Gujarat gas demand is soaring: AK Joti

Vol 14, PW 8 (07 Oct 10) People & Policy

Gujarat’s top bureaucrat believes gas demand in the state could increase by an astounding 36.6m cm/d over the next five years.

Gujarat State Petronet (GSPL) chairman Achal Kumar Joti, who is also Gujarat’s chief secretary, made this bold prediction on September 21 at the company’s 12th Annual General Meeting held in the ground floor assembly hall of its Gandhinagar headquarters. GSPL employees who attended the AGM were no doubt impressed by Joti’s claim, though admittedly many turned up only so they could enjoy free tea and ice-cream.

Still, they listened patiently as Joti boasted that current gas demand in Gujarat stands at 85.4m cm/d, accounting for 40% of India’s overall demand. And he expects this to rise even further to 122m cm/d within five years as industrial projects rapidly expand, new gas-fired power projects are commissioned, retail gas operations develop quickly, and several planned ‘Special Economic Zones’ begin functioning.

One such SEZ is coming up at Dahej and will house India’s biggest proposed petrochemical complex. Joti added that in this past fiscal (2009-10) GSPL transported 11,673m cubic metres of gas in total.

This is more than double the 5428.48m cubic metres it transported in 2008-09. The reason – Reliance D6 gas supplies began flowing through the grid in April 2009.

Thanks to D6 gas, GSPL has seen its turnover increase a mind-numbing 98.65% while profits have risen by 235.28%. “Gujarat is by far the most developed gas market in the country,” he gloated.

A case in point is the upcoming Tata car factory at Sanand city near Ahmedabad, which will need gas supplies. Tata plans to begin manufacturing the world’s cheapest car – the Rs1lakh ($2242) ‘Nano’ – at Sanand within the next 11 months.

GSPL has already begun laying a 12-inch diameter, 35-km long gas pipeline to connect the Nano factory to its own 1666-km state-wide gas grid.