Expanding Network: Focus on building a strong water, oil and gas pipeline infrastructure network

Water shortage problems are a serious concern in many parts of the world, impacting the environment, businesses and the economy. Natural factors such as drought and climate change can contribute to water scarcity, as can human factors such as population expansion, water qua­lity and resource allocation. Outdated wa­ter distribution infrastructure is a significant contributor to the problem of water scarcity. In the current situation, the pipeline network is unable to withstand the mounting pressure of increased demand, which ultimately results in water loss due to pipeline leaks. Since water is a valuable resource, utilities need to manage and upgra­de their pipeline infrastructure. Water utilities can discover leaks quickly, fix them, and guarantee the pro­tection of important assets and the environment through better management of the pipeline infrastructure. Likewise, in the oil and gas sector, it has been a primary priority to build a vast pipeline network across the co­untry. To ensure availability throughout the nation, considerable attention is being paid to expanding pipeline systems.

Indian Infrastructure takes a look at recent developments in the pipeline infrastructure spa­­ce across the water, oil and gas sectors, and the key challenges faced…

Water pipeline infrastructure

To extend the pipeline network in the state, the Gujarat government has sanctioned investments of Rs 17.6 billion. As a part of the Suja­lamSufalam Jal Yojana, a 78 km pipeline from Kasara to Dantiwada and a 33 km pipeline from Dindrol to Mukteshwar of Rs 1.92 billion each are expected to be built. In Banaskantha and Patan districts, 135 villages will receive ir­rigation and potable water as a result of these projects. Additionally, the government recently laid the foundation for the Deep-Sea pipeline project in Dahej, Gujarat.

Meanwhile, under the Atal Mission for Re­ju­­venation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) 2.0 scheme, the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) intends to submit a proposal to the Maha­rashtra Urban Development Department for upgrading water supply distribution in Nashik. NMC is expected to contri­bute Rs 1 billion for the project. As part of the project, 185 km of new pipelines will be ins­talled in developing areas such as Adgaon, Ma­kh­malabad, Pa­th­ardi and New Indira Nagar, and 327 km of outdated wa­ter distribution pi­pelines will be replaced with new pipelines of larger diameter in Maharash­tra’s old city area. Additionally, a pipeline project, costing Rs 1,200 million, will be undertaken from Darna Dam to Nashik. An investment of Rs 3 billion is ex­pected to be made in the entire project.

Oil and gas pipeline infrastructure

India aims to ensure 15 per cent of its total energy consumption from natural gas by 2030. Efficient pipeline infrastructure is crucial to achieving this. To transition to a gas-based eco­nomy, the government is attempting to create an effective framework. To this end, the 533 km Bokaro-Angul gas pipeline stretch in Jhar­khand and Odisha has been officially opened for both household and industrial use. The project will offer affordable gas to homeowners as well as industries that rely on energy for transportation, electricity, fertiliser, food processing, and cold storage. The Jharkhand and Odisha portions of the Bokaro-Angul pipeline comprise 243 km and 290 km respectively. The project construction has involved an investment of Rs 25 billion. The Bokaro-Angul pipeline section, as well as the entire Jagdishpur-Haldia and Bo­karo-Dhamra pipeline network, will be able to transport 16 million cubic metres of natural gas per day post commissioning.

In an effort to expand the supply and use of natural gas in India, Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) has constructed a dedicated natural gas pipeline to the Bathinda refinery of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL)-Mittal Energy Limited (HMEL) in Punjab. The dedicated pipeline, which cost Rs 1.42 billion to build, is expected to provide HMEL about 1 million standard cubic metres of gas every day.

Meanwhile, the board of Oil India Limited (OIL) has approved the construction of a poly­propylene unit and its infrastructure at Numa­li­garh, which is expected to involve a capital ex­penditure of Rs 65.55 billion. The project en­tails building a crude oil pipeline from Para­dip Port in Odisha to Numaligarh in Assam and a product pipeline from Numali­garh to the Siliguri marketing terminal in West Bengal to increase the capacity of the Numa­ligarh refinery in Assam from 3 mtpa to 9 mtpa. Technip India has been selected as the project management consultant.

Key challenges

Building a strong pipeline infrastructure is a challenging task, especially for industries such as oil and gas and water. These projects still face old problems such as right-of-way issues and delays in obtaining the necessary clearances.

Moreover, route planning for new projects has grown to be quite challenging because of population growth and increasing urbanisation. Projects are also hampered by farmer opposition and demands for greater compensation. There are also challenges owing to delays in the mobilisation of equipment and the restricted availability of competent staff. The outdated pipeline infrastructure and system leaks caus­ed by it are also major problems in these industries. As a result, the natural resources are dep­leted, and the pipeline network is unable to handle the country’s escalating demand.

In sum

The government has established ambitious medium-term targets for multiple infrastructure ministries as the Gati Shakti initiative app­roaches its one-year mark. With all these initiatives, the country’s oil and gas pipeline network is expected to reach 34,000 km by financial year 2025 from 20,000 km at present. In the water sector, utilities are increasingly using asset management strategies to assess and maintain their pipeline assets. They are also focusing on creating a strong pipeline network to provide 24×7 clean drinking water to every household across the nation. As per India In­frastructure Research, over 20,000 km of pipe­line network expansion is anticipated in the water segment in the coming years and over 12,000 km is expected in the wastewater treatment segment.