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India in talks with Brunei to diversify sourcing of LNG

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Seeking to diversify sourcing of (LNG), India is talking to Brunei, Indonesia, Australia and Malaysia to meet the nation’s growing energy needs.

Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas R P N Singh, who is in Brunei to attend the East Asia Summit Energy Ministers’ Meeting (EAS-EMM), held bilateral discussions with the Energy Ministers of Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, the US, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.

“The thrust of Singh’s bilateral talks was the diversification of India’s sources of supply of LNG,” an official press statement issued here said. Seeking to start long-term supply of LNG from Brunei, Indonesia, Australia and Malaysia, the Minister pointed out that India was one of the largest and the fastest growing gas markets in the world, and it would be a win-win situation for LNG producing countries of East Asia and India to forge long- term relationships in this region.

Natural gas presently accounts for about 10% of India’s primary energy basket as compared to the world average of 24%. To popularise the environmentally benign fuel, the government is doubling its present capacity to import natural gas in its liquid form (LNG) in cryogenic ships and then regassify it again, from 13.6 million tonnes per annum to 26 million tonnes by 2016.

The country is also building about 8,000 km of gas pipelines to transport gas across the country.

“It was highlighted that the demand for gas in the country was expected to grow at 14% during the next five years,” the statement said. Speaking at EAS-EMM meeting held at Darussalam (Brunei), Singh highlighted the concern of emerging economies like India, largely dependent on imports to meet their energy needs, over the high and volatile international oil prices.

“Emphasising India’s position that the pricing of a finite resource such as oil could not be left unregulated, he called for greater transparency in the price formation of oil and measures to check the unhealthy influence of speculative over the counter trading in the paper barrels in some markets,” the release said.

The Minister pointed out that India was seriously pursuing the development of non conventional hydrocarbons, such as shale gas and coal bed methane, and invited companies having experience and expertise in this sector to tie up with Indian companies in this regard.

India’s interest in the upstream sector of Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia was highlighted as was GAIL’s keenness to invest in the creation of LNG infrastructure in gas producing countries, the statement added.

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