Gas-starved Bangladesh, one of the fastest growing LNG markets in Asia

Author: Joachim Moxon

2020/10/27

SINGAPORE (ICIS) -- ICIS is expanding its LNG demand forecast to rising markets in South Asia and the Middle East. The most recent addition is Bangladesh.

A new-comer to the LNG market, Bangladesh added 7.5mtpa in import capacity between August 2018 and April 2019. It rose fast to become the second biggest growth market in Asia in 2019, second only to China, absorbing close to 4m tonnes in its first year as LNG importer.

The country is now moving into its second stage of LNG imports, taking its first spot cargo in September and planning to take two additional cargoes each month from December 2020.

With domestic gas production moving into decline in coming years, Bangladesh is expected to continue to increase LNG imports to cover supply shortages amid rising gas demand.

The government is also putting the brakes on plans to build coal-fired power plants and calling instead for LNG-based projects. The 800MW Rupsha Combined Cycle Power Plant will be the first to be built on the basis of LNG imports, with several other projects in the pipeline. ICIS expects coal to make a small dent in gas-to-power demand in the fiscal year ending 30 June 2021, but with gas-fired generation returning to a growth path in subsequent years.

There is also significant latent demand in the industry and fertilizer, with ICIS projecting LNG imports to enable double-digit percentage growth in these sectors.

Bangladesh has the eighth largest population and is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Its fast-growing economy is also shifting from agriculture to manufacturing and services, with energy security a focal point in the government’s ambition to sustain growth.

Longer-term, the country is planning to double its LNG import capacity with a 7.5mtpa onshore terminal, though progress was unclear at the time of writing.

ICIS LNG demand forecasts for Pakistan, Kuwait, Malaysia and Indonesia are also recently live in LNG Edge. The LNG Edge Demand Forecast is a rolling 24-month forecast which reacts to new market developments as they happen.

ICIS already forecasts LNG demand for Japan, China, South Korea, India and Taiwan. We will be looking to roll-out Bahrain, UAE, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and the Philippines in the coming months.