India's Petronet LNG to allow foreign investment

The directors of Indian state firm Petronet LNG Ltd. agreed to allow Qatar's Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Co. (RasGas) and Gaz de France each to acquire a 10% stake. The decision marks the beginning of India's efforts to open up gas imports, development, and distribution to foreign investment.


DOHA�The directors of Indian state firm Petronet LNG Ltd. have agreed to allow Qatar's Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Co. (RasGas) and Gaz de France each to acquire a 10% stake. The decision marks the beginning of India's efforts to open up gas imports, development, and distribution to foreign investment.

Petronet LNG is a state-owned holding company formed in 1998 by distributing a 10% equity holding to each of five government-run companies: Indian Oil Corp., Gas Authority of India Ltd., Hindustan Petroleum Corp., Bharat Petroleum Corp., and National Thermal Power Corp. The remaining 50% equity was offered to private companies and strategic partners.

PLL plans to set up two LNG receiving terminals�at Dahej in Guajarat and Cochin in Kerala�with capacities of 2.5 million tonnes/year and 5 million tonnes/year, respectively.

Qatar General Petroleum Corp. (QGPC) is the majority shareholder in RasGas with a 66.5% interest; partners are ExxonMobil Corp. (26.5%), Itochu Corp. (4%), and Nissho Iwai Corp. (3%).

Meanwhile, the first shipment of Qatari LNG to Petronet is scheduled for July 2003, A.S. Narayan, undersecretary for the Indian Oil Ministry and chairman of the Petronet board, announced. Preparations for receiving Qatari LNG are well under way in India and Qatar, he noted.

Asked about Petronet's possible equity participation in the RasGas project, Narayan said Qatar welcomes this, adding that the stake would be 5%.

Narayan held talks recently with Qatari Energy and Industry Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al Attiyah and discussed issues related to Petronet-RasGas cooperation. The two sides agreed to review arrangements later this year.

India has several LNG receiving terminals in the planning stages (OGJ, June 19, 2000, p. 62).

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