Petronet LNG Ltd
Petronet will start its Kochi terminal in southIndia by December but plans to operate it at full capacity, 5 million tonnes a year, from 2014 due to delays in the commissioning of a key pipeline.
Chief Executive AK Balyan said Petronet would start the Kochi terminal with short-term or spot cargoes. "We see a little softening of prices in spot and short-term deals, and we expect long-term prices to also soften," he said.
Spot prices of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Asia have been in free-fall since June, reaching $13.50 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) this week, after touching a four-year high of $18.
The long-term availability of LNG in the Asia Pacific is set to increase, given that Japan has decided to restart two of its nuclear reactors and that LNG from Angola, which was meant for the United States, is likely to be diverted to Asia, said R. K. Garg, head of finance at Petronet.
He also said increased supplies from the United States, Africa and Russia would help reduce prices under long-term deals.
Eurasia Group expects 230 million tonnes of new LNG supply to reach global markets between 2015 and 2020, led by exports from the United States, Australia, Africa and the Mediterranean, empowering top Asian customers.
Australia will boost LNG supplies from 2014 onward and is set to overtake top exporter Qatar in 2017. Companies in North America, awash with supplies due to the rapid increase in shale gas output, are eager to export to fetch higher prices.
LONG-TERM STILL NEEDED
Petronet wants to eventually operate 70 percent of its Kochi terminal capacity through long-term LNG deals, similar to its 10 million tonne a year Dahej LNG terminal on the west coast, Garg said, adding his firm is in talks with several companies.
It has also tied up 1.5 million tonnes of LNG annually from Australia's Gorgon project in a long-term deal from 2014 for its Kochi plant.
India, the world's fourth-largest oil importer, has been scouting for oil and gas assets abroad to meet rising local demand and to feed its expanding refining capacity.
Asia's third-largest economy is scouting for long-term LNG contracts and aims to increase its LNG handling capacity to 50 million tonnes a year by 2017 from 13.5 million tonnes now.
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