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Dhaka signs initial deal with Doha to import 2.5m tons of LNG a year

Dhaka signs initial deal with Doha to import 2.5m tons of LNG a year

DHAKA: Bangladesh inked the country’s first-ever deal to import from Qatar liquefied natural gas (LNG), a new fuel for the country, to meet the mounting natural gas demand. Qatar’s RasGas and Bangladesh’s state-owned Petrobangla signed the long-awaited initial deal at Petrocentre in the city over import of around 2.5 million tonne per year of lean LNG for 15 years, a senior Petrobangla official told the FE. A delegation from RasGas arrived in Dhaka on Wednesday last aiming to ink the initial agreement. But the move to sign it failed last week as the two sides could not reach any final decision over pricing then, said the official of Petrobangla requesting anonymity. Both the parties talked about different pricing formula Thursday again and decided that the pricing would be linked to the international price of crude oil, said the official, as he was not authorised to speak to the media. Other issues including quantity, the mode of payment and tenure of agreement were also discussed during Thursday’s meeting, he added. The official did not say anything further, terming it as ‘confidential.’

Petrobangla chairman Abul Mansur Md Faizullah earlier in late June said that Bangladesh finalised preliminary government-to-government negotiations with Qatar’s RasGas during a visit to the Gulf country then to import the fuel. They settled all the issues then except pricing. A final sales and purchase agreement is slated to be signed in August after receiving approval from the country’s cabinet committee, he added. This is Bangladesh’s first long-term LNG contract.

Bangladesh had signed initially a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with RasGas back in January 2011 to import annually around 4.0 million tonne of LNG, which was extended several times after that and a ‘confidentiality agreement’ was inked over the issue in 2015, said the official. Separately, state-owned Petrobangla signed a MOU on LNG import with Switzerland-based AOT Energy, with a final sales and purchase agreement due to be signed by the year-end, and recently issued an international tender seeking expression of interest to supply LNG on a spot basis.