India aims to more than double its natural gas pipeline network over the next five years to 30,000 km to cope with the country's booming demand for cleaner energy supplies. The government aims to develop a National Gas Grid by 2017 to take natural gas to different markets across the length and breadth of India.
As per Oil Minister S Jaipal Reddy, the natural gas sector in India is on the verge of a takeoff which is desirable as it is an efficient fuel for power generation, a cheaper feedstock for industries, a cleaner alternative fuel for vehicles. Moreover, it leads to an improvement in the quality of life.
Natural gas consumption in India has grown at 14% a year over the last five years and currently has a network about 12,000 km of gas pipelines with a capacity to transport 230 mmscmd of gas. Right now 12,000 km of additional lines are under construction.
With the government's proposal to add another 7000 km, the network will increase to 30,000 km and the capacity will go up to 875 million standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd). This will lead to easier access and will help popularize the use of gas.
Given the fact that the production of domestic gas in India is limited, India is also looking at importing large quantities of liquefied natural gas (LNG). For this purpose it is also pursuing trans-national gas pipelines such as the 1800 km long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Gas Pipeline, in spite of the security hazards and a high threat perception. After more than 18 months of hard negotiations, the four participating countries are close to initializing the Gas Sale Purchase Agreement (GSPA).
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(Originally published April 3, 2012, by Accord Fintech.)