A consortium of Indian energy companies has committed to introduce almost 20 LNG fuelling stations in the country by next year to support heavy-goods transport growth.
The proposed network of LNG refuelling stations will be developed by state-run energy firm Petronet LNG, Indian Oil Corporation and BPCL along with local partners and Petronet has already put initial work for the project already out to tender.
The firms aim to begin by piloting 5,000 LNG-fuelled trucks on five leading national highways.
“Following its successful experiment, this exercise would have a repeat in subsequent year of 2020 for another estimated 5,000 trucks that can run on national highways on LNG with a fuel cost saving of nearly 25 percent as well effectively addressing the issue of fuel pollution,” V. K. Mishra, director of Finance at Petronet LNG, said.
Leading Indian automotive manufacturers Tata and Mahindra are also now reportedly exploring opportunities to produce more LNG-fuelled heavy transport vehicles as well as buses.
LNG imports to fuel transport boom
Backing for these new LNG stations is closely tied with wider governmental strategy to upscale LNG imports in the country and drive adoption of the fuel for transport.
Ambitious plans were outlined earlier this year by Narendra Taneja, spokesman for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, to triple LNG imports to 70 million tonnes per year and add 11 import terminals over the next seven years.
Ministry of Shipping plans LNG-fuelled barge fleet
Capitalising on the projected growth in LNG supply, the country’s Ministry of Shipping plans to launch a fleet of LNG-fuelled barges and associated infrastructure on the Ganges by the end of this year
“The agencies responsible for framing and enforcing regulations related to the navigation of LNG Barges have been asked to study best practices and regulations on the subject for implementation in India,” a shipping ministry spokesperson said, adding that LNG barges “offer immense opportunities in transportation”
To achieve this and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and Petronet LNG is expected to pave the way for widespread use of LNG as a transport fuel on India’s National Waterways.