India is set to see investments to the tune of around Rs 10,000 crore in three years to create infrastructure for using liquefied natural gas as a fuel for long-haul transportation. This will include theh setting up of 1,000 LNG stations as well.
As a first step towards this, on Thursday, 50 stations were launched by industry majors. This includes 20 stations by IndianOil Corporation (IOC), 11 each by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation, six by GAIL India and two by Petronet LNG. The states in which maximum outlets are going to come up in the first leg include Gujarat (10), Andra Pradesh, (six), Karnataka (five), Kerala (three), Tamil Nadu (eight) and Rajasthan (three)
Launching the 50 retail outlets in the golden quadrilateral, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, “India is moving towards next-generation infrastructure. In the next three years, 1,000 LNG stations will be coming up and the sector may see investment to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore for this. This will bring a huge change in logistics and transportation.” In the next one year, around 150 such fuel stations are expected to come up in the golden quadrilateral, where the strategy is to have an LNG station after every 200 kilometers.
The government expects at least 20-25 mmscmd (million metric standard cubic meter per day) equivalent LNG to come in the transportation sector in India in near future.
Pradhan said that LNG has the potential to take a share of at least 10 per cent of the total 10 milllion trucks in India. In the mining sector too, the government is targeting the conversion of heavy vehicles and equipment to LNG. “When you compare diesel and LNG, LNG is 40 per cent cheaper. In heavy vehicles, if 40 per cent expense decreases, it will be win-win situation -- logistic costs will come down and in addition, it will have a positive impact on inflation,” Pradhan added,
India’s LNG imports increased by 18 per cent from 28,740 million metric standard cubic meter in 2018-19 to 33,887 MMSCM in 2019-20. Interestingly, owing to Covid, the cumulative import of 15,881 MMSCM for the current year from April to September was lower by 3.3 per cent compared with the corresponding period of the previous year. At present, India has six LNG terminals – Dahej, Hazira, Dabhol, Kochi, Ennore and Mundra – with a total capacity of 42.5 MMTPA (million metric tonnes per annum).
“LNG is a cheaper fuel, if we buy more LNG, dependency on crude oil will come down. This can control global crude oil prices too, if India reduces its dependency on that fuel,” he added. The minister indicated that the move is also a step towards gas-based economy like the government is doing in the case of city gas distribution and also did through the Ujjwala campaign in liquefied petroleum gas.