Kochi Phase-II pipeline bid submission delayed

Vol 15, PW 6 (22 Sep 11) Midstream & Downstream

GAIL has postponed by one week to September 23 its bid submission deadline for companies interested in laying the 948-km Phase-II of a gas pipeline to evacuate R-LNG from the Kochi terminal to Bangalore and Mangalore.

“Some bidders wanted more time,” confirms GAIL. “We saw no problem in accepting.

” Yet GAIL still wants pipeline laying work to begin on November 1, despite the new deadline. Phase-II will start from the Fertiliser and Chemicals Travancore (FACT) factory at Udyog Mandal in Kochi.

GAIL expects to receive bids from over 20 Indian and foreign pipeline laying contractors, who will compete to lay one or more of the eight sections that the project is divided into. KazStroyService, Turkey’s Fernas, Punj Lloyd, Kalpa-Taru, Essar and Jai Hind Projects are among those likely to bid.

“We want to complete laying Phase-II by December 2012 or March 2013,” we learn. “But this will depend on whether we get unhindered Right of User (RoU) permission (from landowners along the route).

” GAIL is on schedule with the 43-km Phase-I of this pipeline, which will transport R-LNG to factories in and around Kochi. “We’ve completed 80% of the pipe laying work,” says GAIL.

“Doubts were raised about if we could complete Phase-I given the volatile political situation on the ground (in this formerly Marxist-run State where most land acquisition is greeted by protest).” To ensure Phase-I success, GAIL re-routed the pipeline to avoid populated areas and ran it alongside the national highway.

This saved it from dealing with landowners and reduced project costs by Rs150cr ($33m). “We secured ‘blanket approval’ in advance from the state government to run the pipeline through rivers and government land,” adds GAIL.

“This accelerated the pipe-laying process.”