French energy giant Total SA is in talks to buy up to half of Adani Group's stake in LNG projects in Gujarat and Odisha, an under-construction LPG import facility and in its city gas projects, sources privy to the development said.
The French firm is keen on investing in fast growing gas market in India and finds Adani a suitable vehicle as it owns the crucial downstream infrastructure, they said.
Adani holds 25 per cent stake in just-completed 5 million tonnes a year liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal at Mundra. It is also building a similar capacity LNG import terminal at Dhamra in Odisha at a cost of Rs 51 billion
Sources said Total is in talks to buy half of Adani's stake in the two terminals.
It is also looking at buying a 50 per cent stake in under-construction LPG import terminal that Adani is building at Mundra in Gujarat as well as a stake in Adani's flourishing city gas distribution projects, the sources said, adding that a preliminary pact may be signed this week during the visit of Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne to India.
India is looking at more than doubling the share of natural gas in its energy basket to 15 per cent in next few years and is giving major push to city gas distribution projects. It imports half of its gas needs, which are projected to rise exponentially as it shifts from polluting liquid fuels to environment friendly natural gas.
While an email sent to Total for comments remained unanswered, Adani Group spokesperson wasn't immediately available for comments.
While the Mundra LNG terminal has Gujarat State Petroleum Corp (GSPC) as the lead partner, Adani is building a new LPG import facility at the same port with a total capacity to 3.56 million tonnes per annum. The LPG terminal is to be completed by next month.
Adani Gas, a subsidiary of Adani Enterprises Ltd, is developing city gas distribution (CGD) networks to supply the piped natural gas (PNG) to the industrial, commercial, domestic (residential) units and compressed natural gas (CNG) to the transport sector.
It already has set up city gas distribution networks in Ahmedabad and Vadodara in Gujarat, Faridabad in Haryana and Khurja in Uttar Pradesh.
It has, in the recently concluded CGD bid round, won rights to 13 cities on its own and another 9 in joint venture with state-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC). These are in addition to the 50:50 Adani-IOC joint venture winning rights to develop CGD network in Allahabad, Chandigarh, Ernakulam, Panipat, Daman, Dharwad, and Udhamsingh Nagar in previous bid rounds.
Sources said Total is looking at buying half of Adani's stake all the CGD networks.
The development comes weeks after Total announced its exit from Royal Dutch Shell-operated Hazira LNG terminal in Gujarat.
It sold its 26 per cent stake in the project to Shell.
Total had in March 2004 picked up 26 per cent stake in the 2.5 million tonnes a year Hazira liquefied natural gas import terminal in Gujarat. The terminal capacity was later doubled to 5 million tonne. Hazira LNG terminal was commissioned in 2005 and expanded to 5 million tonnes in 2013. Shell held the remaining 74 per cent stake in the company.
Total has signed an agreement to sell 0.5 million tonne LNG per year to Shell over five years, on a delivery basis to supply the Indian and neighbouring markets. The deliveries will be sourced from Total's global LNG portfolio and are expected to begin in 2019.