SCI diversifies into terminal handling
Shipping Corporation of India undertakes its first venture in terminal handling at Dhabol
India’s largest shipping company, the Shipping Corporation of India, which recorded a loss in the last quarter, has now diversified into terminal handling operations. It has taken over the management of the recently commissioned two - million tonne Dabhol LNG terminal of the Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt. Ltd. (RGPPL).
“We have commenced the operation of the RGPPL’s LNG terminal at Dhabol last week, when we handled the cargo from a tanker that brought in gas for use in the power station,” stated Arun Kumar Gupta, Director (Technical & Offshore Services) of SCI. “We got the management of the terminal on nomination basis, considering our expertise and outstanding capabilities. SCI will handle the terminal for a period of three years. When the tankers come in our job will be to undertake the pilotage, berth the vessel and unload it. We initially undertook a dry run of the entire operations.”
According to sources SCI has been trying to secure this contract since the past three years. It is believed that RGPPL had run into difficulties but it was SCI that rose to the occasion.
State-run Gail and power utility NTPC owns 31.52% equity stake each in Ratnagiri Gas & Power Ltd (formerly known as Dabhol Power). Maharashtra State Electricity Board holds its 16.68% stake and financial institutions hold balance 20.28%. The power plant currently runs on 5.6 million standard cubic meters per day of natural gas supplied from Reliance Industries' D6 gas fields and generates around 1,100 MW electricity.
“Earlier when gas could not be made available the power plant had to be run on naphtha, which is very expensive,” says Mr Gupta. “Since the terminal was not ready, they tried using gas and so piped gas was made available from Uran. The terminal now being ready we have been given the management.”
Speaking about this terminal which is dedicated only for imports Mr Gupta informed that after the monsoons they expect regular gas supplies coming in. The gas will be unloaded in liquid form, gasified and sent to the power plant.
“The advantage of this project is that the gas which is in liquid form is at – 163 degrees. For heating to degasify it requires considerable amount of power which would have made it a costly process. But here the heat generated by the power plant itself is being used through heat exchangers and the gas sent directly to the power plant. The gas which earlier came by pipe is now brought by tankers.”