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Talks for more US gas

New Delhi, March 10: India will seek greater collaboration in energy with the US, particularly in shale gas and LNG.

US energy secretary Ernest Moniz is expected to meet Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and oil ministry officials tomorrow for discussions, which were postponed following the logjam in bilateral ties over the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York last December. .

Officials said New Delhi would take up the issue of shale gas and LNG exports from the US, which has a restrictive policy for Indian companies. The US does not allow gas exports to any country with which it does not have a free trade agreement but made an exception for GAIL (India) Ltd.

GAIL has entered into a $15-billion deal for a 20-year gas import deal to buy LNG from Houston-based Cheniere Energy.

Cheniere Energy will supply 3.5 million tonnes of LNG every year from its Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana.

LNG deliveries are expected to start in 2017.

Incidentally, a legislation — HR 6, the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act — has been introduced in the US Congress, which will expand the export basket from FTA countries to members of the World Trade Organisation.

The legislation is aimed at helping Ukraine and other European countries, who are heavily dependent on Russian gas. But the bill will also help countries such as India and Japan, who have long been pushing for changes in US laws to expedite the export of gas, analysts said.

A spike in natural gas production in the US in recent years because of shale development has led to a surplus even as India’s domestic supply has dwindled.

Indian officials have said access to LNG in the US will reduce the country’s dependence on West Asia for crude oil and give it access to a clean energy source.

The US Energy Information Administration has estimated recoverable shale reserves in India at around 96 trillion cubic feet.

 
 
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