In the next four years, the natural gas transmission capacity will be doubled, placing India in a good position to accomplish the goals set by energy planners and to transport the increased natural gas availability which is expected to reach 375 mmscmd by 2015, writes Deepak Mahurkar.The total natural gas (NG) supply increased from 110 mmscmd in 2008-09 to 147 mmscmd for the year 2009-10. This boost to the gas supply has come not only through the reforms in the E&P sector via annual NELP rounds and through LNG imports, but also through the development of NG trunk pipelines which cover a distance of 10,800 km. Current natural gas availability in the country is around 169 mmscmd, and this will need major augmentation through exploration.Gas consumption is expected to go up from 169 mmscmd in 2009-10 to 237.27 mmscmd in 2011-12. piped natural gas (PNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) are replacing the existing costlier and more polluting fuels in the domestic, auto and commercial segment. New city gas distribution (CGD) projects are being taken up to increase the coverage to 250 geographical areas (GA) in the next 10 years.Natural Gas infrastructure: Plan and ProgressGAIL owns about 72 per cent of India's total gas pipeline network with other major players being Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) and Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure. (RGTIL). The major pipelines include the 3,397 km HVJ pipeline (GAIL) and the 1,400 km East West pipeline (RGTIL).With an ambitious hydrocarbon vision (to meet 20 per cent of energy needs via natural gas by 2020 from 9 per cent currently) and a vast CGD coverage plan on one side and a country as big and as energy-starved as India on the other side, a lot hinges on the speed and spread of natural gas transmission throughout India. More than 80 per cent of natural gas production is in offshore regions in India.Though a number of important pipeline projects are coming up in near future, no landmark pipeline got commissioned in the last year.Gas pipeline projects commissioned in the past 12 months1. Duliajan-Numaligarh Pipeline (DNPL)Owner: AGCL/NRL/OIL, Length: 194 km.Capacity: 2 mmscmd, Project cost: Rs 380 crore.This dedicated pipeline got commissioned by OIL in February 2011 and proposes to carry 1 mmscmd of gas from Assam gas fields of OIL to 3 mmtpa Numaligarh Refinery (NRL) replacing naphtha with natural gas, thereby increasing the refining margins. The project was scheduled to be completed by December 2009 but was delayed on account of Right of Use (RoU) related issues.Gas pipeline projects to be commissioned in 20121. Dadri-Bawana-Nangal PipelineOwner: GAIL, Length: 610 km, Capacity: 31 mmscmd, Project cost: Rs 1,816 croreAuthorised in 2007, this pipeline will traverse from Dadri (UP) to Nangal (Punjab) via Yamunanagar (Haryana) transporting R-LNG from Petronet's Dahej Terminal and gas from KG basin to meet the demand of city gas projects in NCR, Haryana and Punjab and industries like paper mills, chemical, forging and steel rolling mills.Source of gas: R-LNG coming from Dahej-Vijaipur (DVPL) and Vijaipur-Dadri (GREP) connectionProgress by March 2011: Dadri-Bawana section has been commissioned while the Bawana-Nangal portion is in construction phase with RoU grading 67 per cent, welding 63 per cent and lowering 49 per cent complete.2. Chainsa-Gurgaon-Jhajjar-Hissar PipelineOwner: GAIL, Length: 310 km, Capacity: 30 mmscmd, Project cost: Rs 832.6 croreApproved in 2007, the pipeline traverses in Harayana from Chainsa to Jhajjar in Phase I covering five industrial areas in NCR and from Jhajjar to Hissar in Phase II meeting the gas demand of customers in Manesar and that of power plants at Bamnoli, Gurgaon (Reliance SEZ), Jhajjar (TATA) and Hissar (Jindal).Source of gas: The pipeline will transport around 10 mmscmd of gas from RIL's KG Basin and has a sales and purchase agreement with Petronet LNG and RasGas for transporting 2.5 mmtpa of Tranche A natural gas.Progress by April 2011: Phase I was commissioned in August 2010; connectivity to four out of five industrial areas of NCR, Manesar, Daruhar, Kushkhera and Neemrana, via spur lines met. Bhiwandi is expected to be connected in 2011 and a spur line to Rohtak is being taken up. Phase II is targeted by 2011-12.Gas pipeline projects to be commissioned by 20133. Jagdishpur-Haldia PipelineOwner: GAIL, Length: 876 km,Capacity: 16 mmscmd, Project cost: Rs 7,596 croreThis pipeline to be integrated with HVJ pipeline, extends from Jagdishpur (UP) to Haldia (WB) covering states of UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and a spur line network of 1,250 km