India, Australia form panel for LNG supply to power plants

Brisbane, Feb 8 (IANS) India and Australia on Monday decided to form a sub-group, comprising senior officials of government and industry from both sides, to prepare a roadmap to help provide cheap liquefied natural gas (LNG) for Indian power plants.

“I have now formed a sub-group, which will be under the Working Group on the India-Australia energy dialogue,” Power Minister Piyush Goyal told reporters on the sidelines of the India-Australia Energy Security Dialogue here.

“After my discussions with the industry on LNG, some representatives told me that the Indian government will have to take concrete steps to help encourage trade relations,” he said.

“After the energy dialogues with the US and Japan, working groups were formed to concentrate on issues that needed to be resolved at the government level,” he added.

The sub-group will submit a detailed report in about two months on what needs to be done and the requirements to get cheap LNG from Australia, Goyal said.

It will include officials from India’s ministries of petroleum and external affairs as well as representatives from National Thermal Power Corporation Limited, GAIL, Petronet LNG and shipping companies, he added.

“From their side, Austrade, the Australian government’s trade commission, senior officials of energy ministry as well as its High Commission in India looking after energy and representatives from the private sector will be part of the sub-group,” Goyal said.

The move will lead to an assured supply to LNG gas-based power plants in India otherwise operating below capacity owing to lack of gas.

Earlier, at the energy dialogue here with Australia, Goyal called for investment in India by Australian mining and energy companies.

“We’re going to expand and mine coal for many years to come. There’s no larger market for you than India now,” Goyal said while addressing a round table with representatives of Australian energy companies like Glencore, Rio Tinto, Geo Gas and Carbon Energy, members of the Queensland Resources Council and the Trade and Investment authority of Queensland.

“We need clean coal technologies and learn best practices in mining from Australian companies which are well versed in the business,” the union minister said.

He assured Australian investors a corruption-free environment and quick approvals for their investment proposals, asking those present to be candid in their views on investing in India.

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