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Bangladesh's Bold Step: Investing $960 Million Monthly to Settle Energy Dues and Pave the Way for a Bright Future!

Bangladesh has recently taken a significant step towards resolving its energy debts, as it has announced a monthly payment of approximately $960 million starting from July. This decision comes in response to a directive from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and aims to clear outstanding dues owed to LNG suppliers, international oil companies (IOCs), and local and foreign power plant owners. To break down the allocation, each week, $160 million will be directed to the Power Division under the Ministry of Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) to settle debts with power plant owners, while $80 million will be allocated to the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) for payments to LNG suppliers and IOCs.

The move to address these debts is driven by the need to ensure uninterrupted natural gas supplies, which is crucial for the nation's energy security. State-run Petrobangla Chairman Zanendra Nath Sarker has stressed the importance of clearing debts to LNG suppliers and IOCs to maintain a steady supply of natural gas. Furthermore, the MPEMR's Power Division has sought around $5.921 billion for the fiscal year 2023-24 to ensure continuous electricity supply.

Despite facing financial challenges, Bangladesh is determined to settle its energy bills with the assistance of global lenders. This effort is to prevent any disruptions in energy supply, especially with the upcoming general election scheduled for January 2024. As part of this strategy, Petrobangla is in negotiations to secure a loan of approximately $500 million from the Islamic Trade Finance Corporation. The outstanding energy payments as of June included $2.4 billion owed to private independent power producers, $475 million for electricity imports from India, $350 million to gas companies, and $320 million to LNG suppliers.

In addition to addressing the energy debt issue, Bangladesh is actively working to attract foreign investors to its energy sector. The cabinet committee on economic affairs has recently approved the country's inaugural Brent crude-linked model production sharing contract. This new model incorporates a profit-sharing formula, which grants enhanced output shares to investors, and allows companies to export natural gas after fulfilling domestic demand. The hydrocarbon price within the model contract is tied to the same benchmark used for purchasing LNG. Despite previous challenges faced in deepwater exploration, the government remains committed to developing and expanding the nation's energy sector.

Overall, Bangladesh's efforts to resolve energy debts and attract foreign investments demonstrate its determination to ensure a stable and sustainable energy future for the country.

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