“We will commission the LNG terminal in the next couple of months,” HPCL Director (Marketing) Amit Garg told reporters here.
HPCL, the oil refining and fuel marketing company, has been a late entrant into the gas business. It built the facility at Chhara in Gir-Somnath district of Gujarat to receive natural gas that has been supercooled to a liquid state in cryogenic ships. At the terminal, the liquid gas will again be turned into gaseous state before being piped to industries for use as feedstock.
Garg said the company has got offers from 6-7 parties for hiring of the import capacity at Chhara. “We are in discussions and a decision will be taken soon.”
He however refused to name the company interested in hiring the facility.
HPCL was initially looking to lease capacity of 3 million tonne per year to other companies for a period of more than 10 years. The pipeline connecting to the gas grid is expected to be ready soon. The LNG terminal is part of the gas infrastructure that is being built in the country as part of the vision to increase the share of natural gas in India’s energy mix to 15 per cent by 2030 from about 6 per cent now.
Gas can be used to make fertilizer, generate power, produce chemicals and convert into CNG to run automobiles or piped to household kitchens for cooking.
While HPCL builds its gas business, the company will continue to invest in expanding its traditional fuel retailing business.
Garg said HPCL plans to add 1,000 petrol pumps every year to its network of about 21,500 stations.
“India is a growing market where per capita energy consumption is way below the world average. And as the economy expands, there will be space for all fuels, both conventional fossil fuels and cleaner alternate ones, to grow,” he said adding HPCL would add petrol pumps in unserved areas.
This addition would continue for the next 2-3 years, he said.
Also, the firm will build on the infrastructure for alternate fuels. It plans to double the EV charging stations to 5,000 in the next two years, he said.
HPCL is also setting up stations that can fuel LNG-powered trucks and buses, while its retail network also expands CNG dispensing capacity.
“Future will have all kinds of fuels and we are just building our position,” he added.