November target for D6 East to West gas pipeline

Vol 12, PW 10 (02 Oct 08) Midstream & Downstream

Reliance’s cross country pipeline designed to carry gas from D6 to markets in western and northern India will be commissioned by the end of next month.

This nearly 1400-km-long, 48-inch diameter pipeline should have been commissioned by the end of last month (September) but there have been unexpected delays that pushed the schedule behind by two months. “Reliance wanted the pipeline commissioned by end-September,â€‌ says an industry source, “but labour issues, trouble from farmers, heavy rains and such matters have caused delays.

â€‌ However, we are told, “the pipeline has been physically laid from end to end.â€‌ What now remains is the completion of the actual commissioning when the pipeline is tested for leaks and gradually filled up with gas to pressurise it.

Reliance has already started filling up the pipeline from the reverse direction – west to east – with 5m cubic metres Dahej R-LNG bought from GAIL at $5.87/mmbtu. “This gas is enough just to commission the pipeline but not to pressurise it,â€‌ we are told.

“For this Reliance is in talks with Shell to purchase 100m cubic metres R-LNG from Hazira.â€‌ We hear the talks are still on.

“Reliance wants the Shell gas from end-October, so there’s no hurry,â€‌ says a source. “Talks with Shell are for the purchase of spot LNG.

Reliance is conscious of the high (current) price of spot LNG but this is a cost towards the pipeline commissioning.â€‌ Shell’s R-LNG will be present in the Reliance pipeline at 90-bar pressure.

We are told Reliance wants to buy Shell R-LNG so that it need not use its own D6 gas to test the pipeline. “But once the pipeline is pressurised and ready, Reliance’s intention is to start supplying D6 gas straight away to customers.

â€‌ But this won’t happen unless permitted by the Mumbai High Court, which is hearing a case between estranged Ambani brothers Mukesh and Anil.