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Qatar Eyes India as LNG Growth Market

Qatar has big LNG plans for India, seeing it as a major growth market with LNG imports seen doubling by 2030.

That’s according to Bloomberg, which cited unnamed traders as saying Qatar was scheduled to hold high-level talks with a couple of Indian energy majors to discuss the supply of liquefied gas.

The talks will take place between Qatari officials, and Gail India and Indian Oil Corp. during the Energy Week event that begins in Goa, in western India, today.

Also during the event, QatarEnergy will extend an LNG deal that it already has with Petronet LNG and that expires in 2028. Per reports citing unnamed sources, the company will receive 7.5 million tons of liquefied gas from QatarEnergy from 2029. The deal is part of India’s energy diversification efforts that involve boosting the share of natural gas in the mix to 15% by 2030, from 6.2% right now.

To make this boost possible, India would need to substantially increase its imports of natural gas, that is, LNG. These imports are already on the rise. Since the start of India’s latest fiscal year, in April 2023, LNG imports have been rising every month until December.

In that latest month with import data for it, India imported 1.8 million tons of liquefied natural gas, which was a 12.1% improvement on a year before that, according to the country’s oil ministry. Reuters’ Clyde Russell, meanwhile, pegged the December import increase at 41% compared to December 2022, based on data from Kpler and LSEG, formerly Refinitiv.

Indeed, India has already become the fourth-largest importer of LNG in Asia, after China, Japan, and South Korea, and it has had a strong start to the year: per the data cited by Russell in a recent column, India’s January LNG imports hit 2.26 million tons, which was the most the country has imported since October 2020 and a 98% increase on a year ago.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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