Two public entities in Kerala to make switch to natural gas

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited (KMML) will start using to liquefied natural gas (LNG) soon.

The KSRTC is taking measures to invite EoI for setting up compressed natural gas (CNG) storage tanks as a primary step towards inducting natural gas-powered buses, a highly placed official in the natural gas industry told The Hindu . As the cash-starved public transport corporation will have to take care of the funding needs, the induction of the gas-powered buses will take place only after the construction of the storage tanks. The corporation will have the option to convert a part of its fleet of buses to run on natural gas or to buy new vehicles fitted with gas-powered engine.

Conversion required

The machinery at KMML will require conversion to receive natural gas. Petronet LNG has already agreed to supply LNG to the plant in Kollam once the machinery conversion takes place. Tenders are to be floated soon to make preparations for receiving LNG at the Kollam unit.

LNG is already being supplied to HLL Lifecare Limited, a central public sector enterprise, unit in Thiruvananthapuram by Petronet LNG Limited from its terminal at Puthuvype in Kochi. Natural gas is being transported to the capital city in cryogenic tankers.

The unit is consuming about 8 tonnes of LNG daily. The shift from furnace oil to natural gas has been beneficial to HLL Lifecare, a top Petronet official said.

The present consumers of Petronet LNG Limited include BPCL Kochi and FACT. The fertilizer-making unit at Udyogamandal in Kochi is receiving gas in small quantities owing to funding issues as the company is facing financial crunch.

FACT is receiving natural gas at $10.5 now. BPCL and FACT together consume only 8 per cent of the 5 mmtpc capacity of the LNG terminal in Kochi. The terminal has two LNG storage tanks of net capacity of 155,000 cubic metres each. Petronet has let out part of its storage tanks to external agencies in a bid to limit operational losses.

The BSES plant in Kochi and the NTPC unit in Kayamkulam are getting ready to receive natural gas as feed stock to generate power. Government initiatives are required to launch gas-based power generation processes at both the plants.