By RAKESH SHARMA
NEW DELHI -- Petronet LNG Ltd. is looking to raise 20
billion rupees ($367 million) in debt by the end of this fiscal
year, as it moves ahead with an expansion program aimed at cashing
in on surging demand in energy-hungry India.
The money will be used to raise capacity at a Petronet
liquefied natural gas import terminal in Dahej - which is
already India's largest such facility - in Gujarat state, a
senior company executive said Wednesday.
"We have a choice to either raise funds in the domestic
market or overseas," Director Finance R.K. Garg told reporters
on the sidelines of an annual meeting of shareholders. "We plan
to tap into the market in the January-March quarter."
He didn't say what form of debt will be used to raise the cash,
but he added that the company has five-six months to take a
Petronet, India's largest liquefied natural
gas company by sales, plans to raise the Dahej terminal's
capacity by 50% to 15 million tons at an investment of 30
This is part of a program to more than double overall
capacity to 25 million tpy by 2015, from 10 million tons
Apart from Petronet, several other companies are rushing to
build LNG terminals in India.
Local gas production is on the decline while demand for the
fuel from electricity and fertilizer plants is growing.
India's gas demand is expected to rise 40% by March 2015 to
356.16 million standard cubic meters a day, while output will
increase only 8.7% to 113 mmscm/d.
Separately, Petronet Managing Director Ashok Kumar Balyan
said the company's Kochi terminal, which will be commissioned
in the current financial year through March 2013, will be able
to operate at its full 5-million-ton capacity only by 2014
because of a delay in building key pipelines to transport gas
He added that GAIL India Ltd.,which is building the
pipelines to transfer gas from Kochi to the cities of Bangalore
and Mangalore, will finish the job only by the end of 2013,
rather than March 2013 as earlier planned.
A GAIL spokesman declined to comment.
Indian state-run companies Oil & Natural Gas Corp., Indian Oil Corp., Bharat Petroleum
Corp., and GAIL each hold a 12.5% stake in Petronet.
French power company GDF Suez owns 10% and the Asian
Development Bank 5.2%.
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