(EnergyAsia, April 23 2012, Monday) — French energy infrastructure company GDF SUEZ said it has been selected by Andhra Pradesh Gas Distribution Corporation (APGDC) as strategic partner to develop a floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) import terminal project on the east coast of India.

GDF SUEZ said it expects to complete a feasibility study by end-2012, followed by a final investment decision (FID), with commissioning of the 3.5 million tonnes/year terminal expected in early 2014.

The project will provide Andhra Pradesh state with LNG to support its economy which has been growing at an average of 7.4% over last five years.

GDF SUEZ said it will have a 26% stake in the terminal which will be using a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU).

APGDC is a Joint Venture between GAIL Gas, a fully owned subsidiary of GAIL India Ltd, and the Andhra-Pradesh Gas Infrastructure Corporation (APGIC). GAIL is the largest gas transport and marketing company in India.

Jean-Marie Dauger, GDF SUEZ’s executive vice president in charge of global gas and LNG business, said:

“We are delighted to initiate this new partnership in India. This agreement is recognition of GDF SUEZ expertise in LNG projects development. With a 10% stake in Petronet LNG Limited and a medium term LNG sales agreement signed in 2011, GDF SUEZ confirms that India, and more generally Asia, as a core development region for its LNG business.”

GDF SUEZ venture into India’s natural gas business in 1997 when it acquired a 10% stake in Petronet LNG, the owner of LNG import terminals in Dahej and Kochi (under construction).

Having identified Asia as a core region for its LNG business, GDF SUEZ is developing a two-million-tonnes/year FLNG terminal to tap the Bonaparte field in Australia.