Late starter HPCL plans August LNG delivery

Vol 20, PW 10 (09 Feb 17) Midstream & Downstream

After years of trying HPCL is preparing to import its first spot LNG cargo as an independent importer by August 2017, according to industry sources.

Until now the Mumbai-based refiner has been sourcing R-LNG for its 6.5m t/y refinery in Mumbai and 8.3m t/y refinery at Vizag through Petronet-LNG, buying 33,000 tonnes of term R-LNG and another 8000 tonnes of spot R-LNG. Another 36,200 tonnes R-LNG is consumed by its fast-expanding city gas retail business.

Left behind, HPCL is desperate to follow the lead of sister companies Bharat Petroleum, which imported its first independent spot cargo in October 2016, and IndianOil, which began importing spot cargoes in June 2015 with 13 cargoes to its name since. Clearly defined, HPCL's strategy is to buy spot LNG cargoes for three years at Dahej, graduating to short, medium and long-term deals for the Chhara LNG project jointly promoted with Mumbai-based Shapoorji Pallonji.

"HPCL is talking to several LNG traders and suppliers for the best deal, including Shell and BP," we learn. More R-LNG will be needed if as expected HPCL bids aggressively with new partner Oil India by the February 23 deadline in the imminent eighth retail gas licensing round.

HPCL operates 22 gas stations in Ahmedabad and holds stakes in Hyderabad-based Bhagyanagar Gas and Indore-based Aavantika Gas. More gas networks are planned in the East and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh.

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