Prime minister Manmohan Singh will formally inaugurate the Kochi LNG terminal on Saturday. The Rs 4,200-crore facility at Puthuvype, near here, was commissioned in August last year, and is functioning at a very lower capacity utilisation.
The terminal, developed by Petronet LNG, has a capacity to store and distribute 5-million tonnes per annum, but is operating at 8-10 per cent capacity. There are not enough takers for LNG from here as the construction of inter-state pipeline viz, Kochi - Bangalore and Kochi- Mangalore is in doldrums.
The delay in land acquisition for the pipeline due to resistance from land owners in Kerala and Tamil Nadu has upset the pipe laying work. Roughly 10 per cent of the work has been completed so far. The inordinate delay in the construction of the pipeline has become a threat even to the viability of the green field terminal facility. Amidst these apprehensions, the second terminal of Petronet LNG, after Dahej in Gujarat, will have its formal inauguration today.
Top officials of the company told Business Standard that the land issue would be resolved in 6-8 months and the work on pipelines would be set in motion. At present, the Kochi terminal supplies gas only to local companies like Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT) and the supply is limited to 35,000 tonnes. So far, two vessels carrying LNG had berthed at the terminal and had unloaded them. A city domestic gas supply project was also mooted, but there is not much progress.
PM in Kochi for two days
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be in Kochi on Saturday and Sunday. He will reach the city by 1 pm on Saturday at the Naval airport and go to Puthuvype by 3.40 pm. He will inaugurate the 90th anniversary function of Mathrubhumi daily on Sunday. The PM will also attend a function at St Teresa's College, giving a civic reception to former Meghalaya Governor MM Jacob.