India’s newest LNG terminal at Mundra nears 50% capacity utilization
Ahmedabad: At a time when some of the LNG re-gasification projects including the Dabhol (Maharashtra) and Kochi (Kerala) terminals are struggling for optimum capacity utilization despite being up and running for more than five years now, the brand new Mundra LNG terminal in Gujarat, is operating at about 45% capacity due to spurt in demand. The prices of gas in the international markets have been on a constant decline amid the Covid-19 crisis. The Gujarat government-backed GSPC LNG project at Mundra, which is co-promoted by the Adani Group, began commercial operations in February this year with 5 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) installed capacity and built at a cost of about Rs 5,000 crore. “This is the fastest ramp up of an LNG terminal in the country since Dahej (phase-1) in 2004 which had the first mover advantage. Currently, the Mundra LNG terminal is operating at a throughput more than the throughput of the three LNG terminals (Kochi, Ennore and Dabhol) that came up in the last eight years,” said Sanjeev Kumar, managing director of GSPC. The Mundra terminal is facing pipeline capacity restraint that restricts it from further ramping up the capacity. The pipeline has a carrying capacity to cater to 5MTPA of gas transportation from Mundra to Anjar. But, further down from Mehsana to Bhatinda, the pipeline can cater to only 7.5 million metric standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) or about 2MTPA volume of gas. GSPC aims to set up a compressor near Ghana village in Kutch that will allow it to add throughput capacity of another 1.5mmscmd in the next few months, according to Kumar. By the end of this financial year, the Mundra LNG terminal will have achieved a throughput of 50% or about 2.5MTPA of the total installed capacity, he added. The Mundra terminal was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018 however it was only earlier this year that it received its commissioning cargo. India’s LNG import for September was 2,972 million metric standard cubic metres which was 6.2% higher than the corresponding month of the previous year, according to a September report by Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell, ministry of petroleum and natural gas. Mundra LNG terminal has already handled 20 cargoes, that too delivered by 19 different LNG ships including large sized Q flex carriers. The gas prices that were hovering around USD 5-6 per MMBTU last year fell to an all-time low of USD 2 in the April to July period this year. GSPC has booked 11 LNG spot cargos from April to October period in the range of USD 2.25 per million British thermal unit (MBTU) to USD 3.5 per MMBTU, said sources. The gas from Mundra terminal is supplied to the ceramic hub of Morbi and other parts of Saurashtra by Gujarat Gas, another state government-owned entity. Apart from households and industrial units, the gas from Mundra is supplied to GSPC Pipavav Power Company. The 700MW power plant produced only 62 million units in the April to July period last year which has increased to 1,610 million units in the same period this year, according to Central Electricity Authority data.