Enron’s India relic comes back to life with record LNG imports
New Delhi: Ratnagiri Gas & Power Pvt., which took over the Indian power plant and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal of defunct Enron Corp. called Dabhol Power Co., plans to use the facility to import record LNG volumes in the year to 31 March.
The terminal “has already started increasing the capacity to create space for the next LNG cargo scheduled to arrive by 29 September,” said B.C. Tripathi, chairman of Gail India Ltd, India’s biggest gas marketeer and one of Ratnagiri Gas & Power’s biggest owners. “This year, we will process at least 25 cargoes at Dabhol.”
Gail has purchased a cargo from Nigeria to restart imports after halting shipments in May because of monsoon rains. The Dabhol terminal, south of Mumbai in the western state of Maharashtra, has so far imported 45 LNG cargoes, including 22 shipments last financial year and 10 cargoes the year before, according to GAIL’s website. The state-run distributor sells the gas to customers using its pipeline network.
The Dabhol terminal’s volume jump comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government seeks to more than double natural gas’s share in the nation’s energy mix in five years. A 60% fall in spot LNG prices since October 2014 has prompted distributors such as Gail and Indian Oil Corp. Ltd to boost gas imports.
“The government has been steadfast in expanding the natural gas-based economy and we will see more LNG volumes coming in,” Tripathi said in an interview in New Delhi on 23 September.
The terminal operates at about 60% of its 5 million tonne-a-year capacity as it does not have a breakwater, a barrier built out into the sea to protect a harbour from the force of waves that helps bring shipments through the year. Ratnagiri Gas & Power plans to build the breakwater by 2020.
Gail and NTPC Ltd, India’s largest electricity generator, own 25.51% each in Ratnagiri Gas & Power, while the remaining is controlled by financial institutions and MSEB Holding Co., Maharashtra’s state utility. Bloomberg