The liquefied natural gas project at Puthuvype here is unlikely to get commissioned next month. Though procedures for receiving natural gas from foreign countries have been completed, the facility has not got the nod to go on stream.
This is because several industries which have signed agreements with Petronet LNG Limited for gas purchase are yet to begin the conversion process at their product manufacturing units. It will be meaningless to commission the project without the end-user being able to receive the gas. Thus, Petronet has been forced to postpone the date of commissioning.
Petronet LNG Limited, which has set up the 5 MMTPA (million metric tonne per annum) plant, is assessing the capability and readiness of end-users to utilise the new fuel. FACT, one of the main bulk users of LNG, has received permission from the Union government to convert its fertilizer production facility at Udyogamandal in order to utilise natural gas. It will take a few months to complete the work.
On the other hand, if the company decides to launch the project in March itself, it will be a mere perfunctory measure sans flow of gas to the commercial or domestic beneficiaries. The chances of such a soft opening are remote, going by the response from the company as well as the industrial beneficiary units. Again, the Kochi project, being a prestigious one for Petronet, it is unlikely that the company will opt for an in-principle inauguration next month.
One of the prospective bulk consumers of LNG is NTPC, Kayamkulam, which is yet to sign an agreement for purchase of gas.