India much behind Pakistan gas pipeline network: Assocham

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New Delhi, May 5 (UNI) Pakistan is nearly six times ahead of India in terms of gas pipeline network as its pipeline network stands around 56,400 km as against 10,500 km that of India.

According to a Paper brought out by Assocham on Gas Sector - A Comparison between India and Pakistan, Pakistan has connected its 1,050 towns and villages through gas connectivity, while in India, its connectivity is only restricted to 20 cities.

Pakistan's current pipeline density measures 1044 km/mmscmd per day compared to 116 km/mmscmd of India.

Pakistan has created a 31,000 km of distribution network to serve its domestic and commercial consumers in large locations as against 11,000 km of distribution network that have so far been created in India to serve the requirement of its consumers in limited pockets.

Interestingly, while Pakistan has its possession nearly 1600 CNG stations, their number in India is just at 380. The gas throughput in Pakistan is 38 mmscmd (million metric standard cubic meter per day) per day as against 8.5 mmscmd gas throughput in India.

The number of gas customers in Pakistan is estimated at 19 lakh which in case of India is just 5.50 lakh and Pakistan runs vehicles on CNG whose number is estimated at 15.60 lakh while in India, their number is just 4.60 lakh.

In economies of scale like France, the US, the UK and Germany, their gas pipeline network in kilometre is respectively measured at 1,55,943, 18,341,138, 2,65,155 and 2,30,448 with their respective pipeline density of (km/mmscmd) 1,405 km, 1,086, 1,016 and 1,015.

In country like Italy and Spain, their gas pipeline length and network is measured at 1,71,699 km and 16,295 km with respective pipeline density of 975 and 319 km/mmscmd per day.

Commenting on the Paper, Assocham President Venugopal N Dhoot said the gas availability in Pakistan is undoubtedly quite large as compared to India but given the imports of gas and even its domestic availability in India, its pipeline network is extremely poorer and the main reason attributed for the low and limited pipeline network in India is because this sector has been thoroughly regulated which has now been opened for competition.

The Paper further said since the pipeline network in India does not reach out to most of the potential demand centres, a number of industrial projects which would ideally run on gas (due to its higher efficiency and environment friendly nature) have to depend on much more costlier and more polluting alternative fuels.

''Thus the unmet gas demand in India is probably much higher than what is reported. India currently has only one major cross country pipeline in the form of HBJ pipeline and there is estimated to be considerable unmet demand even in the states serviced by this pipeline,'' said Mr Dhoot.

He, who himself is also in oil exploration business overseas, said that with the increased availability of gas, the country needs to gear up quickly to meet the increased requirement of cross country as well as regional and local downstream gas distribution networks.

The Paper on new opportunities for Indian industry through increased availability of gas, however, adds that even as the power and fertiliser sectors are expected to remain the largest consumers of gas, the increased availability of gas presents the Indian industry with new opportunities.

In the past, the limited availability of gas had restricted the use of gas in the industrial segment but the increased availability of gas from diverse sources along the western as well as eastern coast is expected to trigger a shift in the future gas demand.

The new demand pattern is expected to sway rapidly towards alternate uses such as city gas distribution, CNG for transportation and industrial use.


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