Bangladesh, Pak­istan set to join club of im­porters next year

New Straits Times - - Business -

SOUTH Asia, long a back­wa­ter for en­ergy mar­kets, is emerg­ing as a hotspot for liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas (LNG), with Pak­istan and Bangladesh set to join In­dia as ma­jor con­sumers, help­ing to ease global over­sup­ply that has dogged this mar­ket for years.

Only In­dia and Pak­istan cur­rently im­port LNG in South Asia, tak­ing in a com­bined 25 mil­lion tonnes, or eight per cent of global de­mand last year.

But with a fast grow­ing pop­u­la­tion, strong eco­nomic growth and soar­ing en­ergy de­mand, more im­port projects are be­ing de­vel­oped.

With Bangladesh set to join the club of im­porters next year, the re­gion could im­port 80 mil­lion to 100 mil­lion tonnes a year by the mid 2020s, an­a­lysts said, mak­ing it the world’s sec­ond big­gest im­port re­gion, ahead of Europe.

Bangladesh, a coun­try of over 160 mil­lion peo­ple, could im­port as much as 2,500 mil­lion cu ft per day (mm­cfd) of LNG, equiv­a­lent to around 17.5 mil­lion tonnes per year, by 2025, said Nas­rul Hamid, Bangladesh’s min­is­ter for en­ergy and power.

With its own gas re­serves de­plet­ing and seek­ing to al­most dou­ble power ca­pac­ity to 24,000 megawatts by 2021, Bangladesh is tap­ping cheap and plen­ti­ful sup­plies on world mar­kets and in­vest­ing heav­ily in LNG.

Sev­eral float­ing stor­age and re­gasi­fi­ca­tion units (FSRU) are due to begin im­port­ing car­goes start­ing next year. Two more FSRUs are planned.

In ad­di­tion, state-run Petrobangla signed a pre­lim­i­nary deal with In­dia’s Petronet in De­cem­ber to set up an on­shore ter­mi­nal to re­gasify a fur­ther 7.5 mil­lion tonnes a year of LNG on Ku­tub­dia Is­land, just to the north of Mo­heshkhali, at a cost of US$950 mil­lion (RM4.07 bil­lion). Reuters

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