Petronets Dahej expansion plan gets environment clearance

Written by Kirtika Suneja | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 22 2014, 05:24am hrs
After clearing major infrastructure projects like Posco, Tawang and Teesta within a few days of taking over, environment minister Veerappa Moily has now given the hitherto elusive environment clearance (EC) to India's largest natural gas importer Petronet LNG's Dahej terminal for doubling of its capacity.

Early this week, Moily approved the R5,060 crore expansion of the Dahej terminal which involves doubling of the capacity of the terminal to 20 million tonne per annum (mtpa) from 10 mtpa at present.

The project had received the approval of the expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the ministry in December and it was awaiting a final nod from the minister.

The minister signed the project file a few days ago. The clearance of the project was fast tracked as our country is gas-starved, said an environment ministry official.

A Petronet official confirmed that the EAC approval is in place but the company is awaiting a formal approval from the ministry. The company had secured the approval for diversion of 22.62 hectare of forest land in October.

Petronet commissioned the Dahej facility with 5 mtpa capacity in 2004 and doubled the capacity to 10 mtpa in 2009. The terminal caters to at least 25% of Indias consumption of natural gas.

This the third phase of expansion of the Dahej terminal after which the total installed capacity will be 20 Mtpa. The 10 to 15 Mtpa expansion is estimated to be completed by end 2016 and the rest by end 2020.

At present, the plant has one jetty, four LNG tanks (each having a gross capacity of 160,000 cubic meter) and regasification facilities along with associated utilities (sized for handling 10 Mtpa of LNG).The major additional equipment proposed are LNG storage tanks, in-tank pumps, fuel gas station, air heaters, glycol water pumps, and hot water pumps, among others.

The approval comes at a time when Moily has been both praised as well as criticised for rushing through green nods for many projects. The minister has stuck to his word of clearing as many files as possible every day and cleared more than 65 projects in 20 days.

There are well laid procedures and we are not hastening through those. We have fast tracked everything without compromising on the norms. There are no unbaked or immature decisions, Moily said.

NHPC's 520 MW Teesta-IV hydro-electric power project in Sikkim was granted environment EC on January 9, a day after the Tawang hydro-electric project in Arunachal Pradesh secured forest clearance while the revalidation of the lapsed EC of the $12.6 billion Posco steel plant in Odisha, the biggest foreign direct investment in India was given on January 7.