President Trump and India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi vowed Wednesday to strengthen a comprehensive global strategic partnership between their countries, including growing links in trade and investment in hydrocarbons such as liquefied natural gas (LNG).
"Through their strategic energy partnership, the United States and India are seeking to enhance energy security, expand energy and innovation linkages across respective energy sectors, bolster strategic alignment, and facilitate increased engagement between industry and other stakeholders," the joint statement said by the two heads of state. "President Trump and Prime Minister Modi noted the potential for the United States to meet India’s goal to diversify its import base for coking/metallurgical coal and natural gas, welcoming recent commercial arrangements intended to accelerate access to LNG in the Indian market."
The energy partnership "has become even stronger and, in this area, our mutual investment has grown," Modi said at a joint press conference in New Delhi. "The U.S. has indeed become a very important oil and gas source for India. Over the last four years, our total energy trade volume is about $20 billion."
The joint statement also included language calling on the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. and Westinghouse Electric Co. to finalize a techno-commercial offer to construct six nuclear reactors in India.
Trump during his state visit said ExxonMobil had signed a deal to improve India's natural gas distribution network "so that the U.S. can export even more LNG to India.” Other energy-related details from the trip were lacking.
There had been some anticipation that Gulf Coast LNG developer Tellurian Inc. could make news concerning its proposed agreement to sell a significant portion of capacity from the still unsanctioned Driftwood project to India’s state-owned Petronet LNG Ltd., but it was not to be. The $2.5 billion deal is expected to be finalized by March 31.
Bangladesh, India and Pakistan together imported 36 million metric tons of LNG during 2019, an increase of 19% from 2018, according to Royal Dutch Shell plc. Emerging growth countries in the region are expected to consume increasing amounts of gas, Shell said in an annual outlook for global LNG.
The global gas market continues to look weak as abundant supplies are met with demand destruction from the coronavirus outbreak, which has shown signs of intensifying in recent days as Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea have all reported an escalation in reported cases, raising the risks of a global pandemic that's sent renewed jitters through financial markets.