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  • The city gas distribution (CGD) sector has witnessed mixed progress in the past few years. The network has continued to grow and fresh licences have been issued at a much faster pace. However, despite several changes in the bidding parameters to encourage participation, the response has remained lukewarm.

  • The pipeline network has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 15 per cent between 2012 and 2016 (till June 2016) and the number of CNG stations has increased at a CAGR of 16 per cent. The total sales in 2015-16 were close to 15 mmscmd..

  • In 2016, new bidding rounds were rolled out by the PNGRB. Bids were invited for the development of CGD networks for five GAs under the seventh round and another eight GAs under the eighth round. While the seventh round was deferred due to issues of uncertain/distant natural gas pipeline connectivity, the eighth round is currently in its bidding phase.

  • The PNGRB also plans to invite fresh bids for 27 GAs under the fifth and sixth bidding rounds that either did not receive a bid or received only one bid. The Ministry of Urban Development has also selected 20 cities to be taken up for CGD network development under Round I of the
    Smart Cities Challenge. Of the 20 cities selected, bids have been invited for the development of CGD networks in 11 cities. There is thus significant opportunity for CGD operators in the next four to five years.

  • The PNGRB granted authorisation to lay, build, operate and expand the CGD network in two cities covered under the fourth bidding round, seven cities covered under the fifth bidding round, and 16 cities covered under the sixth bidding round.

  • While gas availability continues to be a challenge, policy developments have certainly helped improve access to domestic gas. Since January 2014, the top priority in domestic natural gas allocation has been accorded to domestic the CNG and PNG categories. This has helped CGD players to cut prices and retain their margins, thereby allowing them to regain competitiveness.

  • Going forward, the business potential for CGD networks in India is significant, owing to a strong domestic consumer base for the industrial, commercial and vehicular segments. The sector is offering more opportunities for technology providers as well. Most CGD operators are testing world-class technologies and best practices to ensure effective operations.

  • That said, given the importance attached to CGD development by the government and industry players, the sector needs to work on addressing operational challenges. The areas that require attention are asset management and distribution, trunkline connectivity, network safety, leakage detection and metering.

  • The mission of this conference is to analyse the key trends and developments, discuss the key issues and highlight the opportunities over the next few years. The conference also aims to showcase noteworthy projects, best practices and the most promising technologies.

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