Piped Natural Gas to Mysuru All you wanted to know
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Piped Natural Gas to Mysuru All you wanted to know

February 13, 2022

By Bhamy V. Shenoy

In the world, the western democracies led by the US have threatened to stop the natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Here in Mysuru, a similar thing is being carried out to stop Piped Natural Gas (PNG) supply by Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) Corporators led by BJP MLAs.

Stopping Russian gas pipeline is to prevent potential attack of Ukraine by Russia. But what the Corporators are doing as we all know is for a less noble cause. They are putting hurdles to Prime Minister Narendra Modi from achieving his vision of India. He wants to increase the gas share of energy requirements from the current level of 6 percent to 15 percent by 2030 !

It is a crying shame that with the exception of Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha, Chamundeshwari MLA G.T. Devegowda and MLC A.H. Vishwanath, just about every leader is spreading misleading and erroneous information about PNG. As expected, LPG dealers who will be adversely affected have not been helpful.

In all developed countries, natural gas is widely used (gas share is 26 percent). Even in developing countries where gas is produced, it is widely used despite the huge initial investment required for gas supply infrastructure. As the world goes through an energy transition and the fossil fuel era comes to an end, gas is expected to play a critical role. It is for this reason that PM Modi has set an ambitious goal of 15 percent and to reach 70 percent of the Indian population by 2030.  That being so, why are his own party MLAs opposing gas for Mysuru?

PNG is safer and environmental-friendly

PNG (mostly methane) has one carbon atom whereas LPG (which is a blend of propane and butane) has three and four carbon atoms. Thus PNG is lighter than LPG and produces less Green House Gases (GHGs).

GHGs are the reasons for the world temperature to increase. Today, temperature is already higher by one degree compared to pre-industrial era. Thus by switching from LPG to PNG, we contribute to reducing climate change, contrary to what some have claimed during the press briefings.

It is true that methane is one of the potent Green House Gases when it is let go into the atmosphere. But PNG is burnt and not let into the atmosphere. Thus to claim that it contributes to climate change more than LPG is to mislead the public by comparing apples and oranges.

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Both LPG and PNG need to be handled carefully since both are easily combustible. But handling methane is far safer than LPG because it disperses into the environment quickly. Thus fire hazard is reduced. As is well-known, handling LPG cylinders is not easy, especially for elderly people.

Much ado about nothing

There is much ado about nothing about the road-digging charges. Ostensibly this seems to have caused BJP MLAs to differ from BJP MP. They claim that the city is short changed.  After talking with the Manager of AG&P Pratham, a Singapore-based company which is the distribution company for Mysuru, I found out that fees paid are really not just for digging. It is actually the fees paid to the city for giving rights to lay the pipeline.

However, if it involves laying pipelines also by digging asphalted roads, then the company should pay an additional amount to the city for asphalting.

Whether it is laying pipeline on footpath or on roads, the company has to restore the land by filling the dug up roads to its original condition. According to the AG&P, the amount paid by the PNG company in Hubballi (owned by Adani and Indian Oil) is Rs. 300 per metre for footpaths and for roads it is Rs. 900 – Rs.1,000 per metre.

However, in Bengaluru where the contractor is GAIL (Public sector company, Gas Authority of India Limited), irrespective of footpath or roads, the amount is the same which is Rs. 2,200 per metre. One of the reasons for higher cost is that in Bengaluru per metre more connections can be given because of higher density.

MLAs and Corporators felt that rates fixed for road laying charges were not adequate. Did they think that Mysuru should also get the same rate as Bengaluru of Rs. 2,000 per metre?  Even so, they could have negotiated the rates with AG&P instead of finding faults.

Corporators could have made a counter offer after analysing fees charged in different cities. Since AG&P has flexibility in charging PNG customers, they should be amenable to a higher rate. Instead the public was given the impression that the roads cannot be repaired for the quoted rates when in fact the real reason was different. 

Conclusion

I have attempted to shed more light on why PNG is preferred to LPG from just about every consideration — safety, ease of handling, economics, climate change, etc. When the future history of Mysuru will be written, political games played by our elected leaders will become a shameful chapter in infamy. When they prevented the 24×7 water supply project from being implemented by JUSCO in Mysuru, we the people kept quiet. Let us not allow history to repeat in the case of PNG supply also.

