More hurdles for GAIL's showpiece pipeline

Vol 14, PW 7 (23 Sep 10) Midstream & Downstream

Never-ending problems are plaguing GAIL’s under-construction 498-km gas pipeline from Vijaipur in Madhya Pradesh to Dadri in Uttar Pradesh.

PETROWATCH learns angry north Indian farmers are preventing pipeline laying contractor Essar Constructions from completing the final 4-km stretch of the 48-inch diameter pipeline. “We’re suffering because of ‘greedy’ farmers,” complains a senior GAIL source.

“Work is at a standstill.” Farmers in the Dadri and greater Noida areas of Uttar Pradesh, he explains, are demanding more money from GAIL for the use of their land.

“But we already have the RoU (Right of User permission) to lay the pipeline,” he says. GAIL first offered farmers Rs25/sq-metre ($0.54) as compensation for crops damaged by pipeline work, later tripling this to Rs75/sq-metre ($1.64).

“But farmers aren’t relenting!” we learn. Ghaziabad authorities are trying to help GAIL negotiate with the farmers, but to no avail.

Under pressure, GAIL can’t afford to wait much longer. This pipeline is a crucial link in its plans to deliver R-LNG from Dahej to cities in the north Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand.

Critically, it is also working on an extension from Dadri to Bawana in Delhi to supply a 1500-MW gas-fired power station promoted by Pragati Power. Beyond Delhi, the pipeline will head 600-km further north to Nangal in Punjab.

“Work on the Bawana to Nangal pipeline has also slowed down because of land acquisition challenges,” adds GAIL. Beyond Nangal, GAIL is busy evaluating tenders to extend the pipeline to the prosperous Punjab cities of Ludhiana and Jalandhar.

Also planned are spur lines from a ‘tap-off’ point at Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh to Haridwar, Rishikesh, Dehradun and Roorkee cities in Uttarakhand.