Kochi-Mangaluru Natural Gas Pipeline: Here's all you need to know
Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated 450-km long Kochi-Mangaluru Natural Gas Pipeline of the Gail Authority of India Limited (GAIL) to the nation via video conference on 5 January 2021. It is in line with 'One Nation One Gas Grid'.
Governor of Karnataka Vajubhai Vala, CM of Karnataka B.S. Yediyurappa, Governor of Kerala Arif Mohammad Khan, CM of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, and Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan were present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Modi termed this day as an important milestone for both the people of Kerala and Karnataka as two states are now connected by a natural gas pipeline. He further stated that in the 27 years before 2014, only a 15,000 km natural gas pipeline was built.
As per Prime Minister Modi, since 2014, the Government of India has brought in various reforms across the Oil and Gas sector, covering exploration and protection, natural gas, marketing and distribution. The Government is taking initiatives to increase the share of natural gas in India's energy basket from 6% to 15% to move towards a gas-based economy that would be cheaper, convenient and environment-friendly.
1- The pipeline would improve the ease of living in both the states and reduce the expenses of the poor, middle class and entrepreneurs of both the states-- Kerala and Karnataka.
2- It would become the base of the Gas Distribution System and CNG based system in many cities.
3- The pipeline would provide clean energy to Mangalore Refinery, thereby reducing the pollution in both the states.
4- The pipeline will have a direct impact on the environment, akin to planting millions of trees which in turn would reduce the pollution in both the states.
5- It will also improve people's health and reduce their health-related expenditure and is expected to attract tourists to the city.
6- It has also generated 1.2 million man-days of employment.
7- It would also develop a new ecosystem of employment and self-employment after its commissioning, helping India's fertilizer, petrochemical and power sector.
8- It is also expected to help India in saving thousand of crores of foreign exchange for the country.
In 2007, the project to build pipelines from Kochi to Mangaluru and to Bengaluru was envisaged. In 2009, single window clearance to the project was given by the then Kerala CM V. S. Achuthanandan (CPM) at an estimated cost of Rs. 2,915 crores which went up to Rs. 5,750 crores due to delays in its construction.
The project was expected to be completed by the year 2013. However, locals started protesting against the project as they wanted the alignment of the pipeline along a sea route rather than inhabited areas.
In 2011, under Oommen Chandy administration (Congress), the CPM (then in opposition) stood in solidarity with the protestors against the project. In addition to this, local leaders of the United Democratic Front (UDF) too joined the agitation. As a result, the government suspended the survey and GAIL suspended the contracts.
In 2016, under the Pinarayi Vijayan administration (CPM), the project was revived and no one questioned the decision made by the government. The local leaders stepped back from their protest and the compensation amount for the acquired land was increased while the width of the land to be acquired was decreased.
A 44-km line was laid in Kochi in the first phase which linked the terminal with local industrial users such as Barat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL). In a bid to provide natural gas to domestic customers, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) inked a pact with Adani Gas Limited.
The pipeline passes through seven districts of Kerala to carry natural gas from Kochi to Bengaluru and Mangaluru in the second phase. The Kochi-Mangaluru section has been opened while the work is underway in Bengaluru section.
The pipeline will deliver Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from a terminal in Kochi at a cost of Rs 4,500. The terminal was built by Petronet LNG in the year 2013.
It is to be noted that 2,750 domestic gas connections have already been provided in Kochi and work for the supply in other towns is underway. Also, after the pipeline was laid, the farmers were allowed to cultivate the crops except for the deep-rooted ones.
As per several reports, the pipeline supplies 3.8 million cubic metres of gas per day to industrial as well as residential customers in Kochi and is expected to cross 4 million cubic metres in the city itself.