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The state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has launched the biggest pipeline project in Asia Pacific by way of laying two sub sea pipelines in Mumbai High offshore field at an estimated cost of $600 million.

Dubbed the Bombay High-Uran Trunk Pipeline Project, the mammoth pipe upgrades involves laying two 204-km pipelines - one a 30 inch diameter line for oil and the other a 28-inch gas line - to replace the ageing trunk lines at the Mumbai High offshore field in the Arabian Sea, company sources said.

At present crude oil and natural gas produced from various offshore platforms at Bombay High is transported to Uran Plant through Bombay High to Uran Trunk (BUT) pipeline system. This pipeline system, laid in 1978, is over 25 years old and has completed its designed operating and service life. Recently, there were leaks in the oil trunk pipeline.

"Due to these factors and planned redevelopment of the fields in the western offshore, laying of a new replacement pipeline system has become necessary," they said.

ONGC is likely to award the engineering, procurement, installation and construction (EPIC) contract to Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) of South Korea and wants the pipelines to be ready by May 10, 2005. The work scope also includes about 50-kms of spur lines to the Uran onshore collection terminal near Mumbai. Project design was undertaken by Engineers India Ltd.

HHI, the sole bidder for the contract, bid $131.4 million less than the original estimated cost of $737.29 million, sources said.

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