Dabhol terminal expects first LNG cargo in March

Vol 15, PW 17 (08 Mar 12) Midstream & Downstream

There’s a glimmer of hope at the 5m t/y Dabhol LNG terminal owned and operated by GAIL and NTPC joint venture Ratnagiri Gas.

PETROWATCH learns Dabhol is expected to receive its first or ‘commissioning’ cargo on March 27 (this month) sourced by GAIL from US-based LNG trader Excelerate Energy. GAIL is believed to be paying around $15.5/mmbtu to Excelerate for the 135,000-cubic metre cargo but it is unclear whether this is ‘FOB’ or ‘ex-ship’.

An industry source suggests the total cost of Dabhol’s commissioning cargo is around Rs200cr ($40.3m). Ratnagiri Gas believes it could take up to 21 days to unload the first LNG cargo.

“Dabhol’s ‘pumps’ and other equipment have been lying unused for over 10 years,” explains a source. “Unloading a commissioning cargo at a brand new terminal normally takes 14 days but it is likely to take longer at Dabhol.

” GAIL plans to bring in another 135,000-cubic metre LNG cargo at Dabhol one week after the commissioning cargo, followed by two or three similar-sized cargoes, which GAIL wants to land before mid-May, when the monsoon rains begin and the sea becomes too rough for tankers to berth. Dabhol is buzzing with activity as Ratnagiri works around the clock to prepare for the arrival of the Excelerate cargo.

Final dredging work to widen and deepen the port’s shipping channel is expected to be completed by March 15. Once ready the shipping channel will be 14.5 metres deep, 8-km long, 300-metres wide, and it have a 700 metre ‘turning radius.

’ In January, Ratnagiri Gas hired state-owned Shipping Corporation of India to handle the berthing of LNG tankers and maintain the LNG terminal’s marine facilities for three years at a cost of Rs260cr ($52.3m).