Indian LNG imports drop 9.5 percent as increased cargo costs curb spot market participation by Asian nations

Friday, 22 July 2022
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Indian imports of liquefied natural gas dropped by 9.5 percent in June, the 10th straight monthly decline, as LNG prices have increased in the spot market and curbed buying activity in Asia.

LNG deliveries in June to India’s network of six terminals amounted to 1.81 million tonnes, or 27 cargoes, compared with 2.00MT, or 30 shipments, in June 2021, according to data just published by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Shipments in May 2022 had come to 1.87MT compared with 1.94MT in May 2021.

The import total for the fiscal year so far amounted to 5.47MT in the April-to-June period, down 9.6 percent from the 6.05MT delivered in the same three months of 2021.

Costs jump

India’s June LNG shipments cost around $1.2 billion, or 9,586 crore Indian rupees, compared with about $800 million, or 6,391 crore rupees, in June 2021.

The LNG imports from April to June cost $3.4 billion, or 27,163 crore rupees, compared with $2.4Bln, or 19,174 crore rupees, in the prior-year period.

The nation’s crude oil imports increased by 20 percent and 17 percent during June 2022 and April-June 2022 respectively compared with the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year.

This Ministry figures also showed that net imports of both oil and gas in June 2022 cost $13.0Bln, or 103,858 crore rupees, compared with $7.3Bln in June 2021.

LNG deliveries to Indian terminals come mainly from Qatar, which provides over one-third of volumes, as well as West Africa, the US, Asian nations, Australia, Russia and the spot market.

While LNG imports have declined every month since September 2021 more domestic pipeline natural gas has been produced offshore the East Coast of India in the Bay of Bengal.

India’s domestic natural gas production for the month of June was 2.81 billion cubic metres which was higher by 1.3 percent compared with the 2.77 Bcm of output in June 2021.

The Ministry data showed that production of natural gas for the first three months of the fiscal year came to 8.55 Bcm, an increase of 4.7 percent from the total of 8.17 Bcm of output logged in the April-to-June period of 2021.

The Krishna-Godavari Basin of Eastern India has seen production increases and output will rise further in the future from several projects involving the UK major BP in partnership with Indian group Reliance Industries, with additional output added by Oil and Natural Gas Corp. of India.

The latest Ministry data also gave average capacity utilization rates for the six operating LNG terminals during the previous month of May 2022.

The total capacity of the six terminals amounts to 42.7 million tonnes per annum of LNG.

However, the terminals are not always in the right places where natural gas demand is increasing and that’s why a wider spread of regasification facilities is still needed on the East Coast.

Terminal throughput

The largest Indian terminal at Dahej, located north of Mumbai and operated by Petronet LNG, has capacity of 17.5 MTPA and the latest utilisation rate from the Ministry for May was 83.8 percent compared with 87.5 percent utilization in the previous month.

At the Hazira facility, operated by Shell India, the utilisation rate dropped to 36.1 percent for 5.2 MTPA from 47.2 percent in April, while the West Coast terminal at Mundra also saw lower usage of 15.9 percent for its 5 MTPA of capacity, down from 19.3 percent in April.

The throughput for Gas Authority of India (GAIL) at the Dabhol terminal, located south of Mumbai, tumbled to 42.7 percent for 5 MTPA of capacity from 85.1 percent in April.

At the Kochi facility in the southwest state of Kerala usage was 20.1 percent for 5 MTPA compared with 20.7 percent the previous month.

At Kamarajar (Ennore), the only East Coast terminal, May usage was 12.0 percent for the facility with 5 MTPA of capacity, down from 13.0 percent in April.

The current average consumption levels of natural gas in India are in the following sectors: fertilizers (30 percent), power (15 percent), city-gas distribution (20 percent), refineries (9 percent), petrochemicals (5 percent) and others (21 percent). 

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