Petronas and BP in race to supply first LNG to Dabhol

Vol 12, PW 21 (26 Mar 09) Midstream & Downstream

Ratnagiri Gas and Power is determined to complete its 5m t/y former Enron promoted LNG import terminal at Dabhol.

Earlier plans were to bring in a test LNG cargo by March 30, but that has been delayed to the second week of April. Ratnagiri sources tell us the delay is of no consequence “when you consider we are completing an unfinished project after a gap of eight years.

â€‌ Potential LNG sellers have already started visiting the Dabhol terminal. In the second week of March, representatives from the shipping division of Petronas came looking.

Soon after followed a team from BP, also in the second week of March. Both companies carried out a detailed inspection of the LNG jetty and unloading facilities, in particular the berthing facilities for LNG tankers.

“They’ve asked for some documents regarding the piloting of LNG tankers,â€‌ we hear. “We’ll be sending these across.

â€‌ Privately, Ratnagiri sources believe Petronas has the best chance of winning the LNG supply contract. Later today (Thursday, March 26) a team is also expected at Dabhol from the government’s Safety in Ports Committee.

“This team will inspect the jetty and other marine facilities,â€‌ we hear. “It will give the final approval to bring in LNG cargoes.

â€‌ Ratnagiri wants at least 100,000 cubic metres of LNG in its first cargo. “Anything less would be a loss for us because we will not have enough to sell after accounting for â€کboil off’ gas.

â€‌ Plans are to install a condenser and compressor so that the â€کboil off’ gas need not be flared in the future. We hear the first of two 160,000 cubic metres capacity onshore LNG storage tanks is ready and the second will be completed in May.

A third tank at the plant is beyond repair. Ratnagiri wants a second LNG cargo in May so both onshore storage tanks can be filled.

This stock plus the recovered â€کboil off’ gas should sustain the power station for three months during the monsoon when choppy seas will make it impossible for tankers to berth.