HPCL accuses GAIL of 'protectionist' mindset

Vol 20, PW 14 (06 Apr 17) Midstream & Downstream

Hindustan Petroleum has hit back at GAIL opposition to its proposed 620-km LPG pipeline from Hassan in Karnataka snaking north to Cherlapalli in Telangana.

A senior HPCL source accuses GAIL of "a protectionist mindset." GAIL, he explains, fears the proposed pipeline will threaten its own established 600-km pipeline from Vizag in Andhra Pradesh to Secunderabad in Telangana, also passing through Cherlapalli. GAIL complained in a letter to the PNGRB and during a March 20 'open house' held by the gas regulator to discuss the project.

GAIL fears HPCL's proposed pipeline will connect Cherlapalli to west coast Mangalore port when Cherlapalli is already connected to east coast Vizag port through the GAIL pipeline. GAIL argues that allowing HPCL to go ahead would lead to the duplication of pipeline infrastructure at taxpayer expense.

But our senior HPCL source rejects this. "GAIL's Vizag pipeline was commissioned in 2004 and is corroded because hardly any maintenance has been carried out.

Frequent gas leaks from this pipeline have forced GAIL to reduce capacity to around 740,000 t/y (from 1.33m t/y) in 2014-15." HPCL claims GAIL is not carrying out anti-corrosion treatment and that the pipeline is almost defunct. "Technical audits have confirmed this," adds HPCL.

"GAIL conveniently forgets all this." HPCL says GAIL's opposition amounts to nothing and is confident of PNGRB authorisation, "within two to three weeks."

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