• India to attract Rs 6 lakh crore investment in natural gas sector in 8 yrs: Pradhan

    India’s oil and steel minister Dharmendra Pradhan today said the country is expected to witness more than Rs 6 lakh crore worth of investment in its natural gas sector over the next 8 years.

    While replying to a question on whether the government’s ambition to increase the share of natural gas in the overall energy basket will lead to increased reliance on LNG imports, Pradhan said: “As the natural gas market matures we expect prices to go down. We are not exactly worried about LNG imports because our policies are aligned toward augmenting domestic natural gas production and investing in other complementary technologies like Coal Bed Methane, Bio-gas etc.”

    He added that it is the right time to think of options like blending electricity generated from gas power plants with renewable energy as a means to further aid the process of emission reduction. “This option has the merits of balancing the grid and optimum utilization of the transmission infrastructure by complementing the un-certain nature of renewable energy generation with gas-based power. This will also aid in optimum utilization of our gas power plants,” Pradhan said.

    The minister said the country, in order to meet its energy demand, will continue to rely on traditional energy from coal-fired plants and oil and gas besides focussing on new cleaner technologies.

    “We will promote electric vehicles but it will be holistic and integrated planning where, and I have mentioned in my recent statements, all forms of transportation which are clean and affordable will be considered in our Energy Policy,” he said.

    Talking about the state of natural gas infrastructure in the country, Pradhan said the recently concluded City Gas Distribution (CGD) rounds would attract close to Rs 1.20 lakh crore of investments across the country.

    “When we assumed power in 2014, only 20 percent of the population was covered under city gas network. However, with the success of the 10th CGD bid round, CGD network will expand to nearly 70 percent of our population. CGD would be available in 228 geographical areas comprising 402 districts spread over 27 states and union territories covering 53 percent of the country,” the minister said.

    He added that the government is also promoting the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), bio-CNG and natural gas in the transportation sector in order to boost economic development through clean fuel options.

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