Petronet LNG under scanner over gas purchase contracts

New Delhi: State-owned Petronet LNG Ltd is under investigation for alleged irregularities in gas purchase contracts, the government said.
Petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on Monday that the government had received complaints about alleged irregularities in some gas purchase contracts executed by Petronet.
Petronet purchases natural gas in liquid form—liquified natural gas, or LNG—from foreign suppliers and converts it to gas before selling it to its Indian customers.
The complaints referred to Petronet’s LNG contracts to import 7.5 million tonne per annum (mtpa) from Qatar’s RasGas Co. Ltd and 1.44 mtpa from ExxonMobil’s Gorgon project in Australia, the minister said.
“A committee was constituted by the government to enquire into the alleged irregularities and findings of the committee are under examination in consultation with Central Vigilance Commission,” the minister added.
Four state owned firms—GAIL (India) Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd, Indian Oil Corp. Ltd and Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd hold 12.5% stake each in Petronet, while GDF Suez has a 10% stake. The balance 40% is held by investors and foreign institutional investors.
The investigation comes in the backdrop of India struggling to meet its ambitious targets for energy security, with the country having to import as much as 77% of its energy needs. India’s energy import bill of around $150 billion is expected to double to $300 billion by 2030.
Petronet LNG couldn’t be immediately reached for its comments.
Petronet had set up India’s first LNG terminal at terminal at Dahej in Gujarat, and another terminal at Kochi in Kerala with a total capacity of 15 mtpa.
Petronet on Friday posted a net profit of `882.5 crore for the fiscal year 2014-15.
According to the Energy Statistics report prepared by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation, estimated domestic reserves of crude oil and gas are at 762.74 mt and 1,427.15 bcm, respectively. India follows the US, China and Russia in energy use, accounting for 4.4% of global energy consumption.
Source: Mint; 27 April 2015
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