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LPG cavern trial run at Visakhapatnam by next year-end

Our Bureau

Visakhapatnam , Nov. 22

CONSTRUCTION of the LPG cavern is going on briskly here and it may be ready for trial run by December 2006, and commercial operations some months later.

The contractor for the Rs 333-crore project, Larsen & Toubro, has brought several imported cranes and machines to take up construction of several blast-proof caves, set up advanced control room and other facilities.

The cavern is built through two vertical shafts. Work on one of the shafts up to water curtain gallery has been completed.

Of the 43 holes, drilling of 23 has been completed.

The project is implemented by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd and Total, a French multinational, as a joint venture under a newly-floated company, South Asia LPG Company (SALPGC), with 50:50 equity.

"Once completed, it will be one of the deepest caverns in the world," the company's Chief Executive Officer, Mr Neeraj Sanghi, said.

Hydrocarbons will be stored in rock cavities created far below the groundwater table so that the hydrostatic (water) pressure will be far greater than the vapour pressure at the temperature of the surrounding rock.

The hydrostatic pressure will ensure the containment of the product within the cavities created.

A consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India is financing the project.

The Deputy CEO of SALPGC, Mr Rajan K. Pillai, said the cavern was being built in such a way that it could withstand any type of attack in a war and calamities such as earthquake and tsunami.

"We are adopting most advanced and environmentally-safe technologies by engaging international experts," he said.

The project will facilitate supply of LPG by GAIL (India) through its pipeline from here to Hyderabad and other areas. It will bring down freight charges substantially.

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