Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri, presided over the dedication ceremony of 17 new compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in Hassan district, Karnataka. The event showcased the commitment to provide the community with accessible, eco-friendly energy solutions.
Addressing the gathering, Minister Hardeep Singh Puri expressed gratitude to the attendees, including representatives from the local administration, AG&P, HPCL, and distinguished Japanese investors.
He emphasised the collaborative spirit driving efforts in the energy sector, marking the occasion as a significant step towards cleaner, safer, and more economical energy solutions. The availability of CNG and piped natural gas (PNG) in Hassan was highlighted as a cause for celebration, promising a new era for the community.
Minister Puri said, “Very soon, almost every household in Hassan will have access to a PNG connection and an additional 100 plus CNG stations will be set up in this geographical area, ensuring access to CNG at every nook and cranny”.
The Minister added, “The Government has taken a lot of steps to increase share of Natural Gas from present 6.3 per cent to 15 per cent in primary energy mix with an approximate”. Noteworthy among the initiatives is the mandatory blending of compressed biogas (CBG) in CNG for the transport sector and PNG for domestic use.
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While voluntary until FY 2024-2025, it will become mandatory from FY 2025-26, starting with blending obligations of 1 per cent, 3 per cent, and 4 per cent for the subsequent years, eventually reaching 5 per cent from 2028-29 onwards.
To bolster the Natural Gas infrastructure, the Government announced a substantial investment of USD 67 billion over the next 5-6 years This investment breakdown includes allocations for CBG, City Gas Distribution (CGD), Natural Gas Pipeline (NGPL), ancillary industries, LNG terminals, and gas-based industries.
“This will translate into an increase in gas consumption by over threefold, from the present level of around 155 Million Metric Standard Cubic Meters per Day (MMSCMD) to over 500 MMSCMD by the year 2030,” said Minister Puri.
Providing a snapshot of the progress in the city gas distribution network since May 2014, Minister Puri shared impressive figures. The number of CGD networks has surged from 53 to 300, ensuring a remarkable population-wise coverage increase from 13.27 per cent to 98 per cent, and area-wise coverage from 5.58 per cent to 88 per cent. The number of CNG stations has grown from 738 to 6088, and PNG connections have seen a substantial rise from 25.4 lakh to 1.19 crore.
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In a policy reform decision, the Cabinet approved gas pricing reforms in April 2023.
Minister Puri said, “The APM prices are determined monthly at 10 per cent of the average Indian crude basket prices, with a ceiling (USD 6.5/MMBTU) and floor (USD 4/MMBTU). The ceiling will remain the same for the first two years and then increase by USD 0.25/MMBTU every year to adjust for any cost inflation.”.
The Minister highlighted the Compressed Bio-Gas Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (CBG-SATAT) initiative’s success, with several enablers provided, including financial assistance, market development assistance, and policy guidelines.
Acknowledging the role of oil and gas PSUs, he noted that 52 CBG plants have been commissioned, with more under construction. The event also marked the launch of the 12th CGD Bidding Round, further extending the coverage area.
The Government is actively working to create a free gas market regime and develop India as a gas trading hub, with the launch of India’s first gas trading exchange (IGX) in June 2020.
Expressing appreciation for AG&P Pratham’s investments in Hassan and other geographical areas in India, Minister Puri commended the company’s commitment to developing city gas distribution networks.
AG&P Pratham’s significant investments, including Rs 4000 crore in India and Rs 200 crore in Hassan, are set to pave the way for substantial gas infrastructure development, benefiting households and generating employment opportunities.
In closing, Minister Hardeep Singh Puri advocated for stronger collaboration between India and Japan in clean energy technology.
The shared commitment to innovation and sustainability is expected to drive developments in the energy sector, forging a path towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy future for Hassan and the entire nation.
(with inputs from ANI)