Speakers at a national seminar here on LNG-based industries described natural gas as the cornerstone of Kerala's future economic development and called for resolution of issues such as tying up of supplies and pricing at the earliest.

The seminar was organised on Thursday by the Institution of Engineers (India), Kochi chapter.

Commissioning

Executive Director of the BPCL-Kochi Refinery E. Nandakumar, who was the chief guest at the inauguration of the seminar, said the LNG project was conceived in 1991-92 and at one time it was thought that Kochi was ahead of Dahej, where a 10-million-tonne a year LNG terminal was now commissioned. Kochi terminal was due for commissioning in the middle of 2012.

He called for resolution of issues such as pricing at the earliest so that Kerala could take advantage of the relatively clean energy source for its development.

Mr. Nandakumar said Kerala could not just survive on service industry and needed to go in for manufacturing. No other fuel was suited to the State's plans for the future than natural gas.

Investments

He pointed out that the BPCL-Kochi Refinery planned investments to the tune of Rs. 20,000 crore in the near future and this would involve between 20 and 30 ancillary units, which would need LNG as its source of power supply and feedstock.

M.P. Sukumaran Nair, former Special Secretary to the Chief Minister of Kerala, said in his presentation on natural gas and industrial development of Kerala that enterprises such as Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore could save up to Rs.415 crore a year on switching feedstock from naphtha to natural gas.

Pipelines

He called for the fast completion of supply pipelines; assurance of LNG supplies to Kochi; setting up of a power plant close to the LNG terminal; and expansion of the capacity of the terminal here.

Deputy Chief Engineer of FACT K. Jayachandran emphasised the importance of natural gas for the fertilizer industry.

He made a presentation on the prospects and concerns of the fertilizer industry vis-à-vis the supply of natural gas.

Various aspects

The two-day seminar deals with various aspects of LNG, including safety and its environment friendliness.

G. Madhu, convener of the seminar, introduced the theme and welcomed the gathering.

K. Ajitkumar, former secretary of the Engineers India local chapter, proposed a vote of thanks.

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