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evnext-logo-v-smallThis post is a part of BioBiz’s Bio-CNG Perspectives.

BioBiza division of EAI, is a leading market intelligence & strategic consulting firm for the Indian bio-based sectors.

This blog post uses the terms bio-CNG and renewable natural gas (RNG) interchangeably.

Bio-CNG or bio-compressed natural gas, also known as sustainable natural gas or biomethane, is a biogas which has been upgraded to a quality similar to fossil natural gas and having a methane concentration of 90% or greater. As the gas is derived from natural and renewable sources, it is also termed renewable natural gas (RNG)


Renewable natural gas (RNG) is a purified, renewable form of biogas containing about 92-98% of methane and only 2-8% of carbon dioxide. It is similar to the commercially available natural gas in its composition and energy potential, thus becoming a potential replacement for the natural gas from fossil sources. Given the abundance of biomass in the country and the depleting fossil sources, renewable natural gas has the potential to replace CNG in automotive, industrial and commercial uses in the coming years.

RNG can be supplied both by cascades of cylinders as well as through the existing natural gas infrastructure for CNG and PNG applications. However, as the existing natural gas infrastructure does not cover pan India, it is critical for entrepreneurs to understand its network in detail before setting up a RNG plant in a particular location. 

This blog post provides details on the existing natural gas infrastructure in India and the upcoming plans to expand the network across all geographical areas.

Natural gas infrastructure in India

Natural gas infrastructure

Figure 1: Natural gas infrastructure

Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel 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 and heating purposes in industrial and commercial units. Natural gas is also used for cooking in domestic households and as a transportation fuel for vehicles.

 Gas supply sources in India

1. Domestic gas sources

The domestic gas in the country is being supplied from the oil & gas fields located at western and south-eastern areas viz. Hazira basin, Mumbai offshore & KG basin as well as North East Region (Assam & Tripura). It is being supplied and distributed in terms of the guidelines related to pricing and utilization policies issued by the Government from time to time. In FY 2018-19, total domestic gas production was about 90.05 MMSCMD.

2. Import of liquefied natural gas (LNG)

In order to meet the gas demand, liquefied natural gas (LNG) is imported through open general license (OGL) in the country by the gas marketer under various long term, medium term and spot contracts. The price and utilization of imported LNG is mutually decided by the buyers and sellers. As of 2019, the country has six LNG re-gasification terminals operational with capacity of about 38.8 MMTPA (~ 140 MMSCMD).

The following table provides the re-gas capacity of individual terminals.

Location Owner & Operator Re-gas Capacity (MMTPA)
Dahej (Gujarat) PLL 17.5
Hazira (Gujarat) Shell 5
Kochi (Kerala) PLL 5
Kochi (Kerala) GAIL 1.3*
Mundra (Gujarat) GSPC LNG Ltd. 5
Ennore Tamil Nadu Indian Oil 5
Total Capacity (MMTPA) 38.8
Total Re-gas Capacity (MMSCMD) ~140

                              Table 1: Re-gas capacity of six LNG terminals

*Name plate capacity is 5 MMTPA but in absence of the breakwater, the terminal can only operate at 1.3 MMTPA as of 2019.

Partnerships for LNG sourcing

  • Petronet’s Dahej Terminal has a long term LNG sourcing contact with RasGas and with ExxonMobil for the Kochi Terminal.
  • GAIL (Dabhol) has a 20- year contract with Cheniere Energy
  • Hazira LNG (A joint venture between Shell Gas BV and Total Gaz Electricité Holdings France) has sourced cargo from 17 liquefaction facilities across the globe, ranging from Peru LNG at the extreme west to Sakhalin LNG in the extreme east. Unlike Dahej, Kochi and Dabhol, Hazira’s business model is geared more towards short and mid-term contracts instead of long-term contracts

India imports 8.5 million tonnes per annum of LNG from Qatar under two long-term contracts and has tied up for 5.8 million tonnes a year supplies from the US. It also has a 2.5 million tonnes import contract with Gazprom of Russia and a 1.44 million tonnes deal with Gorgon project in Australia.

