Disbelief at NTPC terms for R-LNG to Port Blair

Vol 23, PW 2 (14 Nov 19) Midstream & Downstream

Serious doubts are surfacing over whether NTPC will receive a good response to its R-LNG tender for a proposed 50-MW gas-based power station in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

This follows a stormy pre-bid on October 30 ahead of the November 15 (2019) bid deadline in a tender released on September 25. Attended by 12 companies, several objections were raised to a tender clause stating that the ship transporting LNG must be made in India.

"The meeting lasted one and a half hours," adds our source. "But for more than 45 minutes we talked about relaxing the "Made in India’ clause."

But NTPC refused to budge! Expect problems: India’s largest shipbuilding facility at Kochi is not equipped to build large LNG carriers. "Cochin Shipyard can only build ships with a capacity up to 5000 cubic metres," we hear.

Yet whoever wins the tender would need to arrange a ship with a capacity of at least 10,000 cubic metres to 15,000 cubic metres for deliveries to Port Blair. "If a 5000 cubic metre capacity ship is used to transport LNG, the cost of transportation would rise substantially," adds our source.

Another major challenge is the shallow draft at the proposed Floating Storage and Re-gasification Unit (FSRU) location which must be set up to receive LNG. "The draft is too shallow," adds our source.

"Ships with a capacity of more than 15,000 cubic metres can’t berth."