Deadline passes for NTPC tender for 5m t/y LNG

Vol 6, PW 3 (10 Apr 02) Midstream & Downstream

BY THE time this report reaches you there should be a line of potential vendors responding to NTPC's 5m t/y LNG tender when the deadline for submitting an 'Expression of Interest' expires at 1700 hrs on 10th April.

Some will be serious, some there for the heck of it. PETROWATCH understands anybody and everybody in the LNG business is likely to take part: Petronet-LNG, TotalFinaElf, British Gas, Shell, BHP Petroleum, Reliance and even contractors Daelim of South Korea! "The whole process has become a bit of a joke," reveals one company.

"It's a very unusual way to invite offers." Mistrust hinges on NTPC's approach. "They are not asking for any security or bid bond up front," he adds.

"Anybody can send in a four page document expressing interest. They are not separating the serious bidders from the non-serious bidders." Little wonder people are asking if NTPC is serious or just testing the market.

Petronet LNG, of course, is upset that NTPC went ahead with the tender despite "several meetings" where it placed Dahej and Kochi LNG on the table. Nonetheless it's pitching for the business.

"We will offer LNG from Dahej and Kochi," the company tells us. TotalFinaElf, we learn, is still debating whether to bid through the Yemen LNG consortium, by itself, or not at all.

"We want to give Yemen LNG a chance in India," the company tells us. Shell and British Gas have plans to put up LNG terminals in Gujarat, which could get a fresh lease of life from this tender.

Bidders agree on one thing: gas will come from the Middle East. "That is the best option, given the near distance to India."