Petronet may look at building fourth LNG import terminal

New Delhi: Petronet LNG Ltd, the operator of the world's largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal, may look at setting up a fourth facility in the country to meet the rising energy demand in Asia's third-largest economy, its CEO A K Singh said.

Petronet operates a 17.5 million tonnes a year LNG import facility at Dahej in Gujarat and another 5 million tonnes facility at Kochi in Kerala. It is looking to set up a floating LNG import terminal at Gopalpur in Odisha in the next 3 years at a cost of Rs 1,600 crore.

"We believe gas demand will continue to grow and we will need avenues to meet such requirement," he said.

With limited domestic production, gas demand will have to be met through imports.

"We could possibly look at setting up a fourth LNG import and regassification terminal," he said without giving details. "These are preliminary thoughts and we will come back to you once plans are firmed up."

Natural gas consumption will have to rise to over 500 million standard cubic meters per day from the current 165 mmscmd to achieve the government's goal of raising the share of natural gas in the country's primary energy basket to 15 per cent by 2030 from the current 6.7 per cent.

With domestic production of gas barely meeting half of the current consumption, import of gas in the form of LNG will have to grow.

According to Shell, India would need 35 to 40 million tonnes of additional LNG imports between 2020 to 2040. (1 million tonnes of LNG is equal to 3.60 mmscmd).

Besides Petronet's terminals, India currently has an operational import facility at Hazira and Mundra in Gujarat, Dabhol in Maharashtra and Ennore in Tamil Nadu (all 5 million tonnes per annum capacity each).

Singh said Petronet plans to make a foray into the petrochemical business by investing Rs 12,500 crore in a Propane Dehydrogenation Plant at Dahej to convert imported feedstock into propylene.

"We plan to build a jetty at Dahej for import of ethane and propane. While propane will be used as feedstock for our petrochemical plant, ethane will be for sale to petrochemical plants of other companies such as that of OPAL," he said.

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