India will add over 7,450 km of gas pipeline network over the next 2-3 years to ramp up its supply lines to keep pace with the growing demand from the consumption centres in the country.

Asia’s second fastest growing economy has most of the gas pipeline infrastructure concentrated in west and north while the south and east have largely been left untouched by the revolution increased availability of gas is bringing.

“The challenge for an emerging market like India is to develop pipeline infrastructure in all parts of the country, including in remote areas, in tandem with increasing supplies. Only then we will be able to secure inclusive growth,” Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said addressing the VI Asia Gas Partnership Summit here.

The present natural gas transportation infrastructure in the country is around 10,800 km with a capacity to move 270 million standard cubic meters of gas per day.

“Major pipeline projects are underway in the country, which would add another 7,450 km and 248 mmscmd to our gas transport infrastructure,” he said.

Natural gas, he said, was the fuel of choice today. “It enhances energy security, it is an efficient fuel for power generation, a cheaper feedstock for industries, a cleaner alternative for vehicles, it reduces air-pollution and, in general, it leads to improved quality of life.”

At present, gas occupies about 10 per cent of the total energy basket of the country, much less than the world average of 24 per cent. The scenario is fast changing, largely because of the increase in the availability of natural gas and the efforts being made towards expanding the natural gas infrastructure, he said.

Discoveries by Reliance Industries in the Krishna Godavari basin have almost doubled the availability of gas from domestic sources. It is producing around 60-62 mmscmd and has led to a rise in power generation and reduction in the country’s fertiliser subsidy.

“The increased gas supply from KG fields has helped our fertilisers plants to use indigenous natural gas rather than expensive naphtha and fuel oil. Accordingly, it is helping us to reduce our fertilisers subsidy. In power sector, increased gas supply has resulted in increase in power generation by around 5000 MW,” he said.

“LNG (import) infrastructure in the country is also being expanded,” Mr. Deora said, adding the capacity of Dahej terminal in Gujarat has been doubled to 10 million tonnes last year.

While the work at 2.5 million tonnes Kochi LNG terminal is underway, the Dabhol terminal in Maharashtra would be commissioned soon.

“So the LNG regasification capacity in the country would reach a level of 20 million tonnes per annum by the year 2011-12 (from current 13.5 million tonnes),” he said.

In addition to fertilisers and power sectors, the increased availability of natural gas is also set to transform city gas sector.

“Today, about 40 cities & towns are covered by CNG. We intend to develop city gas in more than 200 more cities. Piped Natural Gas (PNG) in a greater number of big cities and metros would help us to divert LPG supplies to our rural areas,” he said.

Keywords: Natural gasCNGMurli DeoraLPG

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