Qatar woos Advani with eye on oil and gas market

Wednesday, 22 January 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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DOHA: Qatar displayed the importance it gives the vast Indian oil and gas market by inviting Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani to the opening of a $1.2 billion chemical plant.

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani personally escorted Advani to the Qatar Chemical Company (Q-Chem) opening Tuesday even though the plant has no Indian participation.

Q-Chem will help Qatar emerge as a leading exporter of ethylene cracker, linear low-density polyethylene, high-density polyethylene and hexane. Q-Chem is a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum (51 percent) and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company (49 percent).

The 500,000 tonnes-a-year petrochemical complex in Mesaieed would convert ethylene into high-density polyethylene (HDPE), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and hexene.

India's demand for crude and other petroleum products is likely to double in the next 6 to 8 years, necessitating higher imports, mainly from OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) sources. Its demand for gas is estimated to reach 120 trillion cubic metres a day (tcm/day) by 2004-05 and 215 tcm/d by 2009-10.

The rapid growth in India's demand for crude oil, crude products and liquefied natural gas (LNG) makes it one of the most important expanding markets for the Gulf crude and gas industry.

LNG imports constitute a priority interest for India's bilateral economic relations with Qatar. The Gulf nation has made major investments in the exploitation of its LNG reserves and is set to emerge as a major supplier in the 21st century.

Incidentally, Petronet LNG, a consortium of Indian oil and gas majors, had awarded Qatar's RasGas a contract in September 1998 to supply 7.5 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of LNG for projects in Dahej, Gujarat, and Puthuvaypu in Kerala.

The sales and purchase agreement was concluded between RasGas and Petronet on July 31, 1999, paving the way for the commencement of this 25-year gas deal. Deliveries are expected to begin by July this year.

Petronet LNG has picked up five percent equity in RasGas by investing 1.15 billion ($26.7 million) in additional liquefaction capacity planned by the Qatari company. RasGas has also taken 10 percent equity stake in Petronet LNG.

The deal, which is rated as India's largest LNG deal with any Gulf state, will make it the biggest purchaser of LNG from Qatar and considerably enhance India's economic profile in this country.

In addition to the Petronet LNG deal, RasGas signed an agreement with India's Dakshin Bharat Energy Consortium (DBEC) to supply 2.5 MMTA of LNG from Qatar to Ennore in Tamil Nadu over a period of 20 years.
Source: IANS
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