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NEW DELHI: In a push for cleaner fuel, India’s petroleum regulator has authorised 33,764 km of natural gas pipeline network for the country’s gas grid.

According to a petroleum and natural gas ministry’s statement, minister of state Rameswar Teli in a written reply in the Lok Sabha said, “As on 31.03.2021, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has authorized approximately 33,764 Km Natural Gas Pipeline Network across the country with the aim to create a national gas grid and increase the availability of natural gas across the country."

This comes in the backdrop of India’s push for a gas-based economy. The country consumes around 145 million standard cubic meters a day (mmscmd) of gas.

“The authorised Natural Gas pipeline entity is allowed to lay spurlines as per the provision of the regulations. Accordingly, 19,998 km of Natural Gas pipeline (including sub-transmission pipeline & tie in connectivity pipeline) are operational and 15,369 km are under various stages of construction," as per the statement.

Gas comprises about 6.2% of India’s primary energy mix, far behind the global average of 24%. The government plans to increase this share to 15% by 2030. India’s gas demand is expected to be driven by the fertilizer, power, city gas distribution, and steel sectors. India’s energy demand is expected to grow at 4.2% per year over the next 25 years.

The PNGRB on its part has authorised 232 geographical areas (GAs) through 10 city gas distribution (CGD) bidding rounds that have covered more than 400 districts spread across 27 states and union territories. This covers around 71% of India’s population and 53% of the country. In addition, PNGRB plans to offer another 44 GAs in the upcoming 11th bid round. Also, a gas exchange has been set up.

There was a 19.52% uptick in India’s gas production in June, according to the monthly production report released by ministry of petroleum and natural gas. India's natural gas production is expected to increase. Reliance Industries Ltd and its partner BP have been developing three deep-water gas developments in its KG D6 block, off the Andhra Pradesh coast, which together are expected to produce around 1 billion cubic feet a day of natural gas by 2023. Also, state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd has started gas production from its KG-DWN-98/2 field.

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