Oman to buy stake in Indian gas refiner Petronet

Oman is in talks with India to buy a minority stake in Petronet LNG Ltd's planned liquefied natural gas terminal off the Andhra Pradesh coast, Oman's petroleum minister Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy said in New Delhi today.

Rumhy told reporters on the sidelines of an event organised by Petronet that Oman wants to buy a 10-20 per cent stake in the upcoming 5-million tonne a year LNG terminal at Gangavaram. The stake could be bought through an investment or pension fund, he added.

"Petronet's track record in the terminal business is attractive........There are synergies (as well)," he said.

Indian state-run companies Oil & Natural Gas Co, Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp, and GAIL hold a 12.5 per cent stake each in Petronet. French power company GDF Suez owns another 10 per cent and the Asian Development Bank 5.2 per cent The rest is held by insurance companies, mutual funds, and the public.

Petronet, India's largest importer of liquid gas, is building a 5-million tonne a year LNG terminal at Gangavaram in Andhra Pradesh that is expected to be ready by 2018. The first terminal is planned to be built through a subsidiary in which it wants to retain a minimum 51 per cent stake.

"An 8 per cent stake has already been taken by Gangaravam Port and we are willing to take strategic partners," Petronet director (Finance) R K Garg said.

Petronet is looking for strategic partners that can either bring in gas turned into liquid at minus 160 degrees Celsius (LNG) or buy a minimum quantity of the imported fuel to be sold in the domestic market.

 The company received final approval from its board of directors last year to build a third LNG terminal at Gangavaram, the first on the east coast.