Asian nations should bargain together to reduce gas prices: PM

Written by fe Bureau | Kochi | Updated: Jan 5 2014, 05:31am hrs
Manmohan SinghManmohan Singh (Reuters)
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said that Asian countries should collectively bargain to reduce gas prices. "Asia has been the driver of the global LNG demand in recent times. It is therefore important that major buyers of LNG in Asia come together to demand a fair pricing mechanism for gas being imported from outside of Asia. I hope to see India contribute towards an effort of this kind in the future," he said, speaking after dedicating to the nation the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal of Petronet LNG at Puthuvype here. The commercial supply of fuel from the R4,200-crore terminal started in August last year.

Singh said import of natural gas and pricing of the imported gas constitute challenges that the nation must meet successfully in the time to come.

Our country has less than 1% of the world's known natural gas reserves. Therefore, for augmenting the supply of natural gas in our energy mix, we must necessarily import natural gas either by setting up LNG terminals or through trans-national pipelines, he added.

He said that the terminal would be a pride possession and help the state in industrial development. It would also make the state investor friendly and contribute promote clean energy and reduce carbon emissions. It will help in protecting Kerala's environment, green cover and natural beauty, he added.

The PM said that the commissioning of the terminal would also lead to the development of new industrial corridors in the southern states. In fact the location of this terminal has been chosen so that it can provide the entire southern India with a cleaner and greener form of energy. This world-class facility is intended to cater to the energy requirements of industries in a diverse range of areas across the southern India, he said.

Petronet currently imports LNG from the spot market. It will get 1.3 million tonne (mt) of LNG from Australia's Gorgon project in 2015-16 under a 20-year deal signed in August 2009. Petronet has an import and regasification terminal at Dahej in Gujarat with a capacity of 10 mt per annum (mtpa) and is setting up a 5 mtpa terminal on the east coast.

Petronet has so far imported two shiploads of LNG at the Kochi terminal, but is likely to function only below capacity due to delays in laying pipeline to customers in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

State-owned gas utility GAIL, refiners Indian Oil Corp and Bharat Petroleum, and explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp each own a 12.5% stake in Petronet LNG.