The Piped Natural Gas (PNG) project in Bengaluru has made rapid progress in the seven years since its launch, but only after truly painstaking efforts.
Gail Gas Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gail India Limited, won the City Gas Distribution (CGD) contract in 2015 to supply natural gas by pipeline to Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural and Mangaluru in Karnataka. The twin districts of Bengaluru are supplied with gas by the 1,200 km long main line which runs underground from Dabhol in Maharashtra to Bidadi in Ramanagara district. The supply to the port city comes from the Mangaluru-Kochi line.
From the Bidadi line, Gail India Limited laid a 23 km sub-line connecting the Outer Ring Road (ORR). Gail Gas Limited took over and laid a 73 km network of pipelines, providing end-to-end connectivity to ORR. The next step was to set up District Regulation Stations (DRS). A DRS is installed at the node of the pipeline network from which gas is supplied to different areas at low pressure levels. One DRS can supply gas to a million people.
The agency has so far put in place 25 DRSs and laid a tertiary network of 180 km of carbon steel pipelines mainly to connect localities around ORR. These carbon steel pipelines are, in turn, connected to various residential, commercial and industrial establishments by a massive 1,500 km network of medium density polyethylene pipes to provide individual connections. Individual houses are supplied with gas through pipes that pass through well-ventilated spaces.
The company is currently supplying 4 lakh standard cubic meters of PNG per day.
That PNG is safer, cheaper and more convenient than liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is a well-established fact. PNG is safe because it is lighter than air and cannot be stolen.
“These benefits are clearly attracting people to PNG,” said Vivek Wathodkar, Chief General Manager (CGD), Gail Gas Limited, Bengaluru.
Sreelatha Sankar from Horamavu agreed. She has been using PNG for almost three months now. “We used to pay Rs 1,000 for a bottle of LPG, and now for the same amount of use we only pay Rs 600. The savings increase as consumption increases,” she said. declared. “The heat is more intense compared to LPG. “I can cook faster.”
Another user pointed out that PNG was the best option for the working class. “Reserving a bottle of gas in time was a real problem. For those who worked around the clock, receiving the delivery of bottles was just as difficult,” said another resident of Horamavu.
Kochu Sankar, president of the Trinity Enclave Residents’ Welfare Association, said more awareness was needed.
“We’ve been trying to get the connections for almost two years now. Finally, in January this year, our region received connections,” he said.
A number of business establishments and industries have opted for PNG. These include shopping malls, hotels, software companies, pharmaceutical companies, and industrial units. Demand for domestic connections is equally strong with at least 65 connections added every day, Wathokdar said.
When Wathodkar took over in 2018, the city received around 75,000 standard cubic meters from PNG. This figure is now 4 lakh.
The demand is so high, Wathodkar said, that Gail has been unable to fully meet it. “It’s a tedious process with a long gestation period. We need permissions from various external authorities to lay and expand the pipeline network,” he explained.
Another challenge is the digging of roads by external agencies. Gail coordinates with city agencies to make sure they don’t disrupt the pipeline network when digging roads. Asked about CBD expansion, Wathodkar said it would take another four to five years.