KARACHI: The expected vessel to replace Engro’s Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) will arrive on Sunday at Bin Qasim Port and work to replace the vessel would start from June 29, sources in Engro confirmed.

After a reply from Law Division yesterday, the federal government, including Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Federal Industry Minister Khusro Bakhtiar and others, gave a green signal to Engro to replace the FSRU for dry-docking. The Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) also granted permission to the company in the matter regarding the FSRU.

The much-awaited legal opinion of the Law Division is not in favour of postponement of the dry docking of the existing FSRU, Exquisite, at the Engro Liquefied natural gas (LNG) Terminal till August, rather it is in favour of Excelerate Energy, which is a US company and owner of the FSRU.

Earlier the SSGC had not given the company the green signal, which was the only hurdle left. When contacted, an Engro official said that the Law Division’s legal opinion was encouraging but SSGC should allow the Engro Elengy Terminal Private Limited (EETPL) to go for dry docking.

“Yes, we received a letter from PQA but it will allow the existing FSRU to leave the port only when the SSGC allows it,” he said before the SSGC had granted approval. He said that replacement FSRU Sequoia was to arrive on Sunday and Engro was quite perplexed as it was not easy to de-commission one FSRU and commission another FSRU.

“We have to shut down the terminal for three days and if SSGC or the government delays the formal permission after June 29 even by four hours, then the LNG terminal shutdown period would increase from three to five days as the cooling process of one FSRU takes a lot of time after inventory is over.”

According to the media reports, the viewpoint of FSRU owner company was: “The certification by the Class Society is going to expire on June 30, 2021 and in the absence of the certification, beyond June 30, FSRU cannot be allowed to operate and re-gasify LNG at Engro Terminal without dry docking. And more importantly international marine lawyers also advocated the dry docking, opposing the postponement of dry docking.”

The Law Division, headed by Farogh Naseem, made its opinion after listening to the inputs from legal teams of SSGC, EETPL, SNGPL, PSO, LNG, marine lawyers and lawyers of the US company Excelerate Energy, which is the owner of FSRU. The Law Division has suggested the dry docking as per plan suggested by EETPL and closure and opening of the terminal from June 29 to July 05, 2021.

It is pertinent to mention that the FSRU Exquisite is being operated 24 hours for the last six years and no dry docking has been done so far, knowing the fact it was due from 2019 and EETPL has been agitating the issue of dry docking through official correspondence with SSGC and Petroleum Division but no required action took place on behalf of Pakistan side.

However, the sources in SSGC claimed that the company is not in favour to give permission to replace its plant till August this year as the demand of gas reduced in March or August.

The source said that the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) has rejected the request of Engro, but it could not be confirmed till filling of this report.

 Engro has requested the government to replace its 600mmcfd FSRU plant with new 900mmcfd vessels.

Due to the shutdown of this Engro plant, the whole country including industries would have to suffer a huge energy shortage from June 29 to July 5.


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