Reliance to supply piped gas to 100 cities by 2010

Mumbai: Reliance Industries hopes to supply piped gas to 100 cities across the country by 2010 at cheaper rates than the cooking gas currently being supplied in cylinders, chairman Mukesh Ambani has said.

"By 2010, around 20 million homes in India will have access to piped gas," Ambani told delegates at the ongoing India Economic Summit.

"We plan to supply natural gas to 100 cities in the country at one-third lower price than the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder," Ambani added.

Piped gas being provided to cities is around 30-45 per cent cheaper as it uses low-cost and effective technology, Ambani pointed out. Currently gas is being piped directly to households only in a few cities like Delhi Mumbai and some in Gujarat. "The use of smart technology will help to deliver benefits directly to households," Ambani said.

Reliance, which reported the biggest gas discovery of 2003 at its Krishna-Godavari basin block, expects to start production by mid 2008. The reserves in the exploration block are being continually revised upwards with 25 out of 33 wells drilled so far yielding new finds, said Ambani.

Meanwhile the government estimates the share of gas in the energy fuel mix in the country to go up from 8-9 per cent currently to about 25 per cent by 2025.

"We foresee a situation where we are more or less self sufficient where gas availability is concerned, but the same cannot be said about liquid hydrocarbon," petroleum secretary R Srinivasan said.

He said, with focus on alternate fuels India aims to reduce import dependence from levels of 75 per cent at present through use of bio fuels for captive power generation. "By 2020, we expect two-three percent of high diesel use will be replaced by bio-diesel," said Srinivasan told the WEF summit

The summit is organised jointly by the World Economic Forum and the Confederation of Indian Industry.