GAIL eyes petrochem plants in Qatar, Russia

GAIL eyes petrochem plants in Qatar, Russia


New Delhi: State gas utility GAIL India is eyeing petrochemical plants in Russia and Qatar as part of its plans to become 10-billion dollar company by next century.

GAIL chairman and managing director U D Choubey, who last week opened a window of opportunity in Russia, is in Doha today (29 October) for talks with state-owned Qatar Petroleum to build a petrochemical plant in Qatar, official sources said.

The India’s largest natural gas distributor wants to build a plant in Qatar with a capacity to produce one million tonnes of polymers for exports. Polymers are used to make car parts and machinery.

Sources said Choubey, who is part of the high-level delegation led by Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, is also seeking liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar.

Last week, he held separate talks with Russian oil firm Lukoil and gas utility Itera in Moscow for a petrochemical plant in the former Soviet republic.

Choubey met the board of Lukoil and discussed possibility of setting up a petrochemical plant jointly with the Russian firm. He also evinced interest in GAIL picking a stake in Lukoil’s onland gas-rich Block A in Saudi Empty Quarter, near Ghawar in Saudi Arabia. GAIL and Lukoil may set up a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia based on the gas in the field as also export the fuel to India in form of LNG. Lukoil has 80 per cent in the 29,000 sq km area while the remaining 20 per cent is with Saudi Aramco.

Separately, GAIL is discussing with Russian gas firm Itera for setting up a city gas distribution (CGD) network in Moscow to retail compressed natural gas (CNG) to automobiles and a methane-based petrochemical plant in Russia, sources said.

With Itera, GAIL is likely to sign a MoU for city gas project in Moscow and exploring feasibility of methane-based petrochemical plant when Itera chairman Igor Viktorovich Makarov visits New Delhi later this year.

Choubey also explored possibility of petrochemical project in Russia with Sibur Holding, in which Russian gas monopoly Gazprom has majority stake.

Under Choubey, GAIL has identified petrochemical as one of the key areas besides natural gas transmission and distribution, for growth. It has been scouting for opportunities for petrochemical plants in India and overseas and the same quest has taken it to gas-rich Russia.