New Delhi : State gas utility GAIL India Ltd has again postponed its $7-billion tender for hiring nine newly-built ships to ferry LNG from the US, by one month.
Bids for the tender, which was re-floated in September, were to close on February 29, but the last date of bidding has now been postponed to March 31.
“The postponement has been done at the request of bidders to allow them time to finalise their bids,” GAIL Chairman and Managing Director B C Tripathi said here. “There are no changes in tender conditions.”
GAIL is seeking 9 LNG ships of cargo capacity of 1,50,000-1,80,000 cubic metres to help transport liquefied natural gas (LNG) it has tied up from Sabine Pass and Cove Point LNG projects in the US, with supplies slated to start from December 2017.
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, reports PTI.
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.
Negotiations that followed saw Cochin Shipyard strike a deal with Samsung Heavy Industries to cooperate in construction of the vessels. It has also been licensed by GTT of France to build LNG carriers with the Mark III membrane containment system. However, L&T Shipbuilding, which had a deal with Hyundai Heavy Industries, has pulled out of the bidding as it turns its focus to defence projects.
Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering has teamed up with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) of South Korea for ship-building. The tender was re-floated on September 15, 2015. Sources said while two ships will be built at the shipyards of their foreign collaborators, one carrier has to be built in India. Other Indian shipyards are looking at a similar tie-up for the same.