Purchase body approves import of LNG, sugar and fertilizer, other proposals
The Cabinet Committee on Government Purchased (CCGP) has approved a number of procurement proposals including import of LNG, sugar and soybean oil. The committee, at a virtual meeting with Finance Minister AHM Muastafa Kamal in the chair, on Thursday gave the approval to the proposals. As per a proposal, placed by Energy and Mineral Resources Division, state-owned Petrobangla will import a cargo containing 33.60 lakh MMBtu (Metric Million British Thermal Unit) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Total Energies Gas & Power Ltd., Switzerland at a cost of Tk 618.21 crore with each MMBtu cost at $14.66. Petrobangla’s subsidiary Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Limited (RPGCL) will import the 4th LNG cargo to meet the growing demand of gas for the power and industries. As per approval, Trading Corporation of Bangladesh will import 25,000 metric tons of sugar from two separate companies. Of these, 12,500 metric tons (MT) of sugar will be procured from Global Corporation, Dhaka at a cost of Tk 132.50 crore while another 12,500 MT will be imported from Golden Wings General Trading FZE, UAE (Local Agent: Shanzaib Ltd., Dhaka at a cost of Tk 68.73 crore. the imports will be made through direct procurement method (DPM). But why such a huge difference in the price of the sugar of two companies was not explained by any official as there was no press briefing following the meeting. Read more: Govt resumes importing LNG from int'l spot market The Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) will import 60,000 MT of urea fertiliser from two companies. Of these, 30,000 MT of bagged granular urea fertiliser will be imported from Karnaphuli Fertiliser Company at a cost of Tk 105.62 crore while remaining 30,000 MT of bulk granular urea fertiliser will be imported from SABIC Agri-nutrients Company at a cost of Tk 107.28 crore.
LNG import on track to support power generation
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said the process of importing LNG from the spot market has already been taken to meet the demand of gas for power generation for the ongoing agricultural irrigation season, upcoming Ramadan and summer season. The Prime Minister said this while responding to a tabled question from Jatiya Party MP Fakhrul Imam. She said that in 2008, the daily gas production capacity was 1,744 million cubic feet. In 2018, production capacity increased to 2,750 million cubic feet. “And currently the daily gas production capacity is 2,300 million cubic feet,” she said. The Leader of the House said that in order to meet the increased demand of gas for power generation during the current agricultural irrigation season, Ramadan and summer, to keep the production uninterrupted in the industrial sector and to continue the production of captive power produced under the own management of various factories for export, the increased demand must be met by importing LNG at a high price from the spot market. She said that is why the government has decided to increase the price of gas used only in electricity, industry, captive power and commercial sectors, leaving other consumer groups unchanged. “The process of importing LNG from the spot market has already been adopted to meet the demand of gas in the said sectors.” In response to the question of the ruling Party MP Kazim Uddin Ahmed, the Prime Minister said that the unprecedented success of increasing agricultural production and achieving food self-sufficiency in Bangladesh during the Awami League government has caught the attention of the world. Read more: Dependence on LNG import to continue, more terminals to be set up: Energy Advisor Hasina said as per the election manifesto of Awami League, one of the goals of the government is to ensure food security and increase the export of agricultural products. “For this purpose, our government is ensuring reforms in fertiliser management, providing incentives to small and marginal farmers affected by natural calamities and development assistance in agricultural inputs including fertiliser,” she said. The Prime Minister said that agricultural machinery is being provided with development assistance to introduce modern agricultural system in the country. She said that agricultural loans at low interest rates, fertilisers at affordable prices, improved varieties of seeds and irrigation are being arranged to help the farmers. “As a result, despite climate change and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the global crisis, efforts to improve agriculture and introduce modern farming systems have continued,” she added. In response to another question from Jatiya Party's Rustam Ali Farazi, Hasina said that the government is observing global situation regarding the possibility of a recession in the world economy in 2023 and is taking various steps to keep Bangladesh free from the effects of a possible recession. “Fiscal policy and monetary policy are coordinated very carefully,” she added. The Prime Minister said that the government has taken steps to reduce unnecessary expenditure to continue the flow of necessary resources to the productive and social security sectors. She said that if the flow of resources to the income generating productive sector and purchasing power of the marginalised people under the social safety-net programmes can be kept normal, the impact of the economic recession will be mitigated to a large extent and It can be avoided.
