Much to the satisfaction of energy consumers, Bangladesh signed a long-term deal with Qatar yesterday to import two million tonnes of liquefied natural gas a year over a period of 15 years starting from January 2026. This is going to be a big stride towards meeting a part of the fast increasing demand for LNG.
The deal is clearly an outcome of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to the oil-rich country last month. During her visit to the Middle-East country, the Prime Minister had a fruitful discussion with the Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, who promised to supply the much needed energy resource. It may be mentioned that negotiations of signing a new contract over supply of a bulk quantity of LNG from Qatar to Bangladesh was underway for the past several months. Yesterday’s deal was the outcome of long negotiation.
Bangladesh is an energy-starved country, with its own gas reserves depleting fast but it is in desperate need for energy supply both for running industries and generating electricity. This is the reason why the country is planning to invest heavily on importing the fuel. The demand for natural gas in the country’s production sector is so acute that businessmen, if needed, are reportedly ready to pay higher gas tariffs. On the other hand, country’s generation of electricity is largely fuelled by natural gas. But many of the power plants are not getting adequate quantity of the fuel, because Petrobangla is forced to cut down supply to those plants to keep industrial production running. Fall in commodity production will have an adverse impact on supplies to the market.
Undoubtedly, increased supply of the fuel will improve the overall gas supply situation and help industrial production and power generation keep going with ease and comfort. However, the demand for the fuel will not remain static; with further growth of the economy, it will keep on increasing, especially for doubling actual power generation. The government is obviously bracing for the likely situation; they are going to add two more floating LNG terminals in addition to the twin already in operation. Bangladesh is reported to have set a target of importing about 18 million tonnes of LNG a year by 2025. Energy crisis should not be allowed to stand in the way of the country’s socio-economic development.