India’s liquefied natural gas imports fell for a third month and by over 20 percent amid a slow economic recovery because of the ongoing effects of Covid-19, while the nation was still working on a better geographic spread of regasification facilities.
LNG imports for the month of February 2021 came to 2.08 million tonnes, or around 30 cargoes, versus 2.60MT in February 2020, a drop of 20.2 percent.
Deliveries of LNG for the month of January 2021 had amounted to 1.78MT versus 2.07MT, a fall of 14.3 percent on the January 2020 receipts.
The cumulative LNG imports for the first 11 months of the current fiscal year from April 2020 through February 2021
came to 22.11MT compared with 22.87MT in the previous year, a fall of 3.3 percent, according to the latest data from the Indian Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
The December total was also down but still took India’s calendar-year imports for 2020 over the 25MT mark to 25.29MT, or more than 350 cargoes.
That was 5.5 percent higher than in 2019 when the shipments amounted to 23.98MT, after rising 7.1 percent from the 22.42MT received in 2018.
The last Indian monthly year-on-year increase in LNG imports was in November 2020 when 2.14MT was received.
India remains the fourth-largest LNG importer after Japan, China and South Korea, though the Indians would have to add an additional 15 MTPA of LNG to their 2020 receipts to overtake the Koreans into third spot.
LNG deliveries to India come mainly from Qatar, which provides over one-third of volumes, as well as West Africa, the US, Asian nations, Australia and the spot market.
Ministry data also showed that the costs of importing cargoes in February 2021 came to around $800 million compared with $900M in February 2020.
Costs of shipments for the fiscal year to date came to $6.6Bln versus $8.8Bln in the previous year.
India’s domestic production of natural gas for February 2021 as well as for the fiscal year also lagged.
Output of natural gas for the month was 2.30 billion cubic metres compared with 2.34 Bcm, a year-on-year fall of 1.4 percent.
Domestic output for the 11 months came to 25.98 Bcm, a drop of 9.7 percent from the 28.76 Bcm recorded in the same period of the previous year.
India's seventh import facility is scheduled to start up by the second quarter in the West Coast state of Maharashtra.
The floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) will be deployed at Jaigarh Port, south of Mumbai, though the nation still lacks a geographic spread of terminals with only one currently located on the East Coast.
This follows the 2020 opening of the sixth facility at Mundra in the West Coast state of Gujarat, co-owned by Gujarat State Petroleum Corp. and the Adani Group.
The main operating terminals on India’s West Coast are at Dahej, Hazira and Dabhol, near Mumbai, and at Mundra, north of Mumbai.