Gail Mulls Converting Pipeline from LPG to Natural Gas

In light of the recent major natural gas discoveries in the Krishna Godavari basin, state-owned Gail India is planning to convert its Rs 490-crore exclusive LPG pipeline into a natural gas transportation pipeline, which runs from Vishakhapatanam to Hyderabad and Secundrabad (VSPL).

"With major gas finds in the offing in the KG basin by ONGC, Cairn Energy, GSPCL and RIL, Gail is now examining the feasibility of using the VSPL for gas transportation instead of LPG with the objective of making gas available in seven towns and cities along the pipeline route", Gail said in a statement. The 580-kilometer pipeline was nearing completion and would be commissioned ahead of schedule by mid-2003. Gail plans to develop a city gas distribution network in Vishakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Amlapuram, Bhimavaram, Rajahmundry, Kakinada and Secunderabad, all of which are located along the VSPL route. The natural gas requirements of industrial, commercial, domestic and transport sectors in these cities would be met through the Vizag-Secunderabad pipeline.

For developing these city gas markets, Gail, along with Bhagyanagar Gas, its joint venture with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, was evaluating the option of seeding the markets in the six cities with synthetic natural gas (SNG), a mixture of LPG and air. "When natural gas starts flowing in large quantities from the KG basin, it will replace SNG," the statement said. If the oil companies expressed an interest in utilizing the VSPL for LPG transportation as well, then the system can be made dual purpose. "Eventually the pipeline will transport 1.3 mmscmd of natural gas with additional investment in case of increased demand", Gail said. In order to facilitate natural gas transportation, Gail said it would install additional equipment in form of gas compressors to the pipeline.

The present gas grid of Gail has flexibility of interconnection with new routes. Gail will be shortly appointing a consultant for carrying out techno-economic feasibility studies of city gas distribution in these six cities and this would also examine the economics of supplying SNG.