Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Gas pipelines near airport still a threat

Surat: Not only has it to deal with infrastructural issues, but the fact that two underground sour gas pipelines of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) also pass close to its runway, makes Surat airport sitting on a ticking time bomb.
Despite several rounds of talks between the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Gujarat government for re-routing or covering of the pipelines in the larger interest of the aircraft operations, ONGC authorities stand rigid on their stance.

Last year a meeting the district administration held a meeting with the pipeline division officials of ONGC Hazira to discuss the critical issue of the pipeline following which the state government and the AAI took a joint decision to take ONGC on board for a workable solution on either re-routing or covering the pipelines inside the airport area in a time-bound manner.

The ONGC had also invited expression of interest (EoI) around nine months ago for safe operation of the underground pipelines, but since then things have been moving at a tardy pace. “The sour gas pipeline solution is very important, otherwise there could be a major disaster in future” said airport activist Rajesh Modi.

Sour gas is natural, colourless and highly flammable gas that contains measurable amounts of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and smells like rotten eggs. The two pipelines — of 36 inches and 42 inches in diameter — from the South Bassein Hazira Trunk (SBHT) passing from the airport were laid in 1985 and 1996, respectively. These were laid to carry sour dry natural gas from Bassein Platform A (BPA) and Bassein Platform B (BPB) offshore process platforms to the onshore gas processing plant located at Hazira in Surat.

Till date, these two pipelines have carried around 33-36 million metric standard cubic meter per day (MMSCMD) gas and 2,500-3000 cubic meters per day (m3/day) of condensate at an operating pressure of 60-80 kilograms per square centimetre (kg/cm2).

A senior officer in the district collector’s office said, “The extension of the runway has been halted looking at the hazards these ONGC gas pipelines pose to the airport operations. However, the ONGC has been asked to carry out a survey of the pipelines and suggest a solution for re-routing or covering them up.”

The oil and natural gas major had raised concerns for the safe operation of both the pipelines at Magdalla due to proximity of Surat airport, which has undergone extension from 1,400 meters to 2,250 metres towards route of 42 inches diameter pipeline in south-east direction in 2007 and from 2,250 meters to 2,905 metres towards route 36 inches diameter pipeline in north-west direction in the year 2015-16.
03/07/19 Times of India
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