Statutory approvals expected soon
It will be a small but an important beginning for Tamil Nadu when work gets under way by mid-2018 on a section of the State’s first natural gas pipeline from Ennore to Thoothukudi.
One of the largest such facilities proposed in the State, the 1,250-km-long network will move ahead as soon as the remaining statutory approvals for the Ramanthapuram-Thoothukudi section are obtained. “We expect work on the section to commence by June,” a senior official associated with the project said. Once the clearances are obtained, the stretch is expected to be completed in 12 months since tenders for contracts are also under process.
Sources in Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL) said that for a few years, natural gas from the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s wells in Ramanathapuram and the upcoming liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Ennore would be piped through the facility. The supply from the Ramanathapuram wells are expected to be for a period of eight to ten years.
This section of the pipeline will run across two districts — Thoothukudi and Ramanathapuram — most of it passing through barren lands. “We are ensuring that the alignment passes along roads, including village roads and State highways, wherever possible and if there are habitations nearby, the thickness of the pipeline would be increased according to the density of the population. In Thoothukudi, for the salt pans, we are planning trench-less technology and we will not be disturbing their work in any manner,” explained the official.
Asked about the safety of the pipeline, the official said that gas pipelines are the safest since if there is any accidental leak, the gas will only escape into the air. Compressed natural gas (CNG) is predominantly methane, with a very small portion being propane and butane is considered safer than LPG and more cleaner. The pipeline has been designed as per stringent norms prescribed in the ASMEB 31.8 Standard of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers that is followed all over the world.
The work on the second portion from Ennore is likely to begin in the second half of the year.