India plans 7,000 km gas grid with Rs.180 B investment
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India plans 7,000 km gas grid with 180 B investment

Tuesday, 30 September 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India is planning a 7,000 km national gas grid at an investment of 180 million.

This will be used for transporting domestically produced gas and imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) that will be available from January 2004.

Petroleum Minister Ram Naik Monday released here Monday the long-awaited draft national gas pipeline policy to monitor the anticipated growth in infrastructure to cope with the growing demand.

The policy "envisages transportation of all gas through a network of pipelines laid with the authorisation granted by the regulator through a transparent mechanism," Naik said at a press conference.

Besides being economical, the pipeline mode is considered environmentally safe as well.

Naik said a copy of the policy had been posted ministry website www.petroleum.nic.in for seeking suggestions from stakeholders, interested organisations and the public by October 31, 2003.

"All trunk pipelines covering more than one state or operating at a pressure more than the notified level will be built/managed by a company to be notified by the government, and till it is notified by GAIL (India) Ltd," Naik said.

"Further, any producer of gas, subject to prior permission of the regulator (and federal government in the case of state-owned companies) will have the right to sell gas within 100 km of well-head or land-fall point to consumers directly and lay the pipeline for this purpose," Naik clarified.

The minister added that the national gas grid covering the 7,000 km long pipeline network would be completed in five to six years.

Under the Petroleum Regulatory Board Bill 2002, awaiting approval of Parliament, the government has proposed setting up a regulator for monitoring the transmission, distribution, supply and storage system for natural gas/LNG and to promote development of the sector.

The regulator will also be entrusted with the task of ensuring access to the gas pipelines on non-discriminatory common carrier principle for all users. He will also approve pipeline tariff for the common carrier pipelines. Till the regulatory board is set up, the government will perform all its functions.

Naik said a "national advisory council" to promote and develop the gas sector is also proposed. This council will comprise stakeholders of the gas grid system, including state governments.

"With all these efforts, the natural gas is on the threshold of playing a much bigger role in the energy sector in India. This policy framework will greatly benefit the core sectors of the Indian economy namely, power, fertiliser and steel," said Naik, expressing the hope that the draft policy will also help to attract investment required for setting up the gas grid.

The draft policy is also expected to give an impetus to the development of compressed natural gas (CNG) projects for supply of green fuel for transport on the lines implemented in Delhi and Mumbai.



Source: IANS
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