 2009–2017, the country’s power generation grew at a CAGR 11.16 %, reaching the consumption of 1800 mmcfd of natural gas, 30,000 MT of domestic coal, and 1889 MT of imported furnace oil per day. However, the share of natural gas in the country’s primary energy mix has increased from 35.30% in 2009 to 68.63% in 2017 compared with global average of 24%, mainly due to a high production and price affordability in domestic natural gas market. But the scarcity of gas supply started since 2013, when all gas fields failed to produce enough gas due to sudden fall in finding new gas coop. So Government of Bangladesh has decided to open the gas import facility door to fill the immediate supply gap and tackle the growing demand.

Bangladesh’s natural gas scarcity in industry and domestic consumption occurred mainly due to four problems, which are poor pricing strategy, absence of absolute supply monitoring, inadequate transmission and distribution infrastructure, and corruption. Bangladesh 68 cm per capita gas consumption in 2017 lags far behind the world average of 469 cm per capita. The inclining supply demand gap of 900 mmcfd gas has slower the production rate in all industry vertical. Specially the RMG industry faced massive difficulties to meet their client demand. Before 2008, there were only 27 power plant operation in Bangladesh and the demand supply gap was too huge that electricity utility companies had to make on an average 8–10 hours of power cut every day.

So why LNG is considered as clean fuel? Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, so LNG the liquid form of natural has huge environment benefit. Green house emission from LNG is approximately 30% cleaner than oil and 45% cleaner than coal. On the other hand, transport of LNG is safest among all fuel. On the other hand, LNG carriers are among the most sophisticated ships, and over 50 years of transporting LNG, across more than 80,000 voyages, there has never been an incident resulting in a significant loss of LNG cargo at any sea port. A recent study commissioned by World Wildlife Fund Canada, found that fueling ships with LNG, as compared to traditional marine fuels, such as HFO, would reduce pollutants by up to 97% and greenhouse gases by up to 25%.

According to world energy council, energy sustainability usually measured based on five core dimension; New technology adoption, Long term energy security, Energy equity, Quality transmission and distribution and Environmental sustainability. As LNG is going to be a new fuel for Bangladesh, GoB has already assessed all five dimensions and ready to use it for generating electricity. Under the supreme leadership of PM Sheikh Hasina, the minister of Power Energy and Mineral Resources and strong guideline of State Minister Nasrul Hamid MP, we are fully ready to adopt the new technology. Foreign and local experts worked from 2013 to commission the first ever FSRU in Moheshkhali which will enable smooth carrying of LNG and regasification to pipeline. About long term energy security, MoPEMR has already planned to generate 3000MW of electricity from LNG from both public and private initiatives. It is expected that the first public LNG power plant will start generating by 2021, and private power plant by Summit by the end of 2019. Energy equity measurement is also important for us as we just entered in the developing country list from least developed country. Primarily LNG will be used in the overall power generation plants of BPDB, and BPDB already provides subsidy in the consumer level so there will be no effect of international LNG price fluctuation in the consumer level. Additionally, government is testing the feasibility of building new land based LNG station, it is expected that the infrastructure facility will also help for a smooth supply of LNG with affordable price. Lastly government has finished the transmission and distribution infrastructure pipeline from Moheshkhali point to Chattagram.

The expansion of Bangladesh power sector has seen serious challenge to attract investment with energy security a key concern and diversification. But beneath the strong leadership of Nasrul Hamid MP the sector successfully overcome the challenge and entering in the clean fuel arena is the success case.

Written by: Omor Ahmed, Senior Associate

Originally published in Financial Express and Medium.

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