HPCL signs JV for Chhara LNG terminal

Vol 17, PW 1 (08 Aug 13) Midstream & Downstream
     

HPCL chairman S.

Roy Choudhury was in Ahmedabad on (Wednesday) July 31 to cement the company’s fledgling LNG alliance with Mumbai-based infrastructure giant Shapoorji Pallonji & Co. PETROWATCH learns Roy Choudhury and Shapoorji managing director Shapoorji P.

Mistry signed a JV agreement at midday at the Taj Gateway Hotel near Ahmedabad airport committing both parties to the construction of a LNG receiving and gassification terminal at Chhara port by mid-2017. “Chhara is in Gujarat,” smiles a HPCL source, “and the Gujarat government wanted us to sign the agreement in Gujarat!” HPCL directors cleared the proposed JV with Shapoorji Pallonji in March this year, paving the way for HPCL to play ‘catch-up’ with its state-owned peers GAIL, IndianOil and BPCL who already have a significant presence in the country’s LNG space, either as terminal stakeholders, LNG importers, or both.

“Compared to them we are late by many years,” adds HPCL. “We are determined not to waste more time.

” HPCL’s choice of Shapoorji Pallonji was no quirk of fate or accident. One of India’s bluest of blue chip infrastructure companies Shapoorji is the family run business of current Tata chairman Cyrus Mistry, son of Shapoorji owner Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry.

More important for HPCL however is the Letter of Intent (LoI) Shapoorji received from the Gujarat Maritime Board in 2008 to develop Chhara port on the Saurashtra coast at a cost of Rs1660cr ($272.26m) giving HPCL a ready-made location for its LNG terminal. “Chhara,” confirms GMB, “is a deep draft all-weather direct berthing port and evacuating R-LNG won’t be a problem.