Economics of PNG Vs LPG

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Let us look at all important factors of economics of PNG as against LPG. Here again the public has been given the wrong information. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) used in vehicles cost Rs. 65 per kg. CNG gives about 20 kms while one litre of petrol costing Rs. 100 gives about 20-22 kms. Assuming a vehicle runs for about 50 kms per day, the owner can save about Rs. 32,000 per year. Thus he can recover the CNG conversion cost in 1.3 to 2 years.

 On the other hand, for residential customers who on average consume six LPG cylinders per year, annual savings would be Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 2,447 if they switch to PNG.

AG&P is already supplying CNG to six service stations in Mysuru by using expensive Cryogenic tankers.  Gas is cooled to -260 F (-160C) and is transported as LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) in these tankers from Ennore. However, once the gas pipeline from Bidadi to Mysuru is constructed, natural gas will be supplied in gaseous form which is much cheaper and safer. Here again the public was given the wrong information that PNG gets “solidified” at lower temperature!

Above savings are based on the LPG cylinder cost of Rs. 902 and PNG cost of Rs. 1,130 to Rs. 750 per million BTU. These savings can change depending on three factors:

 1. If the Government gives a higher or lower subsidy to LPG.

2.  If the price charged to gas distribution companies by the Government changes.

3. Distribution company decides to use its monopoly power to charge more and still be competitive.

 It is sufficient to state that all these three can happen without elaborating them. It would take an even larger article to discuss them. Still it is a safe bet that PNG is more economical than LPG unless the so-called APM (Administered Price Mechanism) increases significantly. APM is set by the Petroleum Ministry based on international prices.

7 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Piped Natural Gas to Mysuru All you wanted to know”

  1. A V Prasanna says:

    Another mundane article from Mr Bhamy Shenoy. Wonder why he does not touch important aspects for a common man to understand? This is because he is paid by AG&P not to reveal certain facts.
    1.) Calorific value of PNG 8000/9500 Kcal/KG, Calorific value for LPG 11500Kcal/KG. ( So one has to use more PNG to get desired heat for cooking purpose.)
    2.) Deposit for LPG cylinder around Rs. 1600 per cylinder. While AG&P charges Rs. 7000/- per installation.
    3.) For LPG cylinder no monthly fees, you can use this cylinder for any period of time till the cylinder is empty. For PNG one has to pay a monthly reading charges of Rs. 50/- whether the door is locked or no gas consumed.
    4.) One needs to change the nozzle of gas stove when switching over from LPG to PNG & vice versa.
    5.) BPL families living in small apartments get LPG at subsidized rate. There is no subsidy for PNG.
    With so many articles appearing in SOM on PNG, why there is no article from AG&P, what are they hiding????

  2. Gautam says:

    Hello Barmy Shenoy
    Ever attention seeker!!
    First, has PM Modi replied to your letter? Since, you are projecting yourself as an ‘international oil expert’, and boasted your credentials in your open letter ,the SOM readers have the right to know, whether PM Modi has replied to your letter. Obviously NOT!
    Second, Comparing the Russian threat to cut off natural gas to Germany , if it opposed Russian invasion of Ukraine, the pipeline is laid out there, to the Mysuru situation where the pipeline is about to be laid out is utter nonsense, the kind of nonsense , we read about your idea of developing the Devaraja Market like the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul!
    You speak about developed countries. I live in one, and emphasis is on renewables plus the nuclear energy, as natural gas burning is a pollutant when burnt in a massive scale, as Indian cooking in congested cities like Mysuru, involves hours of burning the gas preparing the spicy food of many courses. The daily routine in a household in Mysuru is cooked breakfast, cooked lunch and cooked dinner. Have you cooked at all? I have, and it takes a lot of gas burning!
    France, where the climate change accord took place, produces energy, almost all of its needs trough nuclear means. Germany is hamstrung by its politics where the nuclear energy-hating Green Party has strong support, opts for the natural gas. If the gas is cut off by Russians, France will step in and supply energy to Germany produced by its chain of nuclear power stations.
    You are just an attention seeker, and Mysoreans should see you as a politico, who aspires for a BJP ticket to stand in an election. You did stand before when you were massively rejected.
    Barmy, you settled in Mysuru, and not in Texas , the oil state of the US, and best for you to live your life quietly. If you were any good professionally, you would have been an oil executive in Texas, not wandering around in the previous Soviet Union countries, taking upj obs.
    Mysoreans should take the lead from PM Modi and ignore you.

