Millennium Post

India to see Rs 4L cr investment in gas infrastructure: Pradhan

New Delhi: India will see an investment of over Rs 4 lakh crore in development of gas supply and distribution infrastructure in the next five years as it chases the target of more than doubling the share of the environment-friendly fuel in its energy basket to 15 per cent by 2030, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Thursday.

Speaking at a national conclave on emerging opportunities in the natural gas sector, he said the 11th round of city gas distribution licensing bidding will shortly be launched that will help extend the supply of CNG to automobiles and piped cooking gas to household kitchens in 475 districts from current 400.

Natural gas currently constitutes 6.2 per cent of all energy consumption in the country.

Stating that the government has laid emphasis on developing a gas-based economy, he said natural gas is gradually becoming a bridging fuel for low carbon economy in India.

The government is giving special impetus to develop gas infrastructure across the length and breadth of the country connecting North to South and East to West parts of India, he said. "Over Rs 4 lakh crore of investment is in pipelines in the next five years."

These investments will go into building gas pipeline, liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facilities and city gas distribution (CGD) distribution infrastructure.

"A gas-based future has multidimensional benefits for the society and economy. Natural gas will yield a positive impact on the environment, lower health spending and usher new opportunities of economic and social development," he said.

The CGD network, which covered 66 districts in 2014, now extends to 407 districts after the successful 9th and 10th licensing round. "Soon the 11th CGD bid round will be announced which will help extend the CGD network to 475 districts in the country," he said.

"Chhattisgarh is the only state where the CGD network has not reached yet. Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh will also get connected to CGD network in the 11th bid round."

Pradhan said natural gas makes up for 24 per cent of the global energy basket but in Gujarat, its share is 26 per cent - higher than the world average.

This was possible because of the investments made in connecting gas sources with consumption centres.

Describing the natural gas as the next generation fossil fuel which is comparatively cheaper and less polluting, he said the government has taken a number of initiatives to give thrust to a gas-based economy.

Domestic gas production is likely to increase in the current financial year to 34.55 billion cubic metre from 33 bcm output in the previous year. Also, pricing and marketing freedoms have been given to producers while LNG terminal capacity is being augmented and the national gas pipeline grid is being developed, he said. "We will soon have a gas pipeline network from Kutch to Kohima and Kashmir

to Kochi."

He said the sources of import have been diversified and the government is holding discussions with gas-exporting countries for getting more gas on favourable terms.

The meeting was attended by ministers from Gujarat, Assam, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Manipur, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, and Goa who gave suggestions for improving the gas network in the country.

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