India’s GAIL faces profit hit over gas supply cut - finance chief

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Birds fly past the logo of India's state-owned natural gas utility GAIL (India) Ltd in New Delhi

By Nidhi Verma

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Profit at state-run GAIL (India) Ltd will be hit as it rations gas sales after supplies are cut under its long-term deal with a former unit of Russian energy giant Gazprom amid high spot prices, its head of finance Rakesh Kumar Jain said on Thursday.

GAIL, India's largest gas distributor and operator of pipelines, imports 14 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) under various long term deals.

Of this about 2.5 mtpa, or up to 39 LNG cargoes, were to be supplied this year by Gazprom Marketing and Trading Singapore (GMTS), now a unit of Gazprom Germania.

Since the end of May, GMTS has missed delivery of 8 LNG cargoes to GAIL and is not certain about future supplies as it is securing the fuel for Europe, Jain said in an analyst call.

He said GMTS has not declared force majeure, but "they are not scheduling (LNG cargoes supplies) at the moment.

"Profitability certainly will be hit if the situation remains as it is today...There is a challenge in this quarter," he said, adding GAIL's gas marketing and transmission business will be hit due to lower supplies.

GAIL has cut supplies to fertiliser and industrial clients besides reducing operations at its petrochemical plant at Pata, northern India, by over 50% to avoid purchase of costly spot LNG, Jain said, confirming a Reuters report.

The state-run firm is also advancing delivery of some of its overseas LNG cargoes through time swaps and has chartered ships to bring in some of its U.S. LNG that it was planning to trade.

GAIL has deals to import 5.8mtpa LNG from the US.

Jain said GAIL is also scouting for long term LNG deals to secure supplies, although its previous tender for a 10-year 0.75mtpa deal failed.

The company agreed a 20-year deal with Russia's Gazprom in 2012 for annual purchases of an average 2.5 million tonnes of LNG. Supplies under the contract began in 2018.

GMTS had signed the deal on behalf of Gazprom. At the time, Gazprom Germania was a unit of the Russian state firm.

However, following Western sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, Gazprom gave up ownership of Gazprom Germania in early April without explanation and placed parts of it under Russian sanctions.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Mike Harrison)

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