GAIL left behind as VMC rolls out Vadodara gas plan

Vol 15, PW 19 (05 Apr 12) Midstream & Downstream

You’d be forgiven for thinking the Vadodara Municipal Corporation has given up on its alliance with GAIL.

Eighteen months ago in October 2009 amid much fanfare the VMC - India’s oldest CGD operator - spurned GSPC to join forces with GAIL and set up a ‘professional’ CGD company for the city. But since then GAIL has done little to cement the JV and VMC has lost patience.

“Demand for piped gas from households is increasing fast,” says a VMC source. “We must expand our network.

” From April 1, VMC will launch a programme to add 6800 new gas connections in Vadodara, birthplace of rising Indian cricket stars Irfan and Yusuf Pathan. Homes in the older parts of the city will be targeted where VMC has an established steel gas pipeline grid, such as in the largely middle-class residential suburb of Karelibaug in north Vadodara, and Alkapuri, one of the oldest and fastest developing areas of western Vadodara.

This expansion follows a decision on February 9 by VMC to amend long-standing rules to allow households within 150-metres of a gas pipeline to apply for a connection. Earlier, homes had to be no further than 50 metres from a pipeline to qualify.

“Because of the new rule,” adds a source. “VMC can add another 20,000 homes to its gas pipeline network over the next three years.

” Today, exactly 75,879 households receive gas from VMC, as do 2892 hotels, restaurants and other businesses in the city. No gas is sold to factories, a gap filled by Adani Gas, which sells 49,617 cm/d of piped gas to 76 factories in the Nandesari area.

Last December Adani also began supplying gas to villagers at Koyali near Nandesari, site of IndianOil’s 13.7m t/y refinery.