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Govt aiming for composite energy retailing, says Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

The Financial Express logo The Financial Express 08-06-2021 FE Bureau
a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: CNG sales have declined recently as transportation and passenger mobility segments have been severely hit by the second wave of Covid-19 and states have imposed lockdowns to curb the spread of infections. © Provided by The Financial Express CNG sales have declined recently as transportation and passenger mobility segments have been severely hit by the second wave of Covid-19 and states have imposed lockdowns to curb the spread of infections.

Union minister of petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan said on Tuesday that the government aims to move towards the concept of energy retailer where all different transport fuels - hydrogen, diesel, petrol, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) and EV batteries swapping facility - shall be available at a single point.

Pradhan was speaking at an online event where he inaugurated 201 new CNG retail outlets owned by joint ventures and subsidiaries of GAIL. The minister also inaugurated two mobile refueling units (MRUs) for refueling CNG vehicles in Raigad, Maharashtra and Delhi. The MRUs belong to Mahanagar Gas and Indraprastha Gas, respectively.

Asserting that the future of fuel retail is mobile, Pradhan said that "we are bringing in innovation in energy retailing and making it mobile and delivering at the doorsteps". MRUs can store up to 1,500 kg CNG and can fill 150 to 200 vehicles per day and will help supply CNG in areas not yet connected through pipelines and at places where there is shortage of land to set up conventional CNG stations.

Pradhan said that state-run IOCL is soon going to launch hydrogen dispensing station at its refinery in Vadodara. The government also aims to have 10,000 CNG retail outlets in the next five years as the country plans to increase the share of gas in its energy basket to 15% by 2030 from the current level of 6%. As on October, 2020, there were 2,434 CNG stations across the country.

CNG sales have declined recently as transportation and passenger mobility segments have been severely hit by the second wave of Covid-19 and states have imposed lockdowns to curb the spread of infections.

"CNG volumes are expected to start recovering from the lows of May 2021 as several states have begun easing restrictions amid a decline in infections," Sabyasachi Majumdar, vice president at Icra said on Tuesday.

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