India: implementation of LNG barges on Ganga moves closer

India’s ministry of shipping on Monday reviewed the follow up action on a memorandum of understanding between Inland Waterways Authority of India and Petronet LNG signed in April for providing alternative fuel on national waterways. 

Under the MoU, IWAI and Petronet LNG agreed to promote the usage of LNG barges on National Waterway-1 (Ganga), a statement by the ministry reads.

Both parties have been asked to plan and coordinate their work plans in a manner such that LNG barges could commence navigation on NW1 by December 2018, the statement said.

Two options, the introduction of new LNG barges and the conversion of the existing diesel-powered barges to run on LNG, have been considered. The process of conversion to LNG would entail an initial capital expenditure.

Petronet LNG will design, construct and operate LNG unloading, storage, bunkering and reloading facilities on the national waterways, and a detailed feasibility study is expected to be completed by December 2016.

Petronet LNG plans to set up a base depot at Haldia and fuelling stations at Sahibganj, Patna and Ghazipur, the ministry said.

IWAI on its part will facilitate the switchover of bunker fuel from diesel to LNG by promoting the benefits of liquefied natural gas. Additionally, it will provide land for setting up of  LNG storage and will develop jetties to facilitate bunkering.

The ministry adds that there is a potential for 17.5 mt of cargo on the NW-1 by 2020, and has also urged the responsible agencies to study best practices and regulations on the subject for implementation in India.

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