Moily backs GAIL for new R-LNG pipeline

Vol 17, PW 9 (28 Nov 13) Midstream & Downstream

Veerappa Moily is backing GAIL’s plan to lay a new pipeline to supply R-LNG to Mangalore as a replacement for its stalled Kochi LNG terminal pipeline project passing through north Kerala.

“GAIL is carrying out design work and preparing cost estimates,” we hear. “Route surveys have been done but Board approval is needed before it goes to the PNGRB.

" GAIL was initially worried the alternative route would be open to other companies for bidding. But GAIL tells us oil minister Moily (himself from Mangalore) has assured his “full support” to persuade the regulator not to tender.

One possible route is from Chitradurga in Karnataka, one of India's most backward districts, to Mangalore, where GAIL sees a market of up to 4m cm/d. Another is from Bangalore to Mangalore.

Both cover around 300-km crossing forests and the Western Ghats. Chitradurga is on the route of the Dabhol to Bangalore pipeline commissioned in February 2013.

GAIL's original plan was to lay a pipeline from Kochi to Koottanad in Kerala from where the pipeline would split: one branch going north through Malappuram and Kozhikode in Kerala to Mangalore, another going east to Bangalore through Tamil Nadu. But Keralan rubber and cashew planters refuse to part with land and in Tamil Nadu chief minister J.

Jayalalithaa, also under pressure from farmers, told GAIL in March to re-route the line.