Indian Oil Corp. has issued a tender seeking eight LNG cargoes for delivery to the country's new Dhamra LNG terminal over the next 14 months, traders and market sources said March 16.
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The tender signals the startup of the highly anticipated Dhamra LNG terminal on India's eastern coast at a time when new terminal openings have slowed due to the global energy crisis, and also shows how LNG importers are taking advantage of the current drop in prices to boost procurement.
"The terminal is getting commissioned and we have capacity booked, so it is a part of routine procurement," a company source said.
The IOC tender that closes March 22 was heard to be for deliveries in June, August, October and December 2023 and January, February, March and May 2024 to Dhamra for a total of 3.3 trillion Btu at a price of plus or minus 7% of Brent crude prices, traders said.
IOC was previously heard to have issued a tender seeking an April 23 delivery cargo that closed March 14 but was not awarded.
Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone, part of the Adani Group, announced in 2018 it had signed a long-term agreement with IOC to provide LNG regasification services on a use or pay basis to the state-run refiner at its upcoming LNG import terminal at Dhamra in Odisha.
Under the contract, IOC booked 3 million mt/year of regasification capacity spread over 20 years, with IOC planning to supply the gas to its refineries at Paradip in Odisha and Haldia in West Bengal, according to a statement at the time.
Adani Group and TotalEnergies in 2018 also partnered for a joint LNG business -- Adani Total Pvt. Ltd. -- to develop the Dhamra LNG regasification terminal.
TotalEnergies in a February statement said the Dhamra LNG regasification terminal was expected to start operations in the second quarter.
Soft prices tempt other buyers
The decline in the Platts JKM and the Platts West India Marker in recent weeks has reinvigorated LNG demand among price-sensitive downstream buyers in India, with tender activity also ramping up from other local market players to cater to firm current domestic consumption as well as the impending summer season, market sources said.
The Platts JKM, the benchmark price for spot LNG in Northeast Asia published by S&P Global Commodity Insights, averaged $33.98/MMBtu in 2022, surging from $18.60/MMBtu in 2021. The Platts West-India Marker averaged $31.85/MMBtu in 2022 compared with $17.37/MMBtu in 2021.
Asia-Pacific spot LNG prices have since fallen to the low-$13s/MMBtu, with Platts assessing the JKM for May at $13.165/MMBtu March 16.
"Demand in India is likely to increase as we draw near to the heat season," a Singapore-based trader said.
The Indian Meteorological Department on Feb. 28 said there was an enhanced probability of heatwaves over March-May across many regions of central and northwest India.
Among the buying activity heard in recent weeks was a tender by GSPC to buy two LNG cargoes, one each in H2 April and H1 May, that closed March 2 but was heard not to have been awarded at the prices offered. GAIL was heard to have awarded a buy tender in the $13s/MMBtu for three DES cargoes for May loading/delivery, while Petronet was recently heard seeking a cargo for May 22-31 delivery to Dahej.
In addition, Vedanta issued a short-term tender for May domestic gas supply on March 5, linked to Brent/WIM, while Torrent Power was heard to have bought a DES cargo for April via tender at slightly below $14/MMBtu.