GAIL to re-issue LNG ships tender with altered norms

GAIL to re-issue LNG ships tender with altered norms

New Delhi: After failing to attract any bids from domestic shipbuilders for constructing three liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers in the country, public sector utility GAIL India Ltd has decided to re-issue the tender with altered norms.

The government-owned gas importer and marketer had been forced by the government in August last year to issue a global tender, in which one of the key clauses was the compulsory manufacture in India of three of the nine LNG carriers it needed to haul gas from the US to India, starting about 30 months from now.

Unfortunately, no Indian shipyard has ever manufactured an LNG carrier; and the efforts of some of the leading yards – Cochin Shipyard, L&T Shipbuilding and Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering – to obtain the sophisticated technology from South Korean and Japanese yards came to naught.

“The tender will be re-issued with changed norms,” said a senior government official, without specifying either the norms themselves or the planned deadline for receiving the bids. “We will be looking for shipowners who can invest in the ships, which we would charter on long-term basis.”

The delay in finalising the tender, which was extended thrice between August 1, 2014 and mid-February this year, could land GAIL in a crisis for not having LNG vessels ready in time to transport the gas from the US in September 2017.

Shirish Nadkarni

Shirish Nadkarni is a management consultant and freelance international journalist, who has been writing on all spheres of Indian business for the past three decades for a number of reputed overseas publications. An avid sportsman, Nadkarni has represented India in international veterans' badminton since 1997, and was the 55+ age group doubles world champion in 2005.

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