GAIL India has deferred a USD 7-billion tender for hiring nine newly-built ships to ferry liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US by one month. Bids for the tender were to close on February 29 but now have been extended to March 31.
The state gas utility is seeking 9 LNG ships of cargo capacity of 1,50,000-1,80,000 cubic metres to help transport LNG it has tied up from Sabine Pass and Cove Point LNG projects in the US, with supplies slated to start from December 2017.
Press Trust of India quoted GAIL Chairman and Managing Director B C Tripathi as saying: "The postponement has been done at the request of bidders to allow them time to finalise their bids. There are no changes in tender conditions."
GAIL India is the largest state-owned natural gas processing and distribution company in India.
Bids were originally to close on December 17, but were postponed to February 29 to allow Indian shipyards to tie up technology for building the specialised vessels.
GAIL is seeking quotes in three lots of three ships each. One ship in each lot is to be built at an Indian shipyard.
After postponing the deadline thrice, GAIL had in February last year scrapped the tender to hire nine LNG carriers to ferry gas from the US, with a caveat that three of them be made in India. At that point, no foreign shipyard was willing to share LNG ship-building technology.