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Qatar to up LNG sale to India from Nov - Petronet

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Qatar’s RasGas will raise liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies to India by 50 percent from November, a top official at gas importer Petronet LNG said on Thursday, but that will still leave scope for spot purchases.

The booming economies of China and India have propped up the long-term outlook of LNG market, as demand from traditional buyers such as South Korea and Japan has eased due to the rise in alternative energy sources such as nuclear power and coal.

At present Petronet imports 5 million tonnes of LNG every year from RasGas under a long-term deal, and supplies were to be raised to 7.5 million tonnes from the last quarter of 2009.

“It is 100 percent. Certainly we will receive it from November,” Chief Executive Officer P. Dasgupta told reporters.

“India is always going to be driven by supply and not by demand”.

Despite the start in April of output from Reliance Industries’ huge gas find in its D6 block, which will eventually double local output, India will still have a gas deficit.

“Contrary to our nervousness about D6 gas, in April-June, D6 gas coming in to the tune of almost 25-30 mmscmd (million cubic metres a day), we sold a record 98 trillion British thermal units (tBtu) compared to 78 tBtu year ago,” Dasgupta said.

He said Petronet’s 10 million tonne a year Dahej terminal in western India could regassify 160 cargoes per year, and the enhanced RasGas supplies would translate to 120 cargoes. Its short-term supply deal with BP will end next month.

In the June quarter, Petronet imported 4 spot cargoes and in September quarter it planned to import 6 parcels, with two scheduled for arrival in September. Dasgupta said the firm would import 5 spot LNG cargoes in October and November.

He said Petronet was also in talks with Indian explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp to jointly acquire a stake in InterOil’s LNG project in Papua New Guinea. The Canadian firm has said it was looking to sell a stake of up to 35 percent.

Earlier this month Petronet signed a deal with Exxon Mobil Corp to buy 1.5 million tonnes of LNG a year for 20 years from Australia’s Gorgon project to be regassified at its upcoming Kochi terminal in south India from late-2014.