Jitin Prasada, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas has called for a faster roll-out of the city-gas distribution projects in the country. Delivering the Valedictory address at the 6th Asia Gas Partnership Summit here today he said, “We are highly burdened by our oil import dependence, mainly driven by ever-growing demand for diesel for transport sector. The Indian gas sector should aim to replace diesel with gas in a significant way.”
The Minister pointed out that we have already done it in our metros like Delhi and Mumbai and we have identified another 200 cities in the country to replicate this model. Adding that clean-fuel urbanization is now not an option but a necessity, he stated that an independent regulator in the form of Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) is already in place and if there need be we are ready for any necessary statutory amendments to speed up the commissioning of CGD projects.
Shri Prasada also underlined the importance of developing National Gas Grid on priority. This, he said, would pave way for not only availability of gas to hitherto uncovered parts of the country but also lead to one reference price throughout the country, just like the Henry Hub price in the U.S. The Minister added, “this I personally believe is a very critical factor to bring more investment both in gas exploration by our National Oil Cos(NOC) and in the gas based projects. Our NOCs, namely ONGC & OIL, are reporting thousands of crores of under-recoveries every year on sale of gas at the Administered Price Mechanism (APM) rate. This leaves them practically little funds or incentives to invest in this crucial field. “
He expressed hope for India becoming an important destination for LNG supplies since North America is now not expected to import significant volumes of LNG, due to increasing availability of shale gas in the U.S. Shri Prasada suggested that we must take advantage of the global gas surplus through import routes referring to the deliberations in the summit suggesting that “shale gas” has emerged as an important “game changer” in the North American market and has important implications for the emerging markets like India too.
The summit comprehensively covered all the five important drivers of growth of the natural gas sector, namely, (i) sourcing & supply, (ii) infrastructure, (iii) demand side developments, (iv) technology and (v) policy & regulatory reforms. Over 40 eminent speakers from 12 different countries, from South Korea to Middle East to Europe to U.S., shared their valuable experience and insights about these five key drivers of growth of gas during the two-day conference which began yesterday. The conference was organized jointly by GAIL and FICCI.