Adani Total to start operations at Indian LNG terminal by mid-June

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Adani group is seen on the facade of one of its buildings on the outskirts of Ahmedabad

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Adani Total Private Ltd will receive its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo at the Dhamra terminal on India's east coast in April and expects to start commercial operations 30 to 45 days after receiving the shipment, the Adani Group told Reuters.

The start-up of the 5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) LNG import terminal, delayed from September 2021, is crucial to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's plan to boost natural gas use in the country's energy mix to 15% from about 6% currently.

The Adani Group's first LNG import terminal will boost gas use in India's east, where the Dhamra project is only the second import terminal. The country's five other import terminals are on its western coast.

Adani Total, in which French energy giant TotalEnergies SE has a 50% stake, said the Dhamra terminal expected safety checks and testing to be completed in February, adding that all key regulatory approvals have been achieved.

"The port infrastructure at Dhamra is ready to receive LNG cargoes at the Terminal per the contractual specifications," an Adani Group spokeswoman said in an emailed response to questions late on Thursday.

India's imports fell for a second consecutive year in 2022 after rising for seven years, data from analytics firm Kpler showed, with its appetite curbed by high prices due to Europe's scramble for gas to replace supply from Russia.

However in January, as Asian LNG prices cooled, imports rose for the first time in eight months, government data showed. Officials expect expanded local gas distribution to drive LNG demand in the coming years.

Adani Total expects to receive 2.2 million tonnes of LNG at Dhamra in the year to March 2024, the company's chief executive told Reuters this month.

It has a 20-year take-or-pay contract to provide regasification services to state-run Indian Oil Corp for 3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG and 1.5 mtpa for government-run gas distributor GAIL (India) Ltd.

(Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan and Emily Chow in Singapore)