LNG's share of Indian gas demand to rise to 70% by 2030- Petronet CEO

NEW DELHI, June 17 (Reuters) - The share of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in India's gas consumption could rise to 70% from the current 50% in 10 years, and new import terminals are needed, the chief executive of the country's top gas importer said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target to raise the share of natural gas in the country's energy mix to 15% by 2030 from the current 6.3% to cut its carbon footprint.

To meet that target India's gas consumption needs to rise to 640 million standard cubic meters a day (mmscmd) from the current 155 mmscmd, A.K. Singh, chief executive of Petronet LNG Ltd (PLNG.NS), said at ET Energy Leadership summit.

Indian companies are investing billions of dollars to strengthen gas infrastructure, including laying 15,000-kilometer pipelines to supply cleaner fuel to households and industries. India currently has 17,000 kms of gas pipeline network.

Also, LNG projects of 19 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) capacity are under construction and plans are afoot to increase use of LNG in trucks and buses.

"With limited increase in domestic gas supply LNG will play a major role in catering to this incremental demand and share of LNG in natural gas consumption is likely to increase from present 55 to 70% in coming 9-10 years," Singh said.

Petronet operates two LNG terminals in India accounting for about 53% of nation's existing 42.5 mtpa import capacity.

Singh said India needed to increase its LNG import capacity to 155 mtpa "considering 80% utilisation" to boost use of the cleaner fuel.

India imports about 85% of its oil needs. He said replacing about 30% of the country's crude oil imports with LNG would save $10 billion at current global oil price of $74/barrel.

Reporting by Nidhi Verma. Editing by Jane Merriman

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