Gujarat wants R-LNG supply coordinating agency

Vol 14, PW 25 (16 Jun 11) Midstream & Downstream

Gujarat state authorities are proposing the creation of a R-LNG supply coordination agency following widespread panic last month when gas supplies to nearly 3000 factories in the state were suspended.

Rough seas in the Gulf of Kutch forced the Gujarat Maritime Board to close all Gujarat ports on May 16, preventing LNG tankers from berthing at either Dahej or Hazira. “By May 21, LNG storage tanks at both terminals were almost dry,” recalls Gujarat energy secretary DJ Pandian.

“If the situation had persisted for just one more day, even cars using CNG as fuel would have been affected.” By May 22, supplies were suspended and two days later Petronet-LNG managing director AK Balyan and technical director CS Mani rushed to Gandhinagar to meet Pandian, while local Gujarat newspapers screamed front-page banner headlines about the crisis.

“Panic persisted for 24 hours,” we are told. “This could have been avoided if there was better coordination between R-LNG suppliers and customers.

” Pandian believes an agency in overall charge of coordinating R-LNG supplies could keep track of such crises as they develop and phase out supplies gradually, instead of letting supplies drop abruptly from 100% to 0%. Each R-LNG supplier could reduce supplies to customers by 20% ensuring gas is distributed fairly during a crisis.

Pandian says this crisis underlines the lack of adequate gas infrastructure in India. “In the short-term we need more storage capacity at Dahej and Hazira but in the long-term India needs more LNG terminals,” we learn.

In the absence of an R-LNG coordinating agency, gas suppliers must remain alert over the next four months until this year’s monsoon ends. High velocity winds are expected to lead to high swells in the Gulf of Cambay, site of both Hazira and Dahej.