KOLKATA (miningweekly.com) – India’s biggest natural gas importer, Petronet LNG Limited (PLL), has completed the expansion of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Dahej in the western state of Gujarat and is a step closer towards increasing its inward shipment of LNG during the financial year by 15%.
In a statement PLL said that the project to increase the Dahej terminal capacity to 17.5-million tons a year, from 15-million tons a year, has been completed and that LNG regasification has been commissioned.
“As such, additional send-out of gas from the terminal has started and performance guarantee tests will start once the stabilisation of the expanded capacity is reached,” the company statement said.
Sources said that in the next stage, PLL is considering further expansion of the terminal to 20-million tons a year, although the sources were unable to give a timeline for completion of the subsequent expansion project.
PLL is a joint venture between Indian energy majors GAIL India, ONGC, Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, which operated its second five-million-ton-a-year LNG terminal at Kochi in the southern state of Kerala.
The expansion of the Dahej terminal is in line with Petronet’s plans to increase LNG imports by 15% during 2019/20. The company plans to ship in an estimated 23-million tons by March 31, 2020, compared with 20-million tons imported during 2018/19.
Company officials said that with India aiming to increase the share of natural gas in the country’s total energy mix to 15% by 2030, Petronet’s ramping up of import shipments will be directly proportional to how rapidly the company can increase infrastructure capacity, backed by a capacity increase of distribution network.
“There is a lot of natural gas available for imports from markets in the US and available at very competitive prices. We are trying to access large volumes of US LNG and the amount that we can import will depend on our own capacity build-up,” the sources say.
Significantly, in a bid to establish a toe-hold in the US, Petronet earlier this year signed a memorandum of understanding with Tellurian, in the US, to invest in developing the Driftwood LNG assets in Louisiana.
The project envisages construction of an estimated liquefication capacity of 27-million tons a year and total investments to be frozen later this year, with construction scheduled for commencement end-2019 for the export-oriented project.