Tripura Gas lobbies to expand beyond Agartala

Vol 21, PW 3 (02 Nov 17) Midstream & Downstream

With abundant reserves you'd think gas retailers would be lining up to tap the retail CNG and PNG market in Tripura on India's remote border with Bangladesh.

But they're not! "No one wants to come to the northeast," N. Gangopadhyay, managing director of Tripura Natural Gas Company (TNGCL), tells this report.

"It is common knowledge." Gangopadhyay is using lack of outside interest to persuade the PNGRB to let TNGCL expand beyond state capital Agartala without recourse to open bidding. He says TNGCL is ready to set up 20 new CNG fuel stations along a 122-km 'green corridor' from Agartala in west Tripura to Udaipur (population 400,000) around 55-km by road south-west, and Khowai town (population 22,000) around 56-km by road north-east.

"But the PNGRB," adds Gangopadhyay, "says the rules make it mandatory to have open bidding for new GAs (geographical areas)." Gangopadhyay said two years ago TNGCL began lobbying the PNGRB about its expansion plan with a stream of letters that culminated in a successful visit to Agartala in May (2017) by a PNGRB team which also visited Udaipur, its new target area. "They (the PNGRB) were impressed with the potential of Udaipur," says Gangopadhyay.

"I have a gut feeling they will approve our request to expand." In September (2017), said Gangopadhyay, TNGCL stepped up the pressure for its expansion proposal with a letter directly to the oil ministry.

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