Hope for Kochi LNG terminal with GAIL pipeline

Vol 23, PW 2 (14 Nov 19) Midstream & Downstream

After missing its August target, GAIL hopes to complete its R-LNG evacuation pipeline from Kochi to Mangalore next month (December) - raising hopes for Petronet-LNG's stranded LNG terminal at Kochi.

"It looks like we can physically complete the pipeline only by December," admits a senior GAIL source to this report. He adds oil secretary MM Kutty, originally from Kerala, spent October 17 visiting sites in the state along the 447-km route of the 16m cm/d capacity Kochi to Mangalore pipeline to personally inspect why the project is so behind schedule despite full support from the Communist-party led Kerala state government.

A GAIL source tells us Kutty was taken to five river crossing sites where heavy rains have resulted in flooding making it impossible for pipe-laying crews to work. Most challenging is the 1.4-km crossing of the Chandragiri River and the 400-metre crossing of the Netravati River.

Smaller crossings of up to 200 metres are planned across the Kuttiyadi river in Kerala's Kozhikode district and the Gurupura river near Mangalore in Karnataka. GAIL is using a combination of horizontal directional drilling and 'open cut' pipeline-laying (by digging trenches) to cross the rivers.

"Except at these five crossings," says GAIL, "pipes have been lowered along the entire route." Of the 400-metre length across the Netravati, only 140 metres across the deepest portion of the river remains, while the rest has been laid after constructing a small temporary dam to divert the water flow.