India's Petronet LNG has signed an initial agreement with Houston-based United LNG to annually buy 4 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG), R. K. Garg, the Indian company's head of finance, said on Thursday.
The preliminary deal with United LNG was signed two days back and is expected to be finalised by the end of this year, Garg said.
"If everything goes well supplies from United LNG will begin in 2018. We hope to finalise commercial terms and sign SPA (sale purchase agreement) by the end of this year," he told Reuters.
Petronet, the country's biggest gas importer and partly owned by state-run GAIL India, Indian Oil Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp, operates a 10 million tonnes a year LNG terminal at Dahej in western India.
It is also building a 5-million-tonne-per-year terminal in the southern Indian city of Kochi.
India, the world's fourth-largest oil importer, has been scouting for oil and gas assets abroad to meet rising local demand and to feed its expanding refining capacity.