The Kochi-Koottanad-Bangalore-Mangalore pipeline is an interstate natural gas pipeline project in the final phase of construction in southern India.

The 1,104km pipeline is being developed and will be operated by India’s state-owned Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL).

The pipeline will transport natural gas from the Petronet LNG owned Kochi LNG import and regasification terminal that was commissioned in September 2013.

Designed to transport 16 million cubic meters (Mcm) of natural gas a day (Mcm/d), the Kochi-Koottanad-Bangalore-Mangalore pipeline is intended to improve the natural gas supply to the southern cities of India.

Estimated to incur a total investment of approximately £330m (INR30bn), the pipeline project is being developed in two phases.

The phase one section of the pipeline was successfully completed and commissioned in August 2013, while certain pipeline sections under phase two are currently under construction with the entire pipeline is expected to be fully operational by February 2022.

Project development

The pipeline project passes through the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and the Union Territory of Puducherry in South India.

The Kochi-Koottanad-Bangalore-Mangalore pipeline project was split into two development phases with phase one involving a 41km-long pipeline section between Kochi and Koottanad in Kerala.

The phase one development was approved in June 2009, while the second phase that involves approximately 1.063km of the pipeline from Koottanad to Mangalore in Karnataka was approved in January 2012 and was originally scheduled for completion in March 2013.

The project, however, faced significant delay due to protests from farmers resulting in issues with regard to obtaining right of way. The project was renewed and the right of way was successfully completed in 2016.

The second phase pipeline development comprises two major segments which are further divided into minor segments. The two major segments include the 440km pipeline stretch between Kochi and Mangalore via Koottanad which was successfully completed and commissioned in June 2019 and the 625km pipeline segment between Koottanad and Bangalore.

The remaining line from Koottanad to Bangalore section was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in the country and the construction works were resumed in April 2020. Work on the Bangalore to Krishnagiri section of the pipeline in Tamilnadu also commenced in May 2020.

The Kochi-Koottanad-Bangalore-Mangalore pipeline design

The project has a total provisional gas transfer capacity of 16Mcm/d, including a common carrier capacity of 4Mcm/d.

The designed volume capacity of phase one is 6Mcm/d while the Kochi-Kootanand-Mangalore section of the pipeline has also a capacity of 66Mcm/d.

The Koottanad-Palakkad section and the Bangalore-Krishagiri sections have a design capacity of 0.82Mcm/d. The section from Palakkad to Krishagiri in the state of Tamil Nadu has a capacity of 3.18 Mcm/d.

The pipeline’s designed pressure is 92 kg/cm2 with an inlet pressure of 87 kg/cm2 at the landfall point in Kochi’s LNG Terminal. The steel pipe flange features a class 600 design with no compressor stations.

The main pipeline uses a selection of 30 inch and 24-inch diameter steel pipes while the spur lines that supply natural gas to various businesses and private consumers use 18, 12, 8, and 4-inch diameter pipes.

The Phase-II pipeline will also feature more than 300 units of CML-1500 and CML-3000 actuators that are installed on ball valves and plug valves.

The actuators will be linked by the Pakscan network bus system, a trademark product of Rotork. The entire bus network system will be inter-connected via Rotork Master Stations that are installed at substations along the pipeline.

To ensure additional safety-critical fail-safe operations, the pipeline will also be installed with Electro-hydraulic SI actuators.

Contractors Involved

PSL Limited was awarded the contract to supply 24-inch diameter pipes and three-layer polyethylene (3LPE) coating for the pipeline project in June 2011.

Kalpataru Power Transmission was contracted for the pipeline laying and the associated engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) works for two major segments of the phase two pipeline development in August 2017.

Rotork, a British-based industrial flow control equipment manufacturing company, was contracted to supply actuators and the associated controller components for the project.

IL&FS Engineering and Construction Company was contracted for the laying and construction works for two major sections of the pipeline in phase two in September 2016.