India looks to form regional alliance to buy LNG

India is looking at a regional alliance of gas consuming countries, including Japan, China and South Korea as the energy-hungry nations try to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) at "reasonable prices", minister of state for petroleum and natural gas, Dharmendra POradhan said today.

Initially, India plans to rope in Japan and South Korea and may later invite China to join the alliance, Pradhan said.

The minister will be visiting St Petersburg, Russia from 16-17 June 2016 to represent India at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) - an annual international conference dedicated to economic and business issues. It attracts over thousands of participants, including political and business leaders, leading scientists, public figures, and members of the media from all over the world. The Forum mainly discusses the most pressing issues facing Russia and the world.

During his visit to St Petersburg, Pradhan will be meeting his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak and CEOs of Rosneft, Gazprom, Gazpromneft, Lukoil and Novatek. He will also participate in a panel discussion on the subject 'New Global Petroleum Market Realities'. The visit will provide an opportunity to discuss bilateral relations particularly in the field of hydrocarbon sector between India and Russia.

Both countries enjoy a special privileged strategic partnership and cooperation in the field of hydrocarbon sector which is one of the key areas of this time tested partnership. During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Moscow in December 2015, both countries had agreed to further enhance cooperation in the oil and gas sector. As a result of this, ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) and Rosneft completed all formalities for acquisition of 15 per cent stake by OVL in Vankorneft, which is a subsidiary of Rosneft. The deal is another effort in augmenting oil security for the country.

Pradhan will be accompanied by senior officials from his ministry and CMDs of central public sector oil and gas companies. Delegations from DIPP and leaders of Indian business community will also be participating at SPIEF.