Petronet LNG Ltd, India's biggest gas importer, on Thursday reported its highest ever quarterly net profit on the back of processing record volumes of gas.
Net profit at Rs 589 crore in July-September was 28 per cent higher than Rs 460 crore net profit in the same quarter of previous year, Petronet Managing Director and CEO Prabhat Singh told reporters here.
"We have beaten all records in the second quarter, be it quantity wise, profit-before-tax or profit after tax (net profit)," he said.
Petronet's Dahej import terminal in Gujarat and Kochi facility in Kerala saw import of 220 trillion British thermal units of gas in its liquid form, called Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). This was 14 per cent more than 185 TBtus imported and processed in the year ago period.
"Our Dahej terminal operated at 110 per cent of the rated capacity," he said adding 210 TBtus of gas was processed at the 15 million tonnes a year capacity terminal in July-September quarter.
Kochi, which does not have pipelines to carry the gas to consumers, operated at 16 per cent of its 5 million tonnes per annum LNG import and regassification capacity, he said.
Singh said state-owned gas utility GAIL India has promised to build pipeline to carry gas imported at Kochi to consumers all the way up to Bengaluru by the first quarter of 2019.
At present, 2.2 million standard cubic meters per day of gas is being consumed by BPCL's Kochi refinery and another 0.8 mmscmd by FACT's fertiliser plant.
Fertiliser And Chemicals Travancore Ltd (FACT) has "told us that they may halt LNG purchase from Kochi terminal if cheaper ammonia is available," he said, adding the company hopes to operate Kochi terminal at about 35 per cent capacity by end-2018.
"Some better efficiencies of operations as well contributed to the profits," he said.
Singh said Petronet is looking at an LNG terminal on the east coast and is in talks to take 26 per cent stake in Indian Oil Corp's (IOC) under-construction 5 million tonnes a year Ennore LNG import terminal in Tamil Nadu.
"Right now all the LNG terminals in India are on the west coast. We need to have facilities on the east coast to facilitate gas supplies to consumers in that part of the country," he said.
Petronet, he said, is looking for sites like Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh for setting up a 5 million tonnes import terminal irrespective of it getting a stake in Ennore.
"We are doing some studies," he said.
Shares of the company were trading 3.40 per cent higher at Rs 269 per scrip at 1455 hours on BSE today.
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