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LNG prices up as coal-based plants shift to clean fuel

  • Special Correspondent
  • 3 October, 2021 12:00 AM
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LNG prices up as coal-based plants shift to clean fuel

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Price of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is soaring rapidly in the international market due to the shift of coal-based power plants to clean energy, said experts.

In a webinar, they also related the surge with the excessive demand of the primary fuel as post-COVID reconstruction of economy began.

“Energy and Power” magazine organized the webinar styled as “Gas Shortage and LNG Price Volatility: Bangladesh and Global Perspective” on Saturday.

The speakers called upon the government to revisit energy import plan for sustainable development of the country.

Abul Kalam Azad,  Special Envoy for United Nations Climate Vulnerable Forum Presidency, attended the webinar as chief guest.

Engr Khondkar Abdus Saleque was the keynote speaker.

The webinar was also attended by Prof Ijaz Hossain, former dean of Faculty of Engineering in BUET, Summit Group adviser Md Quamruzzaman and BGMEA director Navidul Huq discussants.

Abul Kalam Azad said the government is dependent to generate 90 percent of electricity from natural gas, the stock of which is depleting significantly.

“Now, it’s a time to make attention on efficient use of energy,” he said.

 “Despite the fact that Bangladesh settled maritime boundary issue, it’s yet to explore oil and gas resources there,” he added.

Azad said the government may also pay attention to import renewable energy from India, Nepal and Bhutan for exploring green energy here.

Prof Izaj Hossain said the government is facing major financial hurdle for the sudden shift in energy policy without a long-term strategic plan.  He called upon the government to produce base-load electricity by using coal and nuclear with shifting focus on LNG base one.  “Over dependency on LNG import is dangerous compared to long-term contract on LNG import,” he pointed out.  Summit Group Adviser Md Quamruzzaman said the government spent additional $250 million to purchase LNG from volatile spot market.

He urged the government to take mid and long term plan to import LNG from international market.

He said the LNG prices jumped to $34.5 per mmbtu from only $2 per mmbtu within one and half years. 

In his keynote speech, Engr Khondkar Abdus Saleque said Asian LNG storage surged from $2 mmbtu to $36 mmbtu in one and half years.   He said the European Gas Storage is at its all-time low levels.   He said the reduction of export would increase volatility in global energy market as Brent Crude has already reached $80 per barrel. 

“LNG spot price is now hitting $40 and being predicted to surge to $50-60 per mmbtu in the coming days,” he said. BGMEA director Navidul Huq urged the government to revisit the policy for inefficient captive power plants.  He said the garment exporters have no way to sudden adjustment of tariff due to volatile fuel market.

The speakers also said the upward and downward adjustment of prices of LNG and petroleum fuels are not a new trend. Bangladesh depends on imported fuels which slows down to explore own resources, they said.