The Original Oman-India Pipeline Project

Deep-sea routes from the Gulf to India have often been debated in the past. An offshore route to supply Natural Gas to India from the Middle East was first considered in the mid 90’s when the Oman to India Pipeline Project (OIP) investigated a Deep-Sea route across the Arabian Sea. In 2003 the deep-sea route was again considered, this time from Iran to India, by a Joint venture between GAIL (India) and the NIOC.

The original Oman to India Pipeline project (OIP) highlighted a number of technical challenges:

  • No qualified deepwater pipeline repair system available
  • Pipe mill upgrades would be required to manufacture the Line pipe in the size needed and quality
  • Lack of lay vessels with enough tension capability to lay pipes in 3,500 m water depth
  • Incomplete understanding of seismic activities
  • Lack of mitigation methods for mudflows, fault lines and slope failures
  • Significant hydro testing and drying concerns

The work carried out under OIP concluded that, these challenges were not insurmountable impediments by the industry. Three competitive pipe lay bids were received and evaluated before the Omani-sourced gas was reassigned elsewhere. The OIP was held back 15 years ago mainly by concern over the depth of the Arabian Sea.

The massive growth in the Indian economy and rising gas prices in the latter half of the last decade has reopened this supply route option across the Arabian Sea.

Supply of natural gas to India by pipeline across the short and geopolitical neutral direct offshore route is the obvious solution to India’s energy demands.

The offshore oil and gas industry has moved on significantly since 1995 and numerous large diameter gas transmission pipelines such as Blue stream and Medgaz, have been installed in depths up to 2,200m and others such as Galsi are planned in circa 2,800m.

Deep-water pipeline technology was first developed over 10 years ago on the Oman-India project and it has now matured.