Special Correspondent

CNG corridor proposed for Nagapattinam-Puducherry transport sector

CHENNAI: Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) and Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation Ltd (TIDCO) on Friday signed a ‘Gas Cooperation Agreement’ that will help prepare the roadmap for realising the natural gas potential in Tamil Nadu.

GAIL and TIDCO launched joint working groups to undertake a preliminary techno-economic feasibility study for gas demand potential in industrial, commercial, transport and residential sectors. GAIL will also evaluate medium to long-term gas demand potential.

GAIL chairman and managing director U.D. Choubey told a press conference that its subsidiary, GAIL Gas, was considering a ‘CNG corridor’ that would put the transport sector along Nagapattinam, Karaikal and Puducherry on compressed natural gas. The project could use gas sources in these regions to meet the future requirement of the transport sector in this corridor, he said.

Without setting a timeframe for the CNG corridor “as exploration and other related works are on,” Mr. Choubey said the scheme, if proved successful, would be extended to Chennai later.

On the GAIL-TIDCO pact, Mr. Choubey said GAIL would assess the pipeline infrastructure and associated facilities required for supply of natural gas, including optic fibre cable network and determine natural gas supply options to Tamil Nadu on a long-term basis.

TIDCO played a facilitative role, supporting developers of gas pipeline infrastructure and associated facilities and furnishing data on gas demand.

The investments involving the establishment of pipeline infrastructure would also be finalised after the feasibility study, scheduled over the next six months.

Mr. Choubey said GAIL was in the process of laying a 30-inch, 840 km-long pipeline from Kochi to Mangalore and Bangalore.

Greenfield oil refinery

Mr. Ramasundaram said TIDCO proposed a contiguous 250-sq km greenfield oil refinery project in Cuddalore under the Government of India’s Petrol Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) initiative.

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi is expected to lay the foundation stone for the project this month.

The government would invest about Rs. 6,000 crore in infrastructure development while lands would be acquired by investors. It was estimated that one lakh jobs would be generated in ten years.

The proposal would be reviewed by the Ministry of Petroleum on June 11, and if cleared, would go to a high-power committee for final sanction.

The greenfield project would fall into three zones — a 70-sq km expanse in Cuddalore, a 140-sq km area in Nagapattinam with an interconnecting strip of 41 sq km.

The investment over the next eight years in the PCPIR was about Rs. 1 lakh crore.