Calcutta may not be denied compressed natural gas (CNG) after all.
As the debate over clean-fuel options rages, two oil majors have promised to bring CNG to town.
GAIL India Ltd and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) on Wednesday formed a joint venture company to undertake gas distribution in Calcutta and other parts of Bengal.
Till now, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) had been seen as the sole option of cleaner fuel as bringing CNG to the city was not deemed feasible. The new company plans to change that by sourcing gas from western India through a cross-country pipeline.
It will simultaneously develop an intra-city pipeline network for CNG stations and the household sector.
With this, Calcutta could be next in line for CNG conversion of vehicles that has worked wonders elsewhere. No time-frame has been set.
“We want to replicate the success stories of Delhi and Mumbai in Calcutta,” said U.D. Choubey, chairman and managing director of GAIL.
Apart from the transport sector, piped gas can be put to domestic and industrial use.
The company also plans to supply auto LPG as fuel for transport vehicles through greenfield auto LPG dispensing stations.
The new entity formed by the two government-owned oil companies would set up 50 CNG stations in and around the city. While 10-12 new pumps may come up on the city’s fringes, about 40 existing pumps in strategic locations within the city would be converted to provide CNG for public transport. The IOC petrol pumps will also be used for the rollout.
GAIL is planning to lay a 867-km pipeline connecting Jagdishpur in Uttar Pradesh with Haldia to bring natural gas to the state. The project will take about three years.
Reliance too has plans of bringing natural gas to Haldia and Calcutta from its gas find in the Krishna-Godavari basin, off the Andhra Pradesh coast. Industry sources said Reliance could be the third partner in the company formed on Wednesday.