Post crash in gas prices, India ‘s Petronet to rework pricing for LNG from Exxon’s Gorgon project in Australia

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New Delhi | Updated: May 31, 2016 7:52:24 AM

India’s largest liquified natural gas (LNG) importer Petronet LNG has initiated negotiations with multinational Exxon Mobil to rework pricing for a 1.4-million-tonne-a-year procurement agreement from Gorgon project in Australia.

Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan informed Parliament on May 2 that post the re-negotiation of the deal, Qatar LNG is now costing /mBtu, less than half of earlier rate of /mBtu. (PTI)Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan informed Parliament on May 2 that post the re-negotiation of the deal, Qatar LNG is now costing /mBtu, less than half of earlier rate of /mBtu. (PTI)

India’s largest liquified natural gas (LNG) importer Petronet LNG has initiated negotiations with multinational Exxon Mobil to rework pricing for a 1.4-million-tonne-a-year procurement agreement from Gorgon project in Australia. Petronet has been forced to seek changes in the deal after spot prices crashed, making long-term supplies expensive.

The spot LNG prices are hovering around $4.7/million British thermal units (mBtu), Platts data shows. On the other hand, the Gorgon LNG would cost at least $6.5/mBtu, which is indexed to Japanese Crude Cocktail (JCC) price. A customer pays another $1.5-$3/mBtu till the gas reaches its doorstep, which includes re-gassification and marketing charges and other state levies.

“The Gorgon gas is priced at a slope of around 14% of JCC, whereas current prices are hovering around 12%. Petronet has initiated negotiations and we are supporting it,” said an official of the company which has agreed to buy LNG procured from Australia. In August 2009, Petronet signed a deal with Exxon, which has a 25% stake in Gorgon, to source 1.44 mtpa of LNG from the project over a 20-year term.

A director on the board of Petronet told FE that it is not fair to compare spot purchases against long-term contracts. “There are different slopes in the pricing and supply is scheduled to start by end of this year. We would bring the gas at competitive rates,” he added.

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In 2015, Petronet renegotiated a long-term 7.5 mtpa LNG sourcing deal with Qatar’s RasGas after buyers slashed volumes with the steep plunge in spot prices.

Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan informed Parliament on May 2 that post the re-negotiation of the deal, Qatar LNG is now costing $5/mBtu, less than half of earlier rate of $12/mBtu.

Petronet’s move comes at a time when GAIL (India) is aggressively pursuing to swap at least 2 mtpa of LNG, out of its 5.8 mtpa volume contracted from the US, as domestic market is not willing to buy gas at higher rates.

“The spot prices are low compared to long-term. Even long-term Qatar prices are still higher than spot markets. So, it is a little aberration in the market,” said B C Tripathi, chairman and managing director of GAIL (India). The company has already sold 1 mtpa of its contracted US gas to Shell.

With LNG prices hovering below $5/mBtu for several months, coupled with drop in domestic production of natural gas, India’s gas imports have risen by 45.4% in April. The LNG imports for the month of April stood at 2,142 million metric standard cubic metres (mmscm), which was 45.4% higher than the corresponding month of the previous year at 1,473 mmscm, data from the
petroleum ministry shows.

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