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Dhamra to set up container, LNG terminals worth over Rs.3,000 crore

Thursday, 09 February 2012 | 00:00
Dhamra Port Co. Ltd, the firm that runs Dhamra port in Orrisa’s Bhadrak district, plans to set up terminals for handling liquefied natural gas (LNG) and containers at the port to tap the growing demand for these, at least two people familiar with the plan said.
The port is equally owned by Larsen and Toubro Ltd and Tata Steel Ltd.
Dhamra port will set up the two terminals with the help of strategic investors who will invest at least Rs.3,000 crore— Rs.2,000 crore for a 2.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) LNG regasification facility and about Rs.1,000 crore for a container terminal.
“In a meeting held on 30 January, the board of Dhamra Port Co. gave in-principle approval to the management to proceed and sign memorandum of understandings with Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOC) and APM Terminals Management BV for setting up the LNG and container terminals,” one of the persons mentioned earlier, a company executive, said on condition of anonymity because the discussions are confidential.
State-run oil refiner IOC had planned to set up a 5 mtpa LNG regasification terminal at Union government-controlled Ennore port in Tamil Nadu. This proposal has remained on paper for close to a decade.
APM Terminals, a unit of Danish shipping and energy giant AP Moller-Maersk Group A/S, is the world’s third biggest container port operator. The group also operates Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company.
The container terminal will have a capacity to load up to 500,000 standard containers a year initially, and can be scaled to handle one million standard containers, depending on demand.
Santosh Kumar Mohapatra, chief executive of Dhamra Port, did not respond to an email sent on 1 February seeking details of the plan on the LNG and container terminals.
“APM Terminals is continuing discussions with the Dhamra port authorities,” a spokesperson for the firm based in the Hague, Netherlands, said in an emailed response, without elaborating.
Over the past few years, container traffic at India’s ports has been expanding at an average 15% a year. At this rate, container traffic is estimated to reach 38.91 million standard containers by 2020, up from about nine million now, according to a 10-year plan unveiled by the shipping ministry in January 2011. The existing capacity is for 11.81 million standard containers.
Dhamra port was awarded the rights by the Orissa government in 2004 to develop and operate a port that can load up to 109 million tonnes (mt) of various cargo a year from 13 berths.
The Rs.2,460 crore first phase of the port, with a capacity to load 27 mt of cargo, started commercial operations in May from two fully mechanized berths capable of handling coking coal, steam/thermal coal, limestone and iron ore. Being a port outside Union government control, Dhamra is free to set its own rates. Rates at Union government-controlled ports are set by the Tariff Authority for Major Ports.
India currently has an LNG import capacity of 13.5 mtpa through two terminals.
Petronet LNG Ltd, partly owned by GAIL (India) Ltd, IOC and refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd, runs an LNG receiving and regasification terminal at Dahej in Gujarat with a capacity of 10 mtpa, equivalent to 40 million standard cu. m per day (mscmd) of natural gas. A joint venture of Shell Gas BV and Total Gaz and Electricite runs an LNG terminal of 3.5 mtpa capacity at Hazira, also in Gujarat.
Petronet is constructing a 5 mtpa LNG terminal at Kochi in Kerala that is expected to start operations in the third quarter of 2012. Another LNG terminal at Dabhol in Maharashtra with a capacity of 2.5 mtpa is likely to start in 2012.
India’s gas demand is expected to reach 381 mscmd by 2015, according to government estimates. Existing gas supply in the country is about 202.9 mscmd.
Source: Live Mint
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