RasGas coming to Delhi next month for LNG talks

Vol 15, PW 16 (23 Feb 12) People & Policy

India is trying to tempt Qatar into releasing up to 15m t/y of additional LNG by offering investment opportunities in domestic hydrocarbon projects to sweeten any deal.

Discussions about LNG supply and pricing will be high on the agenda when a delegation from Qatar led by oil minister Mohammed Saleh al-Sada visits Delhi next month (March). RasGas managing director and CEO Hamad Rashid Al Mohannadi is also likely to visit and can expect heavy lobbying by Indian oil ministry officials on behalf of LNG importers Petronet-LNG and GAIL – both desperate to secure at least 2m t/y of additional LNG from RasGas immediately under a proposed short-term contract from 2013 to 2016.

“Qatar has confirmed it has up to 10m t/y of excess LNG available,” we hear. “But the terms and conditions for long-term and short-term contracts are still being discussed.

” Al-Sada and al-Mohannadi last visited India for talks in October 2011, after which GAIL and Petronet-LNG sent a revised short-term LNG price proposal to Qatar on November 24. GAIL says it would be happy to offer Qatar a stake in the planned expansion of the former Enron-operated Ratnagiri Power station near Mumbai, which it jointly operates with NTPC, each holding 31.52%, in exchange for any Qatari assurance of more LNG.

GAIL is also ready to offer a stake in the Kayamkulam power station in Kerala, after getting permission from promoter NTPC. Qatar could also be offered equity participation in the upcoming ONGC-Petro additions (OPaL) petrochemicals complex at Dahej in Gujarat; ONGC Mangalore Petrochemicals; IndianOil’s Paradip Petrochemicals at Orissa; or the Bharat Petroleum Petrochemicals project at Kochi in Kerala.

“Qatar Petroleum International wants to invest in India,” adds a government source. “We’ll offer them minority stakes in whatever they want.