Govt resumes importing LNG from int'l spot market
The government has resumed importing LNG (liquefied natural gas) from the international spot market. According to official sources, the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase (CCGP) approved a proposal of the state-owned Petrobangla to import one cargo of LNG. Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque presided over the meeting held virtually on Wednesday. The government had earlier suspended the import of LNG from the international spot market in July last year (2022) following the excessive hike in prices of the gas against the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war. Before the war, Bangladesh was purchasing LNG from the spot market between $6-10 per MMBtu. After the start of the war in February this year, the price crossed $37 per MMBtu. Official sources said the Energy and Mineral Resources Division placed the proposal on behalf of its subordinate body Petrobangla to import the LNG. "The price of LNG was quoted at $19.78 per MMBTu (Million British Thermal unit) and the cost of the total consignment was set at Tk 850 crore", said a source at the Energy and Mineral Resources Division. He noted that the government has planned to import a total of 12 LNG cargos in 2023 to meet the growing demand for natural gas. Read moroe: Bangladesh expects 1-1.5mn MT LNG annually from Brunei starting early 2023 As part of the austerity measures, the government last year suspended power generation from diesel-fired power plants and also import of the LNG as the prices of the products went too high. As a result, the government was incurring a huge financial loss in importing LNG at higher prices and selling it to the local market at lower prices. But recently, the government raised the gas prices at retail level for power plants, industries, and commercial users to reduce subsidies in the sector as per advice of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to get a loan from the multilateral lending agency. As per the recent announcement, the retail price of gas was raised by 14.5 percent to 178.9 percent for industries, power plants and commercial establishments, who together account for 78 percent of gas use in Bangladesh while price of gas for captive power plants and industries, gas was raised to Tk 30 per cubic metre. This would be a 150 percent hike for large industries, 154.7 percent for medium industries and 178.3 percent for small and cottage industries. For captive power plants, it would be an increase of 87.5 percent. Commercial establishments like hotels and restaurants will have to pay Tk 30.50 per unit, up 14.5 percent from the existing rate. Read more: Despite suspension of LNG import, govt decides to increase listed suppliers’ numbers The tariff for households, fertiliser production, CNG-run vehicles and tea gardens will remain unchanged. The country produces about 2,300 million cubic feet per day (MMCFD) gas from local gas fields to meet a demand of over 2,800 MMCFD leaving a gap of 500 MMCFD. To meet this gas the government has to import a huge LNG from abroad of which it meets 350 MMCFD gas through importing it from Qatar and Oman under long-term agreements while remaining 150 MMCFD is being imported from the international spot market.
