Fox Petroleum Ltd., one of India’s energy companies, has proposed to the Government of India to build the Oman–India Multi-Purpose Pipeline (OIMPP) – a deepwater, transnational, natural gas pipeline system that will cross the Arabian Sea with 100% investment from foreign funding.
The company estimates that the project can be completed within 48 months and that it is worth USD $5.6 billion with a (+/-) 4% variation. A dual-sized, single pipeline from the Oman coast near Ra’s Al Jifan would be linked to Duqm onshore and from Al Duqm to the Indian coast at Gujarat via a mid-line recompression station situated on the Qualhat Seamount (Murray ridge).
Ajay Kumar, chairman and managing director of Fox Petroleum, said, “In the last few years, deepsea gas pipeline technology has matured. Since India has serious security concerns with regard to pipeline projects over land, a deepsea pipeline is probably the most promising option. This 1,600-kilometer OIMPP project intends to transport 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to India over a period of 20 years. The pipeline is planned to be about 1,300 kilometers long in Phase I, and 300 kilometers more to connect Mumbai, laid at a depth of 3,400 meters below the seabed. It will connect the Middle East Compression Station near Oman with the receiving terminal near Gujarat.
He added that the estimated cost of this project is $5–5.6 billion, and that it can be executed in about five years. Fox Petroleum has arranged all required technical and financial requirements for the project, including funding the project from its associate companies.
The OIMPP is anticipated to be the first of many in a corridor of pipelines that will form the final leg of a major energy supply route linking the two countries crossing the sea; importing LNG is a costly process, but unavoidable because the sources of gas are far away. This cost can be avoided if gas is imported through pipelines and then transported across the country through existing and future-planned pipelines in India. Geographically, the Oman–India Pipeline is comparatively more feasible because India is close to the sources of natural gas in the Middle East and the undersea distance is less than 1,300 kilometers if connected to Gujarat coast only.
Kumar commented that another reason in favor of this project is the landed cost, which will be lesser by $1.5 to $2 per million BTU as compared to LNG imports. Furthermore, he said, this pipeline could be linked to other natural gas sources in the Middle East and even to Turkmenistan and Iran if need be.