Millennium Post

Petronet hires fourth LNG ship from SCI consortium

Petronet LNG, the nation's largest liquefied natural gas importer, will hire a fourth LNG ship from a consortium of state-owned Shipping Corp of India (SCI) and Japanese lines.

SCI and Japanese firms Mitsui OSK Lines, NYK Line and K Line have won a global tender to lease one LNG tanker to Petronet for hauling the fuel from Gorgon in Australia to Kochi in Kerala where Petronet has built a 5 million tonnes per annum LNG import and re-gassification terminal.

'The Board of Directors has approved award of a long- term time charter for the company's fourth LNG vessel. The delivery of the vessel will synchronise with the start of LNG supply from Gorgon,' Petronet director (finance) R K Garg said.

The consortium already has leased three LNG ships to Petronet for hauling liquid gas (LNG) from Qatar to its Dahej terminal in Gujarat.

Petronet has an option to take 26 per cent stake in a shipping venture but 'we haven't yet decided to exercise that option,' he said.

Petronet has 3 per cent stake in one of the three consortia formed to ferry 7.5 million tonne per annum of LNG from Qatar to its Dahej terminal in Gujarat.

SCI holds 29.08 per cent stake in 138,000 cubic meters capacity Disha and Raahi LNG carriers and 26 per cent in 155,000 cubic meters capacity vessel named Aseem. Petronet has 3 per cent stake in the consortium that operates Assem.

Petronet needs a 174,000 cubic meters capacity vessel for 19 years to ship 1.44 million tonnes per annum of LNG it has contracted from Gorgon, Australia. Supplies from Australia will begin sometime in end July, while the consortium has committed to deliver the ship in 2016.

'We will hire ships on temporary basis to transport first few cargos of Gorgon LNG,' Garg said.
Petronet operates a 10 million tonne a year LNG import and regassification facility at Dahej. It will expand this to 15 million tonnes by next year.

Besides the recently commissioned Kochi terminal, it is also constructing a 5 million tonne capacity facility at Gangavaram in Andhra Pradesh.

Petronet, which is part owned by Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), GAIL India Ltd, Indian Oil Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), received its first LNG tanker 'Disha' on 9 January, 2004 followed by second LNG tanker 'Raahi' on 16 December, 2004 and the third LNG tanker 'Aseem' on 16 November, 2009.
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