Petronet offers ‘gassing up’ services at Kochi terminal

Petronet offers ‘gassing up’ services at Kochi terminal

After leasing out storages at its under-utilised Kochi terminal, Petronet LNG has started offering services to LNG ships in a bid to generate revenue from different streams to tied over losses.

Prior to a ship being filled with LNG, which is natural gas cooled to minus 160 degress Celcius to turn it into liquid, the tanker needs to be gassed-up and cooled down, Petronet LNG Ltd Director (Finance) R K Garg said.

Cargo cannot be loaded directly into the tank, as the presence of oxygen would create an explosive atmospheric condition. First inert gas in the storage tank is repressed with methane vapours and then the tank is cooled to minus 130 degress celcius to receive LNG.

“These services are generally provided at LNG loading terminals and may take up to four days. Many a times these terminals are busy and so we have started offering these services at our Kochi terminal,” he told PTI here.

he 5 million tons a year Kochi LNG importer terminal is operating at less than 5 per cent of the capacity in absence of pipelines to take the imported gas to customers in Bengaluru and Mangalore.

To service debt, Petronet first decided to allow use of the terminal as a storage facility by various international LNG players.

Now the company is providing ‘gassing-up’ and ‘cool-down’ services to LNG vessels.

“We provided these services to a vessel named ‘Golar Snow’,” he said adding the vessel tanks had nitrogen which was displaced with LNG vapours and then the vessel tanks were slowly cooled to about minus 110 degree Celsius, before injecting LNG.

The entire operation was performed in a period of 48 hours and the vessel left for its destination carrying a small ‘heel’ quantity of LNG, he said.

“A few days ago, Petronet had also provided LNG as a ‘bunker fuel’ to a small vessel. It was a vessel which, due to stringent pollution norms in its area of operations, has to run on the cleaner fuel – LNG,” he added.

Garg said ‘gassing up’ and ‘cool down’ services are not a big money spinners but it will help generate some revenue for the under-utilised Kochi terminal.

Petronet’s 10 million tons a year Dahej LNG import facility in Gujarat is a cash cow, which helped the firm grow its profits by 184 per cent between fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2013 from Rs 404 crore to Rs 1,149 crore.

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