GAIL under pressure to finish Dahej to Dabhol pipeline

Vol 10, PW 15 (16 Nov 06) Midstream & Downstream

GAIL is accelerating work to lay a gas pipeline from Dahej in Gujarat to Uran and Dabhol in neighbouring Maharashtra, driven by crippling power cuts in Indias most industrialised state and an urgency to see R-LNG from Dahej flow to the Dabhol power station and gas-starved industries in the region.

We have started welding work in Gujarat, GAIL tells us. About three kilometres of welding is being done every day.

Digging of trenches to lay the pipes will soon follow. Support for this pipeline comes from the highest levels of the Indian government with cabinet secretary BK Chaturvedi and oil secretary MS Srinivasan directly monitoring the project.

Every month both of them hold separate review meetings, we are told. The government wants this pipeline completed by March 2007 so Dabhol can produce electricity to avoid the summer power cuts.

Only resistance from farmers on the route of the pipeline stands in the way of its speedy completion. This kind of resistance is not unusual, says GAIL.

On 8th November, senior GAIL officials met Umesh Chandra Sarangi, secretary to Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, for help in pacifying local farmers. The meeting was fruitful, we hear.

Sarangi said he would call a meeting of the Collectors of all the concerned districts to help speed up work. Sarangi was designated the single contact point for GAIL in Maharashtra for this project after oil minister Murli Deora met chief minister Deshmukh two weeks ago.

Deora told Deshmukh that speedy completion of the pipeline would benefit Maharashtra. GAIL has divided the pipeline in two parts: Dahej to Uran, and Dabhol to Panvel.

Dahej to Uran comprises three sections. Punj Loyd will lay the first 140-km section; Essar and Chinas DQE will lay the 147-km second section; and Gammon India with Russias Stroytranzgaz will lay the 106-km third section.

Sections one and two lie in Gujarat; section three is in Maharashtra. Both sections of the Dabhol to Panvel pipeline lie in Maharashtra.

Punj Loyd will lay the first 113-km section and Kalpataru Constructions-Zen Gas will lay the second 74-km section.