State-owned Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) may pick up 8 per cent stake in Petronet LNG Ltd's Rs 5,000 crore liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Gangavaram in Andhra Pradesh.
"HPCL has evinced interest in taking stake in the terminal as they have a huge requirement of gas at Visakhapatnam refinery," a top Petronet official said.
The Viskhapatnam refinery of HPCL, which is only a few kilometers away from Gangaravam port, is being expanded to 15 million tonnes per annum from current 8.33 million tonnes and the expanded unit will have a gas requirement of close to 2.5-3 million standard cubic meters per day.
"We have earmarked a total of 24 per cent shareholding for strategic investors and ports. Out of this, the Gangavaram port has already taken 8 per cent and a similar stake is being offered to LNG suppliers. So HPCL can get 8 per cent equity," he said.
Andhra Pradesh government too has evinced interest and is likely to get 5 per cent stake, leaving Petronet with 69 per cent shareholding.
Years ago, HPCL had missed the LNG bus when it got left out of the PSU consortium that formed Petronet. Indian Oil, ONGC, GAIL and Bharat Petroleum each have 12.5 per cent stake in Petronet.
The official said gas utility GAIL India Ltd has evinced interest in booking half of the 5 million tonnes a year import capacity of the proposed terminal.
"We are in discussions with GAIL but nothing has been finalised as yet," he said.
The Gangavaram project received all approvals of the state government only last month, a good one-and-half-year behind schedule, and Petronet is now looking to build an import facility by 2018.
This will be Petroent's first import facility on the east coast. It already has a 10 million tonnes a year terminal at Dahej in Gujarat and a 5 million tonnes unit at Kochi in Kerala.
Petronet is expanding Dahej to 15 million tonnes by end of 2016 and plans to add another 2.5 million tonnes capacity at a cost of about Rs 1,100 crore.
The official said the company is looking for strategic partners who can either bring in gas turned into liquid at minus 160 degrees Celsius (liquefied natural gas or LNG) or buy a minimum quantity of the imported fuel to be sold in the domestic market.