Lower gas prices to push up India's FY24 gas demand by 7%

(Reuters) - Indian gas utility GAIL (India) Ltd sees local gas demand growing by 6%-7% in the fiscal year to March, driven by lower prices and the resumption of supply under a deal with the former unit of Russia's Gazprom, its chairman said on Thursday.

Gas consumption in India fell by about 6% in 2022-23 as higher prices pushed consumers to cheaper liquid fuels and as Russia's invasion of Ukraine disrupted supply, forcing GAIL to ration supplies.

"We definitely see this year to be very promising as far as the natural gas consumption is concerned," said Sandeep Kumar Gupta at an earnings conference.

Gupta does not expect a spike in global liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices in the near future as stocks in Europe are at "sufficiently" high levels compared to last year, when Germany's Sefe stopped supplies to GAIL to meet its own demand.

The Indian company will get four LNG cargoes from Sefe in June, equivalent to the volumes it was getting under a deal with a former unit of Russia's Gazprom, he said.

"Hopefully we will get similar volumes in future also."

Sefe resumed supplies to GAIL from March this year.

In 2012, GAIL agreed to a 20-year LNG purchase deal with Gazprom Marketing and Singapore (GMTS) for annual purchases of an average of 2.5 million tons of LNG.

At the time, GMTS was a unit of Gazprom Germania, now called Sefe, but the Russian parent gave up ownership of Sefe after Western sanctions were imposed on Moscow over the Ukraine war last year.

India's gas demand is expected to rise substantially as it wants to raise the share of gas in its energy mix to 15% by 2030 from 6.2% now.

Gupta said his company has received offers from more than six companies in response to its tender seeking to buy a 26% stake in an LNG plan in the U.S. and a long-term supply of gas.

Bids are being evaluated, he said, adding GAIL is also looking for long-term gas deals with Qatar and UAE.

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