India's Petronet hopes diplomatic row with Qatar will not hurt gas talks

(Reuters) - The CEO of India's Petronet LNG said he hoped negotiations between India and Qatar to extend their long-term liquefied natural gas import deals beyond 2028 would not be harmed by a diplomatic row between the countries.

The government in New Delhi said last week it was "deeply shocked" by a decision by a Qatar court to impose the death penalty on eight Indians arrested in the country last year, on charges that have not been made public.

Petronet LNG CEO A. K. Singh said: "We are in business. It (the diplomatic row) will be handled at the highest level of the country... we hope this does not have any impact on business relations."

India's top gas importer has until the end of this year to renew its long-term agreements with Qatar.

Petronet at present buys 8.5 million metric tons per year (tpy) of LNG under its deals with Qatar, and is 'actively engaged' with the country for their renewal, Singh said at the company's September quarter earnings press conference.

It operates two LNG import terminals on the country's west coast - a 17.5 million tpy plant at Dahej, and a 5 million tpy facility at Kochi.

It is building a third LNG import plant, a 4 million tpy floating storage and regasification unit at Gopalpur in eastern Odisha state.

Singh said expansion of the Dahej terminal by 5 million tpy is expected to be completed by end-March 2024.

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