SINGAPORE - Bangladesh's Summit Group is in the last stage of discussions with the government to provide the nation with supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG), its chairman said on Monday.

"We are in discussion with the government of Bangladesh, that is Petrobangla, and the discussion is (for) about 1.5 million tonnes (per annum)," Aziz Khan told Reuters in an interview, referring to Bangladesh's state-owned company.

He added the supply deal would be for 15 years beginning from 2026, and hopes to have it signed before Bangladesh holds its parliamentary election on Jan. 7.

"Bangladesh requires a lot of LNG as our natural gas resources are depleting and GDP growth, even under this very difficult circumstances, is about 5.6-5.7%. So LNG is of vital importance for the continuation of this growth."

The South Asian nation has struggled with a power crisis after Russia's invasion of Ukraine caused LNG prices to spike, and as it faced difficulties in paying for fuel imports amid declining foreign exchange reserves.

The country of nearly 170 million people has had to secure a $4.7 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund this year to deal with higher costs of imported fuel and food.

Gas fuels more than two-thirds of power generation in Bangladesh.

Khan expects Bangladesh's annual LNG imports to increase amid economic growth and as new long-term deals kick in.

Petrobangla has signed three long-term LNG deals so far this year - a 10-year contract to receive LNG supplies from OQ Trading, formerly known as Oman Trading International, a 15-year supply deal with QatarEnergy, and a 15-year contract with U.S.-based Excelerate Energy.

All three contracts will begin supplies from 2026.

"From 2026-27, Bangladesh will be importing about 8-9 million tonnes and then by 2030, at least 10-12 million tonnes," he said.

On upcoming projects, Summit is in talks to secure a LNG carrier for conversion to a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) to handle LNG imports. The FSRU will be Summit's second in Bangladesh, and will be at latest operational by the second quarter of 2026, said Khan.

Summit currently owns one of Bangladesh's two FSRUs.

Summit is also in the running to build the Matarbari LNG terminal, Bangladesh's planned onshore terminal, with its consortium partners JERA and Sumitomo Corporation.

(Reporting by Emily Chow; editing by David Evans)