Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) will acquire 25% stake each in Indian Oil Corporation’s (IOC’s) LPG pipeline project connecting Kandla in Gujarat with Gorakhpur in UP, ensuring capacity utilisation of the Rs 9,000-crore project aimed at bulk availability of the clean cooking fuel in the heart of the country.
The three state-run companies signed an agreement on Monday for forming a joint venture company to implement the project, proposed in 2016 in anticipation of demand rising due to the Narendra Modi government’s move to rid rural India of smoky kitchens by providing LPG connection free of cost under the Ujjwala scheme.
The Ujjwala scheme has turned the country into the world’s second-largest importer of LPG after China since 2017-18 as demand jumped by 8% due to addition of over seven million poor households to the consumer base since the scheme’s launch in May 2016.
Since India is deficit in LPG and largely depends on its import, the proposed pipeline will ease transportation from the main import terminal and cater to a quarter of the population by feeding 22 bottling plants along its route.
The pipeline will wheel 6 million tonne of LPG from the Kandla import terminal and west coast refineries to the north via Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Ujjain, Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, and Lucknow in UP.
This will be the country’s longest LPG pipeline. State-owned gas utility GAIL operates a 1,415-km pipeline from Jamnagar in Gujarat to Loni near Delhi, wheeling 2.5 million tonne of the fuel. GAIL also has a 623-km Vizag-Secunderabad pipeline.