Fuel trucks branded with the Total SA logo pass along a road in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Photographer: George Osodi/Bloomberg.

Total In Talks With Multiple Indian Firms For Stake In LNG Terminals, City Gas Projects

French energy giant Total SA said it’s in discussions with multiple Indian companies to acquire a stake in LNG import terminals and city gas distribution projects, and is also interested in setting up petrol pumps in the world’s fastest growing energy consuming nation.

Total Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne said the French company is “very interested” in investing in downstream sectors in India. Total wants to do that through partnership with local companies, he said refusing to give details.

“City gas is an interesting business” that can use the imported LNG, he said. Pouyanne said Total was also interested in fuel retailing in the country. “We need to have a licence for that (petrol, diesel retailing). We need to get a licence, so we are working on that.”

A licence to set up petrol pumps in India is contingent upon a company investing Rs 2,000 crore in oil and gas infrastructure like refineries, pipelines, import terminals and oil and gas fields.

Total’s investment in a LPG import terminal in Andhra Pradesh doesn’t qualify it for a retailing licence.

The French firm is keen on India and finds Adani a suitable vehicle as it owns the crucial downstream infrastructure, sources said.

Adani holds a 25 percent stake in the just-completed 5-million-tonnes-a-year liquefied natural gas import terminal at Mundra. It is also building a similar capacity LNG import terminal at Dhamra in Odisha at a cost of Rs 5,100 crore. Total, according to sources, is in talks to buy half of Adani’s stake in the two terminals.

India is looking at more than doubling the share of natural gas in its energy basket to 15 percent in the next few years and is giving major push to city gas distribution projects. It imports half of its gas needs, which are projected to rise exponentially as it shifts from polluting liquid fuels to environment friendly natural gas.

While the Mundra LNG terminal has Gujarat State Petroleum Corp as the lead partner, Adani is building a new LPG import facility at the same port with a total capacity of 3.56 million tonnes per annum. The LPG terminal is to be completed by next month.

Adani Gas, a subsidiary of Adani Enterprises Ltd., is developing city gas distribution networks to supply the piped natural gas to commercial and domestic markets, and compressed natural gas to the transport sector.

It has set up city gas distribution networks in Ahmedabad and Vadodara in Gujarat, Faridabad in Haryana and Khurja in Uttar Pradesh.

In the recently concluded city gas distribution bid round, it won rights to 13 cities on its own and another 9 in joint venture with state-owned Indian Oil Corporation. These are in addition to the 50:50 Adani-Indian Oil joint venture winning rights to develop city gas distribution networks in Allahabad, Chandigarh, Ernakulam, Panipat, Daman, Dharwad, and Udhamsingh Nagar in the previous bid rounds.

The development comes weeks after Total announced its exit from Royal Dutch Shell-operated Hazira LNG terminal in Gujarat.

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