GAIL delays tender for LNG carrier for a third time

State-run gas utility Gas Authority of India Ltd (Gail) has extended the tender for the time charter of nine new liquified natural gas carriers, three of which are to be built in India, till end-March, from end-February fixed in December. 

In a move to allow Indian shipyards to tie up technology for building specialised vessels, Gail had earlier, on 22 December 2015, extended the deadline for the tender for hiring LNG carriers by over two months to 29 February 2016.

Gail has now thrice delayed the tender upon request from bidders for additional time to complete their proposals for the $7 billion tender after it scrapped plans to hire LNG tankers in February last year.

The tender is split into three different contracts of three ships each, whereby each contract will have the obligation of building one ship in India.

Bidders will be able to submit proposals for one or more of three lots of three ships, but each lot will have the obligation of building one ship in India.

Gail will use the nine tankers for transporting six million tonnes per annum of liquefied gas already contracted with facilities in the US. Gail will begin taking delivery of the gas at the end of 2017.

GAIL's decision obviously is to support the Modi government's `Make in India' programme and comes after state-run Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) acquired the necessary technology for building LNG carriers (See: GAIL extends tender for hiring LNG carriers till 29 February )

CSL has successfully completed a Mark-III Flex Mock-Up, which has been certified by GTT (Gaztransport et Technigaz), France, thereby completing all requirements to be licensed by GTT to build LNG ships for any client world-wide using their patented membrane containment system known as the Mark-III Technology.

GAIL was forced to postpone tenders for LNG carriers as no foreign shipyard was willing to share LNG shipbuilding technology with Indian shipbuilders.