GSPC to commission Mundra LNG terminal in 2-3 months

      07/09/2018

Gujarat State Petroleum Corp. Ltd will commission a 5 MTPA LNG import terminal at Mundra in the next 2-3 months, GSPC managing director Jagdip Narayan Singh said Sunday. Mundra will be third terminal is Gujarat to import supercooled natural gas, or liquified natural gas (LNG) in cryogenic ships. This LNG will then be converted into gaseous state and transported by pipelines to consumers.

"We will commission Mundra terminal by August-end or mid-September. It will operate at 1.5 million tonnes per annum capacity for first 1.5 years before scaling up to full capacity," said Singh, who is also chief secretary of Gujarat.

GSPL LNG Ltd, a joint venture of GSPC and Adani Enterprises Ltd that is implementing the Mundra LNG project, will look at inducting a strategic partner, such as Indian Oil Corp. Ltd, once the terminal is fully operational, Singh said in Delhi. "We have been in talks with Indian Oil, but as the partnership was delayed, we have now decided to first commission the terminal and then see who can we get as a partner," he said.

Singh indicated that the company may run a new process to select a strategic partner. "Once the terminal is complete, we can start looking at who can come in.... Let's see, it's too early to say," he said.

Indian Oil had in August last year said it will acquire up to a 50% stake in Mundra LNG import terminal in Gujarat for an estimated 750 crore. Its board gave "in-principle approval" for acquiring up to 50% equity in GSPL LNG Ltd, the company had said in a statement. GSPL LNG would hold the remaining 50% stake in the Mundra LNG terminal.

While the company had not given the acquisition cost, an official said roughly 30% of the 5,040 crore project cost is equity and Indian Oil would pay half of it. "Once the project is complete, we can command a premium," Singh said, adding that Mundra LNG will be connected to Gujarat State Petronet Ltd's (GSPL's) existing pipeline network at Anjaar, Gujarat.

When GSPL LNG invited bids for 50% stake in the Mundra LNG project four years ago, eight firms had expressed interest but only three were shortlisted. Besides Indian Oil, India Gas Solutions—the 50:50 joint venture of Reliance Industries Ltd and BP Plc—and state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC) were shortlisted.

Gujarat already has a 15 MTPA LNG import facility in Dahej which is operated by Petronet LNG Ltd. There's also a 5 MTPA LNG terminal at Hazira which is run by Shell. India has two more LNG terminals—Dabhol in Maharashtra and Kochi in Kerala—both with 5 MTPA capacity. More import terminals are planned on the east coast as well as on the west to meet the fast growing energy needs of the country.