The tanker vessel carrying the first consignment of LNG to Petronet LNG terminal is still waiting at the outer anchorage of the Cochin Port as the berth basin of LNG terminal does not have the depth to facilitate navigation of the vessel.
According to the Cochin Port Trust management, dredging of berth basin is the responsibility of Petronet, while maintenance dredging is to be carried out by the Port Trust. The shipping agent on the shore does not have a clear idea about berthing of the ship at Puthuvype. “We will get the details of arrival of the vessel only 24 hours in advance”, said the shipping agency officials.
The vessel ‘WILENERGY’, carrying around 1 lakh cubic metre LNG from RasGas in Qatar reached and anchored in the outer channel of Cochin Port.
With the arrival of vessel carrying LNG, the Rs 4,200 crore terminal which has an annual capacity of 5 million Tonnes is ready for operations.
Sources said that the ship will be berthed in another two or three days, adding that dredging of the berth basin is going on round-the-clock.
LNG brought in this vessel will be mainly used to test the pipe lines and if there is any surplus, that will be used for distribution.
Though the official dedication of the terminal will take place in two months, pumping of gas from the terminal will start this month.
The Kochi terminal has two major customers - BPCL Kochi Refinery and the Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore Limited (FACT).
Though ready for operation, the terminal can work at just eight percent of its full capacity since the pipelines connecting Kochi to customers in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are still under construction.
Once the pipeline from Kochi to Bangalore and Mangalore are ready, the terminal is expected to be operated at 75 per cent of its capacity.
It is pointed out that at least 70 per cent of the total capacity, or 3.5 million tonnes a year, is required for the terminal to function at minimum optimum efficiency.