Qatar assures LNG for India

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New Delhi, Oct 29 (UNI) Qatar today assured regular supply of LNG to India and said the oil-rich kingdom will help in developing the LNG and gas sector in the country.

The two countries would further expand ties through mutual investments in the energy sector.

In a meeting with the Emir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani today, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said that Indian companies are interested in participation, including equity stake in the various opportunities and projects in the hydrocarbon sector in Qatar.

The Minister also said India is keen to receive gas from Turkmenistan via a planned pipeline and is also considering investments in gas and oil producer Qatar to meet rapidly rising domestic demand.

India is interested in joining Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan in building the link, Mr Deora said adding that the Indian cabinet had already passed a resolution on this.

''India is very interested in becoming formal partner. I am not sure if now is the right time because of the elections (in Pakistan).'' ''The Indian gas market is emerging as a mature market. In recent years, the Indian gas sector has received progressively greater attention from global companies and has made rapid strides on the upstream front,'' he added.

Mr DEora also invited Qatar's oil and gas companies and International Oil Companies (IOCs) to actively participate in the next Exploration&Production (E&P) bidding round which will be officially announced shortly.

A significant number of onshore, offshore and deep water blocks will be offered for participation, he said.

Qatar is home to the world's largest gas fields by far, the Offshore North Field. With Qatar expected to achieve 77 MT of LNG capacity by 2010, it will become the largest exporter of LNG in the world.

''India has a large demand for natural gas and this makes us natural allies for economic development through energy trade. With 8 to 9 per cent annual growth, we are looking for large supplies of natural gas to meet the growing energy demand, keeping in mind environmental concerns as well as efficiency of utilisation,'' Mr Deora said.

''We plan to focus on use of natural gas in transport, household and industrial sectors. As the example of New Delhi demonstrated, adoption of CNG as the choice fuel for the public transport system resulted in significant reduction in pollution levels and in addition put extra incomes in the hands of a vast number of small entrepreneurs,'' he added.

The Indian gas market is emerging as a mature market. In recent years, the Indian gas sector has received progressively greater attention from global companies and has made rapid strides on the upstream front. More than 160 blocks have so far been awarded through six bidding rounds under our New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP).

UNI

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