Govt to import LNG from India by 2021

The government plans to import 200 mmcfd of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from India to feed the Sunderban Gas Distribution Company through cross-border gas pipeline by 2021. 

The new pipeline, which will enter Bangladesh through Satkhira border, will supply LNG to the fuel-based power plants and industries in the south-eastern part of the country. The two countries will bear the cost of gas pipeline installation on their respective sides, sources said.

Bangladesh currently imports around 4,400 tonnes of diesel every month from the Numaligarh refinery of Assam, owned by another state-owned Indian oil company, the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL).

"The GTCL (Gas Transmission Company Ltd) is working to install the pipeline near Satkhira bordering areas to implement the pipeline. We have signed a MoU during the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India," State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said on Thursday at a press briefing.

To ensure energy security of the country, the government has planned to import electricity, LNG, liquid fuel and coal from abroad to increase its energy reserve, Nasrul said."We will import LNG through the pipeline to ensure energy security of the southern part of the country," he said.

Energy expert Professor Dr. Ijaz Hossain told Bangladesh Post, India also imports LNG from other countries. If we import LNG from India at reasonable price subject to existing LNG import destinations, then it’s good. But if there is only a tendency to get commission, it will not be good.

‘Initially, the decision is right on a short term basis, but in long term, it is harmful for us. Bangladesh is capable of importing LNG and developing LNG terminals and other infrastructure. To this end, we need time and investment. If the government does not want to invest here, I think the private sector will do it. Many foreign companies will help, he added.

However Bangladesh is going to import diesel through Bangladesh-India Friendship Pipeline between Siliguri in West Bengal and Parbatipur in Dinajpur, which is now under construction. On the other hand, Bangladesh is also importing electricity from India. A high official said Indian Oil Company Ltd (IOCL) first showed interest in supplying natural gas to Bangladesh. 

On January 11 2016, IOCL proposed to install the cross-border gas pipeline for supplying LNG to Bangladesh. Later on June 13, the same year Bangladesh and India discussed the issue. In April 2017, Dhaka and Delhi signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the area of supply of regasified LNG and development of pipeline infrastructure’ during the prime minister’s visit to India, officials said.In December 2017, the Indian oil company submitted a term sheet for supplying the piped gas to Bangladesh.In addition, Bangladesh has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Switzerland to import LNG from that country. 

India has four terminals to receive liquefied natural gas (LNG) and imports around 20 million tonnes of the super-chilled fuel a year. But over the next seven years, the government plans to build another 11 terminals, said Narendra Taneja, spokesman for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

That would raise India’s LNG import capacity to more than 70 million tonnes per year in the coming seven years, in what would be one of the fastest gas import expansions since China embarked on its huge gasification programme last year.

India would eventually require even more than 15 terminals to meet its demand. India has stated it plans to raise the share of natural gas in its energy mix to 15 percent by 2022, from about 6.5 percent now.