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Sunday November 28, 2021

Dry docking can’t be avoided, EETPL tells govt

June 25, 2021
Dry docking can’t be avoided, EETPL tells govt

ISLAMABAD: The Engro Elengy Terminal Private Limited (EETPL) has clearly told the government that it cannot avoid dry docking of its Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU), which is due from June 29-July 5, 2021, and if the government wants to directly consult with the Class Society on its own, it can do. It is the Class Society that has refused to give Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU), named as Exquisite beyond June 30, a senior official at the Petroleum Division said.

“This means Exquisite after June 30, 2021 cannot have insurance cover and will not be able to sail through sea. If it is kept at the Engro terminal after June 30, no vessel having LNG will offload its product for re-gasification.”

The CCOE that met here on Thursday did not take the final decision about dry docking but it thoroughly discussed and reviewed the gas and electricity load management plan with back-up arrangements to run the power plants on furnace oil and diesel to minimise the energy crisis, a senior official, who was part of the CCOE meeting, also told The News.

However, the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) is reported to have written a letter to EETPL to pend the dry docking till the month of August. And the top mandarins of the Petroleum Division, after getting the response from EETPL, will decide about the dry docking sometime today (Friday).

However, when contacted, an Engro official said that EETPL has not yet received any SSGC letter asking for postponement of dry docking till the month of August. He said the international laws relating to dry docking do not allow the EETPL to continue its terminal operation with FSRU named as Exquisite even after June 30.

The hydro generation is also being less produced because of a massive dip in water flows in the country's water system. About 1,400 MW electricity, the official said, has also already reduced as the water level in Tarbela Dam on Wednesday has gone down by 3.2 ft.

When it reaches 1,437 feet, then 2,500 MW would also go out of system as the turbines cannot be run. The massive dip in water flows is still underway. So it is not possible to increase the hydro generation to cope with the energy crisis that will appear on scene out of closure of Engro LNG Terminal.

If the chronology, a senior official said, about the correspondence of Engro Terminal with Sui Southern and Petroleum Division is examined carefully, Engro Terminal seems not guilty as it has been asking the government that dry docking is due from Sept-October 2019 and to this effect Engro wrote to the Petroleum Division its first letter in January 2019. In September 2020, Engro had arranged an alternate FSRU namely Exemplar. It was to come from Argentina but it remained there because of no response from SSGC and dry docking had also become impossible as the relevant facilities at Qatar for dry docking were not available because of Covid-19. Then Class Society asked in March 2021 the Engro Terminal to go for dry docking, but again the government did not allow it. Now the Class Society has refused to extend the certification for the existing FSRU beyond June 30, 2021.

On Tuesday night, a lengthy meeting of Law Minister Farogh Naseem with legal teams of all stakeholders, particularly with marine lawyers and LNG shipowners, to make his mind for firm legal opinion as to whether dry docking should take place from June 29 till July 05, 2021 or it should be pended till the month of August. The top sources said that Farogh Naseem has prepared his legal opinion but still it is not on the official document.

According to the sources, Marine lawyers have also clearly told Farogh Naseem that the government cannot force Engro LNG terminal to keep operating as no LNG vessel will offload gas at the terminal keeping in view the international law. “So the Government of Pakistan is left with no option but to allow Enrgo Terminal to go for dry docking.”