with provisioning for bi-directional flow of gas. The pipeline will operate on a common carrier basis providing access to third parties.Source of gas: ONGC's Mahanadi Basin and RIL's KG Basin through RIL's Kakinada-Howrah pipeline which is yet to come up. Therefore, GAIL intends to synchronise the completion of this project with the start of gas supply at Haldia.Phase I (1,860 km) from Haldia (WB) to Phulpur (UP) along with spur lines/feeder lines extending to Varanasi and Allahabad. Expected completion date: March 2012.Phase II (190 km): Installation of compressor at Haldia along with spur lines extending to SAIL's plants in Durgapur and Bokaro, and petrochemical plant in Barauni, Bihar. Expected completion date: January 2013.Progress by March 2011: Route surveys for main pipeline and spur lines have been completed and the final report submitted.4. Dabhol-Bangalore Pipeline (DBPL)Owner: GAIL, Length: 1,012 km, Capacity: 16 mmscmd, Project cost: Rs 4,543.4 crore. The common carrier DBPL will pass through the states of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka.Phase I: Dabhol-Gokak (Karnataka) with a spur line to Goa. Expected completion date: August 2012Phase II: Gokak-Bangalore, Expected completion date: March 2013Gas source: KG Basin (via EWPL connected to Dahej-Dabhol pipeline), R-LNG from Dabhol and Kochi Terminal via Kochi-Bangalore pipeline (yet to come up).Customers include CGD at Bangalore and Goa, power players like Tata, KPCL (Karnataka) and fertiliser producers like Zuari Industries in Goa.Progress by March 2011: Phase I: 55 per cent completed (about 500 km of pipeline manufactured and coated), MoEF clearance and consent from respective state Pollution Control Board (PCB) obtained.5. Kochi-Kanjikkod-Bangalore/Mangalore PipelineOwner: GAIL, Length: 1,168 km, Capacity: 16 mmscmd, Project cost: Rs 3,263 crore. KKBMPL is a bi-directional pipeline passing through Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and will source gas from Kochi terminal to feed power plants (KPCL, NTPC) and fertiliser manufacturers Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers (MCFL) and FACT, besides other uses.Progress by April 2011: GAIL has received 12 technical bids for the supply of pipes.Phase I: Pipeline to Kochi customers (60 per cent complete), all obstacle crossings permission received.Phase II: Pipeline to Mangalore and Bangalore.6. Kakinada-Basudebpur-Howrah Gas PipelineOwner: RGTIL, Length: 1,100 km, Capacity: 20 mmscmd, Coverage: AP-Orissa-WBThe common carrier KBHPL will source gas from D6 block (KG Basin) and will be connected to Jagdishpur-Haldia pipeline. The gas will be used to largely meet the need of industrial consumers like SAIL, West Bengal Power Development Corporation and other proposed steel plants in Orissa.Phase I: Kakinada-Vizag (By December 2011), Phase II: Vizag-Haldia (By December 2012)Progress by March 2011: Application for Environmental Clearance (EC) submitted to MoEF, CZMA approval obtained from AP, WB and Orissa, NOC from PCB, and RoU acquisition from landowners pending.7. Kakinada-Nellore-Chennai-Coimbatore PipelineOwner: RGTIL, Length: 600 km, Capacity: 10 mmscmd, Coverage: AP-Tamil NaduAuthorised in 2007, the pipeline will source gas from KG Basin and provide it to fertiliser players like IFFCO and Mangalore Fertiliser (MFL) besides Chennai CGD and KPCL (with a tap-off facility near Chennai)Phase I: Kakinada-Vijaywada-Chennai, Phase II: Chennai-CoimbatoreProgress by January 2011: EC obtained from MoEF, NOC obtained from PCB, RoU acquisition from land owners expected by June.8. Chennai-Tuticorin PipelineOwner: RGTIL, Length: 670 km, Capacity: 10 mmscmd, Coverage: Tamil Nadu. This pipeline is an extension of Kakinada-Chennai pipeline and will serve MFL, SPIC at Tuticorin and City Gas Station (CGS) at Tiruchirappalli. Expected Completion date: December 2012.Progress by March 2011: NOC, EC obtained respectively from PCB and MoEF, RoU acquisition expected by November 2011.9. Chennai-Bangalore-Mangalore PipelineOwner: RGTIL, Length: 660 km, Capacity: 10 mmscmd, Coverage: Tamil Nadu-AP-Karnataka This extension of Kakinada-Chennai common carrier pipeline will supply gas to KPCL-proposed power plant at Bidadi, CGS at Bangalore and MCFL.Progress by April 2011: RoU acquisition and other statutory approvals are in progress.These nine pipelines will add approximately 7,000 km to the existing network of gas pipelines.Apart from these authorised pipelines, four pipelines, awarded to GSPL by PNGRB were authorised recently after a litigation questioning the PNGRB's authority was decided in its favour.The author is Associate Director, Oil & Gas Practice, PwC India.