Petronet LNG Ltd, India's biggest gas importer, reported a 16 per cent drop in fourth quarter net profit after it booked inventory losses on falling gas prices. Net profit in January-March at Rs 440 crore was lower than Rs 523 crore in the same period of the previous fiscal, Petronet Managing Director and CEO Prabhat Singh told reporters. "We had a loss on inventory valuation as the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in international markets slipped from about USD 8.5 per million British thermal unit (Btu) at the beginning of the quarter to USD 4.3," he said.
According to accounting standards, an inventory has to be valued at the prevailing price and so the company had a 'notional' Rs 119 crore inventory loss, he said. But for the inventory loss, the company had a "very good quarter," he said. Its import terminals at Dahej in Gujarat and Kochi in Kerala processed 205 trillion Btu of LNG, down from 213 TBtu.
The lower volume was because fertiliser plants had shutdowns during the quarter, leading to lower offtake of the imported gas. "During the quarter ended March 31, 2019, Dahej terminal operated at around 104 per cent of its name place capacity and processed 199 TBtu of LNG," he said, adding Kochi continues to operate below 10 per cent of its 5 million tonnes a year capacity in absence of pipelines to evacuate gas to customers. For the full 2018-19 fiscal, the company reported a record net profit of Rs 2,155 crore, a rise of 4 per cent over the previous financial year. Singh said Petronet will complete expansion of its Dahej terminal to 17.5 million tonnes capacity from current 15 million tonnes, by June. "During FY 2018-19, the company's Dahej terminal operated at 107 per cent of its name place capacity and processed highest ever LNG quantities of 820 TBtu as against 816 TBtu of LNG quantities processed in FY 2017-18," he added.