  3. Nandini says:

    “In the world, the western democracies led by the US have threatened to stop the natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany”
    As usual Ghamy Shenoy is economical with his facts.
    Please read: https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20220130-nord-stream-2-russia-germany-gas-pipeline-becomes-a-geopolitical-lever
    The US along with other natural gas producing countries have assured LNG gas supplies to Germany, so that Putin does not use the piped gas as a leverage to gain Germany support for his intended invasion of Ukraine.
    Angela Merkel was warned that depending on Russia for piped gas would be political disaster. But she went ahead with the construction of the very expensive Russia-German pipeline for 2 reasons: 1. Germany has a very strong green lobby. Those who lived in Germany notice that right from the garbage collection, where the household refuse should be carefully divided and placed in the right refuse bags to almost pathological hatred to nuclear energy , and the daft closing of all its coal-powered stations 2. Angela Merkel was a former Communist official in East Germany where she was brought up and lived before the Berlin Wall came down. She always had a soft corner to Russia. Russia needed Germany’s money through this Nord2 gas pipe line.
    Conflating the above geopolitical machinations, and comparing it with the delay in considering the piped gas lines in Mysuru, when there is a very good alternative of LNG existing already, which works out as a safe source of gas energy to households, sounds very nonsensical.
    My relatives in Mysuru fear expensive energy source with standing charges etc..
    I am hence asking Bhamy Shenoy to declare his interests/ links , if any, with the company that is contracted out to layout the gas pipeline. He should say so publicly by posting a short message in the SOM. If he does not do this, , Mysoreans should assume that he is acting in the interests of the above company, and consider his articles as biased to favour his interests.

  4. Nandini says:

    Correction: I should have said, LPG, in reference to Mysuru households, apologies.

  5. Garadi Mane Questo says:

    @Bhamy Shenoy
    Forgetting this plan of bringing the piped gas to households for the moment as it requires decision by the Corporators after the Mayor election ,in the meanwhile, could your Grahachara outfit-the MGP, take initiatives to fix the stray dog menace, which you surely have noticed in your neck of woods n Mysuru? These vicious rabies-infested stray dogs hound pedestrians, even in streets where private hospitals and clinics are situated.
    What is the use of piped natural gas for cooking when the household members are bitten by these stray dogs and are undergoing rabies-treatment at great expense in the above hospitals which are too happy to fleece them?

  6. A V Prasanna says:

    Beautiful analysis by Gardi mane Questo. Yes the MGP in general and our Gassing expert Bhamy Shenoy is interested to take cases of non interest for a price. Stray dogs do not pay them, hence let loose for citizens to be bitten. AG&P pay them , hence we find articles every alternate days for public to changeover to PNG.

  7. Damaresh N says:

    Nice to see so many good comments.
    I Like to add few of my own.
    1.What if I want to change the distribution company if I am not satisfied?
    2.Comparing water line with LNG is not correct, any infrastructure can fail and what if there is a broken gas pipeline? I know based on pressure drop they can stop the supply to a area, in that case how can we cook till it gets repaired?
    3.Probably there will be news of pipeline blast, Hope it won’t happen but still chances are high (want to compare with water pipeline? :D)
    4.Please don’t club irrelevant topics together, LNG direct to home is different from CNG supply to Gas Stations
    5.I Don’t like to pay a fixed cost if I am not using the gas.
    6.Is it compulsory to get LNG Connection? is there any chances given to current LPG market to fight for there market share?
    7.PM Modi has ambitions to supply gas, it doesn’t really matter if its piped line or through cylinder, he can get his number from supplying affordable cooking gas cylinders as well
    8.Administered Price Mechanism – why do they always come up with all new institutions when old system is almost getting perfected?

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