India’s LNG imports dip as prices soar

India’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports decreased for the fourth straight month in September when compared to the year before, while prices continued to increase.

LNG imports dropped by 7.4 percent to 2.64 billion cubic meters or about 1.92 million tonnes in September, data from the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell shows.

Compared to the previous month, LNG imports dropped by about 8 percent.

Total LNG imports in the April-September period decreased by 0.8 percent to 15.67 bcm or about 11.4 million tonnes.

On the other side, natural gas production in September increased 26.5 percent to 2.90 bcm while it rose 21 percent in the April-September period to 16.89 bcm.

One of the reasons behind India’s lower LNG imports is probably the high spot price which currently trades above $30/MMBtu, prompting Indian buyers to hold off on buying spot volumes. The JKM spot LNG price surged to $56.326/MMBtu earlier this month.

The data from PPAC said India paid $1.1 billion for September LNG imports, rising almost two times when compared to $0.6 billion last year.

At the moment, India imports LNG via six facilities with a combined capacity of 42.5 million tonnes.

Petronet LNG’s 17.5 mtpa Dahej terminal operated at 92.1 percent capacity while Shell’s 5 mtpa Hazira terminal operated at 74 percent capacity in April-August, the PPAC data shows.

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