Syllabus subtopic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
Prelims and Mains focus: about the Northeast gas grid project and its significance; Natural gas and its advantages
News: The Cabinet on Wednesday decided to provide Rs 5,559-crore viability gap funding (VGF)/capital grant for the North East Gas Grid project.
About the project
It aims to connect all the eight states (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura) of the Northeast with a 1,656-km network of natural gas pipeline for Rs 9,265 crore.
The VGF amount is 60 per cent of estimated project cost and will not be linked to project cost escalation.
It is being executed by Indradhanush Gas Grid Limited under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
It is only the second instance of the government directly funding a gas pipeline.
The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs, chaired by PM Modi, also decided that a committee comprising officials from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Development of North East Region, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and Department of Fertilizers, will periodically review the progress in implementation of the project.
The capital grant will provide natural gas supplies to various types of consumers like industrial, PNG(domestic), CNG (transport) and others.
The government’s aim through this project is to substitute liquid fuels like kerosene and firewood traditionally prevalent in the region.
Natural gas Scenario in India
About 20 per cent of India’s natural gas production comes from the Northeast. Of about 75 million standard cubic meters per day of gas output, 15 mmscmd come from Northeast.
Currently, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura have established gas production potential while there are possibilities for the same in Nagaland and Manipur.
Gas Pipeline infrastructure is an economical and safe mode of transporting the natural gas by connecting gas sources to gas consuming markets. Gas pipeline grid determines the structure of the gas market and its development. Therefore, an interconnected National Gas Grid has been envisaged to ensure the adequate availability and equitable distribution of natural gas in all parts of the country.
At present, there are about 16800 km long Natural Gas pipeline network which is operational in the country. In order to make available natural gas across the country, it has been envisaged to develop additional about 14,300 km pipelines to complete the National Gas Grid and same are at various stages of development. This would ensure easy availability of natural gas across all regions and also potentially help to achieve uniform economic and social progress.
Availability of natural gas across the region is expected to boost industrial growth without impacting the environment and would offer better quality oflife to the people in general due to use of cleaner and green fuel.
About Natural Gas
Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuels among the available fossil fuels. It is used as a feedstock in the manufacture of fertilizers, plastics and other commercially important organic chemicals as well as used as a fuel for electricity generation, heating purpose in industrial and commercial units. Natural gas is also used for cooking in domestic households and a transportation fuel for vehicles.