India’s Natural Gas Fuelled Transport Sector Poised for Growth in 2018

| India, Delhi

Mahanagar Gas CNG StationContinuing the theme of the ‘Gas4India’ campaign launched in 2016 by Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, which aimed to move India towards a gas-based economy, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has issued a 2017 Year End Review that reiterates its intentions for natural gas fuel.
“The Government is promoting the usages of environment friendly transportation fuel, i.e. CNG by expanding the coverage of City Gas Distribution (CGD) network in the country.  In order to promote the CNG services in the country, the Government has issued guidelines for making available domestic gas to the CGD entities for meeting the entire requirement of CNG for transport segments,” the Review states.

Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, in his address at a workshop mid-2017, said that in the capital region, CNG is used in vehicles for transport, domestic use, autos, etc. He said that approximately 450,000 vehicles which use CNG [in the NCR] contribute to the Rs 3000 Cr business of IGL. He also commented that the new aim should be to increase this business from Rs 3000 Cr to Rs 30,000 Cr (USD 462 million to 4.6 billion).

Air pollution is a major concern for India as it strives to meet its 2030 environmental commitment. Transport emissions hover around 11% (2014). The Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Mahesh Sharma, says the Government has to date taken several steps to address air pollution, of which the following pertain to transportation:

  • introduction of cleaner / alternate fuels like gaseous fuel (CNG, LPG etc.)
  • universalization of BS-IV from 2017;
  • leap-frogging from BS-IV to BS-VI fuel standards from 1st April, 2018;
  • collection of Environmental Protection Charge on more than 2000 CC diesel vehicles;
  • notification of National Ambient Air Quality Standards;
  • setting up of monitoring network for assessment of ambient air quality; and
  • issuance of directions under Section 18(1)(b) of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and under Section 5 of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986

In Bhubaneswar, an ancient city in India’s eastern state of Odisha (formerly Orissa) new CNG stations are being or have been opened at Chandrasekharpur, Patia, Khandagiri and Tamando. Moreover, 25 CNG stations will be commissioned in the twin cities of Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack to supply compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel to vehicles.

Waterways and Marine

The Ministry of Shipping reports Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is making efforts to promote liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an environment friendly fuel for transport. An LNG bunkering facility is being planned at Ghazipur terminal. IWAI plans to run LNG fuelled vessels on NW1. The terminal is expected to provide between 5000 direct and indirect jobs. The first phase of the terminal construction is scheduled for completion by April, 2020.

The Kochi LNG terminal remains India’s sole LNG bunkering facility for marine vessels. IWAI has entered into an agreement with Petronet LNG Ltd that will see additional bunkering facilities as well as the introduction of LNG fuelling stations for heavy duty land transport. Early plans proposed several new facilities would be operational before the end of 2018.

IRClass has developed Rules for LNG Fuelled Coastal and Inland vessels. These Rules will help the maritime stakeholders to promote environment friendly fuels for Coastal as well as Inland vessels.


IROAF CNG-converted DEMU

During 2017, the Government commenced promotion of the use of cleaner fuel for Indian Railways. This includes:

  • Use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) based dual-fuel system on DEMU (diesel-electric) trains to achieve 20% substitution of diesel with gas.
  • Development of CNG based dual-fuel system with 40% substitution of diesel for high economy and environmental benefit.
  • Promote use of LNG/CNG as environment friendly industrial gas in place of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Acetylene in Railway workshops.
IBEF Update

According to information sourced by IBEF (India Brand Equity Foundation), India is the fourth-largest Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) importer after Japan, South Korea and China, and accounts for 5.8 per cent of the total global trade. Domestic LNG demand is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.89 per cent to 306.54 MMSCMD by 2021 from 64 MMSCMD in 2015.

The country’s gas production is expected to touch 90 Billion Cubic Metres (BCM) in 2040 from 21.3 BCM in 2017-2018 (Apr-Nov). Gas pipeline infrastructure in the country stood at 16,470 km in September 2017.

In January, Minister Pradhan spoke of massive increases to LNG importation of LNG, almost certain to move it above Japan and possibly rival China. India currently has four LNG import terminals; 11 more are planned.

Cedigaz Report: India’s vision to a gas-based economy Drivers and Challenges

A Cedigaz report on India’s gas sector (October 2017) states that 11% of total gas consumption is by transport. CNG is now prevalent in around 11 (out of 29) Indian states, with many cities mandating its use in public transport (taxis, auto-rickshaws and buses). The Indian Supreme Court gave the sector a boost when in late 2015 it mandated that all Delhi taxis must convert to CNG and registration of new diesel vehicles in the city will no longer be allowed.

Growth in this sector is severely constrained by infrastructure. India’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell reports that as at December 2017, there are 3.045 million natural gas vehicles (NGV) but only 1,282 CNG filling stations. The number of stations has increased by just 379 since 2013. CNG infrastructure (March 2017) is disproportionately skewed towards three states: the National Capital Territory of Delhi (421 stations), Gujarat (396 stations), and Maharashtra (245 stations).

If the demand for infrastructure and planning rhetoric is matched by ongoing policy support and investment, the transport sector is expected to be the fastest growing sector for gas consumption in India, contributing positively to emissions targets, reducing dependence on petroleum products and providing greater access to a cleaner, economica fuel for an increasingly mobilised population.

Sources: Government Ministries of India

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