Sener cuts India staff amid Jaigarh LNG doubts

Vol 19, PW 16 (21 Apr 16) People & Policy

Spanish engineering contractor Sener is preparing to turn its back on the Indian oil and gas business, frustrated at delays in the only project it has since opening an EPC project office in Delhi three years ago: to build an 8m t/y LNG terminal at Jaigarh on the Maharashtra coast for Mumbai-based H-Energy.

"It happened very suddenly," reports a source. "Sener took a corporate decision that India is a risk area where decision-making is slow and decided to close down." In January this year (2016) Sener began laying off its small team of 10 engineers and analysts on standby for the Jaigarh contract located in Pune, Mumbai and Delhi - a process that culminated with a decision not to renew the lease of its Delhi office this month (April) and the (possible) dissolution of its Indian corporate entity Sener India Engineering & Systems Pvt.

Ltd. "Sener has retained key people for the close-out," we hear. "That could take another six to eight months, it takes time to close a legal entity in India." This decision, however, might change if Sener wins a Shell tender underway to expand the Hazira LNG terminal.

"If Sener wins the Shell contract it won't hesitate to take it," we hear. "But only at the price it quotes." With rival bidder Saipem widely predicted to win the Shell contract, that prospect seems unlikely.

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