A cross-border natural gas pipeline between India and Myanmar will be an important symbol of bilateral cooperation and regional connectivity.
In the last few years, the importance of natural gas as a key contributor for India’s sustainable energy security has begun to receive greater acceptance within India’s energy policy making circles. The Government of India on quite a few occasions now has reiterated its intention to make India a “gas-based economy” by increasing the share of natural gas in India’s energy mix to 15 % by 2030.
Given natural gas' profile as an efficient and environmentally-conducive fuel when compared to other fossil fuels, India has embarked on a journey to increase its contribution in the nation’s primary energy mix. Gradual steps are being initiated since the last few years to ensure steady evolution of a gas market in different parts of the country. Since its launch in 2016, under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), a scheme to provide LPG cylinders as a clean cooking fuel, the spread of cylinders increased substantially from 55% in 2014 to over 90% today. This jump is due to the addition of 60 million new connections with a target to reach 80 million connections by 2020. As of 2014, only 66 districts in India were under the City Gas Distribution network, but by 2018 work on city gas was already underway in 174 districts with a target to reach more than 400 districts in the coming years. Also, the number of CNG stations have increased to 1,400 in 2018 with a target of 10,000 stations in the coming decade. Additionally, as a result of emergence of new players in the global gas markets, India is now presented with the choice of choosing between multiple gas producers to meets these future energy targets.
Within India, the reach of domestic pipelines is being expanded in different states. It is reported that an additional 14,239 km of gas pipelines are in the process of being developed to ensure supply to different parts in the country. Traditionally, so far, only the western and, to some extent the northern region of India are major consumers of natural gas. In the Northeastern region of India, states like Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura are reported to have considerable volumes of natural gas reserves. The state of Tripura exports electricity generated from gas-fired Palatana power plant to Bangladesh.
Reportedly, the Government of India has embarked on a journey to connect Northeastern states with the National Gas grid. Once connected with the National Gas Grid, the Northeastern states in India will have access to gas supplies to support their economic development activities. Since the last few years, the Government of India is undertaking policy measures to improve economic development, connectivity and livelihood in Northeast India. A sustained supply of an efficient and environment friendly natural gas would play a crucial role in supporting such economic developments and connectivity activities in Northeastern states of India. The City Gas Distribution network covering some prominent districts in Northeast India is being planned in three phases and it is envisaged that by 2030, the demand from this sector alone is slated to be 4.4 mmscmd. The overall gas demand by 2030 in Northeast India is estimated to be about 29.4 mmscmd, of which, the natural gas deficit is predicted to be about 8.7 mmscmd as per the Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 report for Northeast India.
To ensure energy security in the eastern region of India, the Dhamra port in the state of Odisha is being developed to receive LNG imports worth 5 MMTPA. This LNG terminal, reportedly, would cater to the demands of fertilizer plants and for city gas distribution networks in eastern region of India.
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