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India hopeful of Brunei's gas supply
Publication Date : 13-08-2013
India is hopeful that Brunei will "seriously" look into its invitation for the sultanate to supply gas to the eastern parts of the country with the republic yet to secure a supplier, said India's High Commissioner to Brunei yesterday.
His Excellency Lal Duthalane Ralte said his embassy had mentioned about the offer to the relevant ministers of the Brunei government in recent times but the matter has yet to materialise.
"We are hoping that Brunei will seriously look into the development of the eastern port gas pipeline. This is a gas connection from port to cities and within the cities to buildings. Brunei can come in to supply the gas in these areas," he told The Brunei Times during a Hari Raya celebration hosted by the Singapore High Commission in Brunei held at The Empire Hotel and Country Club in Jerudong.
"At the moment, there is no one supplying from the East so we would like for Brunei to supply. Of course, we are looking everywhere else for gas as we are currently short (of gas supply)."
When asked whether there are other opportunities for Brunei and India to cooperate in, Ralte said the opportunities are limited.
"At the moment, in terms of other opportunities for India to explore, there are not as many, as they are already tapped by other players. But India will keep on looking for any other opportunities and investments," the high commissioner said.
"Maybe more Bruneians can come to India and invest. We are offering them to come to India but also, our people can invest in downstream activities in Brunei."
In a previous interview with The Brunei Times in March, Ralte said the Indian government had held preliminary talks with Brunei authorities and relevant stakeholders and was hopeful that it could be materialised.
"We need to develop our eastern ports (and) coasts, for the gas pipelines and gas pipes to home, so we have offered Brunei LNG a chance to invest in India, because that is an area where they are good at, that's a good return. And that is for whole eastern sea port, it's a big market for (gas) piping," the high commissioner said during the interview.
India's former External Affairs Minister SM Krishna during a visit to the Sultanate in October 2012, had said his country was seeking to enhance energy cooperation with Brunei by commencing imports of natural gas in order to meet India's growing energy demands.
Trade between Brunei and India remains at US$500 million, with the bulk of it covering export of crude oil to India from Brunei.
Out of the $500 million, $400 million came from India's oil imports from Brunei, illustrating heavy importation for India, and less exports to the Sultanate.
High shipping costs, lack of business ties between merchant communities and Brunei's small market have been blamed for the low trade volume.
Recent reports indicate that both Brunei and India are eager to increase trade volumes between the two nations.