India planning to use US LNG to revive urea plants
India’s biggest gas utility plans to use some of the liquefied natural gas it gets from the US to restart three idled fertiliser plants, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
State-run GAIL India Ltd plans to supply the factories in eastern India with more than a third of the LNG it’s contracted to buy from the US, said the people, asking not to be identified as they aren’t authorised to speak to the media. The facilities were shut from 1990 onwards because they became unviable. The company will connect them by pipelines to supply the imported gas, the people said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet last year approved policies to help revive the plants as part of a plan to make the second-most populous nation self-sufficient in the production of urea, which can be made from natural gas and used as fertiliser. The country’s fertiliser sector has overtaken power producers as India’s biggest user of natural gas after a government move to combine LNG and domestic gas supplies lowered prices.
Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan Ltd, a joint venture of top state-run companies including Coal India Ltd, utility NTPC Ltd and refiner Indian Oil Corp, is investing Rs175bn ($2.7bn) to revive the plants. Sindri in Jharkhand state, India’s first fertiliser factory, started in 1951 and was shut in 2002. The other plants are in Gorakhpur in the state of Uttar Pradesh and Barauni in Bihar.