In Bhavnagar they think pipelines bring water

Vol 19, PW 1 (10 Sep 15) Midstream & Downstream

In the relaxed coastal Gujarat city Bhavnagar, the seat of a former princely state, Gujarat Gas is on a drive to convince local homes to take piped gas.

"In Bhavnagar people think pipelines bring only water," says a Gujarat Gas source. "A pipeline bringing gas is a matter of curiosity.

" Gujarat energy minister Saurabh Patel on August 8 commissioned the gas retailer’s first household connection in the city by lighting a stove in a kitchen in the Chitra area. “This is historic," a beaming Patel told PETROWATCH after the commissioning.

"Gujarat is the role model for other states in gas retailing.” Yet despite the pomp, Gujarat Gas sources know they face an uphill task meeting their overambitious connection targets in the city, which the company won under the third retail gas licensing round on March 5, 2014.

Under its licence conditions, Gujarat Gas must lay 8987-inch km of steel pipeline over an 8153-sq km area and sign up 490,000 homes by 2018. To do this Gujarat Gas is using creative marketing techniques.

For instance it has organised 85 ‘night meetings’ with more than 7000 households to raise awareness, followed up with contact through direct marketing. "We have 275 new bookings till date," we learn.

Gujarat Gas is also using portable sound-systems to play catchy jingles under a large umbrella with the company logo.