All liquid fuel-based power plants will be phased out over next 2 years: Nasrul Hamid
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has said that all the liquid fuel-based power plants will be phased out within next two years. “We think, we can come out of all liquid fuel-fired power plants in next two years”, he told a seminar titled: “Energy Transition: Global Context" at Biduyt Bhaban in the city on Saturday. Such remarks from the state minister came against the backdrop of the nagging power and energy crisis in which operation of diesel-run plants already been suspended due to excessive price hike of the primary fuel. The function, organised by Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh (FERB), was also addressed by eminent energy experts Dr M Tamim and Dr Badrul Imam, senior energy secretary Mahbub Hossain, power secretary Habibur Rahman, Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) chairman Mahbubur Rahman and Power Cell director general Mohammad Hossain. FERB chairman Shamim Jahangir presided over the function while its executive director Rishan Nasrullah conducted the event. Read more: Uninterrupted power supply to be ensured through improvement in distribution: Nasrul Nasrul said initially 1000 MW diesel-fired power plants will be phased out in one year. He said three issues are being considered in dealing with energy transition in global context. These are technological advancement, providing energy at affordable price and at the fastest possible time. He mentioned that the government wants the private sector’s more involvement in energy business. That’s why import of all kind of energy products have now been open for private sector. “Private sector can import all kinds of liquid fuel as well as LNG alongside the LPG. They can set up their own establishment and supply to dealers for selling in petrol pumps”, Nasrul Hamid said. He also emphases on more use of electric vehicles (EV) replacing the existing diesel-run buses and other transports. “The public sector bus and train should come up first to use the EV as its energy efficiency is 80 percent while diesel-run vehicles efficient is only 20 percent”, he said. Making his presentation on “Energy Transition: Global Context" Dr Tamim said Bangladesh should not haste in decision making based on current crisis. Read more: Govt vigorously promoting renewable energy in power generation mix: Power Secretary He also said demand forecast based on sector wise bottom up growth projection on a 5-10 year time frame should be undertaken. He suggested for engaging a team of world class energy trading professionals to deal with future energy purchases and contracts mitigating risks. “The team should do a comprehensive world resource inflow and outflow analysis”, he added. Referring to IRENA’s recommendations, Dr Tamim said Bangladesh’s best path to reduce CO2 emission is efficiency improvement, putting emphasis on bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and renewables. He said that along with local supply (both gas and coal), we must secure steady and sustainable sourcing of primary energy by import – coal, gas, cross border electricity, nuclear fuel. “Every aspect of renewable energy and efficiency improvement should be vigorously encouraged, funded and supported by policy,” he said adding that solar rooftop, irrigation, parks in unused government acquired lands can easily achieve at least 5000 MW by 2030. “A separate study on energy and efficiency technology adaptation should be undertaken.and Immediate investment in grid upgradation and making highly trained independent System Operator is required”, he noted. Prof Badrul Imam said different studies, conducted by international firms, still show a huge prospects of local gas explorations. The government should utilise such prospective scopes to over cone the energy crisis. Energy secretary Mahbub Hossain said the government has taken steps to conduct 2D and 3D exploration across the country to acquire adequate data before inviting foreign companies to invest in gas exploration. He said under the ongoing programmes, there will be about 600 MMCFD added to the national grid by 2026. Power secretary Habibur Rahman said the government is trying to replace some 2000 diesel-run irrigation pumps with solar system. “But we have to face a huge challenge in this regard”, he added.
Bangladesh expects 1-1.5mn MT LNG annually from Brunei starting early 2023
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has said Bangladesh is expecting to get 1-1.5 million metric ton of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Brunei starting early 2023. He made the statement following a bilateral meeting between Bangladesh and Brunei Darussalam in Bandar Seri Begawan on Thursday (November 24, 2022). “There might be a 10-15 year agreement between the two nations in this regard,” he said. Read more: Despite suspension of LNG import, govt decides to increase listed suppliers’ numbers Nasrul Hamid led the Bangladesh delegation while Deputy Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office of Brunei, Yang Mulia Dato Seri Paduka Awang Haji Matsatejo bin Sokiaw, led his country’s delegation. The State Minister said both Dhaka and Bandar Seri Begawan had fruitful discussions to increase the area of cooperation. In the current context, he said, it was discussed to import an average of 210,000 MT of diesel from Brunei on deferred payment. New agreements will be signed on these matters. He mentioned that both nations agreed to broaden the areas of cooperation in the energy sector. Read more: Saudi Arabia assures assistance in commercial supply of LNG to Bangladesh Bangladesh had imported 325,975 MT of diesel during 2014-2016 from Brunei. But later it was not possible to further import diesel from the Brunei-based supply company PB Trading Sendirian Berhad due to a condition that it must have its own refinery. It is mentionable that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Dhaka and Bandar Seri Begawan on October 16 during the Brunei’s Sultan’s Dhaka visit on the cooperation in supply of LNG and other petroleum products. Brunei’s Prime Minister’s permanent secretary Yang Mulia Azhar bin Haji Yahya, director of the Energy Department Mohammad Nizam bin Haji Ismi, director of the Petroleum Authority Adrian Wong Kwai Ming, acting director of the energy sharing management department of Energy Division Haji Mohd Zaki bin Haji Hassanol As’shari were present in the meeting from Brunei side. Read more: No additional LNG supply from Qatar before 2025: Petrobangla Bangladesh delegation includes senior secretary of the Energy Division Md Mahbub Hossain, chairman of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) ABM Azad, Petrobangla chairman Nazmul Ahsan, managing director of Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Limited Zabed Chowdhury and Bangladesh Ambassador in Brunei Nahida Rahman.
