India's LNG Imports in March Jump 20%
After rising by a whopping 68% yr/yr in February, India’s LNG imports in March jumped 20.4% yr/yr to 2.87bn m3 (about 2.1mn metric tons), according to the data published by the Indian oil and gas ministry's Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell on April 28.
The cumulative imports of 33.68bn m3 (about 25mn mt) during the 12 months to March 31 (fiscal 2019-2020), were higher by 17.2% compared with the previous year, the data showed. The 2019-2020 imports are the highest for any financial year on record.
Indian LNG imports last month were strong but are likely to see a sharp drop in April due to the lockdown that came into effect on March 25. Late last month, Petronet LNG, India's biggest LNG importer, issued a force majeure notice to Qatargas seeking to delay loading of LNG cargoes under long-term deals. Other big importers have also issues similar FM notices.
Earlier this month, Wood Mackenzie Asia Pacific vice-chair, Gavin Thompson said India's LNG demand is likely to drop due to the lockdown which remains in force till May 3.
“India’s gas demand has been severely affected, primarily across the transport and industrial sectors. As a notoriously price-sensitive market, low oil prices are also a competitive threat to gas. High inventories are resulting in refiners further reducing margins for oil products to compete with gas, leading to downside risk on the LNG demand outlook,” Thompson said.
The forecast of a decline in Indian LNG demand is bad news for the already oversupplied LNG market. India, the fourth-largest LNG importer in the world, had been a bright spot as it soaked up large volumes of the commodity.