Ray of hope for Kochi R-LNG pipeline

Vol 18, PW 23 (16 Jul 15) News in Brief

There's a glimmer of hope for Petronet-LNG's under-utilised Kochi terminal as GAIL prepares to lay a 300-km stretch of its delayed 948-km R-LNG evacuation pipeline in Kerala.

State chief secretary Jiji Thomson assured GAIL chairman BC Tripathi of his support at a meeting in late June in state capital Thiruvananthapuram. GAIL has so far laid just 45-km of the pipeline in Ernakulam and 5-km outside the city.

But 15-km of pipe is welded and 'strung up', ready to be buried 1.5 metres deep. "We'll soon hire a contractor to lay these sections," says GAIL.

"Work can begin by August. If this goes well, we'll tender for the remaining Kerala stretch." Seven months ago, GAIL laid off pipeline laying contractors as it could not get RoU permission for either the Kerala or Tamil Nadu stretches, after awarding contracts in 2013.

"It's unlikely we can lay the Tamil Nadu stretch even now because of farmer opposition," says GAIL. "But if we complete the Kerala stretch, R-LNG can go to Mangalore."