Seeking to give a thrust to liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade, state-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has invited bids for construction of the 5 million tonne a year LNG terminal at Ennore in Tamil Nadu to be constructed at a cost of Rs. 4320 crore.

According to IOC officials, expression of interest (EoI) proposals for a lump sum engineering, procurement and construction contract for the LNG import and re-gasification terminal. The last date for submitting EoI is April 16. IOC has drawn up plans to build a LNG terminal at Katupalli in Ennore by 2016. It will have an initial capacity of 5 million tonne which could be expanded to 10 to 15 million tonne per year. There is also a likelihood of Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) taking a 5-10 per cent stake in the project while the majority stake will remain with IOC.

Officials said that talks are underway with Russian giant Gazprom for a 26 per cent stake in the project in lieu of gas supplies. Ennore will be the third LNG terminal on the East Coast with state-owned gas utility GAIL India building a facility at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh and Petronet LNG Ltd setting up a 5 million tonne facility at Gangavaram in Andhra Pradesh. Royal Dutch Shell also plans to set up a floating LNG terminal at Kakinada.

According to the EoI offer, the bidder, having a minimum annual turnover of $200 million during last three years and a net worth of at least $55 million, should have carried on its own design, engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and project management for these facilities. IOC also plans to lay 1,175 Km of pipelines to transport gas imported at the Ennore LNG terminal to consumers.

The company had on January 18 submitted an Expression of Interest (EoI) to sector regulator Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) for laying natural gas pipeline from Ennore to Nagapattinum in Tamil Nadu with spurlines to Madurai, Tuticorin and Bengaluru. IOC has plans to invest Rs. 56,200 crore during the 12th Plan (2012-17). Of this, Rs. 3,592 crore is earmarked for diversification projects like LNG terminals.

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