Vivek Rae ignored at Dahej LNG ceremony

Vol 16, PW 16 (07 Mar 13) People & Policy
     

Whispers of Vivek Rae’s possible transfer from the oil ministry to the defence ministry might explain his lukewarm reception at the Dahej LNG terminal on February 26 where he cut a cake to celebrate the 1000th LNG cargo arrival.

Despite the festive atmosphere, those present couldn't help wondering why the chairmen of GAIL, IndianOil and Bharat Petroleum stayed away. GAIL chairman BC Tripathi excused himself in advance but IOC and BPCL chairmen RS Butola and RK Singh stayed away at the last moment.

“Butola had to rush to an important meeting in Jaipur,” confirms a Petronet-LNG source. Singh was to accompany Rae in a helicopter from Mumbai but changed plans after receiving an important call.

Some wonder if rumours that Rae is to be transferred to the defence ministry was behind their decision to skip the event. Happily many Petronet-LNG employees attended, as did Petronet-LNG managing director AK Balyan, ONGC chairman Sudhir Vasudeva, RasGas head (sales contracts) Ghanim A.

Al-Shahwani and officials from Japan's IHI, GDF Suez, Toyo and Shipping Corporation of India. Rae cut the cake in the cabin of LNG tanker Disha, which brought in the 1000th cargo.

Daewoo-built and Malta-flagged Disha, with a 136,026-cubic metre capacity, was also the first LNG tanker ever to berth at Dahej on January 30, 2004. Balyan described the 1000th cargo as a historic achievement.

“Petronet-LNG is moving fast and nothing can stop it now,” he said. Balyan said it took Dahej only nine years and 26 days to berth 1000 LNG ships.

By contrast Belgium's busy Zeebrugge LNG terminal took over 25 years to land 1400 LNG cargoes.