Six firms, including one from China, are in the race to build the much-touted Kochi-Kootanad-Managalore-Bengaluru pipeline project of GAIL (India). The pipeline would give a lease of life to Petronet LNG’s 5 million tonne per annum re-gasification terminal at Kochi, which remained underutilised at a mere 5% capacity, due to the lack of an evacuation route.
Sources told FE that for the Kochi–Kootanad–Managalore-Bengaluru pipeline project, the countdown has started as bids were invited for two sections of the stretches of 220 km covering five districts of Kerala — Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakad, Mallapuram, and Kozhikode.
“The estimated cost for this stretch is about Rs 300 crore, of which six bids have been received for the 90-km section from Punj Lloyd (PLL), Corrtech, Kalptaru Power Transmission (KPTL), JSIW, IL&FS and China Petroleum Bureau (CPP), while for the other section of 130-km PLL, KPTL, JSIW, IL&FS and CPP have submitted bids,” a senior official privy to the development told FE. “The bids are being evaluated and the job will be awarded in August 2016, and the work will commence in September-October this year,” the official added. In January 2014, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unveiled a Rs 4,500-crore LNG terminal at Puthuvype in Kochi set up by Petronet LNG. The terminal became idle due to the non-laying of the pipeline by GAIL due to local protests.
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The laying of the pipeline would raise the utilisation of Petronet’s terminal to at least 50%, in addition to making natural gas available to Kerala and parts of Karnataka. Land acquisition issues and opposition by farmers and the Tamil Nadu government had disrupted a key section of GAIL’s ambitious Rs 3,400-crore Kochi-Kuttanad-Bengaluru-Mangalore project, which is passing through farmland in seven districts of the state.