GAIL completes Kochi-Mangaluru pipeline

The much-delayed Kochi-Mangaluru natural gas pipeline project is finally ready for commissioning as GAIL India has completed the final 540-metre treacherous stretch across the Chandragiri river in northern Kerala, according to a senior company official.

The 444-km-long natural gas pipeline was launched in 2009 at an estimated cost of Rs. 2,915 crore and was to be commissioned in 2014. But opposition with regard to safety and on commercial grounds, wherein the land price was the main hurdle, had resulted in the project cost nearly doubling to over Rs. 5,750 crore.

‘Testing is on’

“We completed the most difficult stretch across the Chandragiri river in Kasaragod district on Saturday. Now, testing is on and this will be completed in the next two days. Within this week itself, gas will reach Mangaluru through the 444-km pipeline,” P. Murugesan, Executive Director and Head of Southern Region, GAIL, said on Monday.

The formal commissioning will be done later, according to the availability of the Minister, he added.

The pipeline is charged up to Kannur now and has been live up to Koottanad in Palakkad district, 90 km north of Kochi, since June 2019. Koottanad is the main junction of the project. From here, the line bifurcates to Mangaluru and Bengaluru.

The first phase of the project was commissioned in August 2013 in the Kochi metropolitan area, with industrial supplies and domestic supplies from February 2016 by Adani Gas.

With the commissioning of the pipeline, gas demand in Kerala will touch 80-90 million cubic metres per annum from 60 million cubic metres now. Apart from huge environmental gains, the State can gain monetarily as it can get up to Rs. 1,000 crore by way of taxes alone.

540-metre stretch

Authorities were ready to complete the project in August, but a 540-metre stretch across the Chandragiri river became a nightmare for them. As a way out, they reduced the diameter of the pipe to a fourth — from 24 inches to just 6 inches now.

Mr. Murugesan said the pipeline would supply gas to all seven districts it passed through in Kerala — Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasargod — and the hilly Wayanad district.