NTPC breathes life into Kochi LNG project

Vol 6, PW 24 (12 Feb 03) Midstream & Downstream

PETRONET-LNG CAN heave a sigh of relief: its proposed Kochi LNG terminal stands a fair chance of becoming reality thanks to some concrete steps by National Thermal Power Corporation to import 2m t/y LNG for the expansion of its 350-MW Kayamkulam power station in Kerala.

NTPC wants LNG for Kayamkulam by 2008 and has identified two locations to set up the LNG import terminal: Kochi and Kayamkulam. "Bidders will be asked to bid for both locations," reveals a source.

"The one we choose depends on the terms that Kochi Port Trust offers. Kochi is already a 'major' port so the port trust should share the cost of setting up and maintaining the marine facilities." By contrast Kayamkulam - 140-km south of Kochi will have to stand by itself and the bidder will have to bear the entire cost of the marine facilities.

Unlike Kochi, Kayamkulam offers clear technical advantages for the power project. "At Kayamkulam we can integrate the heat with the power station," reveals a source.

"We can use the cold energy of LNG (-161 degrees Centigrade) to cool the condenser water (for the steam turbines) and provide cold air for the gas turbines. This will increase the efficiency of the turbines." But if the LNG terminal is located at Kochi, this cold energy will be wasted.

More, having a terminal at Kochi means a pipeline will be required to transport the gas to Kayamkulam. "Balancing the heat integration costs with the pipeline costs and the Kochi Port Trust terms will help us decide the location."