Saudi Arabia assures assistance in commercial supply of LNG to Bangladesh
Saudi Arabia has assured its assistance in the commercial supply of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to Bangladesh on an emergency basis. The Saudi assurance came during the 14th meeting of the Joint Economic Commission of the two countries held from October 30 to 31 in its capital Riyadh. The Saudi delegation in the meeting also assured its assistance after Bangladesh requested investment in the Eastern Refinery Unit 2 project. read more: Political stability, good incentives attract Saudi companies to invest in Bangladesh: Saudi Envoy Two Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) were signed between the two countries during the meeting on mutual cooperation in recruitment, training of naval professionals, and increasing trade. During the meeting, the two countries agreed to form a task force to enhance energy cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh. It was decided to hold regular meetings of the task force on cooperation in the energy sector at convenient times for the two countries. In the meeting, discussions were held regarding the construction of 1000 MW solar power and 730 MW gas power plant in Bangladesh by Saudi ACWA Power. Read more: Saudi delegation to visit Bangladesh soon to discuss energy cooperation: Envoy In the meeting, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Bangladesh Ministry of Shipping and the Ministry of Communications and Information in Saudi Arabia to increase mutual cooperation in all possible fields including recruitment, and training of the maritime professionals of the two countries. Bangladesh Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mohammad Javed Patwary signed the MoU on behalf of Bangladesh and Deputy of Maritime Transport Abdul Rahman M Al Thunayen signed on behalf of Saudi Arabia. In the meeting, another MoU was signed between the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries (FBCCI), and the Federation of Saudi Chambers and Commerce to form a Joint Business Council to increase trade. The MoU was signed by FBCCI Vice President Md Habib Ullah and his Saudi counterpart Vice President of the Federation of Saudi Chambers Tariq bin Muhammad Al-Haidari. Read More: Dependence on LNG import to continue, more terminals to be set up: Energy Advisor An agreement was made between the Health, Education and Family Welfare Division of Bangladesh and the Saudi Ministry of Health To sign an expedited MoU for an 'Executive Program' for the recruitment of professionals from Bangladesh in the Saudi health sector. Besides, a consensus was made on the signing of another MoU aiming to increase effective bilateral support in all fields of science and education between the education ministries of the two countries. Economic Relations Division Secretary Sharifa Khan led the Bangladesh delegation during the meeting while Saudi Vice Minister of Human Resources and Social Development for Labor Dr. Abdullah Abuthnain led the Saudi delegation. Read More: Nasrul Hamid now hopes power supply situation will improve from Nov The next meeting of the Joint Economic Commission will be held in Dhaka.
Nasrul Hamid now hopes power supply situation will improve from Nov
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid today (October 27, 2022) said power supply situation may improve from November. “We hope the power supply situation will improve from November. I’m optimistic and don’t want to make you pessimistic,” he told reporters after attending a seminar on renewable energy at Dhaka’s Brac Inn Centre. Earlier in August, the state minister had said that power supply situation may improve from September, and later again said that load shedding would decrease from October. Read more: 2 weeks after grid failure, Ghorashal Power Station’s unit-5 resumes operation Following a national power grid failure on October 4, 2022, the electricity supply situation deteriorated – increasing load shedding to 5-6 hours every day. The government started implementing an austerity plan in July by suspending operations of all diesel-fired power plants to reduce fuel imports and save foreign currency. The import of LNG from the international spot market was also suspended for the same purpose, triggering frequent load shedding across the country. Referring to the request of businessmen to resume LNG imports from the international spot market and to ensure uninterrupted gas and electricity supply to factories at a higher price, Nasrul said the government is assessing all the options. Read No govt decision to stop the supply of daytime electricity: Hasan Mahmud “We’re working on it. Businessmen need uninterrupted gas supply at an affordable price,” he added. He also said that his ministry has sent a detailed proposal to Brunei on power supply situation and is now waiting for their response. It may take a week more to get a response from Brunei, he said.
