GAIL (India) Ltd has deferred its proposed Rs7,000 crore petrochemicals project in Kochi. Also, the Rs3,000 crore Petronet LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant in the city will be delayed by a year. But the delay will not cause any escalation in cost, petroleum minister Murli Deora said here on Sunday.
The petrochemicals complex, which was to come up as a corollary of the Petronet LNG plant, has been deferred owing to the gas that was to be procured from Australian firm Gorgon, being ‘lean’ gas with low ethane content, according to GAIL director A.K. Purwaha.
He said the project was envisaged in the backdrop of sourcing ethane-rich gas and a detailed feasibility report for this had been prepared. Under the project, the gas would be ‘cracked’ separating the ethane, which would be made into ethylene and used for downstream projects such as manufacture of plastic and polythene. However, the 2.5 million tonnes per annum of gas, which was to be sourced for the LNG plant, is unlikely to be rich in ethane as this was being extracted at the source and then shipped out. The gas found in India was ‘lean’ and would not support such an industry, he said, adding that GAIL was open to the project if the gas available was rich.
About the delay in the proposed LNG terminal, Deora said it was owing to the agreement reached with the Australian firm. The ministry has been in talks with several suppliers and had finally zeroed in on Gorgon for a long-term agreement, which is expected to be signed by mid-2008.
Another reason for the delay has been the road connectivity to the terminal site that would need 250 truckloads (about one million cubic metres) of soil daily. The engineering procurement and construction contract is yet to be awarded. This is likely to happen after it is reworked by early August.
On the gas pipeline from Iran via Pakistan, Purwaha said the meeting with Pakistan would be held on Wednesday, while trilateral talks involving Iran are scheduled for Friday.