India will soon double its existing pipeline network according to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Speaking at a ceremony to mark the completion of the 450-kilometre-long Kochi-Mangaluru pipeline, Modi said, “The first interstate natural gas pipeline of the country was commissioned in 1987, and by 2014, India had 15,000 kilometres of natural gas pipeline built. Today there are over 16,000 kilometres of new gas pipelines being worked upon. This work is going to be complete in the next 5 to 6 years.”
The Kochi to Mangaluru pipeline is mostly in Kerala and is designed to transport 12 million standard cubic metres per day of natural gas. According to official estimates, the project cost stood at Rs 3,000 crore. Work on it had started in 2009 and was expected to be completed by 2014. But there were delays in the project that led to the commissioning date being pushed ahead.
“There were just 900 compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in 2014, over 1,500 new CNG stations were built. The goal now is to have 10,000 CNG stations in the country. This pipeline will help setting up 700 new CNG stations across Kerala and Karnataka. Till 2014 there were 2.5 million Piped Natural Gas connections, today there are over 7.2 million connections. Another 2.1 million new consumers will be added through the Kochi- Mangaluru pipeline,” PM Modi said.
This pipeline is part of the centre’s initiative to increase the share of natural gas in India’s energy mix from six per cent to 15 per cent.
The commissioning of the pipeline is a significant boost for Petronet LNG’s 5-million-tonne-per-annum (mpta) Kochi terminal. Shares of Petronet LNG rose nearly three per cent during trade on Tuesday on the back of optimism that the commissioned pipeline would give access to consumers for the Kochi terminal.
Petronet LNG operates two Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) regasification terminals situated in Dahej (17.5 mtpa installed capacity) and Kochi. While the Dahej terminal has healthy operating performance, the Kochi terminal had struggled at just 10 per cent of its nameplate capacity due to its inability to find buyers for the pricier regasified LNG.
According to analysts, Petronet LNG’s volume demand has already neared pre-Covid levels and commissioning of the Kochi-Mangalore pipeline will boost the company’s performance in the coming months.