India may set up fertiliser plant in Brunei: Hamid Ansari

NEW DELHI: Vice President Hamid Ansari on Monday said India is exploring the possibility of setting up a fertiliser plant in Brunei using the gas from the country, the fourth largest producer of LNG in the world.

“We buy about a million dollar worth of oil from Brunei. They don’t have much gas for us (exporting directly) because their gas is contracted out on a long-term basis. So we are exploring with them the possibility of using their gas locally for setting up a fertiliser unit,” Ansari told reporters on his way to Brunei .

Brunei is the fourth largest producer of LNG in the world and among the largest gas exporters with 9% share of the export market.

Ansari, who is on a five-day visit to Brunei and Thailand, said some discussions on the proposal have taken place.

“Maybe we will discuss a little more. That should be a good proposition. We have already tried this formula in Oman where we manufacture urea there and bring it to India. In terms of freight and all also it is cheaper,” he said.

More than 90% of Brunei’s gas production is converted into LNG for exports with most of LNG taken up by South Korea.

Indian imports with Brunei in 2015 (up to October) stood at 642.79 million Brunei dollars while the exports figure was 29.86 million Brunei dollars.

During Ansari’s visit, India will sign three MoUs with Brunei on defence cooperation, health and youth affairs and sports.

Ansari said Brunei has been country coordinator for India with the ASEAN grouping for three years and “our experience has been very positive”.

He termed India’s relations with Thailand as more “substantive” and added that there is a lot of possibility of improving trade relations with the country.

The last few years have seen a rapid growth in bilateral trade. India-Thailand trade in 2014-15 was worth $9.32 billion while in April-September this year it was $3.42 billion.

On the government’s Act East policy, he said, “Look East which developed into Act East is part of our strategic perception in immediate neighbourhood to the east. This is a policy which has been consciously developed over a period of time to have good political, strategic and economic ties with ASEAN countries. It is a very concerted policy developed very carefully and now it has depth and content.”