Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) is gearing up to commence operations at the 5 million tonne per year Chhara LNG import terminal in Gujarat within the next couple of months. The terminal, which achieved mechanical completion in March, faced delays in commissioning due to the unavailability of a 40-km pipeline connecting it to an existing network designed for consumer sales.
Amit Garg, HPCL Director (Marketing), stated, “We will commission the LNG terminal in the next couple of months.”
As HPCL ventures into the gas business, the Chhara facility in Gir-Somnath district is intended to receive supercooled natural gas via cryogenic ships. The imported liquid gas will be converted back into a gaseous state at the terminal before being transported to industries for use as feedstock.
Garg revealed that the company has received offers from 6-7 parties interested in renting import capacity at Chhara. Discussions are ongoing, and a decision is expected soon. While HPCL originally aimed to lease 3 million tonnes per year to other companies for over 10 years, the completion of the pipeline connecting to the gas grid is anticipated shortly.
The LNG terminal is a crucial component of India’s gas infrastructure development, aligning with the goal of increasing the share of natural gas in the country’s energy mix to 15% by 2030 from the current 6%. Gas is versatile and can be utilized for various purposes, including fertilizer production, power generation, chemical manufacturing, and as a fuel for vehicles.
Despite venturing into the gas sector, HPCL remains committed to expanding its traditional fuel retailing business. The company plans to add 1,000 petrol pumps annually to its existing network of approximately 21,500 stations, focusing on unserved areas. Additionally, HPCL intends to double its EV charging stations to 5,000 within the next two years and is establishing infrastructure for LNG-powered trucks and buses, along with expanding CNG dispensing capacity.
Garg emphasized the growing market in India, where per capita energy consumption is below the global average. The company sees opportunities for both conventional fossil fuels and cleaner alternatives to thrive as the economy expands. HPCL aims to strengthen its position by adapting to the diverse landscape of future fuels.