INDIA GAS PRICES
India cut the price of locally-produced natural gas by 8% for six months beginning Wednesday as global energy costs slump.
Prices have been lowered to $4.66/MMBtu based on the gross heat value, according to the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell. Rates were fixed at $5.05/MMBtu effective Nov. 1.
The reduction will squeeze the profit margins at explorers such as Reliance Industries and Oil & Natural Gas Corp. and curb their appetite for investments needed to raise output. Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to cut dependence on imported energy to 50% by 2030 from 77% now.
“If prices continue to fall for long, it will reflect on investments by producers,” said Dhaval Joshi of Emkay Global Financial Services in Mumbai. “This will pinch the producers, although it’s good for consumers.”
BP last year wrote off $770 million from its stake in an undersea Indian gas block, while Canada’s Niko Resources is seeking to sell its stake in the same project because of uncertainty about the long-term pricing outlook in the country.
India in October approved a pricing formula for domestic gas, which is an average of rates in the US, Canada, the UK and Russia.
The cost of liquefied natural gas from overseas to India has dropped to about $9/MMBtu, curbing the government’s scope to increase rates for local producers, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said in an interview this month.
The cut in domestic gas prices comes amid a plunge in global crude oil prices over the past year. Brent has dropped 4% this year, extending last year’s 48% decline. LNG prices are typically linked to oil.
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