Shell chooses HPCL to offload Hazira stake

New Delhi, Nov 16 | Updated: Nov 17 2005, 06:14am hrs
Royal Dutch Shell has preferred Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) over GAIL (India) Ltd to negotiate offloading of a part of its equity in its LNG terminal project at Hazira in Gujarat.

While Shell did not respond to GAIL's offer to participate in the project, it is in advanced negotiations with HPCL to offload a stake in its Hazira LNG terminal.

"We are talking to them for 26% stake in Hazira. The picture would be clearer by January and a deal is possible by the end of this fiscal," HPCL chairman and managing director MB Lal told reporters on the sidelines of the signing of MoUs with GAIL.

Mr Lal said HPCL was in talks with Shell for the equity but there were various issues such as valuation of the stake and the LNG supply that needed to be looked into.

While HPCL is keen for a 26% stake in Shell's LNG business, officials said that Shell may not agree to offload more than 25% stake as its own equity would then fall to less than 51%. These are issues still being discussed and I can't say anything at this stage," Mr Lal said. GAIL chairman Prashanto Banerjee said they had also approached Shell for a stake in Hazira but received no response.