With GAIL (India) putting its gas pipeline projects on the fast track, the company has gone on an overdrive to get customers, even though the response has been poor in states such as West Bengal.
A pipeline that can carry 9 million metric cubic metres a day (mmcd) of gas is going through West Bengal, but there are not enough takers for this gas yet, which is posing a hurdle for GAIL.
A GAIL official told FE that West Bengal Power Development Corporation (WBPDCL) could have been a potential buyer and a big beneficiary of the gas pipeline, but they have relented — only signing a city gas distribution supply agreement.
West Bengal has signed an agreement with GAIL for the supply of 1.2 mmcd of city gas, but GAIL was looking to supply up to 2.5 mmcd. The company has already started supplying to Matrix Fertilisers and are in talks with Bhushan Steel, Himadri Chemicals and other small players, “but we need more buyers to utilise the capacity of our pipeline”, the GAIL official said.
Work on India’s single-largest gas pipeline spanning 3,400 km under Jagadishpur-Haldia-Bokaro-Dharma is progressing in full swing. Around 92% work under phase I has been completed and the rest is expected to be completed within the next two months, whereas the balance phases, including the additional section under the Barauni-Guwahati spurline, are lined up for sequential completion by December 2021.
While GAIL has approached WBPDCL to put up a gas-based thermal power plant, especially at the Bandel Thermal Power Station, where four units of 60 MW each are being scrapped, the state’s power department has not yet taken any in-principle decision on it. GAIL’s pipeline runs within a kilometre or two from the Bandel
Thermal Power Station, so raw material is at its doorstep.
GAIL at present is focusing on connecting the East and the North-East with its existing pipeline grid to ensure access to clean energy solutions for household, transport, industrial and commercial applications in the energy-starved region.