Vol 2, PW 26 (20 Jan 99) Midstream & Downstream

Mobil has very good reason to be happy with India.

Its successful bid to supply Petronet-LNG with 7.5m tonnes a year of LNG has established it as the LNG supplier of first choice for Indian buyers. In Delhi, no sooner had the ink dried on the Heads Of Agreement with Petronet-LNG, then Mobil announced its Qatari joint venture, RasGas, would also be supplying the Siemens/Woodside/Grasim consortium, winners of a tender to build and supply a 2.5m t/y LNG complex with adjacent power plant in Tamil Nadu.

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Mobil plans to open an office in New Delhi on 1 February to manage its fast-growing LNG business in India - a business which Ron Billings, President, Mobil Global Gas & Power, wants to see doubled- fast, "We have the potential to double sales to India to 20m t/y", a confident Billings told delegates to Petrotech 99 in Delhi, "India is a natural market for sales of LNG and will emerge as a major LNG importer in the next few years.The downturn of LNG demand in South Korea and Japan coupled with the crash in international oil prices has made India and China key markets for LNG".

Billings told his predominantly Indian audience that the "timing" of Indias entry into the market of LNG buyers was perfect, as it could take advantage of state of the art LNG regassification technology. However, he cautioned that the lack of a gas regulatory framework was proving a major obstacle to progress in India.

"Building a solid regulatory framework is key to getting a project off the ground".