Gas intake rises in industries as power shortage continue to plague

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New Delhi, Feb 6 (UNI) Due to shortfall of power availability by 40-45 per cent in northern part of the country, industrial locations were shifted for enhanced commercial gas intake to meet their heating requirements has created huge opportunities for oil marketing companies to sell their commercial gas to industrial units, said a study.

Industry chamber Assocham today said it was evident from the fact that companies like BPCL, HPCL and IOCL increased their gas supplies to industrial units by 59 per cent from December 2006 to December 2007 in the northern zone alone.

The findings have been arrived at by the chamber's internal assessment on Gas Supplies Vs Power Shortage, the feedback for which came from oil marketing companies.

The north zones commercial units gas requirements went up to 24,000 metric tonne (MT) in December 2007 as against 15,000 MT in December 2006, finds the study.

Releasing the estimates of the Assocham President Venugopal N Dhoot said in a statement that interestingly, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd took a lead in bulk supplies of commercial gases to consumers of industrial units in the north zone followed by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.

The share of BPCL in bulk supplies of commercial gas for industrial unit's heating requirements by December 31, 2007 stands at 48 per cent, followed by 39 per cent of HPCL and 13 per cent of IOCL, added Mr Dhoot.

He explained that BPCL and HPCL took lead in supplying bulk gases to industrial consumers in north region because they do not have large distribution networks to supply domestic gases in which the IOCL has the monopoly on account of its huge distribution networks. It is also the reason for the market size in supply of domestic LPG continuing to be around 57 per cent.

This shift has been noticed because of erratic power supplies in entire North India excepting few states such as Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttaranchal.

The remaining states like Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan have depended heavily on commercial gases to run their furnaces, foundries and forging units through industrial gases, said Mr Dhoot.

These states also heavily relied upon commercial gases to meet their melting requirements for forging and foundry units as normal power supplies were cut by almost 55 per cent during the period in the region.

As regards to South Zone, the state oil companies like HPCL, BPCL, IOCL supplied gases in bulk to its industrial locations in SSI sector and even middle size sectors to the extent of 50,000 metric tonne by December 31, 2007 as against 33,000 metric tonne by December 31, 2006.

The increase in commercial gas supplies in the southern region works out by 50 per cent and reasons for this are identified as the same as for north zone.

In southern zone, the power shortages during last one year of calendar 2006 and calendar 2007 are estimated to the extent of 35-40 per cent.

Likewise Western Zone's bulk gas supplies to its industrial locations by December 31, 2007 has been estimated at 62,000 MT as against 47,000 MT by December 31, 2006 and the jump in percentage terms is calculated at 34 per cent, said the chamber.

Similarly, in Eastern Zone, bulk gas supplies were effected to industrial units by 12,000 MT towards December 31, 2007 as against 8,000 MT of December 31, 2006.

The increase in the supplies in the region is worked out at 49 per cent, said the chamber estimates adding that on all India basis, industrial gas supplies by December 31, 2007 were effected to the extent of 148,000 MT as against 103,000 MT of December 31, 2006, a 44 per cent increase.

The chamber has cautioned that in the absence of regular power supplies, the burden on oil companies for supplying of industrial gases would continue and therefore, suggested that refining capacities of downsteam oil companies should be increased so that maximum gas production is possible to meet heating requirements of industrial units particularly in SSI and medium sector, said Mr Dhoot.

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