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Minister of petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan today said the natural gas is one of the cleanest and most environment friendly fuels with extremely low carbon dioxide emissions as compared to coal and oil and added that the government was taking a number of steps to make India a gas based economy.
Pradhan said the government was developing gas sources either through domestic gas exploration and production activities or through building up facilities to import natural gas in the form of liquefied natural gas.
He further said the government was working on gas pipeline infrastructure and secondary distribution network along with developing gas consuming markets like fertilizer, power, transport, industries etc.
Fertilizer and power sectors are the major gas consumers in Indian gas market. They consume about 60 per cent of total gas consumption at country level in FY 2015-16. In order to develop the gas consuming market, government has implemented fertilizer gas pooling scheme which has encouraged the utilization of installed fertilizer units in the country.
On power sector, government has come up with a scheme to make operational the stranded gas based power plants on regasified LNG. It has helped in reviving stranded power plants of around 16,000 megawatt capacity and saved them from becoming non-performing assets, the government said.
LNG consumption in Power sector has increased from the level of 3 mmscmd during April-2015 (prior to pooling) to a maximum level of 11.47 mmscmd during March-2016.
Pradhan further said the government has taken several steps to enhance domestic natural gas production through several policy initiatives such as marginal field policy- discovered small field policy, uniform licensing policy-hydrocarbon exploration and licensing policy, policy for grant of extension to small and medium sized discovered fields among others.
The government has also gone head with the policy to grant relaxation, extension, and clarifications at development and production stage for early monetization of hydrocarbon discoveries, policy for marketing freedom for gas produced from deepwater and ultra deepwater areas.
To incentivize gas production from difficult areas, government has granted marketing, including pricing, freedom for the gas produced from difficult areas. Marketing freedom has also been provided under Discovered Small Field bidding round as well as under Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) under which acreages will be provided in future.
The implementation of these policy initiatives and other reform initiatives is expected to enhance domestic natural gas production from the fields.
The Government normally does not provide any financial support for laying pipeline infrastructure. However, Government has taken a decision to provide a capital grant of Rs. 5176 crore (i.e. 40 per cent of the estimated capital cost of Rs 12,940 Crore) to GAIL for development of a 2539 Km long Jagdishpur-Haldia/Bokaro-Dhamra Gas Pipeline (JHBDPL) project to connect Eastern part of the country with National Gas Grid.
During the financial year 2015-2016, the CPSEs have incurred an approximate amount of Rs 2,962 crore on natural gas and other petroleum products pipeline infrastructure development.
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