GAIL India Tuesday said it will expand its pipeline network capacity by about 50 percent by constructing 5,500-kilometers of new lines in the next three years. The state-owned company is also looking at setting up 400 CNG stations and giving out a record 10 lakh piped natural gas (PNG) connections to household kitchens, its Chairman and Managing Director B C Tripathi said.
GAIL operates 11,000-km of pipeline network and markets two-thirds of all natural gas sold in the country. It is rapidly building infrastructure to support the government push towards a gas-based economy by raising the share of natural gas in the energy basket to 15 percent from current 6.2 percent, in next few years.
GAIL plans to “add 5,500-km gas pipelines to the existing network and leapfrog to capacity augmentation by about 50 percent on the current base in the next three years in phases,” he told shareholders at the company’s 34th Annual General Meeting (AGM).
The company is building a 2,655-km gas pipeline from Jagdishpur in Uttar Pradesh to West Bengal and Odisha, the first phase of which would be completed before the scheduled target of December 2018. Jagdishpur-Haldia & Bokaro-Dhamra Natural Gas Pipeline (JHBDPL) project, also known as the ‘Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga’ project, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July 2015.
Tripathi said the pipeline section from Phulpur to Varanasi has been commissioned, the leg to Patna would be started in next couple of months. The pipeline would be extended to Guwahati by laying an additional 750-km line, he said.
“The proposed pipeline up to Guwahati would interconnect with the upcoming 1,500-km ‘Indradhanush’ pipeline network conceived to operate in North-East by the public sector oil and gas majors.”
In addition, gas supplies through city gas distribution (CGD) networks have commenced at Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, he said. CGD operations include the sale of CNG to automobiles and piped natural gas or PNG to household kitchens for cooking purpose. CNG is being pushed as a replacement for polluting liquid fuels like diesel, and PNG as a replacement for LPG to cut imports.
GAIL and its CGD subsidiaries gave out a record over 5 lakh PNG connections and set up 120 CNG dispensing stations in 2017-18, he said adding the target for the current year is to give 10 lakh PNG connections and set up 400 CNG stations.
“Even as CGDs at Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Patna are under phased execution, under the 9th round of bidding, CGD affiliates of GAIL have competitively won a total of 15 geographical areas that include Guwahati, Rourkela, Meerut, Dehradun, and Mangalore,” he said. GAIL, he said, has also formed a subsidiary at Kolkata for establishing city gas distribution project.