State-run GAIL on Wednesday said that it has inked a time charter contract for a new LNG carrier and joint ownership of an existing LNG carrier with Japan-based Mitsui O S K Lines (MOL).

The new vessel will be the second MOL group LNG carrier serving GAIL. The parties had signed a contract for the first vessel in 2019, the country’s largest gas utility said in a statement.

“The existing vessel still has been chartered to GAIL through a wholly owned MOL subsidiary from 2021 and even now, MOL’s shipping service is highly regarded by GAIL. At this time, MOL and GAIL reached an agreement to share the vessel by transferring a portion of a wholly owned MOL subsidiary’s shares to GAIL,” it added.

By strengthening MOL and GAIL’s partnership, there will be synergies that will make MOL provide more reliable services, and this will lead MOL to extend services even further against the demand that will grow in the future, said GAIL.

MOL will strengthen its presence and business base in India, where energy demand is expected to increase.

India imports almost half of its natural gas requirement as liquefied natural gas (LNG).

GAIL is constantly expanding its global presence through its participation in projects/ ventures along the natural gas value chain. With the global LNG portfolio of around 14 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), GAIL has emerged as one of the leading global LNG players and is actively involved in the LNG trading business in the international market.