Natural gas distribution network

Natural gas pipelines

As of Apr 2019, India has a gas pipeline network with a length of 16,226 km with a capacity of 369 MMSCMD spread over 15 States & UTs. GAIL has a pipeline network of about 11,410 km (about 70% market share of current pipelines in operation) including Dabhol- Bengaluru pipeline.

Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure Ltd is operating a 1784 km (about 11%) East West Pipeline (EWPL) to evacuate gas from KG-D6 in Andhra Pradesh. This pipeline passes through Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat and integrated with GAIL and GSPL network to reach Northern and Western Indian market. GSPL is mainly focused in the state of Gujarat consisting about 2,593 km (about 16%). In addition, GAIL also operates regional gas pipeline networks across India in Maharashtra, KG Basin, Cauvery Basin and South Gujarat. It is to be noted that in early February 2020, Reliance’s DI/D3 gas fields in its KG-D6 block in Andhra had ceased to produce natural gas, forcing its shut down.

Natural gas pipeline network as on 01.04.2019

Entity Length (kms) Design capacity (MMSCMD)
GAIL 11,410 230
Reliance 1,784 84
GSPL 2,593 43
AGCL, DNPL 299 3
IOCL 140 10
Total 16226 369

     Table 2: Natural gas pipeline network as on Apr 2019

Natural gas pipeline under execution / construction as on 01.04.2019

Network/region Entity Length sanctioned (kms) Design capacity   (MMSCMD)
Kochi – Kottanad – Bengaluru -Mangalore GAIL Ltd 1,056 16
Dabhol -Bengaluru (DBPL) Spur Lines, Phase-2 GAIL Ltd 302 16
Jagdishpur- Haldia-Bokaro-Dhamra (JHBDPL) (Phase-I, 755 Km, 7.44 MMSCMD capacity) GAIL Ltd 2,539 16
Mallavaram – Bhilwara* GSPC India Transco Ltd 1,881 78.3
Mehsana – Bathinda * GSPC India Gasnet Ltd 2,052 77.1
Bathinda -Jammu-Srinagar* GSPC India Gasnet Ltd 725 42.4
Kakinada – Vizag-Srikakulam * AP Gas Distribution Corporation 391 90
Ennore- Nellore* Gas Transmission India Pvt 250 36
Ennore-Thiruvallur-Bengaluru- Puducherry-Nagapattinam-Madurai-Tuticorin* Indian Oil Corporation Ltd 1,385 84.7
Jaigarh-Mangalore* H-Energy Pvt Ltd 635 17
Total 11,216

                                       Table 3: Natural gas pipeline under execution / construction as on Apr 2019

*Competitive bidding

The existing trunk pipeline (excluding dedicated pipelines) capacity in India is 369 MMSCMD with a total length of 16,226 kms. With the pipeline projects under execution, this is expected to cross 28,000 kms in the next few years.

LNG distribution network

While data on the existing LNG terminals have been provided earlier in this section, the following table provides details on the upcoming LNG terminals.

Upcoming LNG terminals (MMTPA)

Location Company Capacity
Already commissioned
Mundra GSPC, Adani 5
Ennore Indian Oil, TIDCO 5
Under construction
Dahej Expansion Petronet LNG 5*
Kakinada APGDC 2.5
Dhamra Adani 5
Jafrabad (FSRU) Swan Energy 5
Jaigarh H-Energy 2.5
Gangavaram Petronet LNG 5
Kolkata Port H-Energy 2.5
Chhara HPCL & Shapoorji Pallonji 5
Krishnapatnam LNG Bharat 2.5

       Table 4: Upcoming LNG terminals (MMTPA)

* post the ramp up Dahej capacity will be 20 MMTPA

City gas distribution network (CGD)

The CGD system supplies gas to various consumers like industrial, domestic, commercial and transportation. Gas supplied to industrial, domestic and commercial customers is known as Piped Natural Gas (PNG), while gas dispensed through CNG refuelling stations to CNG vehicles (transportation) is known as Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

PNGRB launched the 9th CGD Bidding Round on 12th April 2018, for the development of City Gas Distribution (CGD) networks for 86 Geographical Areas (GAs) which includes 174 districts (156 complete and 18 part), spread over 22 States and Union Territories (UTs) in India.

