LNG carrier fails to meet policy standards

Ministry of Ports says issue will become more critical during monsoon

Zafar Bhutta June 16, 2015
The implementation agreement with ETPL allows only the LNG carriers that meet criteria of the port while complying with Sigtto recommendations. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Ports and Shipping has cautioned that the Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) loaded with liquefied natural gas (LNG) does not meet the criteria laid down in the LNG policy and the issue will become more critical during monsoon and cause adverse environmental conditions.

Participants of a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), held on June 6, said the Ministry of Ports and the Port Qasim Authority (PQA) were of the view that vessels proposed by Qatargas company as well as the FSRU of Elengy Terminal Pakistan Limited (ETPL) were of such dimensions that would exceed the limitations of waterways and approaches to the terminal at Port Qasim.

They said this issue would become more critical during the monsoon season and lead to adverse environmental conditions.

A representative of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources told the ECC that the LNG Policy 2011 was formulated keeping in view the recommendations of international consultants and approved by the ECC on August 16, 2011.

The policy incorporates guidelines and safety codes and standards of the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (Sigtto).

These parameters include site selection and design for LNG port jetties, prediction of wind load on large liquefied gas carriers, accident prevention and use of hoses and hard arms at marine terminals.

The ECC was told that Full Mission Bridge Simulation was conducted by pilots of the PQA in which both large and small LNG carriers including the FSRU were simulated in light and loaded conditions.

Some technical points regarding the width of the navigational channel vis-a-vis the dimensions of the FSRU and large LNG carriers and their operations with reference to the guidelines set by Sigtto/LNG Policy 2011 were highlighted. Capital and maintenance dredging was required in the channel as well as in the turning basin to accommodate all these vessels.

Moreover, the implementation agreement with ETPL allows only the LNG carriers that meet the criteria of the port while complying with Sigtto recommendations as given in the LNG policy.

The meeting was informed that outcome of the simulation indicated that the FSRU/LNG carrier could be berthed under controlled conditions while not complying with Sigtto recommendations.

The Ministry of Petroleum proposed that in view of the stance taken by the PQA, it could be allowed to either follow Sigtto standards as provided in the LNG policy or proceed as it considered appropriate. The ECC approved these recommendations for handling the LNG carriers.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th,  2015.

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