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Petronet LNG plans bunkering services to ocean going ships from its Kochi terminal

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The ₹4,700 crore terminal in Kochi had already provided LNG bunkering to two Norwegian ships in 2015

KOCHI : Petronet LNG Ltd (PLL) intends to start bunkering services to ocean going vessels from its Kochi terminal as part of shoring up its business volumes.

Globally ships are slowly converting to LNG or other green fuels. Given the circumstances, providing bunkering services would definitely mop up our revenues as well, Yogananda Reddy, Chief General Manager and Vice President, PLL, Kochi terminal said.

“We are working on the project, but yet to finalise the market requirements like the number of ships plying with LNG as fuel on the international shipping route off Kochi,” he told.

The ₹4,700 crore terminal in Kochi had already provided LNG bunkering to two Norwegian ships in 2015. But a similar model cannot be worked out now in view of the bigger size of many ocean-going ships. These ships cannot be berthed at the terminal for fueling and there is a need to deploy bunker barges for alongside bunkering on the route of ships, he added.

Asked on the investment part of the project, Reddy said, “It is too early to say anything on the cost aspect as it all depends on the customer base, their requirements etc. A final figure can be arrived at once we get the exact number of customers.”

Meanwhile, the 5-million tonne Kochi terminal has attained 30 per cent of its capacity after the natural gas started flowing to Mangaluru with the completion of GAIL pipelines in March. Mangaluru is a good consumption point for natural gas and the prominent customers include MRPL, Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers, OMPL etc which started taking a sizeable quantity. The gas connectivity has also ensured the arrival of two LNG laden ships per month to the terminal with 1,50,000 cubic metre of liquified natural gas against one in the earlier period, he said.

To a question on the project to convert fishing boats with LNG, Reddy said the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology is carrying out a 100 running hour trial. The initial trials are satisfactory, and it is expected that the agency would soon come up with their findings. Besides, a 20-25 per cent cost reduction in fuel for fishing boats, LNG is less polluting compared to diesel.

Reddy was all praise for the Kerala Government in reducing KVAT for LNG to five per cent from 14.5 per cent. “This is a major decision which would boost the business and make natural gas competitive in the market. We are also in discussions with KSRTC to convert 500 buses plying in the State with LNG,” he added.

Source : The Hindu Business Line

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