Gorgon LNG doubts as P-LNG offers 2 tugs

Vol 19, PW 11 (11 Feb 16) Midstream & Downstream

Petronet-LNG chief Prabhat Singh’s ominous move to hire out tug boats at Kochi has raised doubts and much speculation about the fate of its 20-year long-term LNG supply deal with ExxonMobil.

Tug boats are used to guide LNG tankers through the shipping channel to the jetty at the stranded terminal. “Petronet-LNG’s decision to hire out the tugs means no long-term LNG supplies are expected at Kochi," speculates a senior LNG industry source, "at least in the near future.

" Petronet-LNG issued a notice on February 1 offering two Kochi ‘harbour towage’ tugboats for hire immediately: Ocean Perfect and Ocean Pioneer, both built in 2011. Both tugs fly the Indian flag and are 32-metres long and 13-metres wide.

“Singh must have decided to hire out the tugs after getting some indication of a further delay with the ExxonMobil supplies,” he adds. “Unlike (his predecessor) AK Balyan, Singh is very hands on.

He wants to cut losses where he can.” Petronet-LNG signed a deal with ExxonMobil to source 1.44m t/y LNG from Australia’s Gorgon liquefaction facility in August 2009.

First supplies were originally slated to begin by December 2015; this was then pushed back to mid-2016 because of delays at the Gorgon project. Now it’s anybody’s guess when they will come in.

For now Petronet-LNG will have to make do with only occasional cargoes from Dutch trader Trafigura, which uses the Kochi terminal to store reloads.