Dharmendra Chairs 1st Meeting of Consultative Committee of PNG Ministry

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By Our Correspondent

NEW DELHI:  Union Minister for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Steel,  Dharmendra Pradhan chaired the first meeting of the Consultative Committee of the Members of Parliament (MPs) of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

The meeting was attended by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and External Affairs  V. Muraleedharan, 19 MPs from Lok Sabha and 8 MPs from Raj Sabha. Secretary (Petroleum & NG), other senior officials of the Ministry and CMDs of Indian oil & Gas PSUs were present during the meeting.

Welcoming the members of Consultative Committee, DharmendraPradhan highlighted the role and importance of the Consultative Committee in according guidance and advise to the policy and programmes of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas. Shri Pradhan briefed about the high importance accorded by the Government to gas-based economy and Biofuels, and thus the first meeting of the Consultative Committee would deliberate on these two topics.

Pradhan informed that the Government is working towards a transformative change in energy sector by ushering in gas-based economy by increasing share of gas in India’s primary energy mix from current 6.2 % to 15% by 2030. Similarly, Biofuels will play a crucial role in India’s energy sector as well as assisting in the transformation of anna data to urja data, thus positively impacting the farmers in the country.

Natural Gas as an environment friendly clean fuel will play a significant role in providing solutions to the environmental challenges as well as ever growing energy needs in a sustainable manner. To achieve the committed emission target along with meeting new energy demands, Government has taken various measures to promote cleaner forms of fuels, to reduce impact in environment and health without impacting the economic growth.

In order to move towards increasing the share of natural gas to 15% in our economy, steps have been taken including enhancing domestic gas production, expeditious development of gas infrastructure including pipelines, City Gas Distribution (CGD) networks and Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (R-LNG) Terminals as well as development of gas market by providing open access to gas infrastructure are the focus areas.

Strong policy thrust is given for supporting consumption of Natural Gas and enabling infrastructure expansion to aid investment flows.  Further, in order to move for creation of free gas market, it has been envisaged to develop Gas Trading exchange(s)/hub(s). In addition, rationalized pipeline tariff structure and inclusion of natural gas under GST regime would also be key initiatives to catalyse the growth of gas as a fuel in primary energy mix. Free gas market is expected to develop a mechanism of transparent and fair gas price discovery, unleash competition, and move the agenda forward on the realization of a gas-based economy.

Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme is aimed at achieving multiple outcomes such as reducing import dependency on crude oil, addressing environmental concerns, and providing boost to agriculture sector. To boost the indigenous production of ethanol, the Government has taken number of steps  since 2014.

These include re-introduction of administered price mechanism, permitting  additional feedstock sources for ethanol production, amending Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951 for bringing exclusive control of the central government over denatured ethanol and reduction in Goods & Service Tax (GST) rates from 18% to 5% on ethanol utilized under EBP Programme. An amount of 187.67 crore litres of ethanol has  been procured in ESY:18-19.

The Government has allowed procurement of 2G ethanol produced from other non-food feedstock like cellulosic and lignocellulosic materials, including petrochemical route.  Oil PSUs are establishing twelve 2G Ethanol bio-refineries in 11 states of the country with a total capacity of 1100 Kilo Litre per day (KLPD) involving an investment of Rs. 14,000 crore.

The Government has also issued the National Biofuel Policy-2018 which targets 5 % blending of biodiesel in diesel by 2030. OMCs  floated an Expression of Interest (EOI) for procurement of Bio-Diesel produced from Used Cooking Oil (UCO) across India from 200 locations.

The Government has also launched Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) initiative on 1.10.2018 to promote CBG as an alternative, green transport fuel for efficient management of biomass and organic waste involving developing 5000 CBG plants with total CBG production capacity of 15 Million Metric Tonne Per Annum (MMTPA) i.e. equivalent to 54 MMSCMD of gas by 2023. This initiative offers a potential for investment of about Rs. 1.75 lakh crores (5000 Plants) andgenerating about 75,000 direct employment opportunity.

The presentations were followed by discussions among the members of the Committee. The meeting ended with the Chairman informing the Members that regular meetings of the Consultative Committee will be held to discuss the issues in detail.

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