Petronet posts record profit in Q3 at Rs 1,190 cr

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Petronet LNG Ltd

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New Delhi: Petronet LNG Ltd, India's biggest Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) importer, posted a record third-quarter net profit of Rs 1,190.30 crore as a fall in gas prices increased capacity utilisation at its main Dahej import facility in Gujarat.

The company had posted a net profit of Rs 1,175.94 crore in the year-ago period and Rs 814.91 crore profit in the preceding quarter.

Profit rose on the back of higher capacity utilisation at 17.5 million tonnes a year import terminal at Dahej, Petronet CEO Akshay Kumar Singh told reporters on a media call.

During the December quarter, Dahej terminal processed 218 Trillion British Thermal Units (TBTU) of LNG as against 154 TBTU during the corresponding quarter a year ago, and 210 TBTU in the July-September period, he said.

This led to a capacity utilisation of 99 per cent, up from 95 per cent in the preceding quarter and 70 per cent in the year-ago period.

The softening in international LNG prices brought in more volumes.

Together with its Kochi terminal, which operates at less than 15 per cent of its 5 million tonnes a year capacity due to lack of pipeline to take the fuel to customers, Petronet processed 232 TBTU of LNG in the third quarter, as against 167 TBTU in the previous year.

Singh said the Dahej terminal will be expanded to 22.5 million tonnes capacity by March next year.

Also, Petronet is constructing two additional gas storage tanks, which would enhance operational efficiency, by June this year.

Petronet, he said, has reached a settlement with customers regarding use or pay charges and has secured bank guarantees from them.

Due to high gas prices, off-takers did not import the committed volumes in 2022 and 2023, inviting a levy of penalty under the use or pay agreement. This totalled Rs 848.92 crore for 2022 and Rs 415.91 crore for 2021.

The off-takers have been given three years from the date of default to import the volumes they had failed to previously.

The bank guarantees will be forfeited in case they fail to import the volume within the three-year window, he said.

Singh said the Coimbatore-Krishnagiri gas pipeline is expected to be completed by the end of 2024, and it will help raise capacity utilisation at Kochi as it would help transport gas to users.

Revenue from operations fell to Rs 14,747.21 crore in the third quarter from Rs 15,775.87 crore, primarily because gas prices were lower.

For nine months ended December 31, Petronet reported a net profit of Rs 2,792.94 crore on a revenue of Rs 38,936.16 crore. This compared with Rs 2,596.56 crore net profit on a revenue of Rs 46,025.42 crore in the year-ago period.