India plans to triple its LNG imports, pushing to more than double the share that natural gas has in its energy mix to 15% by 2022. The plan will require the construction of more liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, a government official said on Wednesday, February 6th.

India has four terminals that could receive the LNG imports, of around 20 million tons per year, but over the next seven years the government plans to build another 11 terminals, Narendarra Taneja, a spokesman for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said.

The plan would raise India’s LNG imports to more than 70 million tons per year in the coming seven years, in what would be one of the fastest LNG imports expansions since China embarked on its huge gasification program last year.

India’s focusing on electrifying millions of households that still burn wood for electricity, heat and cooking. Like China, India plans to reduce its heavy reliance on thermal coal, a bigger polluter than gas.

Taneja said the LNG imports would also be needed to provide power to electric vehicles, which India plans to account for all new car sales by 2030, as well as pushing for more scooters and motorcycles to be powered by compressed natural gas, with pilot schemes recently launched in major cities including New Delhi and Mumbai.

The Indian government is also encouraging railway companies and gas importers to look at fueling trains by LNG imports instead of diesel as part of its program to reduce pollution by increasing natural gas use.

Taneja explained that considering all this situations, India would eventually require even more than 15 terminals to meet its demand: “India is looking at LNG in a very strategic manner. Once we get into it, we are talking about 15 terminals but it will be many more as the need is going to be there,” he said.

India also wants to become a hub for supplying ships that run on LNG, with plans to build more facilities like a fueling station at Kochi port, according to Taneja.

State-owned gas utility GAILNSE has reached an agreement with Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass liquefaction facility in Louisiana. The contract includes an important amount of LNG imports for India: 3.5 million tons per year of LNG.

LNG as a shipping fuel is being pushed by International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules that will come into effect by 2020 and require the use of cleaner fuels.

With information from:

https://www.reuters.com/article/indonesia-lng-summit-india/india-plans-massive-natural-gas-expansion-lng-imports-to-soar-idUSL4N1PW5M0

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