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Petronet to offer value-added services at Kochi terminal

Thursday, 17 December 2015 | 00:00

Petronet LNG Ltd (PLL) is betting big on value-added services at its underperforming Kochi terminal to shore up revenues.

Of the value-added services such as storage and reloading, LNG bunkering for small ships etc, the company is pinning hopes on GUCD (gassing up and cooling down) service for LNG ships, which would turn out to be a money-spinner.

GUCD is a specialised service to bring the storage tanks of LNG carriers, after dry-docking, to natural gas environment and later cool it down to cryogenic temperature before loading its next cargo. It is a niche and specialised service and international players are looking at competitive service providers for cost-effective rates.

Highly placed sources said Kochi is one of the few terminals in the world to offer this facility and the company is focussing on this emerging area. The terminal has already carried out the GUCD services for two ocean-going ships and it is learnt that more such vessels are expected to call at Kochi. The provision for reloading, made in the storage tanks at the design stage, has benefited PLL in extending an additional service.

Besides, the leasing of storage facilities to international LNG players has also been receiving encouraging response from leading firms, he said.

“We are looking at all revenue streams, as the capacity utilisation of the ₹4,500-crore terminal is less than 10 per cent now,” he said, adding that the GUCD service would also help the cash-starved Kochi Port to get additional revenue such as waterfront royalty, port charges, pilotage etc.

LNG as fuel

PLL is also looking at bunkering LNG as fuel to ocean-going ships, as the service offered to a European shipping company helped Kochi terminal to project itself as the first port of call in the whole of Indian Ocean.

Due to the emission norms in several European countries, many shipping companies would switch over to LNG as propulsion fuel after 2018, he added.

However, the sources maintained that the revenue being collected from valued-added services is all supplementary and the company is looking at fast completion of the Kochi-Mangaluru-Bengaluru gas pipelines for a turnaround. The laying of pipes has seen progress in the last six months, thanks to the efforts of the Kerala government, he said.
Source: The Hindu BusinessLine

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