Price of natural gas, used for generating power, making fertiliser and supplying CNG, was on Friday cut by 18 per cent to USD 2.5 per million British thermal unit, fourth reduction in 18 months.
Rate of natural gas produced from existing fields of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Reliance Industries has been cut to USD 2.5 per mmBtu for a 6-month period from October 1, from USD 3.06 per mmBtu currently.
As per the new gas pricing formula approved by the NDA- government in October 2014, gas prices are to be revised every six months and the next change is due on April 1.
The reduction in natural gas prices would mean lower raw material cost for compressed natural gas (CNG) and natural gas piped to households (PNG) and would translate into reduction in retail prices. It would also mean lower feedstock cost for power generation and manufacturing of fertilisers.
Rates were last cut by 20 per cent to USD 3.06 from April 1. The price of gas between October 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016 was USD 3.81 per mmBtu and USD 4.66 in prior six month period.
“The price of domestic natural gas for the period October 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017 is USD 2.50 per mmBtu on Gross Calorific Value (GCV) basis,” said a notification issued by the Oil Ministry’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell.
The reduction will hit producers like state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) as well as central government whose earnings from royalty and income tax will dip by about Rs 800 crore during the remainder of the fiscal, according to industry estimates.
Government also announced a sharp reduction in cap price based on alternate fuels for undeveloped gas finds in difficult areas like deepsea which are unviable to develop as per the existing pricing formula.The cap for October 1, 2016 top March 31, 2017 will be USD 5.3 per mmBtu, down from USD 6.61 in April 1 to September 30 period, PPAC notification said.
ONGC is the country’s biggest gas producer, accounting for some 60 per cent of the 90 million standard cubic meters per day current output.
All of its gas as well as that of Oil India Ltd and private sector RIL’s KG-D6 block are sold at the formula approved in October 2014. This formula however does not cover gas from fields like Panna/Mukta and Tapti in western offshore and Ravva in Bay of Bengal.
The price cut should result in a reduction of Rs 0.5 to Rs 1.5 per standard cubic meter in price of piped natural gas (PNG) for domestic customers and Rs 0.8-1.5 per kg cut in CNG prices. Retailers like Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) in Delhi are likely to announce a revision in rate tomorrow.
The government had in October 2014 announced a new pricing formula that calculated local rates by using prevailing price in gas surplus nations like the US, Russia and Canada.
While the cut will impact the revenue of producers, it will bring gains for users in the power and fertiliser sector in the form of lower feedstock cost.As per the mechanism approved in October, 2014, the price of domestically produced natural gas is to be revised every six months using weighted average.