RIL, BP venture to start LNG imports soon

RIL, BP venture to start LNG imports soon

New Delhi, Feb 5 (PTI) BP Plc and Reliance Industries are likely to soon start joint import of LNG into India as they look to step up marketing of natural gas to meet demand of the growing economy, a top official said today.

India Gas Solutions Pvt Ltd - the 50:50 joint venture of BP and RIL - has already started efforts to gauge appetite of Indian consumers for imported liquefied natural gas (LNG), its newly appoint CEO Vinod Tahiliani said.

The exercise is in parallel to the firms effort to solicit interest in 12 million standard cubic meters per day of gas that RIL-BP plan to produce from R-Series fields in KG-D6 block by 2020, he said.

"We are marketing it (LNG) alongside R-Series gas," he said. "Ultimately, customer wants reliable and competitively priced supplies."

Asked when the joint venture would import the first LNG, he said, "you will hear soon".

BP has a vast portfolio of LNG - trading 200 cargoes annually, 7 LNG ships and 9 more on vessels on order.

IGS was formed in 2011 when BP bought 30 per cent stake in RILs gas producing KG-D6 and 20 other blocks for USD 7.2 billion.

It is currently administering the existing gas sales contracts of eastern offshore KG-D6 block and has begun efforts to market gas from upcoming fields like R-Series as well as imported LNG, he said.

"We are very bullish that gas market will grow substantially over next 5-10 years. Indias gas market is likely to double in next 5 years," he said, adding that currently the country consumes some 140 mmscmd of gas, half of it being imported LNG.

Market is growing and LNG would be needed to bridge the gap, he said. "Gas provides as a bridging fuel for low carbon economy."

Earlier, IGS, which is also focused on infrastructure to accelerate transportation and marketing of natural gas within the country, announced appointment of Tahiliani as the CEO.

"Tahiliani has over 25 years of international experience in the oil and gas business and project financing and joins IGS from BP, where he was most recently the Vice President, Strategy & Commercial for BP India," a company statement said.

For BP, he has developed gas value chain businesses and worked on oil, gas and power developments in India, Angola and Vietnam, it said.

When IGS was formed, BPs Hiten Mehta was appointed CEO. He however left a few years back and IGS chief operating officer (COO) Amit Mehta was named acting CEO.

Sashi Mukundan, Region President and Country Head, BP India said: "The need for assured gas supplies to fuel the exponential energy demand and growth of India is crucial and our IGS partnership is well positioned to contribute significantly in this respect."

RIL Executive Director PMS Prasad said Tahiliani brings with him the expertise to lead IGS as the joint venture looks to further develop the business.

"Demand for gas has been growing at an exponential rate and we anticipate natural gas to emerge as the preferred choice of fuel given its properties as a cleaner and sustainable fuel source," he said.

RILs Bibhas Ganguly is the Chairman for IGS, and there is equal representation from RIL and BP on the IGS Board. The joint venture has employees from both companies, bringing deep experience in the gas business, both in India and internationally. PTI ANZ SA