Petronet LNG nod to double capacity for Kochi terminal

Petronet LNG nod to double capacity for Kochi terminal

Kochi: Petronet LNG Ltd has decided to double the capacity for the proposed liquiefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Puthuvypu, off Kochi to 5 million tonne. The terminal is expected to be commissioned by March 2012.

S Sunderasan, petroleum secretary, said the Petronet board which met in Kochi on Sunday took the capacity enhancement decision which would take the investment for the terminal to Rs4,000-crore. Petronet is a consortium promoted by Gas Authority of India Ltd, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd each having 12.5% equity share and 10% held by GDF International, 5.2 by the Asian Development Bank and 34.8 with the public.

The company had already tied up a 1.5-tonne LNG supply agreement with Exxon Mobil Australia and was in talks with other LNG suppliers. Agreements would be reached before the terminal is commissioned, said A.K. Balyan, managing director and chief operating officer of Petronet.

The commissioning of the terminal would positively impact the working of downstream industries like the Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore Ltd (FACT) and the National Thermal Power Corporation plant at Kayamkulam in Kerala which would switch over LNG as fuel from the present naphtha.

Parallely, Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) would begin work immediately for laying a gas pipeline from Kochi to Mangalore and from there branch it out to Bangalore. Work would also begin on an undersea gas pipeline to the NTPC Kayamkulam plant. The laying of the pipelines would be completed in 18 months to coincide with the commissioning of the LNG terminal. The total investment envisaged would be around Rs5,000 crore. There was a proposal to extend it to the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, said Sunderasan.

Regarding an earlier proposal of Petronet to enter into in the business of power generation, he said that as of now Petronet proposed to stay in its core business and with its making LNG available, others could look at setting up power plants.