Despite the slowdown in Asian economies and a production surplus like that of the oil market, the United States is preparing to double its volume of shale gas for export. The company Cheniere Energy is in fact ready to load the gas tankers moored at its Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Louisiana. Consisting of two liquefaction units with a capacity of 650 million cubic meters, Cheniere plans to double its capacity by 2017. In addition to the contracts already signed with Holland's Shell and Spain's Fenosa, another potential customer has now emerged on the horizon: India.
The Asian giant has set a new energy strategy based on natural gas and an integral part of this plan will be to more than double its annual LNG imports, going from 21 million to 50 million tonnes. According to the Indian Oil Minister Dharemdra Pradhan, "the goal is to increase the share of natural gas in our energy mix by 15% within a maximum of five years." The Liquefied Natural Gas imported however will not be fully allocated for regasification, having been chosen by the State of Kerala as fuel for its public transport bus fleet.
The New Delhi government also shows itself to be very active in using LNG as an economic leverage tool in foreign policy. Minister Pradhan is in talks with his counterpart in Sri Lanka to help the country replicate India's energy transition towards natural gas. Among the possible areas of intervention for Indian energy companies, the construction of an LNG terminal and support infrastructure, as well as the possible restructuring of the Sapugaskanda refinery and geological exploration for hydrocarbons in the Mannar basin.