India's largest importer of liquefied natural gas, Petronet has initiated talks for buying 26 per cent stake in Indian Oil Corp's under-construction 5 million tonne LNG terminal at Ennore, its Managing Director Prabhat Singh said today. The Board of Petronet LNG Ltd has also approved making a formal proposal to Bangladesh for setting up of a 7.5 million tonne (MT) a year LNG terminal at Kutubdia Island, he said. "We have initiated dialogue with IOC. We would be looking at least 26 per cent in Ennore. IOC is also looking at strategic investor and I think we fit the bill," he told reporters here.
IOC's Rs 5,151-crore liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal with a capacity of 5 MT per annum is expected to be completed by mid-2018. Also on the Petronet radar is taking a stake in Gujarat Petroleum Corp Ltd's (GSPC) almost complete 5 MT terminal at Mundra in Gujarat. "We are in exploratory talks with GSPC." Petronet had in April this year signed a set of heads of agreement with Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation (PetroBangla) for the construction of a 7.5 MT LNG project in Bangladesh.
The agreement, signed during the visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's to India, followed a memorandum of understanding the two companies have signed in December 2016 for the construction of a USD 950 million LNG terminal at Kutubdia Island. "We now have board approval and will present a formal proposal to PetroBangla this month," Singh said. Under the plan, Petronet would build the terminal in four years from the date of all approval and operate it as a toll service provider. PetroBangla will bring in its LNG and pay Petronet a tolling fee.
Petronet reported a 16 per cent rise in April-June net profit to Rs 4.38 billion on highest ever gas being processed at its two terminals. It processed 192 trillion British thermal units (TBtus) of imported LNG - 184 TBtus at Dahej terminal in Gujarat and 8 TBtus in Kochi, he said. This compared with 178 TBtus processed in the preceding quarter of January-March and 165 TBtus in first quarter of the previous fiscal. Dahej operated at 97 per cent of its expanded 15 MT capacity while Kochi saw highest ever LNG processing and operated at 12 per cent of its 5 million tons a year capacity.
Kochi does not have pipelines to take the gas to key consumption areas. Only 2 million standard cubic meters per day of gas offtake is done by Kochi refinery of BPCL and the neighbouring fertiliser plant of FACT. Singh said Petronet is looking at operating LNG fuelled buses. To start with 2 buses each at its Dahej and Kochi terminals would be operated to ferry employees. "These will be on pilot basins," he said adding the company is looking at operating 10-20 buses in Gujarat and is talking to the state road transport corporation and also GSPC for using their fuel stations. In Kerala, it wants to operated 10 LNG-fuelled buses and is taking to BPCL to use its terminal space for storing LNG and refuelling them, he added.