West Bengal's green fuel terminal hits roadblock

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 16, 2013 19:54 hrs

The prospect of green fuel distribution in West Bengal is dwindling as grid building for distribution of natural gas has hit the roadblock owing to inadequate gas production in KG basin and necessary license from the regulator is still due. GAIL—one of the stake holders of SPV formed for the natural gas distribution in Kolkata— is yet to come up with a concrete plan for the same.

The much talked about project, estimated to be worth over Rs 2000 crore, of the state is set to get delayed due to absence of gas and the required nod from Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), the regulator for petroleum and natural gas. The SPV which was formed between GAIL, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and Greater Calcutta Gas Supply Corp (GCGSC) had applied for license in November, 2011 but it is yet to receive the nod.As per the MoU that was signed in November 2011, HPCL and GAIL have 37% each in the special purpose vehicle (SPV) while the remaining 26% is with GCGSC.According to a official of HPCL, the main barrier for the project has been availability of gas.

“Once GAIL comes up with a viable plan with adequate gas supply, then only things can move forward. Another thing which is coming as a halt in this projects is the sour relations between Mamata Banerjee and the centre,” he said.

The plan was to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) through cryogenic ships and supply it to the state after regasification in the ship itself. The new gas infrastructure project could have supplied green fuel to Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA), covering Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Kalyani and Nadia.

A GAIL official also confirmed to Business standard that the work has been stopped.

“The plan was to supply the gas from Jagdishpur to Haldia but that is not working out in the planned way. Another option that they had thought of was through coal liquification but methane content is very low in that case, which makes it unviable on a larger picture. So, the project, for sure, has to wait longer to see the light of the day, ” the official said.

The project will get delayed by at least two years, he indicated.

It may be noted that GCGSC is now supplying coal gas to some areas in Kolkata. According to estimated figures, it has a customer base of around 10,000. GCGSC sources gas from Dankuni Coal Complex of Coal India. The state gas firm has 458 kilometres long gas pipeline in the state. This covers Kolkata, both 24 Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly. It is now supplying 1.80 lakh cubic metre gas.

More from Sify: