National News
9 AUG 2017

Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL), the country’s largest natural gas transmission company, wants to nearly double its petrochemical output in the coming fiscal, BC Tripathi, Chairman and Managing Director, said a day after the company reported disappointing fourth quarter earnings.

“In FY17, our polymer output was 5.77 lakh tonnes. We want to increase that to 8 lakh tonnes in FY18 from the Pata plant in Uttar Pradesh and about 2 lakh tonnes from our subsidiary in Assam, Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Ltd,” Tripathi told journalists.

The gas utility has ongoing expansion projects which require investments of up to Rs. 30,000 crore, out of which Rs. 20,000 crore over the next three fiscals will be invested in creating 6,000 km of natural gas pipelines and a Rs. 3,000 crore coal gasification project at the Talcher fertilizer plant in Odisha. The Talcher project, in partnership with Coal India and Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers, is awaiting approvals from the environment ministry and the Union Cabinet, Tripathi said.

The company is also investing Rs. 650 crore, Tripathi said, to build a breakwater (a physical barrier from rough waves) at the Dabhol gas import terminal in coastal Maharashtra, converting the project into an all-weather port to bring in liquified natural gas cargo. The Dabhol project is part of Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd, a joint venture by GAIL and NTPC. A demerger is currently underway, with GAIL and NTPC swapping their equity holdings in power plant and LNG terminal respectively. The demerger contributed to a one-time impairment charge of Rs. 788 crore in GAIL’s MAarch 2017 quarter earnings, resulting in the 69 per cent fall in net profit that the company reported on Monday.

GAIL had made an investment till date of Rs. 975 crore in the Dabhol project. Last quarter’s write-off and the upcoming equity swap (which will give GAIL over 70 per cent equity holding in the terminal) will make the LNG plant self-sustainable, Tripathi added.

On Monday, GAIL also announced that it has signed long-term LNG supply contracts with a supplier of shale gas in the US till FY19. A research report by Jefferies had raised concerns on the “the expensive long-term LNG contracts that GAIL has contracted, a total of 40mmscmd of long-term LNG by FY19, most of which are out of the money versus its spot (cargo).” However, the company management said that the viability of the long-term versus spot contracts depends the price movement of natural gas globally. “We will keep some volumes for trading arbitrage. It all depends on the movement of crude oil, Henry Hub (the benchmark of natural gas prices in the US) and the US dollar,” Tripathi said.
 

Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL), the country’s largest natural gas transmission company, wants to nearly double its petrochemical output in the coming fiscal, BC Tripathi, Chairman and Managing Director, said a day after the company reported disappointing fourth quarter earnings.

“In FY17, our polymer output was 5.77 lakh tonnes. We want to increase that to 8 lakh tonnes in FY18 from the Pata plant in Uttar Pradesh and about 2 lakh tonnes from our subsidiary in Assam, Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Ltd,” Tripathi told journalists.

The gas utility has ongoing expansion projects which require investments of up to Rs. 30,000 crore, out of which Rs. 20,000 crore over the next three fiscals will be invested in creating 6,000 km of natural gas pipelines and a Rs. 3,000 crore coal gasification project at the Talcher fertilizer plant in Odisha. The Talcher project, in partnership with Coal India and Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers, is awaiting approvals from the environment ministry and the Union Cabinet, Tripathi said.

The company is also investing Rs. 650 crore, Tripathi said, to build a breakwater (a physical barrier from rough waves) at the Dabhol gas import terminal in coastal Maharashtra, converting the project into an all-weather port to bring in liquified natural gas cargo. The Dabhol project is part of Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd, a joint venture by GAIL and NTPC. A demerger is currently underway, with GAIL and NTPC swapping their equity holdings in power plant and LNG terminal respectively. The demerger contributed to a one-time impairment charge of Rs. 788 crore in GAIL’s MAarch 2017 quarter earnings, resulting in the 69 per cent fall in net profit that the company reported on Monday.

GAIL had made an investment till date of Rs. 975 crore in the Dabhol project. Last quarter’s write-off and the upcoming equity swap (which will give GAIL over 70 per cent equity holding in the terminal) will make the LNG plant self-sustainable, Tripathi added.

On Monday, GAIL also announced that it has signed long-term LNG supply contracts with a supplier of shale gas in the US till FY19. A research report by Jefferies had raised concerns on the “the expensive long-term LNG contracts that GAIL has contracted, a total of 40mmscmd of long-term LNG by FY19, most of which are out of the money versus its spot (cargo).” However, the company management said that the viability of the long-term versus spot contracts depends the price movement of natural gas globally. “We will keep some volumes for trading arbitrage. It all depends on the movement of crude oil, Henry Hub (the benchmark of natural gas prices in the US) and the US dollar,” Tripathi said.