In a significant development for India’s energy infrastructure and national defense preparedness, the country’s largest underground LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) storage tunnel is currently under construction in Mangaluru. This strategic storage facility, initiated and managed by the Union Government through Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), is set to become operational by the end of December 2023.
This state-of-the-art facility, the second of its kind in the country after the one in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, is being built with the primary objective of managing emergency situations with a national defense perspective in mind. Located at the Mangalore Special Economic Zone (MSEZ), the underground storage facility boasts an impressive capacity of 80,000 metric tonnes, with an estimated cost of approximately Rs 800 crore.
One of the key features of this storage facility is its direct supply system, where LPG will be transported from massive vessels stationed in the Arabian Sea through pipelines, ensuring a streamlined and efficient distribution process.
The Union Government granted approval for this ambitious project in 2018, with construction activities commencing in 2019. As of now, significant progress has been made, with the installation of pipes connecting the facility to the sea, completion of essential building structures near the storage area, and the construction of the LPG storage tank at a depth of 500 meters inside a massive rock tunnel. Sources report that an impressive 83% of the project has already been completed.
Notably, Mangaluru already hosts two underground storage facilities for crude oil, located in Permude and Padur. The Permude facility has a substantial capacity of 1.5 million metric tonnes and was constructed at a cost of Rs 1,227 crore in 2009. It has been operational since 2016. Meanwhile, the Padur crude oil facility, boasting a storage capacity of 2.5 million metric tonnes and consisting of four compartments, was established in 2010 at a cost of Rs 1,693 crore. It has been operational since December 2018.
India’s first underground LPG storage facility was developed in Visakhapatnam in 2007 at a cost of Rs 333 crore, with a storage capacity of 60,000 metric tonnes.
This strategic move to enhance LPG storage capabilities and strengthen defense preparedness underlines the government’s commitment to securing the nation’s energy infrastructure and ensuring a stable supply of essential resources, particularly in times of emergency. The Mangaluru facility is expected to play a pivotal role in achieving these goals while contributing to India’s energy security.