By Promit Mukherjee
GANDHINAGAR (Reuters) - India's biggest gas importer Petronet LNG expects its 400 km pipeline connecting the Kochi LNG terminal in the south to industries further north to be ready in two years, managing director Prabhat Singh told Reuters.
The Kochi terminal, which will supply LNG to the western state of Karnataka, will run at 40 percent capacity by 2019, Singh said on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the Vibrant Gujarat investment summit.
The terminal will make an expected loss of 3.5 billion rupees ($51.22 million) in the current fiscal year, but it will swing to a profit of 2 billion rupees in the fiscal year to March 2019, he added.
India is the world's third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases and relies heavily on coal, gas and oil imports to meet its energy needs, but is seeking to shift to cleaner energy such as LNG.
"We are discussing with a few more companies to rent out more LNG storage capacity at the Kochi terminal," said Singh, adding Trafigura Beheer is among the companies utilising a tank at the facility.
Singh said that over the next three years the company would be investing 100 billion rupees to set up LNG regasification capacities at Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and a minor facility in the Andaman islands.
Singh said in July the company would spend up to $3 billion in the next five years to expand overseas.
On the Gorgon LNG in Australia, Singh said the company has appointed a team to iron out issues around marketability of the gas as lower prices has made it difficult to sell the contracted gas.
The first cargo from the Gorgon project is expected to come by 2019, Petronet had said earlier.
($1 = 68.3299 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Promit Mukherjee; Writing by Swati Bhat; Editing by Alison Williams)