Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum, GAIL and Petronet LNG will together build the 50 LNG stations in the first phase across ten states. A fuel station will be built every 200-300 km on the golden quadrilateral, which will ultimately have 150 stations. The larger ambition of 1,000 stations will require an investment of Rs 10,000 crore.
ET first reported in January that Indian Oil, GAIL and partners were planning to build a network of LNG fuel stations along the golden quadrilateral expressway.
LNG would be greener and cheaper than diesel and help cut logistics cost, Pradhan said, adding that the target was to convert 10% of the 10 million trucks currently on highways to LNG. This would raise the country’s dependence on imported natural gas, which is about half of domestic consumption currently.
Increased import of LNG will decrease India’s import of crude, which would bring down global oil prices, Pradhan said.
Pradhan also sought the support of truck manufacturers to help the LNG plan take off. Without enough domestically-manufactured affordable LNG-using trucks, the fuel stations would be unviable.
India already has lakhs of vehicles using compressed natural gas (CNG) but barely any that uses LNG, which is natural gas supercooled to -162 degree centigrade. Because of its lower energy density and slow refuelling time, CNG is seen as suitable for intra-city transport but not for long-haul drives. LNG contains 2.5 times more energy per unit volume compared to CNG and can fill fast, becoming appropriate for long-distance travel.
In China, LNG-fuelled trucks have been booming in the last few years, mainly helped by the country’s green laws.