Total's LNG project crosses crucial milestone

Vol 5, PW 1 (28 Feb 01) Midstream & Downstream

Plans by Indigas (Tata-Total-GAIL) to import LNG at Trombay near Mumbai crossed a crucial milestone on February 15th when the Maharashtra state government granted 'Locational Clearance'.

This means the local government has approved the site of the project. But this by itself is not enough to start construction.

Critical clearance has yet to be issued by environment officials in New Delhi. 'Locational Clearance' comes after the public hearing held on November 21st in Mumbai to hear opponents of the project.

"The result of the public hearing and the 'Locational Clearance' will go to the environment ministry, which will then issue the final clearance," Emmanuel Courcier of TotalFinaElf tells Petrowatch, "Everything will be decided by June and we expect to start construction by January 2002." Courcier expects all approvals by April this year after which the combine will float tenders to appoint EPC contractors. Negotiations are on with Middle Eastern LNG suppliers.

Phase 1 envisages import of 3m t/y. GAIL has committed to take 2m t/y, while the Tata Electric Company will take the rest.

Formal sale agreements have yet to be signed with either of them. Phase 2 envisages an upgrade to 6m t/y.