Tuesday, February 15, 2005

India Petroleum Update

GAIL is going places - both geographically and business-wise! After announcing a stake purchase in DPC and a new agreement of cooperation with China Gas Holdings, GAIL is now investing Rs 1,500 crore ($300 mn) in an LPG plant in Burma. As part of a rather larger gameplan, it serves to reduce India's LPG deficit with Burma by 250,000 tonnes a year (from over 2 million tonnes). GAIL also launched an initiative to develop IT solutions jointly with Infosys.

Mani Shankar Aiyar meanwhile carries on from where he left, and now suggests an Asian Gas Grid.
The grid would connect gas-rich nations in the Gulf and Siberia to consumption centres in India, China and Japan.

The proposed Iran-India pipeline via Pakistan could be extended to South China via Burma, while a network of pipelines could link former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan with East Russia on the one hand and demand centres, India and China, on the other. Gas-rich Myanmar and Indonesia could also form part of the grid.
Finally one big win for India over China in the oil great game - Rosneft is about to sell 15% in the Yugansk oil field to ONGC instead of China's CNPC. The deal valued at $6 billion, "will be India's biggest overseas investment ever in any sector".

An old grouse of our overseas oil explorers, that they have to waste precious time in getting approval from (a inefficient) Cabinet, is being addressed, as OVL has been exempted from seeking Cabinet approval for overseas investments of less than Rs 300 crores. Considering the size of international upstream oil deals, this can only be called a small step.

On the domestic front, Euro-III (ultra low sulphur) petrol will be available in 11 cities in India from April 05. Not all of the same 11 cities may not be able to keep that date with Euro-III diesel (the erring ones will catch up by June), but 65 percent of the country will have Euro-II grade diesel by then, while the rest of the country will be covered by August 1.

At the recently concluded Chemtech 2005 (an international chemical and pharma exhibition and conference), IOC Chairman, M.S. Ramachandran reiterated that IOC is committed to emerging a global player in petrochemicals. The stress is on forward integration with a Rs 25,000 crore ($ 6bn) over a period of 5 years.