LNG use yet to catch up in Kerala despite Kochi facility

LNG use yet to catch up in Kerala despite Kochi facility

Kerala continues to maintain a poor record in making use of environment-friendly natural gas though the State flagged off the first LNG-powered bus in the country. The utilisation of LNG in transport and power sectors has been minimal despite the commissioning of LNG facility three years ago. With power shortage stalking the State, there is high potential for using LNG to generate electricity at the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) plant at Kayamkulam, but the facility remains unutilised.

The Kerala State Electricity Board has been giving limited orders for power generation at NTPC, Kayamkulam, citing that the rate of power supplied by the NTPC is high, but the latter contests the claim.

The NTPC has been providing power from its plants elsewhere to Kerala at a discounted rate, based on the consideration that the power generation cost at Kayamkulam is high. The net rate could be considered competent, according to NTPC sources.

The NTPC also puts forth its stand that the machinery has been overhauled to enable the plant to make use of LNG, but the KSEB has not signed a power-purchasing agreement. The State government has not seriously explored the possibility of transportation of gas by laying pipeline on land or undersea from the LNG terminal at Puthuvype in Kochi.

The concern over gross underutilisation of natural gas in Kerala was raised at a function in Alappuzha on Saturday. Not even 10 per cent of the installed capacity of the LNG terminal set up at Puthuvype by Petronet LNG Limited has been utilised by Kerala, said M.P. Sukumaran Nair, chairman of Restructuring and Internal Audit Board for public-sector companies, at a meeting organised by the Travancore Chamber of Commerce here.

The GAIL natural gas pipeline project, intended to take gas from Kochi to Mangaluru and Bengaluru, too has been going on at a snail’s pace. KSRTC plans to convert its buses to enable them to run on natural gas as fuel. But it needs concerted efforts from the Corporation as well as the government to make it successful.


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