Electricity price to remain unchanged for now
Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) has rejected state-owned Bangladesh Power Development Board’s (BPDB) proposal to raise bulk power tariff. “The current charges will remain unchanged for now,” State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid told UNB today. “BPDB’s proposal has not been accepted,” BERC chairman Abdul Jalil said while announcing the decision of the commission today. He, however, said if any party feels aggrieved, they can apply for re-consideration of the decision within 30 days. Read: Decision on bulk power tariff ‘adjustment’ Thursday He noted that some of the private companies which buy power from BPDB have not submitted their data of transactions. “There was data ambiguity. That’s why we did not analyse the impact of any rise in bulk tariff on the consumers,” he told reporters during the virtual meeting. The current socio-economic and power supply situation were taken into consideration when making the BERC decision, he noted. The last BERC decision, in February 2020, shall prevail, said the BERC chairman adding that no further tariff will be introduced and the previous tariff will be continued. Read National power grid failure: Blackout across Bangladesh He also said that BPDB has received a subsidy of Tk 17,000 crore from the government. So, it will be no problem for BPDB to adjust its cost. The last public hearing on a proposal of the state-owned Bangladesh Power Development Board to raise bulk power tariff was held on May 18. BERC extended the time for stakeholders to submit relevant documents for ending the hearing procedures. From that additional time, BERC counted 90 days and set October 13 to announce its decision. Read Focus more on generating electricity from renewable sources The energy regulator's decision to reject the proposal to raise bulk power tariff came at a time when the country has been experiencing a nagging power crisis and consumers are suffering 5-6 hours of load shedding daily. The Power Division has been under tremendous pressure from the Finance Ministry to raise power tariffs. BPDB has been incurring a huge financial loss due to its purchase of electricity from private power plants at a much higher rate and sell it to the consumers at a lower rate. Against this backdrop, BPDB placed a proposal to raise bulk power tariffs by 65.57 percent at the public hearing while a technical evaluation committee (TEC) of BERC recommended a 57.83 percent hike. Read Bangladesh produces 14,001MW of electricity: A new record The 5-member commission makes the final decision following a public hearing after listening to arguments and counter arguments from the stakeholders on any proposal. At the public hearing on May 18, consumer rights groups, including representatives from different business bodies, vehemently opposed any major rise in power tariff right now, as people are already struggling with high inflation caused by high commodity prices. They termed the proposal illogical and said BPDB can offset its revenue deficit through addressing irregularities, corruption and unethical practice in buying electricity from inefficient private power plants at higher rates. Placing the proposal, BPDB officials had said the organisation will require revenue of Tk 74,189 crore to generate 88,993 million kilowatt hours (units) of electricity to supply to the power distribution companies. Read Despite lower electricity demand on weekend, Dhaka ... "But if the BPDB sells its electricity at the existing rate of Tk 5.17 per unit, it will have to face a deficit of Tk 30,251 crore in revenue in the calendar year 2022. So, BPDB needs to raise the power tariff by 65.57 percent to Tk 8.56 per unit from Tk 5.17," said a BPDB top official at the hearing, adding that this has been calculated without the government's subsidy. The Power Division suspended operation of its diesel-fired power plants and also import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) following escalation of fuel prices in the international market as fallout of the Russia-Ukraine war. As a result, though the country's installed power generation capacity is about 25,50 MW, it now generates about 12,000 MW against a demand for around 14,000 MW and resorts to a load shedding of about 2,000 MW. Read Bulk power tariff hike in Bangladesh could be announced within Oct 14, 2022
Dependence on LNG import to continue, more terminals to be set up: Energy Advisor
