France-based Gaztransport & Technigaz (GTT) has decided to offer its liquified natural gas (LNG) shipbuilding technology to India. On Monday, GTT and India’s Cochin Shipyard Ltd signed an agreement, which would facilitate building these vessels here under the Make in India initiative.
The move assumes significance, as it would help Cochin Shipyard to bid for GAIL (India)’s tender for LNG ships. An LNG ship, which may cost $200-300 million to build, would be made in India for the first time. GAIL requires nine LNG ships to ferry 5.8 million tonne (MT) of gas from the US, starting December 2017. According to the tender, which was re-floated by the state-run firm, at least one of the three ships have to build locally. The ships built overseas are to be delivered between January-May 2019 and those made locally are to be ready between July 2022 and June 2023. Meanwhile, Kochi Shipyard has joined hands with Samsung Shipyard, while Pipavav Shipyard has tied up with Daewoo Shipbuilding to qualify themselves for participating in the GAIL tender.
GAIL initially launched the tender with a cut-off date of October 30, 2014, which was later extended several times and would close in January next year. Initially, industry watchers felt that the tender conditions are too stringent to be met. This is at a time when most Indian shipmakers do not have financial muscle to spent capex for upgradation of shipyards. For the shipyards there are two challenges — to find the technology and as well as investors. Moreover, such an opportunity has emerged for the first time in India and hence it would take time to fructify. The Korean and Japanese shipyards were reluctant to transfer technology to Indian shipyards.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Korean minister of trade, industry and energy, Yoon Sang-jick discussed the co-production of LNG ships as part of ‘Make in India’.