New Delhi– India plans to double its natural gas consumption from the current 120 million standard cubic metres a day to 240 mscmd in five years, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Wednesday.

“India presently consumes 120 mscmd of gas, 60 per cent of which goes to the power and fertiliser sectors. We plan to double consumption in the next five years to 240 mscmd,” Pradhan said at a conference on natural gas organised jointly by industry chamber CII, Niti Aayog and the Columbia University in the US.

In a bid to boost India’s low gas consumption of six per cent in the energy mix, as compared to a world average of 24 per cent, the government had deregulated the pricing mechanism for producers, the minister said.

Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan
Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

“The biggest bottleneck in boosting India’s low gas consumption was the issue of who will decide the pricing. So the biggest policy measure in this sector has been the deregulation of gas pricing by our government.”

To increase the use of gas as a clean fuel, Pradhan said India had drawn up major investment plans, particularly for the eastern and southern regions which have low gas use.

“Around $20 billion investment has been planned in the next five-seven years for gas exploration, specifically from the eastern offshore and for deepwater wells exploration,” he said.

Pradhan pointed out that three fertiliser units in the eastern region were being revived with the help of gas, which would aid in the re-industrialisation of 20 cities.

“GAIL is undertaking the Jagdishpur-Haldia and Bokaro-Dhamra natural gas pipeline project and a series of LNG (liquefied natural gas) terminals are planned along the east coast,” he added. (IANS)