Piped gas could soon be a reality in Chennai
In perhaps a year, Chennai will also get piped natural gas (PNG) supply.
The bidding process for city gas distribution (CGD) networks for 11 locations in Tamil Nadu and one in Puducherry is under way.
Bidding had been put on hold in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry as there was no infrastructure for liquified natural gas (LNG), say oil industry sources. The geographical locations in districts including Salem, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Tiruvarur, Cuddalore and Nagapattinam have been identified by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board.
But now with the LNG terminal at Ennore progressing well and the Ennore–Thoothukudi pipeline work too making some headway, the State could very well join cities like Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram, where CGD networks are functioning. PNG is cheaper and safer than LPG and would help end users cut cost. The consumption of gas would be metered.
Just like power or phone cables, pipelines of varying diameter would be laid underground and, in a phased manner, the city would be covered. The pipelines would be divided into primary, secondary and tertiary networks. The pressure would reduce with each level. For domestic consumers, the pressure would be similar to that of an LPG cylinder. The network would have pressure regulators and odourisers. Hotels and industries would get the pressure they require. The pipelines are usually laid at a depth of one metre on the edge or shoulder of the road.
The consumer would not have the problem of booking gas cylinders. Around 80% of such networks in the country are being managed by State-run oil companies or other related industries. Such a network would do away with the LPG dealer / distributor network.
“However, in Chennai I don’t think they can cover thickly populated areas, such as Tondiarpet and Royapuram. People living there are fed up with leaky oil pipelines. In other areas, at least a small section of consumers have opted out of reticulated gas supply as they are being charged exorbitantly by the third party that takes care of maintenance. We have to wait and watch,” he said.