MRPL’s mooring facility at New Mangalore Port may benefit both

A. J. Vinayak Mangalore | Updated on August 14, 2012 Published on August 14, 2012

A file photo of single point mooring at Visakhapatnam Port. A similar facility is planned at New Mangalore Port.   -  The Hindu

The commissioning of MRPL’s SPM facility by early September is likely to benefit both MRPL and the New Mangalore Port.

An SPM (single point mooring) is a loading buoy anchored offshore. It serves as a mooring point and as an interconnecting facility for ships loading or offloading crude oil. The facility can handle ships of any size.

MRPL (Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd) cannot bring ships of more than 85,000 tonnes in New Mangalore during monsoon because of limited draft. But some of its import cargoes come in ships having capacity of more than 1.35 lakh tonnes. These ships require deep draft.

Speaking to Business Line here, P.P. Upadhya, Managing Director, MRPL, said the commissioning will help in bringing crude oil in very large crude carriers (VLCCs). “Operation and maintenance contract is already in place for SPM. We are trying to commission it by August-end or by first half of September,” he said.

MRPL is setting up the SPM within the limits of the New Mangalore Port Trust at a location 16 km inside the sea. The SPM would provide draft of 30 m for handling VLCCs.

The SPM facility will help de-congest the existing jetties at the Port Trust. P. Tamilvanan, Chairman of the Port Trust, said that the SPM facility would help add more traffic to the port.

During 2011-12, the port handled 13.08 million tonnes (12.39 mt) of crude oil. He said there is an indication that the completion of phase-3 would help process 15 million tonnes of crude oil. That ultimately may go up to 18 million tonnes.

While crude oil can be handled through the SPM, the increase in product cargoes could be handled in the berths. Both of these will add to the traffic of the port, he said.

Upadhya said that SPM provides the flexibility to receive opportunity crude oil from West African and Latin American countries. (Opportunity crude oil is high-sulphur, high-acidic crude oil. Value of this crude oil is lower than the normal oil.)

Though the company is planning to commission the SPM by early September, the full benefit of it will be available only after it gets crude-oil storage facilities in the underground caverns of Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL) in Mangalore. MRPL hopes that ISPRL’s caverns will be operational by 2013-14.

Upadhya said that MRPL wants cavern capacity of more than 0.3 million tonnes. A VLCC brings around that much crude oil.

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Published on August 14, 2012
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