Petronet-LNG bungles Kochi first LNG delivery

Vol 17, PW 2 (22 Aug 13) Midstream & Downstream

Petronet–LNG has made a colossal blunder bringing in a commissioning cargo for its Kochi LNG terminal in Kerala during the monsoon.

Heavy rains silted the berthing basin at Kochi and prevented the discharge of a 122,000-cubic metre LNG cargo from RasGas which came in aboard LNG tanker WilEnergy in the early hours of August 11. WilEnergy, hired by Petronet-LNG at $45,000/day, could berth at the Kochi terminal only on Tuesday (August 20) after waiting at the anchorage about 20-km from the 5m t/y terminal for the past 10 days.

But it looks like the 125,542-cubic metre capacity tanker, owned by Norwegian company Awilco, might have to wait for at least another six to seven days before discharge can finally start from the tanker. First LNG vapours will be passed through the terminal pipelines to cool the pipeline network.

Only then can LNG discharge start from the 1983-built WilEnergy. “Please don’t ask how this has been made possible,” says a Petronet-LNG source.

“We have just done it.” On Sunday (August 18) a worried Petronet-LNG was busy considering two options: auction off the cargo or divert the LNG tanker to its 10m t/y Dahej terminal.

The shipping channel, which needs to be 14.5 metres deep for the 282-metre long LNG tanker to reach the 320-metre jetty, had become shallow and the depth reduced by half. Afcons worked on the dredging round the clock with all its previous work in completing the job by April 18 going to waste.