Share of LNG in India's gas mix may rise to 38 pc: Goldman

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The share of imported gas in India's mix of the fuel is likely to rise to 38 per cent in 2015-16 from 35 per cent in the previous financial year on muted domestic natural gas production, Goldman Sachs has said.

Goldman Sachs said in a research report that out of the total availability of 128 million standard cubic meters per day of gas in the country last year, 83 mmscmd, or about 65 per cent, was produced from domestic fields.

The bulk of the domestic gas came from state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), which supplied about 50 mmscmd, while Reliance Industries' eastern offshore KG-D6 is estimated to have supplied 13 mmscmd, it said.

The remaining 45 mmscmd of gas was imported in liquid form (liquefied natural gas or LNG) in ships at ports in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Goldman said domestic natural gas production in the current financial year will rise to 89 mmscmd on the back of a marginal increase in the output of ONGC and RIL, while import of LNG is projected to increase to 52 mmscmd, or almost 37 per cent of the total gas mix.

In the following year (2015-16), domestic output will climb to 95 mmscmd and so will LNG imports to 59 mmscmd, or 38 per cent of the gas mix, it said.

Goldman expects ONGC's gas production to rise to 52.4 mmscmd in the current financial year and to 53.9 mmscmd in the following year. RIL's eastern offshore KG-D6 field output was seen increasing to 16 mmscmd by 2015-16.

"We expect the share of imported gas in India's total gas mix to increase to 38 per cent in FY16 on muted domestic production growth," the report said.

India's demand for natural gas, according to Goldman, is much more than supplies but is price sensitive. At the current price of $ 4.2 per million British thermal units, there is an unmet demand of 122 mmscmd.

The unmet demand at the likely price of $ 8, after the Rangarajan formula is implemented, dips to 93 mmscmd. It drops to 78 mmscmd at $ 10 per mmBtu gas price and to 62 mmscmd at $ 12 rate.

Goldman said the recent pullback in Asian spot LNG prices has improved the relative affordability of spot LNG among Indian consumers.

Spot LNG import prices to India dropped to about $ 16 per mmBtu from $ 18-22 for most part of the January-March quarter, primarily driven by post-winter seasonality and high inventories from nuclear restarts in Korea.

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