Hazira receives first Q-Flex and Sakhalin LNG cargoes

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

Shell and Total can rightly claim two â€کfirsts’ for their Hazira LNG terminal in Gujarat, as activity accelerates and Indian customers begin taking advantage of the sharp drop in international LNG prices.

Close to a year after getting regulatory clearance to bring in large-sized LNG vessels, Shell finally received its first Q-Flex carrier from Qatar on March 27. Surprisingly though, the 315-metre long, 50-metre wide Al Hamla vessel was a â€کpart-cargo’ only, carrying 89,000 cubic metres of LNG in two of its five tanks – well short of the 216,000 cubic metre maximum capacity of a Q-Flex carrier.

Al Hamla discharged its cargo the next day but its arrival was a surprisingly quiet affair: Shell originally wanted Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to witness the arrival, but he wasn’t there. Blame imminent national elections and the Election Commission’s ban on political endorsements for Modi’s absence.

Until now Hazira was typically bringing in carriers containing not more than 175,000 cubic metres and last year Shell and Total increased the width of Hazira’s navigation channel to 470 metres to accommodate Q-Flex carriers. Another landmark event is the imminent arrival at Hazira of the first cargo of LNG produced from the 9.5m t/y facility at Sakhalin Island in Russia’s far east, an incorporated joint venture of Shell (27.5%), Gazprom (50%), Mitsui (12.5%) and Mitsubishi (10%).

PETROWATCH learns the Shell-owned Grand Aniva vessel, fully loaded with 145,000 cubic metres of LNG, was originally destined for Japan but that because of a â€کtiming issue’ she has been diverted to Hazira and is tentatively expected on April 15 or 16. Unclear is whether more LNG cargoes will come to India from Sakhalin.

“Pretty much all the LNG is sold out under long term contracts,â€‌ we hear. “Mostly to Japan, (South) Korea, Mexico and the US west coast.