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India for the first time starts importing LNG from US

India for first time has started process of importing Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) from United States. The development comes on the heels of India’s first import of crude oil from the US in October 2017.

State-owned GAIL will discharge its

The first US-sourced LNG shipment was imported by state-owned GAIL and was shipped it on board of its chartered LNG ship ‘Meridian Spirit’ from Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG export facility in Louisiana.  It will be discharged at GAIL’s Dabhol terminal, Maharashtra.

Key Facts

GAIL had signed 20-year Sale Purchase Agreement (SPA) with US’ natural gas exporter Cheniere Energy in December 2011. Under it, GAIL will purchase around 3.5 Million Tonne of LNG per year from Sabine Pass. Cheniere Energy is currently operating and constructing its Sabine Pass LNG facility in Louisiana and is constructing second liquefaction facility near Corpus Christi, Texas.

This shipment will help GAIL to diversify its portfolio both on price indexation and geographical locations. Moreover, this long-term SPA will also strengthening relationship between GAIL and Cheniere and reinforcing India-US trade ties.

Background

India primarily imports LNG from Qatar and Australia under long-term contracts. In recent times, it has been trying to diversify its natural gas sources. Moreover, after former US President Barack Obama lifted US’s 40 year-old oil export ban, Indian oil and gas companies in response bought shipments of US crude to check for cost competitiveness and its compatibility with Indian refinery configuration. India is also trying to increase its use of natural gas in the energy mix from current 6% to 15% within five years inorder reduce dependence on oil and to secure energy supplies and reduce emissions by using more natural gas.

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India’s first HeliTaxi service launched in Bengaluru

India’s first helicopter shuttle service (HeliTaxi) was launched in IT capital Bengaluru, Karnataka n a bid to provide last-mile connectivity. The maiden trip of helitaxi was between Electronic City and Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru. It was provided by Thumby Aviation.

Need

Bengaluru has poor road density (measure of road length per square km area of land) as compared to other Indian cities. So such service was needed much more than other cities to ferry air passengers to and from the city. The decision to launch HeliTaxi was announced in August 2017 by Union Minister of State (MoS) for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha.

Key Facts

HeliTaxi provides connectivity between Airport and Electronic City (located in south about 70 km from airport in the city centre), home to hundreds of technology firms including, Infosys and other multinationals. It has reduced travelling time between airport and Electronic City from two hours (by road) to 15 minutes.

The fare is fixed at Rs. 4,130 per seat, including GST. It includes pick up from airport terminal to helipad and allows carrying 15 kg luggage. People can book their seat through a mobile app named ‘Heli Taxii’. Currently, the chopper service provider has employed only one helicopter to ferry air passengers and will increase number depending on demand.

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