Jubilant ponders Thai LNG swap for Tripura gas

Vol 14, PW 18 (10 Mar 11) Midstream & Downstream

One can only wonder why London-listed Jubilant Energy hasn’t identified ONGC’s power project in Agartala (above) as a home for future commercial gas from its onshore discovery block AA-ONN-2002/1 in Tripura.

Instead, upbeat Jubilant is considering an esoteric plan to export future gas production from this 1260-sq km block, near India’s border with Myanmar, to Thailand. Under consideration is a plan to feed gas from AA-ONN-2002/1 to a pipeline under construction from Myanmar to Thailand, which passes just 100-km away from the block.

Jubilant, we hear, is considering the feasibility of signing a ‘swap agreement’ with the Thai government, under which Thailand would ‘divert’ LNG cargoes, in exchange for Tripura gas. These LNG cargoes destined for Thailand could instead berth at the Hazira or Dahej LNG terminals.

“Jubilant says it could even build its own LNG terminal,” reports one source, incredulously. Jubilant is believed to have met officials in India’s ministry of external affairs in January and February to discuss its creative export plans.

Will the Indian government allow the export of gas from Tripura to Thailand “It’s certain the Tripura state government will never allow Jubilant to export gas,” says one observer. Jubilant has yet to establish the resource potential of the Tripura block by drilling delineation or appraisal wells to establish the extent of its two reported discoveries.

“Any plans to export gas are extremely premature,” say sources. Nor has Jubilant yet approached the DGH or oil ministry with its novel idea.

If it did, officials would no doubt advise it to stick to a more realistic plan to lay a 1200-km gas pipeline from to Haldia in West Bengal, which is a ready market for gas. Either that, or offer it to ONGC’s under construction Tripura power station.

Last November, Jubilant raised $85m from London’s Alternative Investment Market.

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