RLNG capacity to be doubled to 26 million tonnes

Shifting the focus of oil diplomacy to ``Look East Policy'', India on Wednesday sought to strike deals with Brunei, Indonesia, Australia and Malaysia for long term supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) with the aim to double the LNG re-gassification capacity by 2016.

Taking part in the East Asia Summit Energy Ministers' meeting (EAS EMM) in Brunei, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas R.P.N. Singh held crucial talks with Energy Ministers of Brunei, Indonesia, Australia and Malaysia in order to seek diversification of India's sources of supply of LNG.

Seeking to start long-term supply of LNG from these countries, Mr. Singh said that India was one of the largest and fastest growing gas markets in the world and it would be a win-win situation for LNG producing countries of East Asia and India to forge long-term relationship.

Natural gas presently accounts for about 10 per cent of India's primary energy basket as compared to the world average of 24 per cent. To popularise this versatile and environmentally benign fuel, the Government is doubling its present RLNG (regasified liquefied natural gas) capacity of 13.6 million tonnes to 26 million tonnes annually by 2016. The country is also building about 8,000 lm of gas pipeline to transport gas. The demand for gas was expected to grow at 14 per cent during the next five years. This coupled with an overall economic growth rate of around 8 per cent make India an attractive market for any LNG supplier. India currently imports 7.5 million tonnes a year of LNG from Qatar under long-term contracts and buys spot cargoes from across the world.

The two-day event that concluded on Wednesday saw ten countries of ASEAN come together with Australia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, China, India, Russia and the U.S. to discuss the opportunities and challenges faced by this region in the energy sector. The themes discussed were energy security, energy conservation and efficiency, non-conventional energy sources and climate change.

Mr. Singh also highlighted the concern of emerging economies such as India, largely dependent on imports to meet their energy needs, over the high and volatile international oil prices. He called for greater transparency in the price formation of oil and measures to check the unhealthy influence of speculative over the counter trading in the paper barrels in some markets.

Talking to the CEOs of global oil companies, Mr. Singh made a strong pitch for India as an attractive investment destination.