INDUSTRY DOSSIER: The selection has been made after a thorough search

Petronet LNG Limited (PLL) promoted by public sector giants BPCL, GAIL, IOC and ONGC and strategic partner GDF-Suez zeroed in on Visakhapatnam for locating its first LNG terminal in the East Coast after a thorough search of an ideal location.

The company, which imports a large quantity of LNG from Qatar, is proposing to invest Rs.4,500 crore for developing an LNG terminal at Gangavaram Port with a capacity of five million ton in the first phase. The capacity will be doubled in three to four years. Gangavaram Port Limited will get less than 10 per cent equity in the project leaving a part of it to a strategic partner from abroad for technical support. “Our holding will be not less than 70 per cent,” PLL Managing Director and CEO A.K. Balyan told this correspondent. He said after a detailed study of eight locations including Kakinada, Paradip and Dhimra, they came to the conclusion that Gangavaram was the best spot to locate LNG terminal in the East Coast.

Close proximity to the market and the proposal to develop Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) between Visakhapatnam and Kakinada and the availability of a deep draft led to zeroing in on Gangavaram.

At present, India is the 13th largest gas consumer with an estimated consumption of 165 million ton. Dr. Balyan said LNG was a clean fuel and recognised world-wide as a safe fuel. It can be used for feedstock for petrochemicals, fuel for power generation, industrial captive use, cooking and heating purpose and automobiles.

Public hearing

As the public hearing for the project is scheduled to be held on November 9, there are certain objections to the project. Former Union Secretary E.A.S. Sarma questioned the MoU signed with GPL on transfer of land to LNG terminal. He said of 61 hectares required for the terminal, 35 hectares has to be reclaimed from the sea.

A spokesperson for GPL clarified that they could give land for LNG terminal on license basis as per rules and the total area required for the project was 120 acres including the land needed for reclaiming which falls in port boundaries/limits.