GAIL ties up with EDF Trading to develop US gas assets

State-owned GAIL (India) Ltd, the country's main gas transporter, said that it has signed an agreement with EDF Trading to jointly acquire and develop upstream oil and gas assets in North America and to be partners in trading and optimisation of US gas, including liquefied natural gas.

GAIL informed the stock exchanges on Thursday about a press release a day earlier titled 'GAIL and EDF Trading sign MoU'.

''There are significant opportunities in North American gas markets and we are pleased to be partnering with GAIL, one of the world's leading gas companies, in jointly developing this business,'' John Rittenhouse, chief executive of EDF Trading said in the press statement.

Minister of petroleum and natural gas M Veerappa Moily said, ''The advent of shale gas in the US bodes very well for the global hydrocarbon landscape and this partnership is expected to look for business opportunities in this exciting space in order to enhance oil and gas sourcing prospects for India.''

As production from the Krishna-Godavari Basin D6 field in the Bay of Bengal, supposedly India's biggest single gas find run by Reliance Industries, continues to dwindle to alarming levels, several oil companies are in the process of constructing LNG terminals in India and importing gas at high rates to meet the heavy demand.

The current actual domestic production of gas stands at 135 mmscmd while the demand is at around 243 mmscmd.

According to The Financial Express, industry estimates suggest that even if domestic production from K-G D6 goes up, the demand for natural gas will be around 530mmscmd by 2019-20 while output will be less than half at 215 mmscmd.

EDF Trading is one of the leading participants in the LNG market; its website says it offers a complete range of services including supply and delivery, terminal operations, re-gasification and nominations into networks. It has master agreements with the majority of the market's key participants and long-term supply contracts in place in Asia and the Middle East.