As per the commitment made by the various entities, 4346 CNG stations and 2.10 crore PNG connections would be installed by 2025.

In Aug 2019, the government handed over the letters of intent to the bidders of the 10th round of CGD bidding which covered 50 geographical areas (GAs) spread over 14 states and 124 districts (112 full and 12 part), covering 24% of India’s population and 18% of its area.

As per the commitment made by the various entities in 10th CGD bidding round, 2.02 crore domestic PNG connections and 3,578 CNG stations would be installed in the period of 8 years.

Compressed natural gas (CNG) distribution network

As of Apr 2019, there has been an increase of additional 306 CNG refuelling stations during FY19 with Gujarat leading among all the states. Gujarat also has the most number of CNG stations as of Apr 2019. Nearly 97% of India’s CNG vehicles ply in the 5 states: Delhi (including Noida and Ghaziabad), Gujarat, Maharashtra, UP and Haryana. Around 87% of these are in the 3 states of Delhi, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

The following table lists the number of CNG filling stations as of 2019.

State As on 01.04.2018 As on 01.04.2019
Gujarat 457 545
Delhi / NCR 444 482
Maharashtra 275 313
Andhra Pradesh / Telangana 55 89
Rajasthan 3 5
Uttar Pradesh / Bihar 79 130
Tripura 6 9
Madhya Pradesh 31 43
Haryana 47 66
West Bengal 7 7
Karnataka 5 13
Chandigarh 4 5
Daman 2 3
Kerala 4 4
Dadra and Nagar Haveli 3 3
Odisha 2 6
Punjab 0 6
Uttarakhand 0 1
All India 1424 1730

Source: PPAC

                              Table 5: CNG filling stations as of 2019

Piped natural gas (PNG) distribution network

PNG is supplied to residential, commercial and industrial users through an extensive network of pipelines. Gas sales to commercial and industrial users are achieved through long-term gas sales agreement, whereas residential users are charged on a usage basis. Supplying PNG to industrial users can further be categorized into large-scale industries and small/medium-scale industries.

As on Apr 2019, the total number of PNG connections (50.8 lakh connections) has increased by 18.2% as compared with the PNG connections on Apr 2018 (there were 42.9 lakh connections in the start of the fiscal year). Domestic connections, commercial connections and industrial connections have increased by 18.2%, 7.3% and 16.1% respectively. Of the total PNG connections, domestic connections constitute 99.3% share followed by commercial connections having a 0.6% share and industrial connections with 0.2% share.

PNG is gaining popularity amongst the masses as is cheaper by 40% when compared with the market price of LPG and the price of PNG almost matches with that of subsidised LPG (based on prices in Delhi).

The following table lists the number of PNG connections by states as of 2019.

State Domestic connection Commercial connection Industrial connection
Haryana 98,893 281 486
Andhra Pradesh 29,435 120 4
Telangana 10,579 12 17
Assam 32,469 1074 402
Gujarat 20,38,881 18,701 4882
Madhya Pradesh 56,110 133 189
Maharashtra 14,52,902 4064 260
Delhi/NCR 10,92,223 2561 1751
Rajasthan 2160 12 14
Tripura 39,743 415 49
Karnataka 16,860 124 75
Uttar Pradesh 1,57,503 495 651
Chandigarh 9598 0 1
Kerala 1032 10 1
Dadra and Nagar Haveli 2676 18 15
Daman and Diu 506 22 9
Odisha 225 0 0
Uttarakhand 993 3 6
Punjab 400 1 11
All India 50,43,188 28,046 8823

Source: PPAC

                                                                 Table 6: PNG connections as of 2019


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