India on Wednesday signed a natural gas purchase deal with Turkmenistan and said the country was keen to further diversify the sources of its gas imports and to acquire stakes in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals coming up worldwide. Many new LNG liquefaction terminals are coming up in the North American continent to connect shale gas producers there to customers in Asia.
Turkmenistan agreed to pump natural gas to Pakistan and India through a 1,700-km pipeline across Afghanistan in a deal signed among Turkmenistan's state gas company Turkmengaz, Pakistan's Inter State Gas Systems and India's state-run utility GAIL. India would get about 38 million standard cubic metres a day (mscmd) of gas once the pipeline is complete in 2016.
"We are keen to diversify our source of LNG supplies and are looking to LNG exporters across the globe for tying up our growing requirement of LNG imports," said a communication from the Indian government, quoting petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy's speech made before signing the contract at a resort in the Caspian sea.
India is interested in not only buying additional quantities of LNG, but also in having equity participation in existing and upcoming LNG liquefaction projects globally, the communication said.
"We are also keen to explore farm-in opportunities in producing oil and gas blocks whenever they may be available," it added, quoting Reddy.
India has estimated that its natural gas sector will grow at 19.5% in the net five years. Its consumption of gas is expected to grow from the current 166.2 mscmd to 473 mscmd in 2017 and it is focusing on building LNG infrastructure as well as gas pipelines across the country. India's LNG regasification capacity is expected to go up from 13.5 million tonne (mt) to 48 mt by 2017.
India also hopes to auction shale gas blocks next year. "We have undertaken the mapping of India's shale gas resources and are working to put in place a regulatory regime for licence rounds in shale gas, by December 2013," Reddy was quoted as saying.
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