India’s long-held aspirations to build an LNG carrier on home soil have been shelved.
New Delhi had been pursuing the idea of building the advanced ship type at an Indian yard since 2014. However, now GAIL, the state-run gas firm, has decided to switch plans for where it will source gas from. Earlier it had planned to take significant volumes of LNG from the US for which it would build a series of LNG tankers. It has since changed plans and will now buy gas from nearer sources, led by Qatar and will leave shipping arrangements to the gas providers such as QatarGas.
Cochin Shipyard had led the LNG charge among India’s shipbuilders. It had signed a technology collaboration pact with South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries, a partnership that expired on December 31 last year. It also had secured a licence from France’s Gaztransport and Technigaz (GTT) to use its patented Mark-III LNG containment systems. Feasibility reports however showed building an initial batch of LNG ships in India would cost approximately $100m per unit more compared to existing LNG specialists in East Asia, prompting GAIL to rethink its gas sourcing plans.