Kerala protests diversion of Kochi LNG to Dahej

Vol 9, PW 24 (23 Mar 06) Midstream & Downstream

Chief minister Oommen Chandy of Kerala has made a loud protest against moves to divert 2.5m t/y LNG from RasGas promised for the proposed LNG terminal at Kochi to Dahej or other domestic terminals in India.

PETROWATCH learns that in late February, Chandy made a highly charged plea to Congress party colleague and oil minister Murli Deora demanding confirmation that the promised supply of RasGas LNG to Kochi will not be sent elsewhere. Writes Chandy: I request you to remove all doubts and give a categorical assurance, once again, to the effect that 2.5m t/y gas from RasGas of Qatar, which is the only confirmed supply as on today, will be dedicated to the Kochi LNG project by Petronet-LNG and will not be diverted to any other project.

Kerala goes to the polls late next month to elect a new state government and Chandy is worried that voters will punish him for failing to deliver on the promise of a LNG terminal at Kochi. He reminds Deora that when the present Congress led alliance in Kerala was voted to power in 2001 it made a promise to the people of the state that the Petronet-LNG project would materialise before the completion of its tenure in 2006.

You are aware that our government is to face election immediately, adds Chandy. Adverse reports on the matter will have serious consequences.

Chandys biggest fear is that the opposition alliance of left of centre and Communist parties that have traditionally ruled Kerala to make it the literacy showcase of India will use this diversion of LNG as a propaganda weapon against the government in the upcoming election campaign. We were hopeful that with the support of the central government we could fulfil the commitment (to build a terminal), says Chandy.

But due to the frequent changes in the policy relating to supply of gas, I am afraid the implementation of the project will be delayed.

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