IOC starts work on Ennore-Tuticorin gas pipeline

Vol 23, PW 3 (28 Nov 19) Midstream & Downstream

IndianOil has begun work on its 1250-km Ennore to Tuticorin pipeline designed to evacuate R-LNG from the under-utilised 5m t/y Ennore LNG terminal to central and south Tamil Nadu as well as Bangalore and Puducherry.

This report learns IndianOil started work on November 14 on a 92-km stretch beginning at the Ennore terminal after securing PNGRB approval on April 18 for the revised pipeline route. IndianOil believes it can meet the strict timeline for project completion but industry sources doubt the full pipeline length through Puducherry, Nagapattinam and Madurai with a spur line to Bengaluru can be laid in time because of farmer opposition.

"We expect the pipeline to be ready in the next 16 months," reports an IndianOil source, confidently. If true, the Ennore-Tuticorin pipeline should provide a huge boost for the Ennore LNG terminal, inaugurated on March 8 (2019).

Lack of a pipeline network in Tamil Nadu is widely blamed for its under-utilisation. "Unlike Gujarat where there is a gas grid to take R-LNG from DAHEJ and Hazira," adds our source, "Tamil Nadu has no gas network."

Between April 1 to August 31 (2019) Ennore's capacity utilisation was 3.8% - only marginally better than the GAIL-operated Dabhol terminal which registered 3.3%. But IndianOil hopes to gradually ramp up capacity as the pipeline progresses with, among others, fertiliser and petrochemical producer SPIC ready to offtake 900,000cm/d at Tuticorin port.