Many industries yet to begin measures to switch over to LNG
The commissioning of the Petronet LNG terminal at Puthuvype here will be delayed by two to three months, according to present estimates. The liquefied natural gas terminal is expected to be commissioned by June-July.
The facility for receiving LNG and regasifying it for onward transport has been completed at the terminal. The terminal has got all the mandatory clearances for operation, company officials said. The delay is being attributed to lack of preparedness of the end-users to receive gas.
FACT, one of the major prospective consumers of LNG, has begun conversion of machinery required for operation of the plants using regasified LNG as fuel, replacing naptha. NTPC, Kayamkulam, another bulk consumer, has not entered into a contract with Petronet LNG Limited. Several other bulk consumers are yet to finalise their arrangement with Petronet and launch measures to switch over to LNG as fuel. In most of such cases, the plants would have to be shut down for a brief period before being able to switch over to the new fuel.
The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), a prospective customer of compressed natural gas (CNG), is interested in making use of the gas for its fuel needs, but the decision to operate CNG-fuelled buses will hinge on a variety of factors. Petronet LNG has submitted a proposal to the corporation in this regard. Setting up of CNG fuelling stations as well as purchase of CNG-fuelled buses are among important financial concerns for the corporation. CNG fuelling stations could be established at Aluva and Thevara on the property owned by the KSRTC and initial talks were held in this connection, according to top officials.
The cost advantage of CNG will be a key issue for the KSRTC which has been struggling to make ends meet. While the corporation would like to have a relief from the rising diesel costs, it is doubtful of a gain from CNG buses on the operational front. The prices of CNG are dependent on international market conditions and the present international rates are not lucrative. As CNG is considered more environment-friendly, the government ought to share the expenses on conversion of buses to facilitate operation on CNG. The corporation would also like to undertake experimental trips to ascertain cost-effectiveness, but it would be possible only after the fuel is available at its stations.