GAIL to invest over Rs45,000 cr to create infra for gas-based economy

GAIL to invest over Rs45,000 cr to create infra for gas-based economy

State-owned gas utility GAIL India Ltd will invest over Rs 45,000 crore over the next five years to expand the National Gas Pipeline Grid and city gas...

State-owned gas utility GAIL India Ltd will invest over Rs 45,000 crore over the next five years to expand the National Gas Pipeline Grid and city gas distribution (CGD) network to push for greater use of environment-friendly fuel.

GAIL's Chairman Ashutosh Karnatak said the planned gas lines will take the fuel to the consumers of east, northeast and south regions of the country as part of the government's push to raise the share of natural gas in India's energy basket to 15 per cent by 2030 from the current 6.2 per cent.

GAIL's push for the creation of infrastructure is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of creating a gas-based economy that is less reliant on polluting fuels for meeting its energy needs.

Karnatak said, "Before we transition to zero-emission technologies (for both automobiles and factories) say by 2040/2050, natural gas is best suited for tapering emissions from current levels. Natural gas is 'happy fuel' as it has a fraction of emissions compared to alternative liquid fuels such as diesel in automobiles and coal in power plants."

Gas consumption in India

India at present consumes some 160 million standard cubic meters of gas per day

Per Day consumption: Currently India consumers around 160 million standard cubic meters (mmscmd) of gas per day.

Expected rise: It is expected to rise to 400 mmscmd to reach 15 per cent share in the energy mix, says Karnataka.

He added, "GAIL is playing its responsibility by creating the infrastructure for the same

GAIL's Capacity

GAIL, at present, operates 12,160-km of the pipeline network.

It markets two-thirds of all-natural gas sold in the country.

It is currently executing more than 5,500-km of pipeline projects and a similar length is at the planning stage.

The project on which GAIL is working at present includes Urja Ganga Project, Kochi-Kootanad-Bangalore-Mangalore line and the Indradhanush North East Gas Grid. These pipelines will connect supply and demand centres envisaged under the National Gas Grid

GAIL's expansion plans

For retailing of CNG to automobiles and piped natural gas to household kitchens, GAIL is expanding its city gas distribution networks. It has also planned its investments for the expansion of petrochemical plants. It has plans to put up 400 CNG stations and 10 lakh piped natural gas (PNG) connections to household kitchens in the next 3-5 years.

At present, the company is engaged in building a 2,655 km gas pipeline from Jagdishpur in Uttar Pradesh to Haldia in West Bengal, Bokaro in Jharkhand and Dhamra in Odisha. Pipeline up to Patna has already been commissioned and the rest of the project will be completed by end 2020.

Jagdishpur-Haldia & Bokaro-Dhamra Natural Gas Pipeline (JHBDPL) project, also known as the 'Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga' project, was inaugurated by the Prime Minister in July 2015. GAIL has commenced city gas operations in all the six geographical areas, including in Patna and Bhubaneshwar that was awarded to it along the Urja Ganga route, Karnatak said. He added the pipeline will be extended to Guwahati by laying an additional 750-km line. At Guwahati, it would interconnect with the upcoming 1,500-km 'Indradhanush' pipeline network conceived to operate in the northeast region by the public sector oil and gas majors.

GAIL will also lay a 600 km Srikakulam-Angul natural gas pipeline.

Expected growth of the Renewable Power

"Renewable power is set to grow to 227 GW by 2030 and gas has a complementary role in effectively addressing intermittency and supplying peaking load," Karnatak said, adding gas-based power generation can take over during the night or on not so sunny days in areas getting solar power and also supplement hydro and wind projects during downtime.

He said 20-22 GW of coal-fired power plants are obsolete and 25 GW of stranded gas power assets could be utilised to help meet the carbon emission objectives of India, he noted.

Gas can also be used as fuel in steel plants, oil refineries, industries, and transportation, he said, estimating that power sector alone would need 100 mmscmd of gas and 50-55 mmscmd each would go for city gas distribution and fertiliser plants. Steel plants and refineries can consume 70 mmscmd between them.

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