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Asia Pulse: SHELL SAYS IT IS NOT SHUTTING DOWN HAZIRA, DENIES SELL-OFF:

FRIDAY Jan 06, 2006
NEW DELHI, Jan 6 Asia Pulse – Royal Dutch/Shell, the world's third largest oil and gas firm, on Thursday said its US$600-million Hazira liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in India's Gujarat was fully operational and the company had no plans to sell it off.
“Hazira is not shutting down. It is operational… the plant is up and running,” the company's India director for gas and power Marc den Hartog said here.
He said the 2.5 million tonnes Hazira LNG import and regasification terminal and port were fully operational. “The LNG terminal is and remains a viable investment for Shell and while we are open to welcoming equity participation based on value addition, we are not interested in a sell out.”
“Shell is a long term investor… we are here to stay. We are not selling-off Hazira,” he said, adding the company was open to taking more equity partners but Hazira would remain Shell-owned and operated project.
'Total' of France last year picked 26 per cent stake in Hazira terminal. The rest is with Shell Hazira Gas Pvt Ltd.
Shell, which began operating India's second LNG terminal in April 2005, has till now imported only three cargoes of LNG as it was unable to find customers willing to pay market price of US$8-9 per million British thermal unit (mBtu). The market price was roughly double the cost at which Petronet LNG Ltd, India's largest LNG importer, was selling regasified LNG from its Dahej terminal in Gujarat.
“Finding customers at market price is a problem even though some industries in the North are paying US$13-14 per mBtu for naphtha,” Hartog said.
(PTI)

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