More auto LPG stations, ethanol-blended petrol for Kerala

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Kochi, Jan 14 (UNI) To give consumers a wider choice of automobile fuels, the public sector oil companies will set up 15 more auto LPG stations in Kerala by March-end and also introduce ethanol-blended petrol, Indian Oil Deputy General Manager B Ashok said today.

Mr Ashok, who is also the state-level coordinator for the oil industry in Kerala and Lakshadweep, said there were about 30 public sector auto LPG stations in Kerala at present and their number would be increased to 45 by March-end.

This was being done in view of the ''tremendous increase'' in demand for auto LPG, he added.

The oil PSUs were ready to introduce ethanol-blended petrol in the state and had sought the state government's clearance for this.

''We are hopeful of launching it in this financial year itself,'' he added.

The introduction of CNG, however, would have to wait till the proposed Petronet LNG terminal came up near Kochi, Mr Ashok said.

He said the consumption of petrol and LPG was growing at about six per cent annually, while the growth in diesel consumption was about four per cent in the state.

Stressing on the need for conservation measures, Mr Ashok said the country met more than 70 per cent of its demand for petroleum products through imports.

While the domestic production of crude oil had gone up from 33.04 metric million tonnes (MMT) in 2002-03 to 33.99 MMT in 2006-07, the consumption of POL products had gone up from 104.13 MMT to 119.55 MMT in the same period.

The oil import bill had burgeoned from Rs 84,401 crore to Rs 260,380 crore in the same period, he said.

To highlight the need for conservation, the annual Oil and Gas Conservation Fortnight (OGCF) will be observed all over Kerala from tomorrow, Mr Ashok said.

A variety of programmes, including 'clinics' for housewives for better utilisation of LPG cylinders, workshops for KSRTC, Railways and Naval personnels, and quiz and painting competitions for children, will be organised during the fortnight.

The celebrations would be officially flagged off by State Transport Minister Mathew T Thomas with a 'mass rally' of school children here tomorrow, he said.

UNI ARC RC KKP1645

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