Almost ready to start receiving LNG at Kochi

Vol 15, PW 16 (23 Feb 12) Midstream & Downstream

India’s third LNG terminal after Dahej and Hazira is likely to be ‘mechanically completed’ next month (March).

Over 2000 workers are racing to finish construction work on the 5m t/y LNG terminal at Puthuvypeen Island off Kochi port in Kerala, set up by India’s largest and first LNG importer Petronet-LNG, operator of the 10m t/y Dahej LNG terminal in Gujarat. On February 7 and 8, work at Kochi crossed a key milestone when Japanese contractor IHI finished insulating the second of two onshore LNG storage tanks by inserting ‘perlite’ material between the inner and outer metal walls.

IHI completed insulation of the first tank in January. Each onshore LNG storage tank has a gross capacity of between 175,000 cubic metres and 180,000 cubic metres and a net capacity of 155,000 cubic metres.

Contractor CTCI is carrying out critical piping, electrical and instrumentation work at the 36-hectare LNG terminal site. “Buildings within the LNG terminal site are also getting finishing touches,” says a Petronet-LNG source.

He confirms all work is scheduled for completion by March 31 at the latest. Yet the terminal is unlikely to officially begin operations before October this year.

Once construction is complete, explains a source, technical crew will begin testing the systems. Contractors AFCONS and Delta Marine Consultants are likely to complete dredging of the shipping channel only by mid-May.

Work on the shipping channel was originally scheduled for completion by last December but was delayed because an AFCONS subcontractor didn’t meet its deadlines. Luckily the delay is not critical, as Petronet-LNG needs ‘marine facilities’ ready only by September to receive the terminal’s first ‘commissioning’ cargo, which should take a month.

Petronet-LNG is confident it can begin commercial operations by December at the latest.