Oman has made an offer to trade India natural gas in exchange for coal.
Interesting, but isn't Oman short of gas itself and looking to get supplies from Qatar through the Dolphin project and from Iran through the proposed pipeline across Hormuz?
“We have received a very interesting proposal from the Oman government, which has been forwarded to the power ministry by the ministry of external affairs, about their interest in a coal and gas swap around a month back,” said a senior government official familiar with the matter. “We are studying the proposal, which will be very beneficial for our present and future gas-based (power) generation capacity,” added the official, who did not wish to be identified.If the Indian government says yes, the two countries will enter into a long-term contract where Oman provides India natural gas in exchange for a steady supply of coal.
Indian coal has a high-ash content, one reason why some domestic coal-based power plants mix it with higher quality coal that is imported. However, Oman wants Indian coal for this very reason. Fly ash is a key component in the manufacture of cement and Oman, currently going through an infrastructure and construction boom, needs as much of the building material as it can get.In return, India will get natural gas, currently in short supply across the world, to run its power plants. Gas is also a key input for fertilizer plants. Several power plants in India that run on gas have had to shut down because of scarcity of the fuel. [link]