Saurabh Patel orders Sabarmati Gas to do better

Vol 17, PW 23 (03 Jul 14) Midstream & Downstream

Not one to withhold criticism, Gujarat energy minister Saurabh Patel told BPCL chairman S.

Varadarajan on June 27 to “pull up his socks” and speed up work to expand Sabarmati Gas’s retail gas network. Patel made these remarks while Varadarajan was on a day-long visit to Gandhinagar.

"Patel has asked Sabarmati to double its targets," says a source in Patel's Gandhinagar office. Sabarmati, BPCL's joint venture with GSPC, was planning to increase the number of homes receiving piped gas in Gandhinagar, Mehsana and Sabarkantha districts from 78,000 to 93,000 this fiscal (2014-15).

But Patel's directive would see it increasing the number of connections by another 15,000 to 108,000. When contacted a Sabarmati manager asserts it has already achieved a healthy growth rate with six CNG stations added last year and a further six planned for this year.

Over the next three years, Sabarmati is aiming to add another 14 stations taking its total tally to 56. Sabarmati sells 156,000 kg/day of CNG at Rs46.70/kg ($0.78).

“We've seen CNG sales grow 12%,” Sabarmati tells us. “This will rise further when the Ambaji pilgrimage begins in September (due to the large number of support vehicles carrying provisions for pilgrims).

Sabarmati sells 450,000 cm/d to 230 factories including Mother Dairy and is targeting around 20 more ceramics and metal factories.

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