Even as Cairn India's plans to complete the last mile, 74-km crude pipeline section between Salaya and Bhogat, the company has gone ahead with inviting global expression of interest (EOI) for single-point mooring (SPM) near Bhogat.

This is like buying a horse-shoe before getting a horse, observed a market source here. Cairn India's investments on this ambitious pipeline project would be nearly Rs 5,500 crore. Cairn India's officials were not available for comment.

Earlier this week, Cairn India Energy Ltd, on behalf of its joint venture partners Cairn Energy Hydrocarbons Ltd and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), put out newspaper advertisements seeking EOI from global contractors for the SPM support vessel at Bhogat, to be mobilised and demobilised from the SPM location.

‘Compensation' issue

The nearest landing facility for the supply of fresh water, fuel, stores and crew change will be at Okha or Porbandar in Gujarat. While the phase-I of the pipeline, involving development of the 596-km section between Barmer and Salaya, had been completed, the phase-II work, on the remaining 74-km pipeline, between Salaya and Bhogat, has remained suspended unofficially since August 2010 on the issue of “compensation” to the farmers from whose fields the pipeline would pass.

The phase-II comprises this section of pipeline and the Bhogat terminal to store crude on the Arabian Sea coast, and a pipeline connecting the terminal to the marine export facilities. This will consist of twin 24-inch sub-sea pipeline between Bhogat terminal and SPM, to be located nearly eight km into the sea.

The SPM will be equipped to load the Aframax type tankers. But uncertainty persists on phase-II after Cairn India officially asked L&T to stop work and shut its camp at Khambalia on April 26.

Cairn India clarifies

The company clarifies that the EoI was for a marine support vessel, and not for the Bhogat single point mooring, as reported. The mooring was installed in June 2011.

(This article was published on June 9, 2012)
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