The state has decided to make cheaper source of energy, natural gas, available to industries.
The gas will come through the various petrochemical majors that operate their trunk (main) pipelines across the state in various directions.
The Industry Department has taken an initiative through its undertaking, the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC).
The MIDC will build a network of smaller pipelines that will connect trunk lines with industrial estates.
MIDC has over 250 estates in the state.
“Natural gas is cheaper and the industries that need gas for production (for processing) and energy purpose will benefit,” said Industry Minister Rajendra Darda.
The government is talking it out with major suppliers such as GAIL India Ltd, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Gujarat State Petrochemical Company and Reliance Industries.
Natural gas is used as a feedstock for the production of synthetic fuels, and coal gas as an industrial and domestic fuel.
Industrial units can use natural gas to run captive power plants for their own consumption when they don’t get uninterrupted electricity supply in view of power crisis.
Some of the major companies supply natural gas to some companies such as fertilizer, power and chemical units but the ones in far-flung areas are still awaiting cheaper energy.
Once these units get the supply, they would save on transporting the gas and also save increases costs of running captive power plants on costly fuel.
Darda said MIDC was likely to form joint ventures with trunk line owners. “The MIDC board will finalise modalities by end of this month (February).”
A few years ago, a government committee headed by petrochemical expert Hasmukh Shah had recommended that the MIDC should undertake distribution of gas in areas such as Pune and Nashik.
The committee had suggested that state government should encourage MIDC and private players to set up gas distribution networks in backward regions of Marathwada and Vidarbha as it will help the state attract the industry in this region.