Gujarat to focus on gas and petroleum sector

Monday, 22 September 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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AHMEDABAD: Gujarat is revising its economic policies in a bid to develop itself as the "petroleum capital" of India, officials say.

The state is revamping its mineral policy, the industrial policy and the tourism policy in the run up to "Vibrant Gujarat", a global investors' summit from September 28-30, sources at the secretariat said.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi's vision of making the state the "petroleum capital" of India is based on the country's first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the private sector that is coming up at Hazira, about 400 km south of here.

Modi and Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Ram Naik inaugurated the Hazira LNG terminal Friday.

Products based on petroleum and gas would form the base for economic development in the coming years, Modi noted while addressing a select gathering at the terminal site.

Modi said the Shell Hazira LNG terminal and port project had attracted the highest foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country. "It will set a trend for other foreign investors," he said.

The Shell project is expected to be showcased by the state government at "Vibrant Gujarat" while inviting foreign investors to invest in the state's infrastructure sectors.

The Shell Hazira LNG terminal and port project is being set up by the Royal Dutch Shell group at a cost of 30 billion. It will initially import 2.5 million tonnes of LNG, to be gradually increased to five million tonnes. It will begin commercial production by 2004, according to an official release.

Malcolm Brinded, the Royal Dutch Shell group managing director, said LNG would soon be a bridge between gas producing and gas consuming countries.

Naik said a national gas and pipeline grid project would be taken up at a cost of 29 billion to link huge deposits found in the Surat-Cambay-Vasai basins.

Naik observed that the increased availability of gas in recent times had made it the most important fuel for the 21st century. With the commissioning of the Shell terminal, the country's gas deficit would be largely overcome, he hoped.

The recent discoveries of oil and gas in the state have made policymakers think in terms of a gas-based economy.

The state-run Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) announced in June the discovery of oil and gas reserves near Ahmedabad.

In 2001, GSPC had found gas reserves of 20 billion cubic metres (BCM) at Hazira. In November 2002, it was awarded an offshore exploration block in the Krishna-Godavari basin in NELP-III.

Source: IANS
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