Russian Gas Supply Hit Pushes India's GAIL to Scout for Long-Term LNG

(Reuters) — GAIL (India) Ltd. is scouting for long-term gas import deals and hopes to sign one contract shortly to make up for disrupted supplies from a former unit of Russian energy giant Gazprom, its head of finance said on Monday.

India's largest gas distributor reported a 93% decline in its December quarter net profit as it transmitted less gas locally due to a reduction in LNG supply from a deal with Gazprom Marketing and Singapore (GMTS).

GAIL is in talks with Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC) and many other parties to source gas. "Probably we will get a better deal," Rakesh Kumar Jain told an analyst call.

"The Indian economy is needing more and more gas. Even if GMTS had not happened, we were in the market for sourcing gas. Yes, but GMTS circumstances have forced us more," he said.

GAIL agreed a 20-year deal with GMTS in 2012 to buy an annual average of 2.5 million tonnes of LNG.

At the time, GMTS was a unit of Gazprom Germania, now called Sefe, but the Russian parent gave up ownership of Sefe after Western sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Sefe has halted supply to GAIL since May.

Jain said GAIL was seeking more gas import deals primarily to meet local demand and a resumption of supplies under the Gazprom contract would give his company the flexibility "to able to play more in the international markets".

The state-run company has been trading some of the LNG bought on a free-on-board basis under its long-term deals from the United States in global markets.

Jain said in 2023 GAIL would bring in eight extra LNG cargoes from its U.S. portfolio, which were previously sold to a global customer. "We get 90 cargoes from the USA and we intend to bring all of them to India," Jain said.

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