After obtaining stamp of approval from Expert Appraisal Committee, Petronet India Ltd (PIL) is waiting eagerly for the government formation in Seemandhra to take up work on Rs.4,500-crore LNG terminal in the city.

Objections over environmental problems and the Samaikyandhra agitation had a tell-tale effect on the timeline set by PIL, leading LNG supplier floated by industry majors BPCL, GAIL, IOCL and ONGC, for making the project operational at Gangavaram Port.

The Expert Appraisal Committee of Ministry of Environment and Forests had deferred its decision on according environmental clearance last year seeking compliance reports on some issues. Visakhapatnam was selected for PIL’s investment earlier after the company examined options available at Dhamra and Paradip ports.

Sources told The Hindu the company is considering hiring a floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU). The floating unit may be hired on lease for three to five years. The MoU with the port for commissioning five million tonne terminal was signed two years ago. PIL top management clarified recently that they would launch work sometime in second half of the year. This will be the company’s third terminal with the other two located at Dahej and Kochi. The capacity of the terminal will be doubled in the second phase.

LNG is a natural gas and its availability here is expected to contribute immensely in reducing pollution levels. PIL says it will also lead to economic development in the area by guaranteeing lower cost alternate fuel for refineries, fertilizer, power plants and transport sector. Production at coal-fired power plants is already hit due to linkage problem and quality of coal supplied from Talcher and Ib valleys.

Gangavaram Port, which began its commercial operations in August 2008 under public private partnership programme is on verge of completing its expansion from 17-18 million tonne to 45 million tonne with an investment of Rs.1,200 crore.

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