Dabhol to receive first LNG in January 2012

Vol 15, PW 8 (20 Oct 11) Midstream & Downstream

After much delay and false starts, Ratnagiri Gas is at last preparing to receive the first LNG cargo at its 5m t/y Dabhol LNG terminal in Maharashtra.

“GAIL has scheduled the first LNG tanker arrival in January,” confirms a Ratnagiri source. Dredging of the Dabhol shipping channel finally began on October 12, he adds.

Hyderabad-based Dharti Dredging & Infrastructure was hired for this Rs170cr ($34m) assignment on July 19 by the GAIL-NTPC joint venture. According to the latest estimate, Dharti must dredge 4.5m cubic metres of silt and soft rock so the channel will have a ‘draft’ or depth of 14.5 metres and a width of 300 metres.

There will be a ‘turning radius’ of 700 metres so LNG tankers can head back to sea after unloading their cargoes. “We expect Dharti to finish the job by end-December,” we learn.

Dharti is racing to complete the contract by using two regular dredgers and one ‘grab hopper’ dredger, with a large claw-like ‘grab’ hanging from a crane to pick up seabed material. When dredging is completed, LNG tankers with a 135,000-tonne capacity can berth at Dabhol.

“Four full cargoes are needed to fill our three onshore LNG storage tanks (each with a 160,000-cubic metre capacity) to commission the terminal,” we hear. Other than dredging, Ratnagiri says the Dabhol terminal is ready.

“Our third LNG storage tank was completed in September,” we learn. “So were the LNG ‘unloading arms,’ ‘vaporisers’ and other equipment.

” GAIL will market R-LNG generated during commissioning of the LNG terminal. “Our job is only to receive, store and regasify the LNG for GAIL,” says Ratnagiri.

“We’ll be charging GAIL for this.” No progress has been made on a 1.5-km ‘breakwater’ to allow LNG tankers to berth during the monsoon from May to September.