India’s LNG imports rise 9.7% in April 2019

India’s imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the month of April 2019 was 2502 million metric standard cubic metres (MMSCM), an increase of 9.7 per cent over the corresponding month of the previous year, according to latest data from the Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

The increase comes after a five-month period of lower year-on-year imports between November 2018 and March 2019, wherein the average LNG imports were 10.4 per cent lower at 69.5mmscmd than the corresponding five-month period last year.

The 0.3 per cent year-on-year reduction in domestic natural gas production in April 2019 coupled with 4.2 per cent year-on-year increase in consumption demand seems to have driven the increase in LNG imports.

LNG was procured during the month by Petronet LNG Ltd., GAIL (India) Ltd., Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Ltd., Reliance Industries Limited, Torrent Power Limited, Shell (formerly Hazira LNG Pvt. Ltd.), Indian Oil Corporation Limited & Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited.

“The recovery can be largely attributed to a gradual decline in Henry Hub gas prices to $2.6 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu) in April 2019 from $4.1 per mmbtu in November 2018, owing to global supply-demand equations,” said India Ratings and Research in a report.

Total consumption for the month of April 2019 was 4341 mmscm. Major consumers were fertilizer (27 per cent), power (22 per cent), CGD (18 per cent), refinery (14 per cent), and petrochemicals (7 per cent).

However, crude oil production decreased by 6.9 per cent year-on-year in April. During the month, the production volumes of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Oil India Limited declined 4.9 per cent yoy and 3.9 per cent yoy, respectively, and that of fields under production-sharing contracts fell 12.4 per cent yoy. India Ratings and Research added that in April 2019, crude oil import volume grew 14.1 per cent yoy and India’s crude oil import dependency was 86.8 per cent. The price of Brent Crude averaged $71.5/bbl during April 2019 as against $71.3/bbl during April 2019 and $77.0/bbl during May 2018.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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