Regulator moves to solve pipeline network stalemate

Published: 14th September 2016 03:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th September 2016 03:54 AM   |  A+A-


KOCHI: The uneven distribution of the natural gas network (pipeline) across the country remains a major concern in achieving India’s ambitions of increasing contribution of natural gas to its energy basket from 6.5 per cent to 15 per cent.

However, taking a vital step forward, oil and gas regulator Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) had begun the search for a consultant to suggest ways and means for laying, building, operating or expanding any Natural Gas pipeline as a common, contract or city gas distribution networks.

Ironically, this has been the mandate of PNGRB since 2006. Experts point to the lack of sufficient pipeline expansion even nine years after a downstream gas regulator was instituted as an issue with the earlier bid models.  “It is time to try something different, something better,” says Sudha Mahalingam, an independent energy analyst and former member of Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB). The recent invitation for Expressions of Interest indicates that gas infrastructure in the country is all set for a massive overhaul.

India has a natural gas pipeline network of 14,987 km with a capacity of 401 million metric standard cubic metre per day. Now only 15 states are covered with the natural gas pipeline network in which Gujarat, Maharashtra and UP consumes 65 per cent of the gas.

“The acceptability of compressed and piped natural gas (CNG, PNG) is too low among many people. It warrants a complete re-look at the present policy,” pointed out Sridhar V, Partner, Grant Thornton India LLP.

PNGRB intends to select a consultant for suggesting alternate bidding models for award of natural gas pipelines and city gas distribution networks, likely to be finalised by October.

“States like Tamil Nadu and Kerala find it hard to complete such projects. Efforts should be made to fast-track them,” says M P Sukumaran Nair, Director, CGTM.


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