Enough room for two LNG players in Mumbai

Vol 4, PW 14 (16 Aug 00) Midstream & Downstream

Only time will tell if the time, effort and money Indigas is spending in promoting its Trombay LNG terminal will result in approval from local state authorities.

A bigger question is if there is room for two LNG importers in Maharashtra Indigas recognises the threat from Enron, which hopes to land first LNG by late next year at Dabhol, approximately 200km south of Mumbai. However, Indigas firmly believes the market can absorb two players.

Said de Frassinette: "We estimate a major gas shortfall in the Mumbai region". De Frassinette tells a correspondent for Petrowatch the company is sticking by its deadline to land first supplies of LNG at Trombay by July 2004.

By this time it hopes to have commissioned the 3m t/y first phase of its planned 6m t/y terminal. Indigas's strategy is to restrict the sale of its regassified LNG to industrial consumers within a 50km radius of Mumbai.

De Frassinette said Indigas is in negotiations with Qatar and Yemen to source its LNG. The company plans to employ two dedicated ships of about 95,000 cubic metres capacity each to bring in the fuel.

This is smaller than the two LNG carriers of 135,000 cubic metres each announced by Shell last month. Explains de Frassinette: "The capacity of the ships is lower than that of normal LNG carriers because of the lower draft of the Mumbai port navigation channel." The future of the Trombay LNG plant lies in the hands of Dr PK Ghosh of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.

He is the man who has the power to recommend or deny environmental approval.