Worker unrest disrupts Kochi LNG construction

Vol 14, PW 24 (02 Jun 11) Midstream & Downstream

Kerala has a reputation as ‘God’s own country’ for its luscious beauty but the workforce in this formerly Marxist-run state is ready to down tools at the slightest excuse.

Hit hard by this sporadic labour unrest is work at the upcoming Kochi LNG terminal, most recently in April and May, when workers protested about an unrelated issue: the overuse of agricultural pesticide ‘Endosulphan’ across India. “We have lost over 50 days of work at Kochi because of strikes and citywide shutdowns since we began construction in 2008,” complains Petronet-LNG.

“Most of these strikes are completely unrelated to anything at the (terminal) site.” Petronet-LNG, he adds, is determined to meet its self-imposed deadline of construction completion by August 2012.

“But this might be delayed by a month or so because of the time we’ve lost.” Petronet-LNG, he says, has completed 75% of overall construction work at the upcoming LNG terminal.

Japan’s IHI has completed 85% of the work on two 155,000-cubic metres net capacity LNG storage tanks under a contract awarded in February 2008. “Work on the LNG storage tanks is on schedule,” we are told.

“The outer tanks are complete but work continues on the inner tanks.” ‘Hydro-testing’ by filling the tanks with water should begin by end-June, adds Petronet-LNG.

AFCONS has completed 75% of the ‘marine works’ at the terminal like the construction of a jetty, under a contract awarded in July 2009. Civil construction on the ‘mooring’ and ‘breasting dolphins’, the 300-metre long ‘approach trestle’ and the unloading platforms is complete.

Not yet installed is ‘topside’ equipment like ‘mooring hooks and winches’, ‘gangway towers’, ‘fenders’ and ‘fire fighting systems’.

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