(EnergyAsia, January 16 2013, Wednesday) — GAIL, India’s state gas giant, has started up the country’s third terminal to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) at Ratnagiri in the western state of Maharashtra.

Located around 340km south of Mumbai, the Dabhol LNG terminal will be the conduit for imported natural gas to provide fuel for power generation as well as feedstock for fertiliser manufacturers in southern and western India.

B.C. Tripathi, GAIL’s chairman and managing director, said the company plans to expand the five-million-tonne/year terminal to 7.5 million tonnes in 2014 and to 10 million tonnes by 2017 at a cost of 20 billion rupees.

GAIL will soon start up the 1,400 km Dhabol-Bengaluru pipeline system that will help deliver gas to users in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The terminal is operated by RGPPL, a consortium comprising GAIL (India) Limited, state power company, NTPC, and local financial institutions.

India is racing to increase its LNG imports to meet the country’s growing power demand. Its other two terminals at Dahej and Hazira in Gujarat have been operating at capacity.