New Delhi: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that with the 9th and 10th City Gas Distribution (CGD) bidding rounds, India has made a giant leap in the CGD business. He said that in the last five years, the number of domestic PNG connections, CNG vehicles and CNG stations has more than doubled. Pradhan was speaking at a function held to mark the commencement of work on the 10th CGD bidding round which will cover 50 geographical areas (GAs) in 124 districts on Monday.
Pradhan had distributed Letters of Intent (LoIs) to 12 successful bidders of the round. After the completion of the 10th round, over 70 percent of the country's population and 52.73 percent of the area will be covered under CGD. As per the minimum work programme approved by the PNGRB for the 10th round, 2.02 crore PNG domestic connections will be provided, 3,578 CNG stations will open, and 0.58 lakh inch-km steel pipeline will be laid.
Pradhan said that India is the 3rd largest energy consumer of the world, and will become a top consumer in a decade. "The government aims to provide reliable, affordable, sustainable and universal access to clean fuel to all. The present share of gas in the energy mix in the country is 6.2 percent compared to 24 percent globally, and the aim is to increase the share of natural gas to 15 percent by 2030," Pradhan said.
The minister said that with the rising consumption of energy in the country, the share of CNG will increase the most. He said that the country will continue to harness multiple sources of energy, including fossil fuels, renewables, EVs and gas. Hydrogen fuel-driven vehicles have already been introduced in the national capital and several auto manufacturers have introduced new CNG models, he said. Even coal will continue to have relevance, as coal gasification plants are being set up. On the policy enablers to promote gas usage in India, Pradhan said that CGD has been granted 'public Utility' status.
Pradhan said that over Rs 5 lakh crores are being invested in the gas infrastructure, which includes exploration, distribution, marketing, regasification, pipeline network laying, etc. Domestic gas production was 32.87 billion cubic metres in 2018-19 and is likely to go up to 39.3 billion cubic metres in 2020-21. "Present LNG terminal capacity of 38.8 MMTPA will be augmented to 52.5 MMTPA in the next 3-4 years. Long-term contracts have been signed for importing LNG, and its sources are diversified. The gas grid presently is 16,788 km, and work is in progress for additional 14,788 km," the minister added.
The minister said that suitable ambience is being created and bold policy decisions are being taken to ensure that the country moves on the path of progress, import dependency comes down, and our anndaata (farmers) become urjaadaata (energy-givers). On the issue of waste to energy, Pradhan said that ethanol blending in petrol has gone upto 6 percent from 1 percent, and we have to take it to 20 percent.
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"Bio-diesel is being promoted so as Recycle Used Cooking Oil (RUCO). 2G ethanol plants are being set up to convert surplus foodgrains into fuel. Compressed Biogas is another field of development," he said.
Reiterating the government's commitment to meet the COP-21 targets, the minister said that the country will leapfrog next year from BS-IV to BS-VI. He said that the issues concerning the setting up of gas infrastructure is being sorted out in consultation with state governments. The minister also stressed on conservation and efficiency aspects, saying that new PNG burners can save upto 40 percent, compared to retrofitted burners.