GAIL to replace half Gujarat pipeline network

Vol 18, PW 26 (27 Aug 15) Midstream & Downstream

More than 40 gas-based factories in central and south Gujarat will need to prepare for disruption to their 10.5m cm/d of gas supplies for 18 months as GAIL prepares to replace stretches of its decrepit pipeline network.

Around Rs750cr ($123m) has been earmarked for the replacement of 450-km of the total 804-km GAIL gas pipeline network in the state. Phase-I will see GAIL begin to replace 238-km by early 2016.

GAIL was spurred into action by a tragic fire at one of its pipelines in Andhra Pradesh in June 2014, after which it hurriedly awarded a Rs23cr ($3.5m) contract to state-owned Mecon for a detailed study on the Gujarat pipeline network. Mecon concluded that GAIL's pipeline network has suffered heavy corrosion because of high sulphur and water content in the gas.

Many of the pipelines are more than 40 years old - laid between 1965 and 1985. “Our aim is to ensure the safe operation of the gas pipeline system including connectivity to consumers,” GAIL tells us.

“We’ve decided to replace selected pipelines based on their health.” Mecon has identified 74 different pipelines to replace in Gujarat with lengths ranging from 0.1-96.60 km and diameters ranging from 2-16 inches.

On August 17, Mecon issued a 490-page bid document inviting bids from pipeline laying contractors by September 15. Whoever wins will get 15-months to lay the pipelines and another one month to commission them.