Kochi EPC contract target date set for September 30th

Vol 11, PW 9 (06 Sep 07) Midstream & Downstream

Rising nickel prices have raised the cost of installing LNG storage tanks at Kochi but compare this project with Dahej and you’ll still notice substantial savings at Kochi.

Unlike Dahej, the Kochi LNG terminal doesn’t need a breakwater, “because there are no strong waves along that part of the coast.â€‌ Also not needed at Kochi is the 2.5-km long jetty built at Dahej.

“The jetty at Kochi will be just 310 metres long,â€‌ says a source. But Kochi will berth larger tankers than Dahej, so the navigation channel must be deeper.

If the IHI consortium wins the Kochi EPC contract, like the Dahej contract, all the marine work will be done by Japan’s Penta Ocean, which has replaced Holland’s Ballast Nedam International. While work proceeds towards finalising the EPC tender, which is likely to be awarded by September 30th, Petronet-LNG is still waiting to sign the concession agreement with the Kochi Port Trust.

“The draft agreement has been finalised but has yet to be approved by the ministry of surface transport,â€‌ says a Petronet-LNG source. “We have been assured (by Delhi and the Kerala government) that the port will sign the agreement by September 30th.

â€‌ In many respects, we are told, the concession agreement between Petronet-LNG and Kochi Port Trust will be a first for India “so the delay is understandableâ€‌. Once again, look to the Dahej LNG terminal for comparisons.

At the Dahej LNG terminal, the port operator is a sub-contractor â€کdedicated’ to Petronet-LNG while at Kochi the Kochi Port Trust will be the operator of the LNG terminal. The pilot boats and tugboats at Dahej are dedicated to the LNG terminal.

But the pilot boats at Kochi will be owned by the Kochi Port Trust and will also guide other ships into the port, while the tugboats will be owned by Petronet-LNG. The shipping channel to the Dahej terminal is used exclusively by Petronet-LNG while that at Kochi will be used by other ships too that call at the port.

While Petronet-LNG will be responsible for dredging the â€کturning basin’ in which LNG tankers will turn before berthing alongside the jetty, the port trust will dredge the shipping channel.