Mehrotra’s Foresight eyes CNG carriers in $500m port deal

23 / 09 / 2020

London-based Foresight Group has clinched a deal to build vessels and terminals for a new compressed natural gas (CNG) project in the Middle East and India.

The Ravi Mehrotra-owned company said it is teaming up with Mumbai’s family owned chemicals group Padmanabh Mafatlal Group and Dutch shipowner Royal Boskalis Westminster.

The $500m scheme involves constructing a CNG terminal and other cargo terminals at New Port Bhavnagar in Gujarat, as well as an export facility in the Middle East.

The port concession in India will last for 30 years, with an option for another 20 years. The project was first mooted last year, but Boskalis was not involved at that stage. The state government of Gujarat has now signed a letter of intent with the group.

Foresight is lead developer. The company claims the terminal will be the world’s first CNG facility, aimed at meeting India’s long-term energy demand.

Ever-increasing demand

“With a favourable investment scenario and ever-increasing demand of natural gas in India as well as the potential to tap nearby accessible stranded offshore gas fields in the Gulf region, Foresight Group has envisioned to enter into the CNG value chain business,” Foresight added.
The company’s shipping division is at an advanced stage of discussion with an unnamed vessel designer and classification society over a new CNG carrier.

Australian group Global Energy Ventures is also trying to get CNG projects off the ground in the US and Brazil. It has a letter of intent for up to eight CNG carriers at Yantai CIMC Raffles Offshore in China, but has not yet firmed up the contracts.

“The group has already executed an MoU with [a] natural gas producing company for supply of CNG and development of a CNG export terminal from Gulf region,” Foresight said. The consortium will also develop new facilities at Gujarat for tankers, ro-ro and general
cargoships of above 12,000 dwt.

Two-phase project

The work will be carried out in two phases, with the first due to be completed by 2025. The Indian port will have throughput capacity of 10m tonnes per year, and this will double by 2030.

Foresight Group, which has been contacted for further comment on the plans, was founded in London in 1984 by Mehrotra.The company now owns five modern offshore jack-up rigs and operates a fleet of tankers currently on charter with ExxonMobil.

“The group continues to explore new opportunities in diverse sectors to hunt out sunrise business opportunities that will be able to sustain future growth and development,” Foresight said. Mehrotra has set a target of $50bn in annual revenue by its centenary in 2084, the group added.



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