Millennium Post

IOC to commission Ennore LNG terminal this month

New Delhi: Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the nation's biggest oil firm, Wednesday said it will commission its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal at Ennore in Tamil Nadu this month.

IOC Chairman Sanjiv Singh said the Rs 5,151-crore terminal is complete and would be commissioned after completion of dredging of the channel that will bring cryogenic ships carrying natural gas in its liquid form to the port.

"We hope to commission the facility this month," he told reporters here.

Once dredging is complete, IOC will bring a cargo or shipload of LNG to commission the terminal.

This is the first LNG import terminal IOC has built on its own. The company holds 12.5 per cent stake in Petronet LNG Ltd, which operates import facilities at Dahej in Gujarat and Kochi in Kerala. It has also booked capacities in upcoming terminals on both east and west coast.

The dredging is being carried out by Ennore Port Trust.

Asked about diluting stake the Ennore project, he said nothing has been finalised as yet.

"There are a lot of people who have shown interest," he said.

Malaysian state-owned oil and natural gas producer Petroliam Nasional Bhd, or Petronas, as also Petronet LNG, India's biggest LNG importer, have expressed interest in taking a stake in the Ennore plant.

IOC holds 95 per cent stake in the Ennore LNG import terminal. Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) has 5 per cent.

The state-owned refiner wants to retain a minimum 50 per cent stake in the project and so, practically 45 per cent stake is available for the taking.

In August last year, the IOC board had given in-principle approval to acquire up to 50 per cent stake in Adani Group-backed Mundra LNG import terminal in Gujarat for an estimated Rs 750 crore.

"We are still in discussion," he said.

GSPL LNG, a joint venture of Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation and Adani Enterprises, has set up a 5-million tonne per annum (mtpa) LNG terminal at the Mundra port in Gujarat.

Singh said IOC is talking to GSPL about valuations of the stake.

Going by a back-of-the-envelope calculation, roughly 30 per cent of the Rs 5,040-crore project cost is equity and IOC will pay for half of that.

As the second-largest natural gas player in the country, IOC is making significant investments in natural gas infrastructure and marketing, in line with the country's changing energy mix.

"We already have investments across the gas value chain, from LNG import terminals to city gas distribution networks," he said.

IOC plans to connect the Ennore terminal to its Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd (CPCL) refinery apart from facilities of Madras Fertilisers, Tamil Nadu Petro Products, Manali Petrol Products, and other customers in the area.

The firm is also working on laying a 1,385 km natural gas pipeline originating from the Ennore terminal to Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu via Puducherry. Also, branch pipelines will be laid in Madurai, Tuticorin, and Bengaluru to meet the demand from multiple LNG consumers in the region.

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