From 30 cities at present, India will have at least 85 cities with authorised city gas distribution (CNG and piped gas) networks by 2011.
The number is expected to further go up to 250 cities by 2018, L Mansingh, chairman of Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board said at a conference on Tuesday.
Authorisation to set up such networks in five cities are expected to be issued by the petroleum regulator by the end of this month. “We have to be prepared for the explosive growth in this (city gas) sector,” Mansingh said.
The five cities to be issued authorisation for city gas projects are Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh, Kota in Rajasthan, Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, Sonepat in Haryana and Dewas in Madhya Pradesh.
The regulator had received 16 bids for these five cities from eight entities, including Reliance Industries, GAIL (India), Cairn India and Indian Oil Corp. GAIL chairman UD Choubey said on the sidelines of the conference that his company was willing to invest Rs 1,000 crore to set up a compressed natural gas corridor along its existing pipeline network, provided the company is assured of gas allocation.
He said GAIL can set up 2,000 CNG outlets along its 6,700 km gas pipeline network across the country to set up a corridor. GAIL is planning to add another 5,000 km to its gas pipeline network in another three to four years.
Pandey stressed the need for more rapid development in CNG infrastructure in the country. “I’m told that the current 5 mcmd gas allocation for piped natural gas and CNG cannot be fully utilised, as we do not have the infrastructure,” he said.