Rs 41,000 cr investment in city gas projects in N-E, J&K: Puri

NEW DELHI, Mar 4 : Six north eastern states and two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will see Rs 41,000 crore investment in rollout of city gas network to retail CNG to automobiles and piped cooking gas to houses over the next few years, Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday.

Speaking at a function to award licences to the winners of 12th city gas distribution (CGD) bidding round, he said with the award of licences for 8 geographical areas covering 103 districts in six north eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim and Mizoram and two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, the city gas network now covers the entire country except the islands.

“Anticipated investment for 12th CGD bidding round is Rs 41,000 crore generating considerable employment opportunities,” he said.

While the consortium of Bharat Petroleum and Oil India Ltd won the city gas licence for Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana City Gas bagged the same for Meghalaya. State-owned GAIL (India) Ltd-promoted Tripura Natural Gas got licence for Manipur and Mizoram. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) in collaboration with OIL got the licence for Sikkim. BPCL won the licence for J&K and Leh/Ladakh.

Puri said the government is promoting use of natural gas as a fuel for transport, and cooking gas as well as in industries to transform India into a gas-based economy.

“The initiatives to develop a gas-based ecosystem of gas infrastructure (over the past few years) have opened up new avenues for investment of about USD 67 billion,” he said adding “India is committed to continuously improve the policy and regulatory environment to support the development and make cleaner and sustainable fuel accessible and available to public at large.”

Promotion of natural gas is part of the Prime Minister’s vision to increase its share in India’s energy basket from around 6 per cent to 15 per cent by 2030.

“This will translate into an increase in the gas consumption by about three-fold, from the present level of around 185 million standard cubic meters per day to over 500 mmscmd by the year 2030,” he said.

Counting the major policy reforms in the gas sector, he said changing the pricing of locally produced gas has laid foundation of a sustainable, affordable, and secure energy future.

“In absence of these decisions, gas prices would have been uncompetitive to alternative fuels and hindered the expansion of the gas-based economy,” he said.

Also, sector regulator Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has brought out amendments in its natural gas pipeline tariff regulation and implemented a unified tariff last year. “The objective of these changes was to provide access to natural gas in the far-flung areas at competitive and affordable rates.”

Giving a snapshot of the natural gas infrastructure of the country, the minister said over 33,753 km of natural gas trunk pipelines are authorized in the country. Out of this, around 24,623 km of pipeline are operational.

Prior to the award of licences under the 12th bid round, there were 300 geographical areas (GAs) authorized in the country for city gas, covering 98 per cent of the population and 88 per cent of its area, he said adding 1.21 crore domestic PNG connections have been given till date and 6,258 CNG stations set up.

“All this has been possible due to the robust gas grid of India,” he said. “I am also aware that as per minimum work plan submitted by CGD entities, India will have around 17,500 CNG stations and around 120 million piped natural gas connections by 2030.”

It will help in development of ancillary industries in various segments (CGD meters, compressors, and dispensers) for fulfilling the dream of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

“Our nation is heralding a profound shift towards energy accessibility and development,” he said. (PTI  )