Over the years, several gas operators have stepped up efforts to develop and expand their pipeline network infrastructure. This has led to the implementation of several key gas pipeline projects in the country, such as the Hazira-Vijaipur-Jagdishpur pipeline and the East-West gas pipeline. Meanwhile, significant developments are taking place on the ground with several new projects being proposed and undertaken by operators.
Operational pipeline infrastructure
As of March 31, 2017, operational pipeline infrastructure in the country spanned a total length of 16,150.41 km. This network had a combined design capacity of 383.81 million metric standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd).
The gas transportation sector is currently dominated by a few major players. The market’s leading operator is GAIL Gas Limited, which accounts for 69 per cent of the total operational pipeline network and 73 per cent of the transmission capacity. The other big players in the market are Gujarat State Petronet Limited (GSPL) and Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure Limited (RGTIL). Together, GAIL Gas, GSPL and RGTIL own and operate 93 per cent of the total pipeline network and 94 per cent of the total transmission capacity in the sector.
GAIL Gas also operates the longest natural gas pipeline in the country, the 4,658 km long Hazira-Vijaipur-Jagdishpur pipeline, which has a design capacity of 53 mmscmd. Meanwhile, RGTIL operates the largest pipeline in terms of design capacity, the 80 mmscmd East-West gas pipeline. This pipeline is also one of the country’s longest pipelines, spanning 1,480 km. Other key operational gas pipelines include the Dahej-Vijaipur-Dadri pipeline of GAIL Gas. This pipeline spans a length of 1,119 km and is equipped to transport 54 mmscmd of gas.
Several gas operators are currently also involved in the development of new pipeline infrastructure. As on March 31, 2017, about 16,004 km of natural gas pipelines were under construction. Most of the network under construction, spanning 12,619 km, accounts for new pipeline projects. These pipelines will have a design capacity of at least 548.76 mmscmd. Among these, the longest pipeline, the 2,539 km Jagdishpur-Haldia pipeline, is being developed by GAIL Gas. It will pass through the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha. Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh Gas Distribution Corporation is undertaking the Kakinada-Srikakulam pipeline project works. This pipeline has the highest design capacity of 90 mmscmd among all the projects under construction.
Meanwhile, about 1,619 km of the under-construction pipeline length is being added to the already existing pipelines in the country. These pipelines will have a design capacity of 107 mmscmd and are being added through five projects, all being implemented by GAIL Gas.
At the same time, two transnational gas pipeline laying projects are also being undertaken by GAIL Gas. These are the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India and Middle East-India deepwater pipeline projects. India’s share in the total capacities of these projects amounts to 38 mmscmd and 31.5 mmscmd respectively.
Projects on the anvil
Operators are focusing on expanding their pipeline networks to enhance their future operations. About 4,068.6 km of natural gas pipelines, with a cumulative design capacity of more than 64.23 mmscmd, have been planned by operators. Of this, about 603.6 km of pipeline length (with a design capacity of at least 18.53 mmscmd) will be added by GAIL Gas independently, or in association with the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation. Meanwhile, H-Energy Private Limited and Assam Gas Company Limited are planning to develop the Contai-Dattapulia and Barauni-Bongaigaon-Guwahati pipelines respectively. The Contai-Dattapulia pipeline is expected to span 715 km and will carry 34.2 mmscmd of gas. Meanwhile, the Barauni-Bongaigaon-Guwahati pipeline will span a length of 750 km and will have a capacity of 15 mmscmd.
At the same time, three transnational pipelines are also on the anvil. These comprise the India-Russia pipeline (spanning about 6,000 km), the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline (2,700 km, 30 mmscmd) and the Kanai Chatta-Shrirampur pipeline (275 km, 7.2 mmscmd). These three projects are expected to entail a total investment of $32.2 billion.
The gas transportation sector in the country is on the cusp of high growth, with several key projects currently in the under-construction and planning stages. With the expansion of city gas networks and the award of new geographical areas, this momentum is expected to only increase in the future. The sector will thus continue to present several opportunities to pipeline and meter manufacturers, technology providers, project developers, consultants, etc. in the Indian gas sector.