Whessoe to project manage LNG plant in India

By Owen McAteer

KOCHI, INDIA, Feb 28 : A north-east energy sector firm has won a multi-million pound contract for an Indian government backed venture.

Whessoe, in Darlington, which employs 400 staff, will project manage the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal at Kochi, in Southern India.

The contract has been awarded by Petronet LNG Ltd, which was formed as a joint venture between the Indian government and leading oil and gas companies in the country, to import LNG and set up LNG terminals.

A spokesman for Whessoe, which specialises in cryogenics, said: "This is Whessoe's first major project management consultancy award and demonstrates the value and expertise that specialist cryogenic engineering contractors can bring to clients such as Petronet.

"India is one of Whessoe's major markets and this award strengthens its portfolio and presence in South Asia."

The Whessoe team working on the project will be based at the Darlington head office and on site in India.

The team will be led by Whessoe project director Gordon Franklin, whose previous projects have included the Dabhol LNG terminal in India.

The facility at Kochi is planned to be fully operational in 2012. The complete terminal will include two LNG storage tanks, a regasification plant and a marine terminal with 320m jetty as well as LNG unloading arms to receive ocean going LNG carriers.

Whessoe, originally founded in Darlington in 1790 by William Kitching and Sons, has grown from 65 employees and a turnover of [pounds]5m in 2001 to 400 employees and turnover of [pounds]160m today.

The company specialises in the design, procurement and construction of cryogenic storage and handling equipment.

Along with the UK head office in Darlington it has offices in China, India, Saudi Arabia and the US.

It received a Ruben D'Honneur medal at last year's European Business of the Year awards in Paris.

Liquefied natural gas, or LNG, is natural gas that has been cooled to minus 162 Celsius, at which point it condenses into a liquid.

When in liquid form, natural gas takes up to 600 times less space, making it easier to transport over long distances.

In comparison with other fossil fuels, such as oil or coal, LNG has the lowest environmental impact when burned as a fuel or used to generate electricity.