Bangladesh will likely sign its fifth long-term liquefied natural gas contract in "a couple of years" and will increase its spot cargo purchases this year, an adviser to the country's prime minister said.
Weak demand has kept Asian spot LNG prices muted for weeks, encouraging price-sensitive economies including Bangladesh and India to consider ramping up buying, industry officials say.
"Another one (long-term LNG contract) is most likely because an LNG terminal is going to come up at Payra. So that will require a long-term contract," Bir Bikram Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, an adviser to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, told Reuters in an interview at the India Energy Week conference in Goa on Wednesday.
Payra is a port near the Bay Bengal southwest of the capital Dhaka.
The country has four long-term deals to procure LNG, including two with Qatar, one with Oman and one with U.S.-based Excelerate Energy Inc.
Bangladesh also plans to increase spot purchases by two more cargoes than the 13 previously cleared by the cabinet to address growing power demand, especially during summer months when irrigation demand peaks and to account for higher consumption during the festive season, Chowdhury said.
"Given the favourable spot price, we have increased two cargoes. We will buy more, maybe one or two more additional spot. We would like to import maximum," Chowdhury said.
Bangladesh, home to over 170 million people, is the world's second-largest garment exporter, supplying global retailers including Walmart WMT.N, H&M and Zara. It faced unscheduled power cuts during three out of every four days in 2023.
At the beginning of this year, the south Asian nation's total gas supply fell to the lowest in months because of lower LNG availability.
Bangladesh expects to begin operating one unit of its first nuclear plant this year and boost the share of coal in power generation to ease outages, Chowdhury said.
Generation from coal and natural gas has risen in recent months, mainly at the expense of liquid fuels such as fuel oil, as the government struggled to pay for imports because of shrinking dollar reserves and a weakening currency. (February 8, 2024)
BANGLADESH - LNG - SUPPLIES - IMPORTS - EXPORTS