The present government is finding it hard to immediately go for import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as past governments have failed to frame rules for handling LNG supplies at ports despite making hectic efforts to under gas import projects.
“A consultant hired by the central government has pointed out different tasks and jobs to be performed by the Port Qasim Authority (PQA). It has also underlined the need of framing rules for handling LNG import at the port,” an official told The Express Tribune.
The present government is working on LNG import projects to bring 1 billion cubic feet of gas per day (bcfd) keeping in view the acute energy crisis that affects the performance of the entire energy chain in the country.
Besides LNG, other gas import projects include the Iran-Pakistan and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipelines.
According to sources, the government believes that a fast-track import of LNG hinges on readiness of all stakeholders concerned in general and the PQA in particular. The tasks to be performed by PQA were being discussed with the authority.
The consultant stresses that the government should formulate port regulations, without which import of LNG will not be feasible. According to officials, the PQA has not yet finalised any regulations to handle LNG imports at the port.
The consultant also calls for preparing an implementation agreement pertaining to LNG import and developing a PQA study guideline document. It suggests review and approval of the environment impact assessment of the successful bidder.
The consultant says suitable tugs should be in place according to the results of real-time simulations for active escorting, manoeuvering, berthing and un-berthing of LNG vessels. It also calls for a review of existing quantitative risk assessment (QRA) and final assessment relevant to existing and any new LNG facility.
Final location requested by the bidder should be approved and financial structure of port charges and dues should be prepared.
According to the consultant, the government should educate PQA and involve third parties in LNG import and LNG operations and ensure that pilots and tug masters undertake familiarisation training and how to handle LNG in accordance with LNG industry expectations and arrange for additional navigation aids or alternatives.
“Select area for LNG anchorage and, if required, channel passing places and determine LNG-related zones and engage an LNG marine and shipping expert to provide timely assistance,” the consultant said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2013.
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