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LNG tankers may be converted to floating storage in India

LNG tankers may be converted to floating storage in India
The UMM BAB liquefied natural gas tanker and the BW Integrity floating storage regasification unit during the ship to ship operation at PGP Consortium Ltd. LNG Terminal in Karachi, Pakistan, on Friday, June 24, 2022. (Photo: Asim Hafeez/Bloomberg)

A Japanese-Indian consortium is considering turning two LNG tankers into floating storage and regasification units to help meet growing demand in the South Asian economy, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The units, with a capacity of 138,000 cubic meters each, are currently being leased by Petronet LNG Ltd. to import the super-chilled fuel from Qatar. Since the Indian company doesn’t plan to renew the lease past 2028, the consortium — called India LNG Transport Co — may put the vessels to use on India’s east coast after retrofitting them in South Korea, said the people, who asked not to be named as they are not authorised to speak with the media.

A spokesperson for the Indian partner, state-owned Shipping Corp of India Ltd, didn’t reply to requests for comment.

India is investing heavily in liquefied natural gas import infrastructure to help meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s target of gas reaching 15% of the energy mix by 2030, from less than 7% now. The South Asian nation, currently the world’s fourth-largest LNG buyer, could see its imports rise to 150 million tons by 2030, a seven-fold increase from 2023, Petronet’s CEO Akshay Kumar Singh said in February.

India LNG Transport is a collaboration between the Indian shipping company and Japanese firms Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd., Nippon Yusen KK and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd.

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