Qatar to supply Bangladesh LNG under long-term deal: Official

A liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker is tugged towards a thermal power station in Futtsu, east of Tokyo, Japan 13 November 2017.Reuters file photo

The oil-rich Qatar is expected to ink a long-term, deal with Bangladesh on Thursday to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the country desperately looks for the petroleum product at a cheaper rate as the Ukraine crisis spiked its prices for the past one year, officials said on Wednesday.

“The deal is expected to be signed tomorrow (Thursday) in Doha . . . this is clearly the outcome of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s recent visit to Qatar,” prime minister’s energy affairs adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury told news agency BSS.

QatarEnergy will sign a long-term LNG supply deal with Bangladesh’s state-owned Petrobangla, which would be the second Asian sales deal to be sealed for Qatar’s North Field expansion project, he added.

Another Petrobangla official said under the 15-year agreement Bangladesh would receive annually 2 million tonnes of LNG from Qatar.

Qatar is the world’s top LNG exporter.

Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said that Dhaka was looking for a comfortable deal with Qatar for the past several months while it was priority issue during prime minister’s last week’s Qatar visit.

“Our prime minister had a fruitful discussion with Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, who promised to supply the LNG,” Chowdhury said.

He said the LNG supply was expected to start from January 2026.

State minister for energy and power Nasrul Hamid flew to Doha Wednesday to witness the signing of the deal Thursday.

During the Doha visit on 23-25 May, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had a meeting with Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani at Amiri Diwan.

Officials said a negotiation of signing a new contract over the larger supply of energy from Qatar to Bangladesh was underway for the past several months.

The proposed deal drew international media attention as well with Reuters news agency saying the Bangladesh-Qatar agreement was set to be signed when competition for LNG has ramped up since the start of the Ukraine war.

The report pointed out that the deal would be inked as Europe in particular needed vast amounts to help replace Russian pipeline gas that used to make up almost 40 per cent of the continent’s imports.

But Asia, with an appetite for long-term sales and purchase agreements, has been ahead so far in securing gas from Qatar’s massive production expansion project.

Officials said under its first 15-year deal with Qatar, Bangladesh pays 12.65 per cent of the three-month average price of Brent oil plus a constant of 50 cents per mmBtu.

The North Field expansion project will help guarantee long-term supplies of gas globally. North Field is part of the world’s biggest gas field that Qatar shares with Iran, which calls its share South Pars.

The two-phase expansion plan will raise Qatar’s liquefaction capacity to 126 million tonnes per year by 2027 from 77 million.

According to Reuters, Qatar’s first Asian deal, with China’s Sinopec, the longest to be signed at 27 years for the supply of 4 million tons a year, was followed by the state-owned Chinese company taking a 5 per cent stake in the equivalent of one North Field East LNG train.