Modi to charm S. Korea for LNG tanker technology

Vol 18, PW 9 (18 Dec 14) Midstream & Downstream

Narendra Modi will turn on the charm offensive when he meets South Korean president (Ms) Park Geun-Hye next month (January) to convince her to allow the transfer of technology to Indian shipbuilders.

GAIL officials are anxiously awaiting the outcome of their meeting as South Korea’s STX Offshore & Shipbuilding is the only overseas yard interested in partnering Indian shipyards in GAIL’s tender to buy nine LNG tankers. South Korean companies need prior approval from the government for technology transfers and GAIL hopes if this comes through it could attract other South Korean companies to its tender, like Samsung, Hyundai and Daewoo.

A high-powered joint delegation of the oil ministry and GAIL will accompany external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj when she visits South Korea, most likely on December 25th and 26th. “Swaraj’s meeting is a protocol meeting before Modi’s visit,” says an oil ministry source.

This will also provide a good opportunity to the ministry and GAIL to convince South Korea, the world’s biggest LNG ship manufacturer. South Korean president Geun-Hye has already made clear she wants to expand the ‘strategic partnership’ with India under Modi’s leadership.

“We are hopeful that the South Korean government will take a step forward during Modi’s visit,” adds our ministry source. Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan, a fluent Korean speaker, met South Korea’s ambassador to India Joon-gyu Lee on December 8 to brief him about GAIL’s requirements.

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