The transportation of natural gas to consumers has commenced in Goa with the completion and the commissioning of the long awaited, 175 km, Gokak-Goa gas pipeline.
Vasco based Zuari Industries is the first to tap the pipeline receiving running supplies of natural gas for its fertilizer plant since its commissioning.
Sources at GAIL, Goa confirmed the news pointing out that the pipeline started functioning in the last week of February 2013 soon after testing being completed. They added that commissioning was regular occasion with them since it is a part of a wider network covering a total pipeline length of 800 kms.
The source added that at present Zuari is receiving 1.0 million metric standard cubic meters per day (MMSCMD) of gas as against its full requirement of 1.5 MMSCMD as its production facilities are still in a transition mode between fuel/feed stocks. Further the gas is supplied to the company’s urea plant where it is replacing the old feedstock of naphtha.
Besides Zuari gas is also on its way to Reliance Power for its 48MW power unit that previously ran on naphtha. Reliance requirement of gas according to its senior officials is 0.22 MMSCMD for which it is in the final stage of negotiation with GAIL. Other companies that are in the queue for gas are Unicor and Binani Glass, although supplies to these two companies are expected by May-June.
Natural gas that is being transported from the pipeline is Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG), that is gas that is made liquid to reduce its volume and facilitate transport, and then gasified again before channeled into the pipeline. The price at which it is being supplied to Zuari and Reliance is in the range of US $18 Million Metric British Thermal Units (MMBTU) according to informed sources.
The Dhabol-Karnataka pipeline was inaugurated in Bangalore on February 18, 2013, with the Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr Veerappa Moily and GAIL chairman and managing director, Mr BC Tripathi present at the commissioning. During the unveiling, GAIL has signed gas transmission agreement with Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd (KPCL) for the supply of 2.1 million metric standard cubic meters per day (MMSCMD) for an upcoming 700 MW power plant
In Goa, however, according to GAIL the gas requirements are as yet small with industries to be consumers in Phase 1 followed by supply to households and transport sector in Phase 2. The cost of constructing is estimated at ` 800 crore, capacity of the pipeline in Goa is 6 MMSCMD while the requirement from industry is about 2 MMSCMD leaving a lot of potential for other users coming up. The pipeline was approved by GAIL board in 2009, however work in Goa was approved in 2010 before commencing in 2011.
The total capacity of the 800 km pipeline from Dhabol (Maharashtra) to Karnataka is 16 MMSCMD and cost ` 4,500 crore. [NT]