India Mulls Deepwater Natural Gas Pipeline System

July 2009 Vol. 236 No. 7

A deepwater natural gas pipeline system from West Asia to India – laid on a geo-politically safe route outside the Persian Gulf – could be a reality soon.

India has been exploring avenues to strengthen relations with West Asian countries. India needs natural gas and is talking with several countries, including Qatar.

India has an ever-growing appetite for natural gas which is to some extent met by LNG. There remains a large demand which can be met only in a cost-effective manner via transnational pipelines. SAGE, an Indian private sector initiative, is working with a global consortium to create a $3 billion natural gas transportation infrastructure linking the Gulf region with India. Its first phase would bring 31 MMcf/d to the Indian west coast.

The SAGE energy corridor, with completion planned by early 2014, would allow suppliers from West Asia to deliver natural gas to buyers in India, at market price, after payment of SAGE’s transit tariff. Plans are to source the gas from Qatar, Iran and Iraq which hold reserves of about 2,000 Tcf. Each pipeline would deliver about 8 Tcf natural gas to India over 25 years.

The project features an upstream West Asia natural gas-gathering system connecting multiple gas sources to the coast of the Arabian Peninsula. From there, the deepwater pipelines would cross the Arabian Sea to the south of the territorial waters and economic exclusion zones of all third party countries and would mainly follow a route, reaching a depth of 3,500m, which was extensively surveyed 15 years ago.

Deepwater pipeline specialists Heerema Marine Contractors (HMC) and INTECSEA are partners in the consortium and have said the project is technically feasible.

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