India Plans Colossal Natural Gas Expansion Spelling LNG Imports

Kochi LNG Terminal, India

Kochi LNG Terminal. Credit: CC/Augustus Binu

India is all set to change its energy mix share, and natural gas would double to around 15% by 2020. The move would necessitate the construction of more LNG terminals including the increase in imports.

In the coming seven-year, the government visions the construction of additional 11 terminals which was reiterated by Narendra Taneja, the spokesman for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The nation has four terminals currently, including Shell’s Hazira plant, Petronet’s Dahej and Kochi LNG terminals, and the Dabhol terminal operated by Ratnagiri Gas and Power, which receive liquefied natural gas (LNG) and imports nearly 20 million tonnes of the fuel.

India’s LNG import capacity would rise to over 70 million tonnes a year, which would also reportedly be the fastest gas import expansions since China embarked on its gasification programme last year. Taneja stated that India was looking at LNG in a strategic manner. And, the 70 million tonnes per year target in the coming years would spell the need to import. The imports would reportedly be more than what China took last year through pipelines and tankers, which would place India close to what Japan currently imports.

India plans to reduce its dependence on thermal coal, which is a massive polluter, and also plans to electrify millions of households that burn wood for heat, light, and cooking. The gas would be a requirement to provide power to electric vehicles, which would support India’s plans of all new car sales being electric by 2030. The country is pushing scooters and motorcycles to run on compressed natural gas (CNG), and pilot schemes have been recently launched in major cities like New Delhi and Mumbai.

Another move was the fuelling of trains by LNG instead of diesel, to reduce pollution, and provide LNG for bunkering, including setting up a facility at the Kochi port. Meanwhile, industry analyst, Platts reiterated that the LNG market in India was witnessing dramatic changes in demand patterns.

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