Petronet LNG Ltd, the nation's largest liquefied natural gas importer, today reported its highest ever quarterly profit of about Rs 319 crore on higher imports.
Net profit in October-December quarter at Rs 318.50 crore was 8 per cent higher than Rs 314.79 crore in the same period a year ago, Petronet Director (Finance) R K Garg said.
The profit increased on account of better margins for turning LNG (gas turned into liquid at minus 160 degrees Celcisus) back into its gaseous state and handling of higher volumes, besides greater operational efficiency.
"During the quarter, the company operated the Dahej terminal at 110 per cent of its capacity," Garg said.
The 10 million tons a year import facility in Gujarat handled 140 Trillion British thermal units of gas leading to a turnover of Rs 8,423 crore, 33 per cent more than the turnover in the October-December quarter of last fiscal .
Garg said Petronet will expand the Dahej terminal to 15 million tons by end of 2015 or early 2016.
Its 5 million tons Kochi terminal is expected to be commissioned by April end but in absence of pipeline connecting Kochi to Bangalore and Mangalore, the facility will operate at less than 10 per cent of the capacity.
"We are ready more or less to begin Kochi terminal. Initially, gas will be supplied through a 44-km line connecting to local consumers," Garg said, adding that GAIL will complete the Bangalore/Mangalore pipeline by 2015-16.
Also, the Board of Directors at its meeting in Goa yesterday granted final investment decision to set up its third LNG terminal with a capacity of 5 million tons per annum at Gangavaram in Andhra Pradesh.
The company has completed various pre-project activities and is working towards short-listing of potential contractors for construction of the project, Garg said, adding that the terminal would cost Rs 5,000 crore and would be completed by end 2016.
To bring gas early into the market, Petronet has also started work on a floating terminal which is being targeted for end 2014 or early 2015, he said.