The Ennore LNG import terminal project is to come up in a 130-acre area within Ennore Port about 25 km north of Chennai.

Indian Oil Corporation’s plans to set up an LNG import terminal at Ennore met with near unanimous approval at the public hearing on Thursday.

At the meeting organised by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to gather the opinion of the people and industry representatives likely to be impacted by the project, industry representatives urged the oil company to expedite the project to make available liquefied natural gas, a cheap and environment friendly fuel, as early as possible.

The Ennore LNG import terminal project, with an investment of over Rs 4,320 crore with a capacity of 5 million tonnes a year, is to come up in a 130-acre area within Ennore Port about 25 km north of Chennai.

Representatives from Madras Fertilizers Ltd, TVS Group’s Turbo Energy, power companies such GMR Power, Madurai Power Corporation, welcomed the proposal. They urged the company to speed up the proposal to make available the fuel earlier than 2016, the scheduled date of completion.

Jaya Palayan, President, South Indian Fishermen Federation, said the fisher folk do not have any objections to the project as it is coming up within the Ennore Port premises. The project is not expected to have any adverse impact on the environment.

IOC should instil confidence among the local community with adequate safety precautions built into the project, he said.

Kattupalli Panchayat President Prema urged IOC to give employment to the local people including the uneducated. V. Damodaran, Executive Director, Ennore LNG Project, IOC, outlined the details of the project, the safety precautions and the modern technology that will be utilised. The project has provision to be expanded to 10 million tonnes a year.

According to official sources, IOC, for now, will handle just the import terminal work.

Pipeline concerns

But there are worries about the distribution pipeline work with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board recommending the cancellation of Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure’s licence to set up the Chennai-Tuticorin LNG pipeline due to lack of progress.

The Oil Ministry has to either expedite the work by Reliance or identify a new company. The pipeline infrastructure has to be in place when the import terminal is completed, sources said.

Work is also on to identify a long-term supplier for LNG who is also likely to take a stake in the project. While West Asia and Australia are the usual options, the US is also a likely source. A decision is expected by the year end, officials said.

balaji.ar@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 13, 2012)
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