Petronet LNG has planned to launch around 20 LNG fuel stations on a 4,000-km route running from Delhi to Thiruvananthapuram as part of its larger scheme in association with oil marketing companies and state roadways of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Kerala. The company has also purchased four buses from Tata Motors for its office use in Cochin that will run on gas. Prabhat Singh, CEO and MD of Petronet LNG, told FE, “We have identified around 4,000 km route and around 20 fuelling stations for launching the retail outlets. We plan to start with few thousand buses and have spoken to Gujarat, Kerala and Rajasthan roadways to use their buses. To begin with, we will take 20 buses from Gujarat, 10 from Kerala and 10 from Rajasthan. A portion of the tariff will go towards paying for the cost of the buses. The approximate cost of the bus is around Rs 40 lakh and we hope with large number of buses getting ordered the price will come to around Rs 30-35 lakh.”
“We have also spoken to oil marketing companies and they are providing their retail outlets across the highways running from Delhi to Thiruvananthapuram,” Singh said. “The total investment, if we take 1 million tonnes of LNG (including buses and all other infrastructure), will be around Rs 15,000 crore over the next 15 years. Our investment will be close to Rs 1,500 crore,” Singh said. It is expected that around 200,000 trucks that join the fleet every year could run on LNG, as it would bring nearly 30-40% price advantage compared to other fuels.
India has committed under the Paris Convention to reduce its carbon emissions by 33% to 35% by 2030. It is believed if India shifts to these many LNG vehicles, it could help India meet at least 2.5% of this commitment. India’s target is to raise the use of gas in its energy mix to 15% in three to four years from 6.5% now, to curb emissions and cut its dependence on imported oil. According to Petronet, out of the total 78 million tonnes of diesel that the country consumes every year, the share of trucks and buses comes to around 28 MT and hence a shift to cleaner gas fuel may turn advantageous for the environment.