Prime Minister’s Energy Advisor Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury has said that dependence on imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) will continue as there is no immediate possibility of gas exploration from the country's offshore areas. “The government has taken the initiative to set up more floating storage and re-gasification units (FSRUs) across the country,” he told a webinar, organized by Bangladesh Energy Society (BES), today in the city. FSRUs are LNG terminals used to import gas in liquefied form. It is then re-gasified there before releasing it to the local supply network. Also read: Bangladesh seeks additional supply of LNG to meet growing demand The energy advisor said more sites are being selected in Payra of Patuakhali and Bhola to set up land-based LNG terminals in addition to the existing two FSRUs in Maheshkhali island of Cox’s Bazar. He noted that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already instructed to sign long-term deals to import more LNG. Currently, Bangladesh has long-term contracts with Qatar and Oman to import LNG while it also imports liquefied gas from international spot markets on a short-term basis. Also read: Petrobangla to get Tk 2000 crore from GDF to import LNG BES president and former principal secretary Abul Kalam Azad made a presentation at the virtual seminar titled: “Present Energy Crisis – Way Forward for Bangladesh” while eminent energy expert Professor Mohammad Tamim, president of Bangladesh Solar and Renewable Energy Association (BSREA) Dipal Barua, chairman of Energy Standing Committee of FBCCI Humayun Rashid, president of Bangladesh Independent Power Producers’ Association (BIPPA) Imran Karim, director of Summit Group Mohammed Faisal Karim Khan addressed on the occasion. Former chairman of Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) and BES vice president ASM Alamgir Kabir presided over the event. Professor M Tamim said it would not be wise to take a concrete decision depending on the current energy crisis as it may not continue for a long time. Read Bangladesh purchases LNG, fertiliser at lower rates as prices fall in global market “Rather, there should be short, medium and long term measures to ensure energy security of the country,” he noted. Dipal Barua said that renewable energy could play a vital role in the current energy crisis. He mentioned that he came to his village home in Raojan where there was no electricity from 8 am to 12:30 pm. Humayun Rashid, FBCCI leader and CEO of Energypac Power Generation Ltd, which has set up a number of private power plants, said no other ministry should talk about the current power and energy crisis as it creates unrest among people. Read Bangladesh wants to procure LNG from Qatar for a longer period: PM “We’re passing our best ever time in electricity generation,” he claimed. BIPPA president Imran Karim said the role of the private sector in power generation is increasing and it is contributing 33 percent of electricity to the country.
Bangladesh seeks additional supply of LNG to meet growing demand
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam has requested his Qatari counterpart Soltan bin Saad Al- Muraikhi to consider additional supply of LNG to Bangladesh to meet the increasing demand for industrial growth in the country. Shahriar made the request at the second Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) meeting between Bangladesh and Qatar held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar on Monday. During the meeting, the Bangladesh side reiterated the invitation to the Emir of Qatar from the President of Bangladesh. The Qatari side informed that the Emir of Qatar may undertake a visit to Bangladesh next year, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA). During the meeting, the two State Ministers signed an agreement on visa waiver for diplomatic, official and special passport holders between Bangladesh and Qatar. Both sides agreed to sign agreements on avoidance of double taxation, cultural cooperation, collaboration in legal field, MoU on education, and cooperation on Waqf and Islamic Affairs during the upcoming high level visit. During the meeting, two delegations took stock and reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues between the two countries. The issues that came up for discussions included enhanced cooperation in skilled manpower and human resource development, increased business to business contact, visa waiver for diplomats and officials between the two countries, collaboration on food security, education and health, energy and power, civil aviation etc. The State Minister of Bangladesh requested the Qatari side to consider investment in high-tech parks, special economic zones, in construction and energy sectors etc.