Gas-on-tap for another 200,000 homes in Pune

Vol 19, PW 22 (14 Jul 16) Midstream & Downstream

With its scenic and hilly terrain, Pune, with a population of 3m and the second largest city in Maharashtra after Mumbai, is not an easy place to set up a gas network.

In the old central parts of the city the streets are so narrow it is impossible to lay pipelines. Yet Pune-based gas retailer Maharashtra Natural Gas has drawn up ambitious plans to connect up to 200,000 households in outer areas of the city to its gas network within five years.

At present the company supplies 10,000 cm/d subsidised gas to only 30,000 households. But a company source insists the target to connect 200,000 households is achievable.

"In the present financial year (2016-17) we will put in place infrastructure to connect 50,000 households," he says. "We plan to replicate this every year.

" MNGL plans to spend Rs200cr ($30m) in total as CAPEX in 2016-17 - the same as last year - on 200-km of plastic pipeline, 20-km of mainly 6-inch diameter steel pipeline and 15 new CNG stations. One of the challenges faced by MNGL is that most new apartments coming up are owned not by piped gas users but by investors and speculators who keep them locked awaiting a rise in prices.

"Even in flats rented out tenants do not want to spend on piped gas connection," we learn.