India, Qatar Set Up Task Force To Identify Projects For Investment
A gas valve sits on a pipeline. (Photographer: Callaghan O’Hare/Bloomberg)

India, Qatar Set Up Task Force To Identify Projects For Investment


India and its biggest liquified natural gas supplier Qatar on Friday agreed to set up a task force to identify projects in India for investment by the gas-rich Gulf nation, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.

India imports 8.5 million tonne per annum of gas in its liquid form from Qatar under a long-term contract. It also buys liquified petroleum gas to meet the fast-expanding cooking gas requirements in the country.

"Had a telecall with HE Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Qatar's Minister of State for Energy Affairs and President and Chief Executive Officer Qatar Petroleum on promoting Qatari investments in the entire energy value chain in India," Pradhan tweeted.

The call, he said, was a follow-up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's discussion with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad Al-Thani on Dec. 8.

"Minister Al-Kaabi and I have agreed to set up a Task Force on Energy, represented by VP of Qatar Petroleum and a senior officer from @PetroleumMin to identify specific projects in India's energy sector for Qatari investments," he said.

Qatar Petroleum, the national oil company of the Gulf nation, will be represented by the vice president in the task force, while the Indian side would be represented by a senior official from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

"I reiterated Qatar's role as a reliable supplier of LNG and LPG. We also agreed to further strengthen cooperation in the energy sector and move beyond the buyer-seller relationship to a comprehensive one, including two-way investments," Pradhan said.

During the Dec. 8 call between Modi and the Emir of Qatar, the two nations had agreed to create a special task force to explore and facilitate Qatari investments in India, including in the energy sector.

Cash-rich Qatar Investment Authority is looking to invest in India, particularly in the energy and infrastructure sector.

India is the world's third-largest oil and LNG importer.

At the beginning of this year, India asked Qatar for renegotiation of its long-term supply contract, but the Gulf state was not inclined to renegotiate the prices.

India wants to significantly boost its gas consumption and expand its gas infrastructure. An investment of $66 billion is lined up in developing gas infrastructure which includes pipelines, city gas distribution and LNG re-gasification terminals, Pradhan had said earlier this month.

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Qatar, for its part, sees LNG as an important part of India's plans to increase its gas-based economy.

India is targeting to raise the share of natural gas in its energy basket to 15% by 2030 from the current 6.3%.

During Prime Minister Modi's visit to Doha in June 2016,India had sought Qatari investment in India's oil and gas exploration and production as well as its participation in the building of the second phase of strategic oil reserves.

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