Work on Hazira LNG terminal proceeds at brisk pace

Vol 7, PW 10 (30 Jul 03) Midstream & Downstream

INDIAS TORENTIAL monsoon rain is down to a fine drizzle on a soggy July morning just outside the western city of Surat as PETROWATCH travels on its first-ever official visit to the construction site of Shell's 5m t/y LNG terminal at Hazira - at the company's invitation.

The journey from Surat to Hazira, 22-km due west, is uneventful except for the bad road and fleeting glimpses of the Reliance petrochemical complex, the Larsen & Toubro factory, NTPC's Kawas power station and Essar's steel and power plants at various points on one or the other side of the road during the 45-minute journey. Past the Niko-operated Hazira gasfield, the road splits into two, one continues into Hazira village, while a newer, broader and much better laid road turns left, hugging the coastline.

This new 2.5-km road was laid by Shell to spare villagers inconvenience from the heavy traffic inevitable to and from the construction site. Down this smooth road, barely 1-km from the terminal, two tanks with gantry cranes looming rise into the sky (see below).

Closer to the terminal, excavators and earthmovers are at work in the distance. Outside the terminal gate, scores of country wagons and cars are parked neatly on one side, as are several trucks carrying steel rods and other construction material.

At the gate a notice forbids photography. Security personnel check every vehicle.

Pass the gate and enter the foreground of the construction site. There's very little of the expected disorder.

On the contrary, well spaced out and neatly marked air-conditioned portable cabins - used as office complex, canteen, and medical aid post - resemble a mini village. A walk through the office complex and the canteen shows no expense has been spared to make work at the construction site as comfortable as possible for the supervisory and support staff.

Rising in the background, the two LNG tanks dwarf everything. Hundreds of personnel in helmets: blue, white, yellow, as well as overalls work oblivious to the rain.

One of the walls of the main conference room in the office complex has blueprints showing the plan of the terminal while other walls are lined with enlarged photographs with dates indicating various stages of the construction activity. Shell project manager Jim Gardiner is relaxed as he painstakingly explains details on the blueprints and later takes PETROWATCH on a guided tour of the construction site.

"We have completed just over 50% of the work," says Gardiner. "Everything is going to schedule." Read on.

Two LNG storage tanks under construction at Shell's 5m t/y Hazira LNG import terminal. The roof of one tank has been raised.

Work is underway to raise the roof of the second tank [Source: Shell]