Dabhol accident forces GAIL to cancel 3 cargoes

Vol 15, PW 22 (17 May 12) Midstream & Downstream

Another worrying jetty accident has hit plans to commission the 5m t/y Dabhol LNG terminal, forcing GAIL to scrap plans to bring in three spot cargoes in May.

In an unexpected twist LNG carrier Excelerate left Dabhol on April 30 after discharging only a fraction of its 135,000-cubic metre commissioning cargo. “I cannot remember a single time,” says a source, “when a LNG tanker which berthed at a jetty was sent back without unloading.

” GAIL must now wait until the next fair weather window or end-October to commission the stricken terminal as its breakwater isn’t ready. Excelerate landed at Dabhol on April 4 and barely unloaded 3000-cubic metres before a rubber ‘fender’ broke off the jetty and fell into the sea.

GAIL sourced a replacement fender through Reliance from UK-based Hi Tech and Excelerate berthed again on April 24 - but again the fender fell away. Still unclear is the cause of the accidents.

An industry source speculates the jetty might be to blame and needs re-engineering. April 30 was the last day of the LNG tanker’s contract for Dabhol so it had no choice but to depart.

GAIL sourced the Rs200cr ($37m) cargo from Houston-based Excelerate which bought it from Statoil’s 4.3m t/y Snohvit LNG terminal in Norway. Excelerate is now on the high seas waiting to auction the cargo to other bidders.

GAIL was originally meant to pay around $15.5/mmbtu. Dabhol is owned by GAIL (31.52%) and NTPC (31.52%) joint venture Ratnagiri Gas but will be operated by GAIL for 25 years at a tolling charge of Rs45 ($0.87)/mmbtu, revised every three years.