Visit to Kochi LNG terminal for a first hand account

Vol 12, PW 22 (09 Apr 09) Midstream & Downstream

Any doubts about Petronet-LNG’s commitment to construction of a 2.5m t/y LNG terminal in Kochi, the country’s fourth after Dahej, Hazira and Dabhol, can be put to rest.

On April 1, PETROWATCH visited the under-construction LNG terminal (left) on an invitation from Petronet-LNG – the first oil and gas journal permitted to witness construction on the 33-hectare site in Kerala, also known as â€کGod’s Own Country’. Wide roads leading to the main city from the airport narrow as you approach Fort Kochi, the first European colonial settlement in India, and the closest landfall point to Puthuvypeen Island, site of the LNG terminal.

To reach the site, visitors have two options: take a 15-km, one hour drive to the island by car across a bridge; or enjoy a five-minute ferry crossing followed by a ten-minute auto rickshaw ride direct to the terminal site. As the auto rumbles across a bumpy road with piles of mud and marshland on either side, you first notice a Bharat Petroleum pipeline leading to the company’s 7.5m t/y Kochi refinery, adjacent to the LNG terminal site.

Pass security at the LNG terminal gate and a dozen cranes plus four rig masts emerge on the horizon. Trucks are ferrying soil from the site of two LNG tanks to other parts of the terminal.

Labourers wearing yellow crash helmets move around busily. Most of the activity is centred at the location of two proposed LNG storage tanks, with 185,000-cubic metre capacity each.

Excavators, cranes and rigs tirelessly carry out â€کpiling’ work to construct the tanks by August 1, 2011 – exactly 42 months after Petronet-LNG issued the Letter of Intent to IHI of Japan on February 1, 2008. Around 100 metres from the entry gate is Petronet-LNG’s newly constructed office, with enough space for 16 workstations, plus a conference room, and where the company has begun holding regular â€کreview’ meetings to monitor progress.