GAIL efforts to speed up national gas grid

CUDDALORE, JUNE 1. It has been proposed to set up a "national gas grid" on the lines of the power grid, so as to bring the entire country under a single and common transmission and distribution network.

The Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) has sought permission from the Government for taking up such a magnificent project, according to Siddhartha Sarkar, officer-in-charge (operation and maintenance), GAIL, Hyderabad.

Mr. Sarkar, who visited Chidambaram on Monday to attend the training programme on "Present and future automotive fuels" held under the aegis of Annamalai University, told The Hindu that at present the gas prospecting, both onshore and offshore, was being done through either lease or joint ventures.

Once the grid was formed, it could regulate the supply in an equitable manner to all parts of the country and would also serve as an alternative fuel to the industry, automobiles, and households.

However, the project was only at a nascent stage and it would require enormous resources to come up, he said.

When asked whether GAIL had tapped any new gas sources, Mr. Sarkar said it had identified a vast gas reserve off the Myanmar coast, and efforts were on to bring it to India through pipeline.

The modalities and the probable route of the pipeline were being worked out. Earlier, it was thought of laying the pipeline through Bangladesh, but owing to political reasons, the idea was shelved.

The entry point of such a pipeline was yet to be decided, and the places such as Tripura, Nagaland and Manipur were under consideration, he said.

Another major gas source was that of the offshore extraction of the Reliance company near Andhra Pradesh. Besides this, GAIL was also importing liquefied natural gas from Qatar and elsewhere by ships.