India’s state-run gas transmission company GAIL (India) Ltd is planning to build two pipelines to connect the Himalayan state of Uttaranchal with its existing network, the company said recently. A 95-km long pipeline will be built to Haldwani in the foothills of the Himalayas, along with a 200-km long pipeline to Hardwar, according to a company statement. The company’s network covers most industrialized regions in western and northern India, but the predominantly-hilly state of Uttaranchal has not yet been connected because it has fewer industrial customers. However, the state’s manufacturing sector is now growing at around 19%/yr, and is expected to accelerate in the next two years, raising concerns about pollution and destruction of pristine forests. “Given the environment sensitivity and the need for ecological preservation, it is a strategic necessity to consider gas as one of the potential alternatives to meet the energy needs of the state,” a GAIL spokesman said.
GAIL has estimated initial demand at 2.13 million cum/d of gas in the state, and has signed an agreement with the local government to jointly assess the prospects for using natural gas. The expansion of GAIL’s pipeline grid is expected to increase the substitution of liquid fuels – such as fuel oil and naphtha – with gas, particularly after two large domestic gasfields are developed in the next two to three years. India’s domestic naphtha sales have fallen in the last two years as the country started importing LNG.