NEW DELHI (TIP): Anglo-Dutch Shell and GDF Suez of France are to take 26% stake each in a floating facility for importing liquid gas that state utility Gail is proposing to put up off the Kakinada coast in Andhra Pradesh. Sources said Andhra Pradesh Gas Distribution Corporation — a joint venture of Gail Gas and Andhra Pradesh Gas Infrastructure Corporation — would hold the remaining 48% equity. Gail Gas is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gail. The companies inked the partnership agreement on Thursday in the presence of oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan, aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu. Andhra government wants work to start early on the project, envisaged to have a capacity of importing 3.5 million tonnes of gas in ship each year. Sources said the project is to be commissioned within two years. Progress on the Kakinada floating terminal will force Petronet LNG Ltd to put off, at least for the time being, a similar floating facility it was planning at Gangavaram in the state for importing 5 million tonnes a year of liquid gas. Flagship refiner Indian Oil Corporation is weighing a terminal for importing LNG at Ennore in Tamil Nadu. Shell had in 2013 announced plans to build a floating LNG terminal of up to 5 million tonnes per annum capacity off Kakinada coast in a joint venture with Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group’s Reliance Power. But Reliance Power last year exited the project and Shell decided to join the GAIL-led project which was announced in 2011. Shell operates a 5 million tonne LNG import facility at Hazira in Gujarat, while GDF Suez has been present in India since 1997 through a 10% stake in Petronet, the owner of LNG import terminals at Dahej and Kochi

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