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Work underway to launch LNG barges on Ganga

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India’s Ministry of Shipping has announced that it has reviewed the follow up action on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and Petronet LNG for providing an LNG-based alternative mode of transport on National Waterways.

The MoU was originally signed at the Maritime India Summit in Mumbai in April 2016, with the objective of promoting the usage of LNG barges on National Waterway-1(Ganga). IWAI and Petronet LNG have been asked to plan and coordinate their work plans in a manner such that LNG barges could commence navigation on National Waterway-1 by December 2018.

Both the options of switching over from the existing diesel to LNG barges and introduction of new LNG barges are being considered. Although the switching over from diesel to LNG will entail an initial capital expenditure, the Ministry of Shipping said that the investment is likely to be recovered in four to five years at current prices.

Petronet LNG will design, construct and operate LNG unloading, storage, bunkering and reloading facilities on the National Waterways. Action has already been initiated for preparing the Detailed Feasibility Report, which is expected to be completed by December 2016. Petronet LNG plans to set up a base depot at Haldia and fuelling stations at Sahibganj (Jharkhand), Patna (Bihar) and Ghazipur (Uttar Pradesh).

IWAI will facilitate the switchover of bunker fuel from diesel to LNG by educating barge owners and operators regarding the benefits of LNG. IWAI will also provide land, wherever possible, for the setting up of LNG storage and will develop jetties to facilitate bunkering.

IWAI was requested to explore the feasibility of seeking funding for the introduction of LNG barges under the Ganga Action Plan. The introduction of LNG barges is also being considered in Goa. The agencies responsible for framing and enforcing regulations related to the navigation of LNG barges have been asked to study best practices and regulations on the subject for implementation in India.

Edited from press release by

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