LNG is efficient and environment friendly

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A K Balyan
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer
Petronet LNG Ltd

“We take pride in saying that when it comes to LNG the most competent team is with Petronet. We fully understand the business of LNG and with the help of our competent, experienced and very talented team we are continuing to expand our operations,” says A K Balyan, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Petronet LNG Ltd

Please give us a brief overview of the work that has been done by Petronet LNG Ltd. In your opinion what is the mission of Petronet LNG?

The Government of India incorporated Petronet LNG with the thinking that in the coming years gas in the form of LNG would be necessary to fulfil the rising demand in the country. The four Oil majors – BPCL, GAIL, IOC and ONGC – and the strategic partner GDF-Suez joined hands to bring Petronet LNG into being. The company had been formed with the objective of setting up LNG import and re-gasification terminals. It was in 2004 that LNG Petronet’s first terminal at Dahej got commissioned. Since then the Dahej LNG Terminal has received over 900 cargos, and is running at more than 100 percent capacity utilisation. The high output at Dahej terminal is also indicative of the fact that there exists a very high demand for gas in the country.

Domestic production is not enough to meet the rising demand, so we need to import in very substantial quantities. Current projections indicate that in the coming years, the demand for gas is likely to go up at a much faster pace. It could become double in the next five years. Initially the capacity of the Dahej LNG Terminal was 5 MMTPA, but this has been expanded to 10 MMTPA in the year 2009-10. In order to meet the natural gas requirement in Southern part of India, for power generation, fertilisers, steel and city gas, Petronet LNG has developed a second re-gasification Terminal at Kochi. The Kochi facility has the capacity of 5 MMTPA. GAIL is providing us with the pipeline related infrastructure to supply gas to different parts of the country.

What is your view on Natural gas demand and supply?

It is an obvious fact that gas is much cleaner and greener fuel. Perhaps that is the reason why we are having more gas finds around the world as compared to oil. Today’s generation prefers to meet its energy needs through green mediums. In India, the gas sector is the fastest growing in the energy basket. The share of gas in the energy basket is around 9 percent, and it is expected to go up to 20 percent by year 2025. This makes gas based resources the fastest growing sector in the energy space. It also helps that new technology has made it possible for us to liquefy gas and transport in a safe and convenient manner to any part of the world. LNG facilities are increasing around the globe.

Please provide us with more information about your Dahej LNG Terminal and the one at Kochi.

You can make out the importance of the Dahej Terminal from the fact that it is supplying around 20 percent of the total gas demand in the country. The Company had set up South East Asia’s first LNG Receiving and Re-gasification Terminal with an original nameplate capacity of 5 MMTPA at Dahej in Gujarat. The infrastructure was developed in the hortest possible time and at a benchmark cost. The capacity of the terminal has been expanded to 10 MMTPA and the same has been commissioned in June, 2009. The expansion involved construction of 2 additional LNG storage tanks and other vaporisation facilities. As far as the Kochi Terminal is concerned, construction there is in full swing. The Terminal is expected to be commissioned towards the end of 2012. Several pipelines are coming up to provide connectivity to the Kochi terminal. This terminal will help in meeting enormous demand of natural gas for Power, Fertilisers, Petrochemicals and various other industries in the Southern States. The Company will also supply LNG through road tankers to consumers.

“Dahej LNG Terminal has one of the longest accident free operations in the entire world”

With your business growing at such rapid pace,you would be having many new business plans? Please tell us about that.

We are planning to start a new LNG receiving, storage and re-gasification terminal of 5 MMTPA capacity on East coast of India. This plant will be completed by 2016, and it will help in meeting the growing demands of the energy hungry nation. One major diversification plan that Petronet LNG has planned is in the power generation space. Petronet LNG plans to go for integration of LNG value chain by creating power plants at Dahej and Kochi. To begin with, the company plans to set up a 1200 MW power plant at Dahej. Currently the feasibility study and other preliminary studies are being conducted for the setting up of the plant. We also have the plan to set up Liquid Nitrogen Production facilities. These facilities will use the cold energy available from LNG at Dahej and Kochi terminals.Many consumers of gas do not have access to gas pipelines. To cater to such consumers we have set up the facility of supplying LNG through cryogenic tankers by road. This facility exists in Dahej. India has thus joined the elite club of nations like USA and Japan, where LNG is being supplied through road tankers. In the coming years we plan to further increase our business of transporting LNG on road.

Many people would consider LNG to be difficult to handle and something that is prone to causing accidents. Please shed some light on the safety and efficiency related considerations at your facilities.

We take pride in saying that the Dahej LNG Terminal has one of the longest accident free operations in the entire world. The terminal is being run with great efficiency. Only about 150 people manage to run the terminal with flawless efficiency on a 24/7 basis. The team is very experienced, and very talented. The equipment used for handling LNG is highly specialised. Normal LNG is −162 °C (−260 °F). You can’t touch it. It can only be handled with very special steel. Every plant has its own automated control room, from where it can be fully monitored. In India we take pride in saying that when it comes to LNG the most competent team is with Petronet. We fully understand the business of LNG and with the help of our competent, experienced and very talented team we are continuing to expand our operations.

Provide us with an overview of the ICT initiatives that you have been taking for bringing more efficiency within the organisation?

We are a completely automated company. Many of our operational processes are on SAP platform. We are upgrading right  now. All the officers work on laptops and enjoy seamless connectivity with the company at all time. There is minimal paperwork in the premises. For much of our procurement, we use an efficient e-procurement system. The payments are through e-Payment system. All our terminals are fully automated to keep track of issues related to safety and efficiency.





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