Capacity growth of LNG plant on track
T Ramavarman | Oct 28, 2011
KOCHI: Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has given its final nod to Petronet LNG Ltd's proposal for expanding the capacity of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Puthuvypu, off Kochi from 2.5 million tonnes to 5 million tonnes.
"This was the only clearance that was pending for the expansion proposal. We had obtained all other clearances earlier," AK Balyan, managing director and CEO, Petronet LNG told TOI here.
"The project is on track and we are planning to commission it towards the end of 2012," he added.
The project is estimated to cost around Rs 4000 crore, and Petronet which is a consortium promoted by state-owned energy firms such as GAIL (India) Limited, ONGC, Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, is funding it through internal resources and borrowing.
Balyan says, "The entire initial design of the project was for 5 million tonnes. Hence, only few additions will be required for expanding the capacity", Balyan said.
The Expert Appraisal Committee of MoEF said it had noted Petronet's statement that augmentation of the capacity from 2.5 million tonnes to 5 million tonnes will not induct additional environmental issues and that the planned system will take care of the overall requirement of the facility.
"However, impacts if any arising out of increased activities to meet the additional capacity shall be brought to the notice of the Ministry with appropriate mitigation measures that will be put in place, to ensure that the given commitment of 'no additional impact' is maintained in letter and spirit," a committee statement said.
The MoEF panel has also stipulated that 'at least 5% of the total cost of the project shall be earmarked towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and item-wise details along with time bound action plan shall be prepared and submitted to the Ministry prior to the commencement of the project. Implementation of such program shall be ensured accordingly in a time bound manner."
The project will be able to supply LNG to states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu apart from downstream industries in Kerala like NTPC power plant at Kayamkulam and FACT, Kalamassery. It has already tied up a 1.5-tonne LNG supply agreement with Exxon Mobil Australia and has been in talks with other LNG suppliers.
GAIL is laying the pipelines for gas distribution in two phases. In the first phase, it will connect to industrial consumers in Kerala. In the second, it will connect to Bangalore and Mangalore. The pipeline to Bangalore would pass through Coimbatore and Salem. The first line for industrial consumers in Kalamassery and Aluva is likely to be completed by early next year, Balyan disclosed.
Interestingly, Kerala government has appealed to the Centre to raise the capacity of the plant to 15 million tonnes, considering the projected LNG demands for future.
The state has also requested Petronet to set up a gas-based power plant near the project, promising land for both these proposals. But Petronet sources said these proposals are unlikely to be considered till the plant under construction gets stabilized.
The project for expanding the capacity of liquefied natural gas terminal at Puthuvypu, off Kochi from 2.5 million to 5 million tonnes, is estimated to cost around Rs 4000 crore.