Indian mobility is increasingly turning to natural gas as a cleaner fuel. Several government initiatives are supporting the transition and include a massive infrastructure response that will address current limitations of supply while encouraging increased uptake. In India’s west, the State of Gujarat continues to take the lead by calling for applications to establish 300 new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuelling stations.
India’s Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG), regulates the nation’s natural gas distribution business. During the past year (April 2018 to March 2019) PNGRB broke new ground by concluding two large City Gas Distribution (CGD) rounds — the 9th & 10th — and authorising 86 and 50 Geographical Areas (GA) respectively. Collectively, 32 companies have won CGD licenses that will deliver 8,181* CNG stations (either Online or Daughter Booster) across India by 2029.
In addition, under National Biofuel Policy 2018 & SATAT program**, MoPNG has targeted 5,000 new Compressed Biogas (CBG / Bio-CNG) or RNG plants that will lead to the implementation of 3,000 renewable natural gas (RNG) filling stations. Thus, in the next 8-10 years, taking into account the current 1,769 CNG stations, refuelling infrastructure across the country is expected to reach almost 13,000 stations.
Post implementation of the CGD program, combined GA will cover half of India’s total area and supply natural gas to 70% of the total population.
Gujarat – making a difference with NGV
The pioneering State of Gujarat is leading the development of a natural gas-based economy. Presently natural gas’ share in Gujarat’s primary energy basket is approx. 25%, higher than the world average of 24%.
India’s first CNG station was started in 1994 in Surat, Gujarat. In 25 years, according to the Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC), Gujarat has expanded to 552 (31%) out of total 1,769 CNG stations in India and 935,955 out of a total 3,382,353 NGVs nationwide.
For the following reasons CNG has become the primary choice for auto rickshaws, cabs and taxis, public transport and city buses, small business owners and working class in the state:
- CNG is available across the state;
- NGVs per KM running cost is practically half than petrol and diesel;
- Natural gas is environment-friendly compared to conventional fuels; and
- CNG Prices are more stable under Administered Pricing Mechanism (APM) than market linked pricing mechanism for petrol and diesel.
Government Initiative to Add CNG Stations
NGV operators in India are no strangers to massive queues at CNG filling stations as an average 1,900 NGVs per day per CNG station line up for fuel. On June 25, 2019 CM Shri Vijay Rupani responded on behalf of the Government of Gujarat by launching “CNG Sahbhaagi Yojana”^^ , a scheme for new CNG stations on a Franchisee or Dealer ownership basis. The goal is to create 300 new CNG stations in the next 2 years. The 4-step application process is very simple & transparent, and applications are to be made via an online web portal (http://cngsahbhaagi.com).
Post implementation of “CNG Sahbhaagi Yojana”, the CNG and NGV ecosystem in Gujarat will be more sustainable, the issue of long queues will be resolved, 300+ new entrepreneurial opportunities and more than 3,000 new jobs will be created at CNG stations and most importantly NGV growth in the State of Gujarat is expected to exceed 1.5 million.
This article has been prepared in consultation with Mr. Darshan Soni, CEO and Founder, Neet-Vasant Pvt Ltd. The company serves the Renewables and Conventional energy sectors in India.
* From PNGRB 9th & 10th Rounds winners’ Press Releases.
** SATAT is aimed at providing a ‘Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation’ as a developmental effort that would benefit both vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs.
^^ Yojana means “Scheme”