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Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform Align crops to agro climate endowments… An inexplicable neglect New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… When nations steal growth from one another… The rise and fall of Annamalai University Fortune 500 review Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Shale gas and its shallow future The power-full Hindujas Protest masters... B H Kothari - a tribute R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... A more liberated TN… Rahman at CIC Where is Rajaji? Readers' Mail Cement prices continue to rise… ONGC at KG Basin WTO Meet: resolved to meet again London, London Narayan Modi storms Silicon Valley Lalu’s envy, India’s pride A welcome initiative by the judiciary Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! 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ONGC at KG Basin

At the Economic Editors’ Conference held in November 2009, the then Minister of Oil and Natural Gas, Murli Deora, expressed hope on the Krishna Godavari Basin off the Andhra coast emerging as a large producer of natural gas. At that time, Reliance production touched a level of 60-80 million cubic metres per day. Deora said that ONGC, Cairn Energy and GSPC which were also exploring gas would also emerge as large producers of gas from the KG Basin. There was an indication of daily production at 200 msmcmd!

Disappointingly, this hope did not materialise: the low price for gas pegged by the Supreme Court at $4.20 per 1000 MMBTU rendered exploratory efforts uneconomic; even production from Reliance gas fields dropped to less than 25 msmcmd.

In this background, recent news on ONGC striking gas rich is welcome. In parallel, there is another welcome development of the government re-negotiating the long term agreement with Qatar on gas contracts. The twin deals, of the long term supply at $6- $7 per 1000 MMBTU and Qatar agreeing to forego the claim on arrears of Rs 12,000 crore are extremely positive developments.

This should accelerate efforts at setting up gas terminals at Ennore and Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu and also at nearby Krishnapatnam. IE has been stressing the elegance and economics of switching to gas from liquid petroleum products by a vast range of industries. Around $6 per 1000 MMBTU will make production of fertilisers and electricity from gas attractive.

Tamil Nadu should learn from the extensive use of gas by industries in Gujarat and Maharashtra to great advantage. It should work on expediting the creation of a gas grid for Tamil Nadu and focus on domestic supply by piped gas, as done in Delhi, Mumbai and several cities in Gujarat.

 

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