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Allow market forces to shape destiny Why ONGC should pay nothing to buy a stake into GSPC’s KG block path Oil sector reform: missed opportunity Game changer in unexpected way CEA versus CEA Piped gas a pipe dream How prepared are we for the energy transition? Dawn of a New Energy Era? Rural prosperity will propel development Ending the mother of all corruption A golden age of gas? The time for it is now Why has it not fallen enough? Anachronism of Asian premium Clean energy sector catches up with thermal power Ambitious goals, uneasy path Gujarat has 2200km gas grid, TN shuns this! The rebirth of the Indo-US nuclear collaboration Huge under-recoveries continue Paying for sins of the past... Maha merger – a beginning A sun-rise industry turning sun-set Riddle wrapped in a mystery Welcome improvements in coal production A praiseworthy pricing policy Where is Moily’s prophecy of energy independence? Awaiting a new(nu) year(clear)! Current impasse short-lived… Clean energy sector catches up with thermal power A small first step towards the state’s solar mission A sound energy strategy... One of a kind project...
Piped gas a pipe dream
The Tamil Nadu government organised a meeting with farmers of a few southern districts who were protesting on the routing of gas pipeline through their farmland. Heeding to the representation, chief minister Jayalalithaa has asked Gas Authority India Ltd (GAIL) to re-align the Kochi-Bengaluru gas pipeline along the highway. The government also directed GAIL to remove pipes already laid and pay compensation to farmers and land owners. Viewed against the already poor use of natural gas by the state, this appears a retrograde step.  
THE GAS AUTHORITY OF INDIA (GAIL), a public sector undertaking, has been entrusted with the task of laying pipelines to transfer imported gas from Dabhol in Maharashtra and Kochi in Kerala to serve consumers in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The government had approved the project costing over Rs 3000 crore. The main pipeline work was to be completed by December 2012 and commissioned by March 2013.

The plan outlined in Parliament in early 2010 envisaged the construction of the gas pipelines in the southern states along with spur lines to distribute gas to hundreds of towns and villages in these states. Apart from GAIL, the plan also involved Reliance Industries to construct the gas pipelines from Kakinada to Chennai and Tuticorin and from Chennai to Bengaluru. Spur lines will connect towns and villages in North and South Tamil Nadu. There have been similar plans for such national pipelines linking Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh to Haldia in West Bengal and Jagdishpur in Uttar Pradesh to Haldia. The plan thus was to complete a national gas grid. 

Gas pipelines have for long been concentrated in the West, North and North East states. These are fed by gas from the fields at Bombay High, Gujarat and the North East. 

Production commenced in the Krishna - Godavari Basin during 2008-09. Reliance constructed a 1410 km pipeline  in just about a year to transfer gas from the K G Basin to Gujarat.

Elegant and economical natural gas 

Natural gas is an elegant, economical and eco-friendly feedstock for the generation of power and production of fertilizers, petro-chemicals, LNG... apart from use in public transportation and as domestic fuel.  

Developed countries in Europe have been spending millions of dollars in constructing pipe lines to transfer gas over thousands of kilometres. US has substantially reduced crude oil imports by switching to gas. While the price of crude has been rising and fluctuating wildly, there has been a much more modest  fluctuation in the price of gas; it has been found more economical and easier to use gas related to other liquid petroleum products. 

The HBJ pipeline...

Till the 1980s, gas associated with the production of crude oil in Bombay High, was mostly flared. Recognising the value of gas, Government of India constructed a 1900 km long Hazira-Bijaipur-Jagdishpur (HBJ) gas pipeline to transfer gas from the western oil and gas fields to several northern states. Six large fertilizer projects, 3 gas-based power stations and 3 LPG fractionation plants were initially set up. The pipeline benefitted Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi. Several thousand crores of  rupees were spent on setting up these sophisticated plants. 

These have been operating profitably providing job opportunities in thousands and spreading economic prosperity to the entire region through which the pipelines were laid. 

The copious availability of gas also led to public transportation in Delhi to be run on natural gas. A Supreme Court directive on a public interest litigation on the high level of pollution experienced by Delhi also helped in this rapid transformation. The Court directive also resulted in oil refining companies and automobile manufacturers upgrading technology and manufacturing processes to conform to much higher level of emission norms. 

Another beneficial fallout has been the switch to piped gas supply to domestic consumers in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune...

IE raised this issue of a fair share of allocation of this precious natural resource to the southern states in interactions with policy makers and senior bureaucrats like Murasoli Maran, G V Ramakrishna, M S Srinivasan... IE also wrote to the then chief ministers of the southern states drawing their attention to Gujarat and Maharashtra building their economies on gas.

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