Papua New Guinea offers 10m t/y LNG to India

Vol 6, PW 7 (05 Jun 02) People & Policy

ABSURD AS IT may sound Shastri Bhawan bureaucrats are getting very excited about a proposal from an obscure company based in Papua New Guinea called Trans Pacific Gas that wants to sell India 10m t/y LNG.

Sometime after the NELP-III roadshows, a team of Shastri Bhawan bureaucrats and representatives from ONGC Videsh, GAIL and Indian Oil will pack up their grass skirts and head off to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia to investigate. We learn Trans Pacific has been actively using the services of Indian MPs to lobby with oil minister Ram Naik.

It wants Indian companies to invest in gasfields and set up a LNG liquefaction plant for export to India. In March Trans Pacific wrote to Naik: "An immediate action in this regard shall be highlyappreciated in view of a recent tender by National Thermal Power Corporation for supply of 5m t/y LNG for their various power plants." Intrigued by this offer, oil ministry joint secretaries Jayant Mauskar and S.

Vijayaraghavan in April jointly called in representatives of OVL, Petronet LNG, GAIL, and Indian Oil to discuss the curious proposal from Papua New Guinea. Also discussed was a letter from Shyam Sharan, the Indian ambassador to Indonesia, who advised the oil ministry to "aggressively pursue opportunities for energy sourcing (read: LNG) from South East Asian countries, particularly Indonesia." The meeting ended with a decision to send a technical team to the region.