Natural gas comes to Bangalore, piped gas in houses soon

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Gas Flames
Bangalore, Feb 18: Like Mumbai, people in the city of gardens can have piped cooking gas into their kitchen. With the commissioning of gas utility GAIL India Ltd's Rs. 4,500 crore pipeline carrying gas from the Dabhol LNG terminal into Bangalore this could become a near reality. The GAIL commenced supply of gas through the line to its first customer Toyota Kirloskar Auto Parts Pvt Ltd in Bidadi industrial area, on the outskirts of Bangalore.

Unfortunately the state is yet to commission its power unit. Otherwise the LNG (liquefied natural gas) could help the state power generation utility save Rs. 800 crore annually by reducing cost, improving efficiency and drastically cutting down pollution caused by using liquid fuels. GAIL has an agreement to supply 0.6 million tonnes of LNG to Karnataka Power Corp Ltd's proposed 1,400 megawatt (mw) Bidadi power plant.

KPCL managing director M R Kamble said the first phase of 750 MW would now be built in next two to two-and-half years at an estimated cost of Rs. 2,800 crore. 170 acres of land for the project has already been acquired and all clearances obtained.

Also, there is possibility of the 350 mw Yelahanka power plant switching over from diesel to gas to save cost, he said. Together with 1,400 mw Bidadi power plants, Bengaluru would have 1,750 mw of generation capacity against a demand of 1,500 mw.

The 1,000-km pipeline that promises to change the energy landscape of the region is likely to feed industries at Belgaum, Dharwad, Gadag, Bellary, Davanagere, Chitradurga, Tumkur and Ramanagaram.These industries have been depending on the expensive and polluting liquid fuels like naphtha and diesel as feedstock.

"With gas coming in, the devil of pollution will disappear from the City of Gardens," Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily said after inaugurating the pipeline. He said the pipeline will be extended to Mangalore this year and further to Kochi in Kerala by end of next year.

The Dabhol-Bangalore pipeline has a capacity to carry 16 million standard cubic meters of gas per day, he said, adding that 73-km of the line has been laid in Bangalore city to begin CNG supplies to automobiles as well as piped cooking gas to households.

"We will work to give GAIL the licence for operating city gas in Bangalore and may be in two months, we will see the first CNG station in the city," he said.

GAIL chairman and managing director B C Tripathi said the company had imported two shiploads of LNG at Dabhol and a third would be imported in next week to 10 days. It is planning a massive expansion of its 10,000 km of pipeline network with 3,000 km of lines under execution and another 2,000 km on drawing board.

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