The Indian government plans to invest Rs 10,000 crore in the next three years in setting up of LNG stations, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.
The government aims to have 1,000 retail outlets of liquefied natural gas (LNG), as the country plans to increase the share of gas in its energy basket. Pradhan said at an online event to lay the foundation stone for 50 new LNG retail outlets along the golden quadrilateral and other major national highways.
LNG, which is supercooled natural gas, is favoured by long-haul buses and trucks due to its higher energy density than CNG, its ability to give a 600-800 km run on a single fill, and it being 30-40 per cent cheaper than diesel.
LNG is a new fuel that can be dispensed from outlets similar to petrol pumps, and is used not just in long long-haul buses and trucks but also in running mining equipment, as bunker fuel, and rail locomotives.
LNG will reduce the cost of operation as well as reduce carbon emissions. As a fuel it has almost zero carbon emissions and 85 per cent lesser NOx emissions.
“There are around 10 million trucks in the country. If we are able to convert even 10 per cent of them, imagine the savings it will bring considering the fact that LNG is up to 40 per cent cheaper than diesel,” Pradhan said.
The initial 50 LNG stations are being set up on the Golden Quadrilateral highways connecting four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkatta. State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) will set up the maximum 20 outlets. Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) would set up 11 each, while gas utility firm GAIL would put up six outlets and Petronet LNG Ltd the remaining two.
Gujarat, which houses almost two-thirds of India’s current LNG import capacity, would have 10 LNG stations, while Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu would each house 8 LNG stations. Andhra Pradesh will get 6, Karnataka 5, Kerala 3, Odisha 1, Telangana 2, Haryana 1, Rajasthan 3, Uttar Pradesh 2 and Madhya Pradesh 1.
Promoting LNG as a fuel is part of the government’s push to raise the share of natural gas in its energy basket to 15 per cent by 2030 from the current 6.2 per cent.