Total signs landmark LNG deal with GAIL

Vol 3, PW 17 (15 Sep 99) Midstream & Downstream

Total of France can rightly feel satisfied with its LNG deal with the state-owned Gas Authority of India (GAIL).

After 12 months of hard negotiations, Total and its Indian partner, Tata Electric Company (TEC) on Tuesday (7th September) signed a landmark Joint Cooperation Agreement with GAIL at a ceremony in Delhi. Present was Dominique Venet, head of Totals gas division; Ratan Tata, head of the Tata group of companies; and CR Prasad, Chairman and Managing Director of GAIL.

The agreement gives the three partners an equal 33.3% equity stake in Totals proposed 3m tonnes a year LNG complex at Trombay in Maharashtra, expected to cost upwards of $320m for Phase 1. Total tells this report in exchange for its equity stake, "GAIL agreed to open up its infrastructure to the joint venture" and supply regassified LNG from Trombay to its existing customer base of industrial users in Maharashtra - in particular the prized market of Mumbai, Indias financial capital.

Of the 3m t/y of LNG expected in Phase 1, almost 0.8m t/y has been set aside for TECs adjacent power plant in Trombay, while the remainder 2.2m t/y (approx: 9m cm/d) will be marketed by GAIL. The agreement covers only Phase 1, with regassified LNG from Phase 2 (expected to begin after 2003) marketed exclusively by the joint venture marketing company - Indigas.

At present Indigas - expected to comprise an equal number of employees from GAIL, TEC and Total - is scouting for an office in Mumbai and will have between 10-15 employees, led by Christian de Fraissinette of Total.