Chandra tells Balyan, 'forget Gangavaram!'

Vol 18, PW 8 (04 Dec 14) People & Policy

AK Balyan must be trying hard to forget an embarrassing encounter with oil secretary Saurabh Chandra on October 20 over Petronet-LNG’s proposed Gangavaram LNG terminal.

Chandra was chairing a meeting at the oil ministry to discuss progress on three proposed east coast LNG terminal projects. Also in attendance were IndianOil chairman B.

Ashok, HPCL chief Nishi Vasudeva and GAIL chairman BC Tripathi. A source present tells us Chandra first asked Ashok if IOC was going ahead with its 5m t/y Ennore terminal? Ashok replied ‘yes’ and gave a project update.

Chandra turned to GAIL chairman BC Tripathi and asked if GAIL is going ahead with its FSRU project with Shell and Gaz de France off Kakinada. Tripathi also said ‘yes’ and provided an update.

Finally Chandra turned to Balyan and asked if Petronet-LNG had lined up firm customers for Gangavaram. "Balyan said HPCL would be an anchor customer taking up to 1m t/y LNG," we hear.

"Chandra asked Vasudeva if this was true to which she replied: ‘no’." Visibly annoyed, Chandra snapped at Balyan, telling him he should stop pursuing Gangavaram until he finds a firm ‘anchor’ customer.

Chandra, who is also Petronet-LNG chairman, repeated this at a Board meeting in Delhi on November 7, adding: “I don’t want another Kochi.” Unable to evacuate R-LNG across Tamil Nadu, Petronet-LNG's ‘white elephant’ Kochi terminal operates at 3% of its 5m t/y capacity.