7 Jan 2014

PM’s speech at the dedication of Kochi LNG Terminal to the Nation

Dr. Manmohan Singh’s
Following is the text of Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s speech at the dedication of Kochi LNG Terminal to the Nation in Kochi today: 

“I should begin by wishing the people of Kerala and Kochi a happy and prosperous New Year. 

I am delighted to dedicate Petronet LNG’s Kochi terminal to the nation. I have a special attachment to this project as it was one of the two major projects that were announced during my very first trip to Kerala after assuming charge as Prime Minister. 

I congratulate the entire Petronet team for successfully commissioning this terminal. 

This project has been on the anvil since the year 2005. I am aware that a lot of sustained hard work by several agencies of the Central and State Governments has gone into making it a reality. And today, after 8 years of the start of its implementation, the terminal is ready to fuel Kerala’s multifaceted development. 

I am confident that in the coming years this terminal will prove to be of immense benefit to your beautiful State and help it in realizing its enormous economic potential. Built at a cost of about Rupees 4500 crore, it will put Kochi on the world LNG map and contribute to making Kerala an industry oriented and investor friendly destination. It will also contribute to our efforts to promote clean energy and reduce carbon emissions. It will help in protecting Kerala’s environment, green cover and natural beauty. 

In fact the location of this terminal has been chosen so that it can provide the whole of Southern India with a cleaner and greener form of energy. This world class facility is intended to cater to the energy requirements of industries in a diverse range of areas across the whole of Southern India. A whole new industrial corridor is expected to come up along the gas pipeline route. The terminal is also expected to meet the energy requirements for transport and households in cities. It can process as much as 50 lakh tons of Liquid Natural Gas in a year. 

Kochi is strategically located on the East-West trade route and a centre for transit and trans-shipment services. The shipping industry too will benefit greatly from this terminal and more as more ships are mandated to use cleaner fuels like LNG. 

Considering its vast potential, it is imperative that the terminal should be utilized to its fullest capacity. I would urge the concerned agencies to do everything possible to ensure this. 

I understand that Petronet LNG has already tied up supply of 14.4 lakh tons of LNG per year for the Kochi terminal from the Gorgon project in Australia for a 20 year period. I am told that the company is also at an advanced stage of discussion with other LNG suppliers for long term contracts. 

To make full use of the large investment in this project, we need to now focus on increasing the penetration of natural gas in Kerala by augmenting the pipeline network, in a manner similar to what has been done in Northern and Western parts of the country. We also need to explore how industrial units can make greater use of natural gas. 

I would urge the State Government and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to pay particular attention to rolling out city gas distribution networks in Kerala so that gas can reach a much larger number of households. 

Our country has less than 1 percent of the world’s known natural gas reserves. Therefore, for augmenting the supply of natural gas in our energy mix we must necessarily import natural gas either by setting up LNG terminals or through trans-national pipelines. Import of natural gas and pricing the imported gas constitute challenges that we must meet successfully in the time to come. 

Asia has been the driver of the global LNG demand in recent times. It is therefore important that major buyers of LNG in Asia come together to demand a fair pricing mechanism for gas being imported from outside of Asia. I hope to see India contribute towards an effort of this kind in the future. 

Today Chief Minister of Kerala, Shri Oomen Chandy and Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Veerapa Moily are both with us. I would like to take this opportunity to urge them to coordinate with all the stakeholders, including the Ministry of Power, to ensure that the full potential of the Kochi terminal is realized. It is my fond hope that we will see this happen without any delays. 

Let me end by extending my best wishes for the success of the Kochi LNG terminal, which has the potential to transform the economy of this region. 

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