Malaysian state-owned oil and natural gas producer Petronas is keen to buy a stake in Indian Oil Corporation's under-construction 5-million tonne a year LNG import terminal at Ennore. Petroliam Nasional Bhd, or Petronas, is the second firm after Petronet LNG Ltd, India's biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer, to have expressed interest in taking a stake in the Ennore plant. "Petronas has expressed interest in taking a stake," IOC Chairman Sanjiv Singh told reporters here. "Nothing has been finalised so far. It's at a preliminary stage as of now."
IOC holds 95 per cent stake in the Rs 51.51 billion Ennore LNG import terminal, which is expected to be completed by June 2018. Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) has 5 per cent. The state-owned refiner wants to retain a minimum 50 per cent stake in the project and so, practically 45 per cent stake is available for the taking. "There is Petronas and then, there is Petronet which has also expressed interest. We have to see what fits our business," he said. Singh, however, clarified that mere taking equity will not guarantee any company of a proportionate capacity on the import terminal. "Capacity booking (for import of own LNG cargoes) is separate than equity stake. They are two different things," he said.
While Petronas may be looking at Ennore as a market to sell the global portfolio of LNG it has, IOC is likely to retain a major say to bring its own gas. The IOC board had earlier this month given 'in-principle' approval to acquire up to 50 per cent sake in Adani Group- backed Mundra LNG import terminal in Gujarat for an estimated Rs 7.50 billion. GSPL LNG Ltd, a joint venture of Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation and Adani Enterprises Ltd, is setting up a 5- million tonne per annum (mtpa) LNG terminal at the Mundra port in Gujarat. Singh said IOC is talking to GSPL about valuations of the stake.
Going by a back-of-the-envelope calculation, roughly 30 per cent of the Rs 5,040-crore project cost is equity and IOC will pay for half of that. A final number will be arrived at after the valuation exercise is completed, he added. The Mundra LNG terminal will be commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2017-18. As the second-largest natural gas player in the country, IOC is making significant investments in natural gas infrastructure and marketing, in line with the country's changing energy mix.
"We already have investments across the gas value chain, from LNG import terminals to city gas distribution networks, the major among them being a 5-million tonne LNG import terminal at the Kamarajar port near Chennai, scheduled for commissioning in 2018-19," Singh said. Mundra will be the second LNG project of Adani where IOC is investing. IOC has taken 39 per cent stake in the proposed 5-mt a year LNG import terminal at Dhamra in Odisha. The Adani group has 50 per cent in the project and the remaining 11 per cent is with state-owned gas utility GAIL India Ltd. The Mundra terminal is expandable up to 10 mtpa in the near future.