12 firms interested to build onshore LNG terminal

Staff Correspondent

A joint venture (JV) of Exxon Mobil Corp and Qatar Petroleum is among 12 other firms that have expressed interest to build country’s first onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Bangladesh. 

Other interested parties include Japan’s Mitsui, South Korean utility KOGAS, and a consortium led by Summit Corp, a unit of Bangladesh’s Summit Group, an officials said.

A committee is expected to evaluate the proposals before shortlisting a few and it could take more than a year to complete the process and award the contract for the terminal.

Official said several countries are interested to invest in the country’s power and energy sector being lured by its secure and investor-friendly condition.

Mentionable, State-owned Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Limited, earlier this year had requested expressions of interest (EOI) from potential terminal developers for construction of a land-based LNG regasification terminal at Matarbari in Cox’s Bazar.

Also in the list of firms submitting formal EoI are units of Shell, France's Total and South Korea's Samsung, as well as major Japanese trading houses. The broad interest underlines how builders of major new projects are looking for potential buyers like Banglesdesh to mop up a significant long-term surplus expected in the LNG market.

Japan’s Mitsubishi and JERA Co, the world’s largest LNG buyer, are minority stakeholders in the Summit consortium. Summit declined to comment, while the South Korean and Japanese companies couldn’t be reached after office hours.

The expression of interest is for the design, engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of an onshore terminal that can handle 7.5 million tonnes a year of LNG, including receiving, unloading, storage and regasification.

The project is on a build-own-operate basis for 20 years, with ownership to then be transferred at no cost to the Bangladeshi government or a company nominated by the government.

Qatar Petroleum and Exxon earlier this year made a final investment decision to build the $10 billion Golden Pass LNG export terminal in the United States, and will need to secure buyers for the gas.

Another company on the list is Poly-GCL Petroleum Group Holdings, an overseas umbrella of China's privately-owned GCL Group Holding which operates at least three power plants in China. GCL had also been planning an LNG export project in the African country of Djibouti, as well as a LNG receiving terminal in east China.

Earlier, on February, 10, the US Ambassador in Dhaka, Earl Robert Miller, expressed interest in more gas exploration during a meeting with Minister Nasrul Hamid at the Bidyut Bhaban in the capital.

Earl Robert Miller said “The US has observed the potentiality to invest in Bangladesh’s energy sector. Bangladesh has achieved satisfactory progress in infrastructural development and labor safety,” he said. 

The Russian Ambassador to Bangladesh, Alexander Ignatov on February, 27 said the Russian private sector is interested to invest in joint venture (JV) projects in Bangladesh.

During his meeting with Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at the latter's office, the Russian Ambassador assured him that the Russian government would continue cooperation with Bangladesh in power, energy, information communication, trade, defence and other areas of mutual importance.

Earlier, the government signed an MOU with US Company GE to build a 3600 MW LNG-based power plant. The country’s first LNG terminal was also built by the company. 

Russian Gazprom has also explored more gas fields in Bangladesh. Now they are interested to work offshore.

Aramco, a state-owned oil company of Saudi Arabia, has proposed for investment to build a large oil refinery with the capacity of 20 million tons, in Bangladesh, said an official source.

“Newly appointed German Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Farenhold has said, Bangladesh is an extraordinaryly potential country. German companies are doing business fairly in this country. They want to invest more in different sectors, including power and energy.”

Entrepreneurs of Thailand also want to invest in the power sector. Thailand Investment and Economic Reforms Minister, Kobsak Putrakul, has shown interest at two different meetings with Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) on May 02, 2018. 

Top business organisation of Bangladesh FBCCI and Singapore Business Federation (SBF) jointly arranged a programme on July 10, 2018 at a hotel in the capital. Singapore entrepreneurs have also shown interest to invest.