GAIL to get Dabhol commissioning cargo on Dec 28

GAIL to get Dabhol commissioning cargo on Dec 28 New Delhi: State gas utility GAIL India Ltd will this week import a shipload of natural gas in its liquid form, called liquefied natural gas (LNG), for commissioning of the beleaguered Dabhol facility in Maharashtra.

"We will receive a LNG cargo from Gazprom (of Russia) on December 28," GAIL Chairman and Managing Director B C Tripathi said here.

The 5 million tons a year LNG import plant, which was built about 15 years back, is likely to be commissioned by January end. "If everything goes right, the plan will be commissioned by January-end or early February," he said.

GAIL had in March this year imported a shipload of LNG for commissioning the 5 Dabhol. But the operations had to be aborted midway after two successive equipment failures.

"Fenders (which are used to prevent damage to vessels while berthing at the port) have been replaced. Also, new bellows have been put. All repairs have been completed and we are in a position to bring a commissioning cargo," he said.

GAIL had in March bought a cargo from Statoil ASA's Snohvit LNG plant in the Barents Sea off Norway for commissioning the plant and this time it has sourced it from Gazprom.

The company is looking to tie-up up to 2 million tons of LNG for import at the nation's third liquefied natural gas terminal.

The terminal, which will take about 45-days to be fully commissioned, is expected to operate at less than 60 percent of capacity in the absence of a breakwater, which guard ships against high tides.

In the absence of breakwater, the terminal may not be able to operate during four monsoon months beginning May-end.

The construction of a breakwater is likely to be completed in 2013-14 after which the LNG terminal will become fully operational.

GAIL owns 31.52 percent stake in Ratnagiri Gas and Power Co Ltd -- the firm that owns the 1967 MW power plant and adjacent 5 million tonnes a year LNG import terminal.

The power plant and LNG terminal were originally built by now bankrupt US energy major Enron Corp. Ratnagiri Gas and Power Co (RGPPL) took over the project in 2005 after the Enron's bankruptcy. The LNG terminal was 80 percent complete when RGPPL took over the plant.

GAIL mechanically completed the plant in late 2010 and dredging work of the sea-channel leading to the Dabhol port was completed last year.

Like GAIL, power generator NTPC too own 31.52 percent equity stake each in RGPPL while 16.68 percent is with Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB). The remaining 20.28 percent stake is with financial institutions.