Millennium Post

‘To reduce emissions, Govt may exempt LNG from import duty’

Addressing a meeting in Bengaluru, he said that in addition to building new gas pipelines, India would also increase its gas regasification capacity from 21 mmt to 55 mmt and this increased capacity of 34 mmt would enable the country to push more gas in the market. 

On gas economics, he commented that the Government would be willing to consider exempting LNG from import duty like crude oil, given that gas is a clean and environment-friendly fuel and without a doubt will help reduce emissions. The minister referred the KG basin, which is a major gas reserve, as the “North Sea for India”. He also spoke about the Gujarat case where the gas share of 26 per cent is higher than the world share of 24 per cent, and referred to the Government’s aspiration to replicate this across India.
In his address at the workshop attended by CEOs and senior leaders from the oil & gas industry covering the entire gas value chain, the minister touched on several issues including Climate Change, gas infrastructure and pipelines, domestic gas supply, gas economics and innovative technology to boost the gas share in India’s energy mix. 

Pradhan stated that Bengaluru is a city where everything starts, and that Bengaluru is a good starting place for creating new gas markets. He began his address on the climate note, observing that India is not the world’s most polluting country. He highlighted that India has committed to carbon emission reduction in the COP21 summit and that gas will play a key role in India’s drive to combat climate change. 

On augmenting gas distribution, GAIL has approximately 15,000 km pipelines laid out for gas transport and plans to build another 15,000km gas pipelines, Pradhan noted. 

In his address to the technology companies, the minister mentioned the technological innovations, and new mechanisms for India, for example Caterpillar developing an economical technology to replace currently used diesel by gas in DG sets. He also stressed that developing India-specific models like Bio CNG, waste to gas, Syn gas from coal etc are the other areas to be looked for innovative economic solutions. 

Pradhan also mentioned that there will be enough market to absorb new volumes of gas in India in the form of new anchor customers like 100 new smart cities rather than only relying on the traditional anchor segments like power and fertilisers. Further, urban areas are fast expanding and developing a market for gas, replacing LPG and will help enable channel LPG in rural areas where women use animal waste and fire wood for cooking, which is a big health hazard.

He asked the participants at the workshop to prepare an actionable plan and stressed on implementation and hitting the market rather than an intellectual discussion only or a societal debate. He also advised the group that a successful implementation strategy is one where all parties are aligned and on board and, hence, it is important to convince all stakeholders across the gas value chain. 

Earlier, UK Deputy High Commissioner Dominic McAllister complimented the Indian Government on the amazing economic pace and significant policy and regulatory reforms it has achieved.

PTI adds from Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Saturday urged Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan for sustained and uninterrupted gas supply to small tea growers. Sonowal, in a telephone discussion with Pradhan, sought to ensure uninterrupted gas supply to tea gardens and soon start the construction work of a super speciality hospital in Sivasagar, proposed by the ONGC.

Pradhan assured all cooperation in supplying gas to small tea growers and assured that construction work of the hospital in Sivasagar would soon be started, the Chief Minister said on Saturday.

‘India needs to promote natural gas-based fuel cell technology’
More than half the power requirement here of InfoTech MNC Intel’s Indian subsidiary is produced from fuel cells using natural gas, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Friday. “Out of Intel’s power requirement of 4 mw, 2.5 mw is produced using fuel cell based technology using natural gas developed by Bloom Energy,” Pradhan tweeted following a visit to the Intel Research and Development (R&D) centre here. “Visited Intel R&D centre in Bengaluru. The $12-billion facility is one of the three such facilities in the world,” he said.  

Last month, state-run gas utility GAIL (India) and US-based Bloom Energy signed an agreement to deploy revolutionary natural gas-based fuel cell technology to generate electricity. Gas is already being supplied by GAIL for energising a multi-megawatt Bloom Energy project at the Technology Park here. The technology is currently being used by over 100 of the Fortune 500 companies that are diversified majors in IT, telecom, retailing, e-commerce and consumer goods.

Bloom Energy’s solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology converts fuel into electricity using natural gas as the base fuel in a highly efficient non-combustible process that reduces emissions of greenhouse gas and harmful air pollutants, and with minimal use of water. “GAIL is supplying PNG for this to Bloom under an MoU. This Green Energy with no noise & minimal water intake can replace diesel based gensets,” Pradhan said in a separate tweet. The minimal use of water is a major consideration here in India’s major IT hub, which has witnessed violent street protests this week provoked by the court-mandated release of Cauvery water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu.  “Fuel cells can use biogas generated from biomass in rural areas & from municipal wastes in the cities to generate cost-effective green energy,” he said.

“There is a need for promoting this technology. With scale the cost of this will become affordable for common & domestic consumers as well,” Pradhan added in another tweet.  He also visited the LPG Equipment Research Centre (LERC) here that specialises in testing various liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) equipment.  “Asked LERC to think out of box; put consumer convenience on top priority & adopt suggestions given by industry experts & innovators,” he tweeted after the LERC visit.  “Startups have a great role to play with innovations in making LPG more environment-friendly by enhancing efficiency & reducing emissions,” he said in another tweet. 
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