* To open Singapore trading desk on Nov 1
* Aims to import 8 LNG cargoes in Oct-March
* Plans to commission Dabhol LNG terminal during Jan-March (recasts)
NEW DELHI, Oct 24 (Reuters) - State-run gas utility GAIL India plans to buy stakes in more shale gas assets in the United States, its chairman B.C. Tripathi said on Monday as the company reported results.
“We are looking for more assets there. We can’t fix a timeline but we hope something will come out in six month,” Tripathi told reporters at a press conference.
He said GAIL, which will open a office in Houston on Nov. 1, aims to consolidate its presence in shale gas assets in the United States, and use the expertise for exploration in India.
India has pushed back plans to unveil its shale gas exploration policy to next year, Oil Minister S. Jaipal Reddy said last week.
Last month, GAIL agreed to buy a 20 percent stake in one of Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc’s shales gas assets in the United States and would invest a total of $300 million over the next five years.
GAIL on Monday announced 19 percent jump in its second quarter net profit to 10.94 billion Indian rupees ($219 million).
GAIL, which owns India’s biggest gas pipeline network of about 8,700 kilometres, aims to buy four spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes in the December quarter, he said.
GAIL aims to increase its pipeline network to 10,000 kms in the current fiscal year to end-March 2012.
Tripathi said GAIL is still in talks to acquire stake in Yamal LNG project in Russian Arctic.
GAIL has stepped up liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports this fiscal year to make up for a shortfall caused by falling local gas output after Reliance Industries -operated D6 block, off the country’s east cost, saw volumes declining.
Tripathi said in July-September GAIL imported 4 spot LNG cargoes and it planned to buy similar volumes in each of next two quarters.
GAIL and top power producer NTPC Ltd hold majority stakes in Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd, which runs the country’s biggest gas-based utility popularly known as Dabhol power plant in western Maharashtra state and owns an LNG terminal there.
Tripathi said GAIL would get a cargo in the third week of January to commission the 5-million-tonne-a-year terminal, which will initially run at lower capacity until a breakwater is built.
To meet its growing demand, Tripathi said GAIL will open a trading desk in Singapore on Nov. 1.
“We will be transferring 3-4 people there. They are from marketing and finance side. Initially the desk will focus on sourcing LNG and not on trading,” Tripathi said. ($1 = 50.025 Indian Rupees) (Reporting by Nidhi Verma; editing by Malini Menon)