U.S. at present allows exports of small amounts of LNG

Keen to import gas from the U.S. to meet its rising energy needs, India will on Tuesday ask Washington to ease restrictions on sales to countries with which it does not have a free trade agreement (FTA).

Washington has till now allowed conditional export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from five of its projects to nations with which the U.S. does not have a free trade agreement, so-called ‘non-FTA’ countries. India does not have a FTA with the U.S. till now. The issue of LNG exports to non-FTA nations would figure at the Indo-U.S. Energy Dialogue on Tuesday, official said.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia will lead the two sides at the talks, which were previously postponed due to row over treatment of Indian diplomat in US.

Gas-surplus U.S. at present allows exports of small amounts of natural gas. It has so far allowed only Sabine Pass, Freeport, Lake Charles Exports, Dominion Cove Point LNG and the most recently Cameron LNG LLC terminal in Louisiana to export LNG to non-FTA countries.

Indian companies led by state-owned GAIL have already signed agreements with U.S. firms to buy as much as 3.5 million tonnes a year of LNG.

Officials said the issue of India’s energy engagement with Iran was unlikely to figure during talks as New Delhi did not want the U.S. to dictate terms of its ties with third countries.

Joint research in clean energy would, however, figure prominently during the Indo-U.S. talks, they said.

Indo-U.S. collaboration in increasing efficiency of solar photovoltic cells by using local content and second generation bio-fuel production using non-edible oilseeds produced locally would also be discussed during the talks, they said.

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