• To reduce emissions, Govt may exempt LNG from import duty

    Addressing a meeting in Bengaluru, he said that in addition to building new gas pipelines, India would also increase its gas regasification capacity from 21 mmt to 55 mmt and this increased capacity of 34 mmt would enable the country to push more gas in the market. On gas economics, he commented that the Government would be willing to consider exempting LNG from import duty like crude oil, given that gas is a clean and environment-friendly fuel and without a doubt will help reduce emissions. The minister referred the KG basin, which is a major gas reserve, as the “North Sea for India”. He also spoke about the Gujarat case where the gas share of 26 per cent is higher than the world share of 24 per cent, and referred to the Government’s aspiration to replicate this across India.

    In his address at the workshop attended by CEOs and senior leaders from the oil & gas industry covering the entire gas value chain, the minister touched on several issues including Climate Change, gas infrastructure and pipelines, domestic gas supply, gas economics and innovative technology to boost the gas share in India’s energy mix. Pradhan stated that Bengaluru is a city where everything starts, and that Bengaluru is a good starting place for creating new gas markets. He began his address on the climate note, observing that India is not the world’s most polluting country. He highlighted that India has committed to carbon emission reduction in the COP21 summit and that gas will play a key role in India’s drive to combat climate change.

    On augmenting gas distribution, GAIL has approximately 15,000 km pipelines laid out for gas transport and plans to build another 15,000km gas pipelines, Pradhan noted. In his address to the technology companies, the minister mentioned the technological innovations, and new mechanisms for India, for example Caterpillar developing an economical technology to replace currently used diesel by gas in DG sets. He also stressed that developing India-specific models like Bio CNG, waste to gas, Syn gas from coal etc are the other areas to be looked for innovative economic solutions.

    Pradhan also mentioned that there will be enough market to absorb new volumes of gas in India in the form of new anchor customers like 100 new smart cities rather than only relying on the traditional anchor segments like power and fertilisers. Further, urban areas are fast expanding and developing a market for gas, replacing LPG and will help enable channel LPG in rural areas where women use animal waste and fire wood for cooking, which is a big health hazard.

    He asked the participants at the workshop to prepare an actionable plan and stressed on implementation and hitting the market rather than an intellectual discussion only or a societal debate. He also advised the group that a successful implementation strategy is one where all parties are aligned and on board and, hence, it is important to convince all stakeholders across the gas value chain. Earlier, UK Deputy High Commissioner Dominic McAllister complimented the Indian Government on the amazing economic pace and significant policy and regulatory reforms it has achieved.

    PTI adds from Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Saturday urged Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan for sustained and uninterrupted gas supply to small tea growers. Sonowal, in a telephone discussion with Pradhan, sought to ensure uninterrupted gas supply to tea gardens and soon start the construction work of a super speciality hospital in Sivasagar, proposed by the ONGC. Pradhan assured all cooperation in supplying gas to small tea growers and assured that construction work of the hospital in Sivasagar would soon be started, the Chief Minister said on Saturday. Matt Stajan Jersey

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