India has for the first time ever signed a contract to import LPG from Iran as it looks at additional sources of cooking fuel to meet rising domestic demand. State-owned oil firms will import one very large gas carrier (VLGC), or 44,000 tons, per month for an initial six-month period, industry sources said. India imports almost a million tons of LPG every month to meet rising demand that has been further fuelled by the government drive to give free gas connections to poor women.
LPG consumption in 2016-17 rose 9.8 per cent to 21.55 million tons. Of this, 11 million tons came from imports. India mainly imports LPG via term contracts from major Middle Eastern producers Saudi Aramco, Qatar's Tasweeq, Abu Dhabi National Oil Co and Kuwait Petroleum Corp. Sources said LPG imports will rise over the next three years to 16-17 million tons as the government pushes for making available cooking gas cylinders to the poor and wean them off polluting fuels.
The country is looking to import LPG from Bangladesh. India had imported 8.8 million tons of LPG in 2015-16. Imports last year made India the world's second-largest importer of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), behind China. It overtook Japan, which imported 10.6 million tons. Last May, the government launched a programme to provide free cooking gas connection to poor women with a view to cut on use of firewood and polluting fuels like dried cow dung.