May 1, 2018 / 1:23 PM / in 20 days

India seeks Japan's help to build LNG facilities

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India asked Japan on Tuesday to help build infrastructure needed to boost the usage of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in India and elsewhere in Asia, India’s oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said after a meeting with Japan’s trade minister Hiroshige Seko.

India wants to increase the share of gas, which is a cleaner fuel than oil, to 15 percent of its energy usage by 2030 from 6.2 percent currently.

“Explored opportunities for Japanese investments in India’s gas infrastructure and SPR (strategic petroleum reserve) program,” Pradhan tweeted after a meeting with Seko.

The two ministers also discussed the possibility of developing joint energy projects in Africa, Pradhan said.

Seko’s visit to New Delhi has come at a time when India is preparing to create a network with other major oil consumers in Asia, such as China, South Korea and Japan, to negotiate better terms with sellers.

The world’s biggest LNG buyers, all in Asia, are increasingly clubbing together to secure more flexible supply contracts in a move that shifts power to importers from producers in an oversupplied market.

The world’s three biggest LNG buyers - China, Japan and South Korea - joined together last year in March to secure flexible supply contracts.

India was not part of that group. However, in October the Indian cabinet approved a plan allowing New Delhi to work with Japan to make long-term LNG import deals more affordable for its consumers.

Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Mark Potter

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