Bangladesh has rescheduled two LNG cargoes, with the capacity to carry 138,000 cubic metres, from May to September due to low demand in the wake of the nationwide shutdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Both the cargoes were bound to supply LNG in May from Qatar's QatarGas, said Md Kamruzzaman, managing director of state-run Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Ltd, responsible for coordinating LNG import through two floating storage units.
He said that the ships are re-scheduled for later months of the year when gas consumption will increase after business situation gets normal.
During usual times, Bangladesh consumes up to 3,400 mmcfd gas along with the LNG. But now, the highest demand is less than 3,000 mmcfd.
The nationwide shutdown to curb the spread of Covid-19, which lasted until May 30, hit almost all types of businesses including public and private transportations. Only gas-fired power plants were the industrial consumer during that period.
Energy and legal experts were suggesting that the government avert the financial pressure by suspending expensive LNG gas during economic fallout.
However, the government could not reduce the import due to contractual obligations, though China and India, among some other countries, reduced the financial pressure by invoking a "force majeure" clause in the contracts to temporarily suspend such obligatory purchases.
Instead of cutting LNG imports, however, the government has reduced local gas production. It has been importing LNG since August 2018 to tackle the country's persistent gas crisis that has been affecting power generation and industrial output.
Currently, the country has two floating storage regasification units at Moheshkhali of Cox's Bazar, with a capacity to re-gasify 1,000 million cubic feet per day.
One is owned by US firm Excelerate Energy, named Moheshkhali Liquefied Natural Gas, and the other is owned by local company Summit LNG.