LNG price hike in int’l market, low extraction hamper gas supply

Price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the international market has shot up causing an acute shortage in gas supply in the country. 

Purchase of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the spot market has stopped due to rise in prices in the international market. As a result, daily supply of imported LNG to the national grid has come down to below 300 million cubic feet per day. However, the country’s LNG supply capacity is 1000mmcfd. Besides, extraction from the gas fields of the country has also decreased.

According to the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, it was decided in last September that about 45 to 55 crore cubic feet of gas would be procured per day from the spot market without being informed in detail about the sustainable method of purchasing LNG from the spot market. That amount of LNG was also bought twice in October-November saving about Taka 70 crore.

But then the prices of all fuels, including LNG, started rising in the international market. Now the price of LNG per unit (one thousand million or one crore cubic feet) has risen to $12, which was less than $6 in October. In this situation buying LNG from the sport market is stopped. As a result, the supply of LNG to the national grid continues to decline.

According to Petrobangla, supply of gas from imported LNG to the national grid on November 15 was 532 million cubic feet, which was 495 million cubic feet in last December, 01 while in December, 15 was 461 million cubic feet. However, in December, 26 it was 400 million cubic feet, which has now reached 250-300 million cubic feet per day. 

On the other hand, gas extraction from the country's fields has also declined in the last couple of months. A total of 70 wells are operated by three state-owned companies BGFCL, SGFL and Bapex that have total lifting capacity of 114 crore 50 lakh cubic feet per day. However, average gas lifting since mid-November is less than 850 million cubic feet, which is now extracted from these 70 wells on an average of 82 crore cubic feet per day.

Foreign companies Chevron and Tallo are operating 43 wells. Their total lifting capacity is 161 crore 50 lakh cubic feet per day and the average extraction is about 165 crore cubic feet.

Analyzing this data of Petrobangla, it is observed that mainly extraction from the fields of the domestic companies and the shortage of LNG supply are the reasons behind decrease in gas supply.

Anisur Rahman, senior secretary of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division said supply of LNG was being disrupted due to rise in prices and inexperience in buying from the spot market. It will take some time to get back to normal. However, steps have been taken to keep the situation normal by increasing extraction from the country's fields as much as possible and reducing the use of gas in power generation. Oil-fired power plants have also been instructed to run longer.

At least 25 small, large and public-private power generation units have to be shut down due to shortage of gas supply. The total generating capacity of these closed power plants is about 3,900 MW. Sources at the Power Development Board (PDB) said that power situation was being kept under control by running more oil-fired power plants as the demand for power was a little bit lower due to the winter.