India shipping Liquefied Natural Gas from US
India shipping Liquefied Natural Gas from USReuters

India has began importing natural gas from the United States. State-owned gas utility GAIL India started India's first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States, marking the start of GAIL and Cheniere Energy's 20-year LNG supply contract.

On March 5, GAIL chairman and managing director B C Tripathi flagged off the first LNG cargo from Sabine Pass LNG export facility in Louisiana.

B C Tripathi, the Chairman, and Managing Director of GAIL India Limited and CGI, Houston, Dr Anupam Ray jointly waved the Indian Tricolour to set the first chartered LNG ship 'Meridian Spirit' vessel during the commencement ceremony in presence of Jack Fusco (Chief Executive Officer Cheniere Energy). The LNG despatched is intended for India's gas utility.

Here are the key points:

• Cheniere Energy is the leading exporter of US LNG and India is one of the foundation customers of the company.

• India signed a sale and purchase agreement (SPA), a 20-year deal with the US for the supply of US-sourced LNG to India in December 2011.

• The cargo was loaded on board the 165,500 cbm Meridian Spirit, built in 2010. The LNG carrier is scheduled to discharge the cargo at GAIL's Dabhol terminal in Maharashtra at the end of March.

• Under the terms of the deal, Cheniere will sell and make available for delivery to GAIL approximately 3.5 million tonnes of LNG per year from Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass liquefaction facility in Louisiana.