LNG imports increase 7 per cent as demand grows

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The import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) increased 6.8 percent year-on-year in the nine months to December 2019 as local output declined and demand expanded. When gross production shrank 3.2 percent and total consumption climbed 3.9 percent, LNG import expanded to 23.58 billion cubic meters in April-December 2019. The share of LNG in total domestic consumption expanded to 51.6 percent during this era from 47.9 percent within the year-ago period.

In December, the increase in LNG import was much sharper at 22.8 percent as local production fell 7.9 percent and consumption expanded 5.9 percent. A collapse in the global LNG market, resulting in spot prices for Indian buyers falling below $4 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu), has also led to an increase in gas imports.

Many buyers, locked in long-term contracts where prices are linked to crude oil, are unable to benefit though. India has been seeking to renegotiate long-term LNG purchase contract with its biggest gas supplier, Qatar, to bring down prices so that the fuel becomes more affordable for Indian consumers. Qatar has rejected the demand but Indian officials feel the doors are not yet fully shut.

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