Soon, you will get vehicle CNG even outside the networked cities.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board, the country’s downstream oil sector regulator, is coming up with guidelines that will allow companies to set up standalone CNG stations in areas that do not have a city gas distribution (CGD) network of their own but are in proximity to a CGD network.
“Such areas would preferably be around an existing CGD network, with a presence of CNG vehicles,” L Mansingh, chairman of the board, told Business Standard.
In future, he said, whenever a city where a standalone CNG station had been set up came for CGD bidding, the player would have to withdraw or continue only with the approval of the company that won CGD authorisation. “If eligible, the standalone CNG pump operator can also bid for a CGD network,” he said. Asked about the fee, Mansingh said it would be nominal, since revenue collection was not the objective here; it was to popularise CNG use.
Delhi has at least 400,000 CNG vehicles and for its citizens, it is 68 per cent cheaper than petrol and 36 per cent cheaper than diesel. Overall, the country has nearly a million CNG vehicles (buses, cars and three-wheelers), fed by 800-odd CNG stations. Apart from being more economical, CNG is also considered a more ecologically-friendly fuel.
Rajesh Vedvyas, managing director of Indraprastha Gas, the capital city’s sole supplier of CNG gas, that operates about 210 CNG stations, said wherever it was workable for the company to feed CNG stations, it would look to service areas along the highways that link Delhi to cities like Chandigarh and Jaipur.
Clearly, operators present in the CGD business, such as Indraprastha Gas and Mahanagar Gas, will have an advantage in setting up stations along highways. Also, those companies that operate pipeline networks, such as GAIL and Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure Ltd, will find it more feasible to set up such stations.
At present, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Indore, Vijayawada, Vadodara, Surat, Lucknow and Kanpur, among others, have CGD networks. The board is also in the process of granting authorisation for other cities such as Kakinada, Mathura, Kota, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Jamnagar and Asansol-Durgapur, to cover 200 cities by 2015.