How GAIL powers growth across India’s natural gas value chain

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Sandeep Kumar Gupta, CEO, outlines how GAIL is serving as the backbone of India’s fast-moving natural gas infrastructure while expanding its footprint into new energy segments towards its net-zero goals.

Can you tell us more about GAIL and its contribution to the Indian energy sector?

GAIL is a leading natural gas company with a presence across India’s complete gas value chain. GAIL owns and operates a natural gas pipeline network of more than 16,000 km of natural gas pipelines on a pan-India basis, while executing multiple pipeline projects to further enhance the spread across the country.

With 24,623 km operational natural gas pipelines, GAIL commands around 70% market share in gas transmission and has a gas trading share of over 50% in India. GAIL also has a formidable share in City Gas Distribution, with the highest connected PNG of 76.6 lakh and 2,410 CNG stations. GAIL marked a historic milestone as its market capitalisation and assets exceeded Rs 1.00 lakh crore.

Could you share some highlights of GAIL’s future growth plans and partnerships?

GAIL is striving to achieve Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of making India a gas-based economy. Towards this end, GAIL is working towards developing a national gas grid that will cover untouched areas of the country. One of its most prestigious projects is the 2,539 km long Jagdishpur – Haldia & Bokaro – Dhamra pipeline project, popularly known as Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga.

This line carries natural gas to eastern and north-eastern India for the first time, with pipelines also being laid in other limited-penetration areas of central and southern India. It is also important to make natural gas available at an economic cost for customers, which is why GAIL is constantly scouting for the best liquefied natural gas (LNG) deals and has recently signed agreements with Vitol and Adnoc to enhance its existing portfolio.

GAIL is also expanding its shipping line, and now has four time-chartered LNG vessels in its fold. Besides, it is adopting innovative LNG technology and setting up India’s first small scale LNG plant. Apart from natural gas, GAIL is also expanding its footprint in renewable and alternate energy segments by setting up solar, wind, green hydrogen and compressed biogas plants. In fact, the 10 MW PEM-based green hydrogen plant it is presently setting up will be one of India’s largest.

Sandeep Kumar Gupta

Sandeep Kumar Gupta, CEO, outlines how GAIL is serving as the backbone of India’s fast-moving natural gas infrastructure while expanding its footprint into new energy segments towards its net-zero goals

How do you view the Indian and global energy market in 2024 and how are you focusing on the energy transition?

The global energy market has been facing a series of unprecedented upheavals and challenges for the last few years. The year 2024 has also started with an evolving situation in the Red Sea, which is forcing countries and companies to review their strategies.

GAIL is also an important stakeholder, keeping a close watch and taking steps so that its operations are only minimally impacted.

However, the global impetus now is towards decarbonisation and transitioning to net zero goals. GAIL leads in this direction, and has developed its net zero strategy target for GHG Emissions of 100% reduction in Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions and a 35% reduction in Scope 3 emissions by 2040.

Deep-dive efforts are being carried out for penetration of renewable energy in the supply mix, with a focus towards electrification and new energy forms – such as compressed biogas and hydrogen – as key drivers of GAIL’s energy transition journey.

How important is it for your company to be at India Energy Week?

India Energy Week 2024 will be the country’s largest energy exhibition and conference, and the entire energy value chain will be showcased. It will serve as a catalyst for India’s energy transition goals and GAIL is proud to be one of the sponsors.

We will be showcasing technology including ship-to-ship LNG transfer, floating CNG stations and long-haul LNG buses and trucks, biofuels, setting up CBG plants, a hydrogen PEM electrolyser, Hazira Meter Prover, application of midstream technology like micro-tunnelling, HDD, and 3D digital modelling.

What are your views on the prospects of the energy sector in India and the region? How does it relate to the global energy industry?

Obviously, India is a focal point for the global energy industry and GAIL will strive to use this advantage for the nation’s development and benefit of its customers. Natural gas is one of the mainstays of global energy, playing an important role in replacing polluting fuels.

It is the energy transition’s bridge fuel, filling in the growing demand for clean and affordable energy, quickly and in a cost-effective manner.

GAIL serves as the backbone of India’s gas infrastructure, ensuring operational flexibility and effective management of uncertainties in upstream and downstream operations.

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