Lion habitat is Petronet-LNG gift to Gujarat

Vol 17, PW 4 (19 Sep 13) People & Policy

If Petronet-LNG wants to expand its Dahej terminal in Gujarat it must first bow to the needs of the king of the jungle.

Local forest department officials have told Petronet-LNG to carry out 'compensatory afforestation' to create a new habitat for Asiatic lions in the Gir forest, located 289-km from Dahej. A barter deal has been worked out where Petronet-LNG will get 22.62 hectares of much needed forest land at Luwara village near the Dahej terminal, which it wants to expand from 10m t/y to 15m t/y.

“We badly need the land for expansion,” says Petronet-LNG, adding the company will plant 3100 trees towards the Palitana end of the 'lion corridor' in Bhavnagar district. Petronet LNG’s chief horticulturist is camping in Gir to select tree species and work out plantation details before Petronet-LNG begins chopping down trees at Luwara.

Petronet-LNG needs the Luwara forest land to set up four 180,000-cubic metre LNG storage tanks, plus four truck loading bays. Dahej presently has four storage tanks each with 160,000-cubic metre gross capacity (148,000-cubic metres net capacity) and one truck loading bay.

Phase-IIIA of the expansion should be complete by 2016, increasing Dahej capacity to 15m t/y, costing Rs2950cr ($466m). In Phase-IIIB, Dahej will expand to 20m t/y by 2020, at a cost of Rs2750cr ($427m).

Petronet-LNG urgently wants to commission the second Dahej jetty by early next year. AFCONS has almost completed the marine facilities and Toyo Engineering is working on the topside.