Union Petroleum Secretary S. Sundareshan on Saturday said that south India will start getting natural gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin from 2012.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas had called for a meeting of Reliance Industries Ltd (which owns the gas fields) and Gas Authority of India Ltd (which lays pipelines) about ten days ago and told them to implement the project in a “strict timeframe”.

Reliance has been authorised by the government to lay a pipeline from Kakinada to Chennai and this pipeline would further extend to Tuticorin. Reliance would also lay a pipeline between Chennai and Bangalore, he told a press conference here.

The gas would start flowing to Tamil Nadu anytime between March 2012 and the end of that year, he said. There would be connectivity to Madras Fertilisers Ltd and SPIC, he said, referring to the two fertiliser companies, whose operations are suffering for want of natural gas.

On the issue of pricing of petroleum products, he said, “It is not possible to insulate consumers continuously from the volatile international crude price and the government has to take a hard decision in the future.”

At present, subsidy component for petrol is Rs.5 per litre, for diesel Rs. 3, for kerosene Rs. 16 and for LPG Rs. 260 a cylinder. Due to under-pricing the government had incurred an expenditure of Rs.45,000 crore in the current financial year.

Poor people were forced to pay for supplying subsidised petrol and petroleum products to those who were affluent.

The Secretary said oil marketing companies were fully geared to meet the increasing demand for petroleum products, which had been going up at 15 per cent per annum for petrol, 8 to 9 per cent for diesel, and 10 per cent for LPG. In Tamil Nadu, there had been a 10 per cent increase of LPG consumers every year. The State had achieved a coverage of 75 per cent in respect of LPG supply, which might increase to 83 per cent in the next four or five years.

No LPG shortage

There was no shortage of LPG in the State and new connections were being released to prospective consumers without any waiting list and efforts were being made to supply refills expeditiously.

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