GAIL wins PNGRB green light for J&K pipeline

Vol 26, PW 17 (10 Aug 23) Midstream, Downstream, Renewables

You might think three years is plenty of time to lay a 160-km gas pipeline.

But not in India’s volatile Jammu and Kashmir. An industry source fears GAIL will struggle to meet the PNGRB’s strict timeframe to lay the much-awaited gas pipeline from Gurdaspur in Punjab to Jammu amid constant security concerns and rugged terrain.

On July 25 (2023), GAIL chief general manager marketing (R-LNG) Praveer Kumar Agarwal wrote to PNGRB secretary Vandana Sharma formally accepting the licence for the pipeline, granted on July 12 (2023) to GAIL chairman SK Gupta. GAIL has submitted an Rs5.22cr ($634,700) performance bond but must meet a tight schedule to avoid losing this.

Under the licence, the PNGRB wants GAIL to secure all statutory approvals within 29 months, provide detailed engineering and final drawings within seven months, and procure coated main line pipes within 19 months. Also demanded by the PNGRB is that construction and Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) should take no more than 32 months and that facilities which regulate the flow of gas and telecoms should be in place within 33 months.

By month 36, the PNGRB wants the pipeline commissioned. In the eight-page authorisation letter, the PNGRB asks GAIL to submit a "detailed and clear" financial closure report within 180 days of authorisation.

GAIL will lay the pipeline through Pathankot in Punjab and Kathua and Samba in Jammu and Kashmir with a standard 12-inch diameter 3.1m cm/d capacity pipeline through its 25-year life cycle. GAIL must also make available 775,000-cm/d extra common carrier capacity for other companies.

All gas shipped through the pipeline will feed IndianOil’s 10,104-sq km gas retail area in the Jammu, Udhampur, Reasi, Samba, and Kathua districts, won in CGD-XI on March 15 (2022), where it has committed to set up 121 fuel stations selling CNG and feed gas to 1.45m homes within ten years. Any areas on offer in J&K from the upcoming CGD-XII round will also benefit.

"Gas for Jammu will help heat homes, hotels and offices in one of India’s coldest regions," says a source. "And significantly reduce the use of polluting coal, wood and diesel fuels."

Winter in Kashmir lasts from October to March, with temperatures falling below freezing (-2 to -12 degrees Centigrade).