A one-day LNG conference in Delhi on 18th April

Vol 4, PW 5 (12 Apr 00) Midstream & Downstream

It promises to be a fun day out.

On 18th April companies with ambitions to bring LNG to India will gather at Delhi's 5-star Le Meridien hotel for a one-day conference to discuss the fuel's economic viability for India's power sector. All the big names will be there: Enron, Total, Shell, Petronet-LNG, British Gas and Indian Oil Corporation.

Some of them have even promised to make presentations. The conference is hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which includes among its members the LNG suppliers mentioned above and their potential customers in the power sector.

A CII spokesman tells Petrowatch that oil secretary and Petronet-LNG chairman Subbaram Narayan is 'Guest of Honour' and will host the pre-lunch session. He said efforts are on to confirm oil minister Ram Naik's participation.

What exactly will the conference achieve The CII tells this report its aim is to promote the case of LNG as an environmentally friendly and cheap fuel with regard to coal and naphtha. Really It is true that LNG is environmentally friendly.

But is it cheap How cheap Coal - which accounts for 63% of power generation in India - is widely accepted as the cheapest feedstock for the power sector. Although dirty and with a high ash content, India has enough coal to feed its power sector for generations.

Official figures put reserves at an impressive 208bn tonnes. As for naphtha, India's bizarre tax regime still makes it more attractive than imported LNG.

So, why exactly is LNG a better option India's power companies are still looking for answers.