4:42 pm - Tuesday January 18, 1746

Fuel oil imports to rise 15 pc in 2015

Bangladesh’s fuel oil imports are expected to grow 15 percent to 1.5 million tonnes in 2015, supported by increased demand for power generation, energy officials said on Tuesday.

The trend contrasts with Asia as a whole, where fuel oil demand is in structural decline.

State-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Corp (BPC) will import 900,000 tonnecrude oils, while privately-owned power plants will import nearly 600,000, according to energy ministry projections.

That compares with 800,000 tonnes and 500,000 tonnes, respectively, last year, BPC officials said. Bangladesh imported around 1.1 million tonnes of fuel oil in 2013.

A shortfall in supplies of natural gas has forced the South Asian country to burn oil, a more costly option, to generate electricity.

BPC’s 33,000-barrels-per-day refinery in Chittagong meets about 30 percent of the country’s fuel oil needs from its oil-fired power plants.

Until early 2010, Bangladesh was an occasional seller in the Asian fuel oil market, offering small volumes of about 30,000 tonnes irregularly.

The premium for fuel oil 180-centistoke for the first half of 2015 is $29.95 a tonne to Singapore spot quotes, down from $34 for the second half of 2014 and from $35 a year ago.

That reflects falling Asian demand, led by China whose monthly fuel oil imports have declined consistently by around 20 percent on year as more smaller, independent refiners process crude rather than fuel oil.

Bangladesh buys fuel oil from a number of national oil companies, including Malaysia’s Petronas, Philippines National Oil Co (PNOC), Emirates National Oil Co (ENOC), Vietnam’s Petrolimex, and Unipec.

– Reuters