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Cochin Shipyard secures licence to make LNG ships

22 December 2015

Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) has successfully completed a Mark-III Flex Mock-Up, which has been certified by GTT (Gaztransport et Technigaz), France, thereby completing all requirements to be licensed by GTT to build LNG ships for any client world-wide using their patented membrane containment system known as the Mark-III Technology.

This makes CSL, the first Indian shipyard in India to obtain this coveted license from GTT, a shipping ministry release stated today.

CSL is a public sector undertaking under the administrative control of the ministry of shipping and the licence would make it eligible to take part in the tender floated by GAIL for LNG carriers.

The CEO of GTT France, Philippe Berterottiere, awarded the licence to K Subramaniam, CMD, Cochin Shipyard Limited, at a formal event held at Transport Bhavan, New Delhi today.

Minister of shipping and road transport Nitin Gadkari and minister of petroleum and natural gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, were also present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Gadkari said CSL's achievement is a major step towards the `Make in India' initiative and will take ship building in India to a new height. The minister said that this new capability becomes even more significant since LNG will be the clean fuel for the next generation.

Minister of petroleum and natural gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, said as per recent projections, LNG procurement in India is set to grow by 4 per cent. He said the ministry of petroleum will initiate a workshop with the shipping ministry to work out future LNG requirement.

GTT France is the world leader in design engineering and technology provider of membrane type containment systems for transportation and storage of LNG. CSL has successfully completed the GTT qualification process, including various training schemes and membrane tank mock-up installation at their yard in Cochin.

Licensing of CSL by GTT marks the beginning of a new era in Indian shipbuilding. LNG vessels are very complex ships and only a few yards world over have the capability to build these ships. The most critical aspect of an LNG ship is its cryogenic containment and handling system as the LNG is carried at a temperature of -163 degrees. This requires fool-proof cryogenic containment and safe handling and transfer system. GTT France has pioneered and patented various technologies for safely carrying LNG in ships.

CSL is now authorised to use the Membrane Type Technologies of GTT for any liquid gas carriers, more particularly the LNG carriers. Cochin Shipyard is the first shipyard in India to have obtained this technology. With this, CSL would be able to take part in the tender floated by GAIL for LNG carriers.

GAIL has contracted substantial LNG from USA to be shipped out for the next 20 years. They are in the process of finalising transportation contracts with reputed LNG shipping companies who are to build vessels as per GAIL's specifications. The contracts would be for a 20 year period and vessels are to be positioned accordingly. The requirement is for up to 9 +2 (optional) ships.

As part of the 'Make in India' programme, the government is keen that three of the nine ships should be built in India. CSL is keen to take part in the above tender. Entering the LNG carrier technology area would set the yard on the technology growth path and will also lead to substantial improvements in areas like quality control, HSE (health, safety and environment) etc.

The yard has the technical strength and the basic shipbuilding capability to undertake construction of these complex vessels but LNG vessel construction needs upgradation of existing facilities/ systems in the yard and implementation of various protocols. Towards this CSL has forged partnership with Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), Korea, which is amongst the leading yards in the world.

CSL employees have undergone extensive training in SHI prior to starting construction of the Mark III Flex Mock up for the GTT licensing. SHI has also assisted CSL in procurement of the materials, equipment etc., for the mock up construction.

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