India to boost natural gas share in its energy mix
In recent weeks, a thick blanket of smog, which has kept many people indoors and resulted in grave health warnings being issued, has choked India's national capital of New Delhi. One of the Indian government's plans to help alleviate pollution, a major problem in a number of Indian cities, is to use more natural gas in the energy mix as an alternative to coal and oil.
Similar to oil, natural gas is found underground or under the sea. It is a tasteless, colourless and odourless gas that chiefly consists of methane and supplies 22 percent of the world's energy. That number is set to grow in the next 20 years, as natural gas use is likely to increase more than any other fuel source.
Its usage and applications are vast - ranging everything from cooking our food, heating our homes, powering our appliances, to generating electricity. It can even fuel our vehicles. This versatile and abundant resource is helping to drive a manufacturing revolution and contributing to emission reductions drives all over the world.
Consequently, India's push for more natural gas is also part of a strategy to ensure the country's energy security. Expanding the use of gas is particularly important given the rising hunger for energy in a country of more than 1.3 billion people - which is the world's fastest growing with rapid urbanisation anticipated to take place.
GOI reiterated the target to increase the use of natural gas by 2.5 times by 2030, which pushes natural gas' share to 15 per cent of India's energy mix, from the prevailing 6.5 per cent. Under the Paris agreement on climate change, India has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions intensity - a measure of carbon emissions per unit of economic activity or GDP - by up to 35 percent by 2030.
The government has introduced "several key policy initiatives to grow the sector", including making efforts to increase domestic exploration and production of gas and cutting by half import duties on LNG. With domestic production still weak, India has sketched out plans to increase its imports of LNG with additional investments on New Regasification Terminals and Pipelines.
Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone to mark the beginning of work for CNG supply to automobiles and piped cooking gas to kitchens, in 129 districts of 18 states, covering over a quarter of India's population. Keen to cut emissions through a greater share of environment friendly natural gas as auto and cooking fuel, PM Modi also launched the 10th round of bidding for award of city gas licenses in 124 new districts, which have been clubbed into 50 Geographical Areas (GAs).
At the launch event, he announced the ambitious target of setting up a natural gas trading exchange. This would ensure transparency in terms of the pricing of natural gas. This is an important step in developing infrastructure and once the 10th round is completed, natural gas as fuel will cover 400 districts and about 70 per cent of the population.
BPCL forms the subsidiary Bharat Gas Resources Limited (BGRL)
BPCL over the years has been a keen advocate of this important component of the energy basket. Partnering OMC's, BPCL played a keen role to invest in the infrastructure to bring Natural Gas at the doorsteps of customers. JV's in the form of Indrapastha Gas Ltd (IGL) & Petronet LNG were formed nearly two decades ago giving BPCL the status of a 'major player' in the Industry. Subsequently other JVs were formed SABARMATI GAS LIMITED (SGL), HARIDWAR NATURAL GAS PRIVATE LIMITED (HNGPL), GOA NATURAL GAS PRIVATE LIMITED (GNGPL), CENTRAL UP GAS LIMITED (CUGL), MAHARASHTRA NATURAL GAS LIMITED (MNGL), over the course of time to ensure delivery to the end customer.
Fortunately, BPCL's exploration arm Bharat Petro Resources Ltd. (BPRL) also struck gold in its ventures abroad by striking large finds of Natural Gas in exploration ventures abroad. With an edge in understanding of this fastest growing sectors globally and acquiring realisation that its wider adoption can help India uplift the quality of life of its people by improving the nation's exposure to clean and green energy for household and industrial purposes, BPCL formed a wholly owned subsidiary BGRL (Bharat Gas Resources Ltd). On 7th June 2018, Bharat Gas Resources Limited was incorporated as BPCL's wholly Owned Gas Subsidiary, with its Registered Office at Mumbai and an authorized capital of Rs 2,000 crores. This would enable:
- BPCL to emerge as a prominent player in the Indian gas market and to effectively manage the risk and volatility that's inherent in the gas business
- Speedy decision making, effective allocation and application of resources and development of competencies within the business
The company has decided to transfer its entire gas business to the new entity through the slump sale route. The process is in progress and we expect the same to be completed by end of FY 2019.
p.s : In the ninth round, BPCL - through its subsidiary BGRL - was successful in winning 11 GAs out of the 86 GAs that were put up for bidding.
India is a mystical land, with captivating images. One of the fascinating things about India is magical dance between then old and new. The "Silicon Valley" of Bangalore is just as much a part of the world's largest democracy as its old remote villages. Nothing is predictable in this country. You can expect only the unexpected, which comes in many forms - from desert hills to snow-covered peaks. As a tourism destination, there's nowhere more beautiful than India. For now, let's take a deep dive into one of India's most magnificent festivals.
Rann of Kutch
Every year, between November and February, Kutch in Gujarat witnesses the amazing spectacle of Rann of Kutch. The three-month long festival is a magnificent carnival of music and dance and provides visitors a glimpse into the culture and heritage of Gujarat, with a wide host of activities to indulge in.
The Utsav has already begun on November 1, 2018, and will culminate on February 20, 2019. The event is organised by the Tourism Department of Gujarat to promote tourism in the state.
The grand Kutch Rann Utsav begins in the iconic Bhuj district. The finale of the festival is organised at a tent city, which is set up near Dhordo, a small village. Tent city is unique and it leaves tourists spell-bound. The city is a temporary human settlement and is made up of 400 tents with facilities. You can either opt for the AC tent or choose the non-AC one. The tent city is well-equipped and the tents have all amenities which would make your visit a memorable one. The tents have room heaters and a supply of warm water to ensure that your stay is comfortable. Other than this, there is also a shopping complex at the tent city from where you can buy products of your use. Other amenities available at the tent city are an exhibition centre and a dining hall to name a few. Being well-connected via the Bhuj Airport, getting to the village is not difficult.
Prime festival attractions
The festival is the ideal place to explore the rich culture and vibrant traditions of Gujarat and is perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The event is celebrated during the winter months from November to February; thus making it perfect for a vacation in these months.
The festival provides tourists with numerous options and one of these is shopping. At the Utsav, a number of items are on display such as unique Gujarati handicrafts and Kutchi embroidery, silverware, ornaments, kitchen items, mirror work etc. These can either be bought for domestic use or can be carried home as a souvenir.
Folk artists from all across the state gather at this festival to mesmerize the tourists with their music. Tourists can also indulge in activities such as a desert safari or a hot air balloon ride to catch an aerial view of the magnificent Kutch desert from the skies. There are also other milder adventure rides that are aimed at kids. Tourists can also participate in activities like a camel cart excursion, golf cart rides and ATV rides amongst others. At night, you can take a walk around the tent and have a glimpse of the star-studded skies. The tourists can also visit some of the splendid temples such as Narayan Sarovar or the Kera Shiv Temple. The Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary is located close by. Being the largest wildlife sanctuary in India in terms of area, it's a haven for nature lovers.
As Mr. Amitabh Bachchan puts it in a Gujarat Tourism ad, "Kutch nahi dekha toh kuchh nahi dekha!"
So what are you waiting for? Plan your trip to the Kutch Rann Utsav right away with the Happy Roads app - available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
What's cooking this Makar Sankranti?
India is a country that's truly diverse - with a multitude of cultures and languages all living together. One of the things that unite the people of India is their festivals. Makar Sankranti deserves mention here as it's a festival that's celebrated under different names all over India. Usually observed on the 14th of January, Makar Sankranti is about celebrating the harvest season as well as the winter solstice. No festival is complete without its accompanying food delicacies. We list down some here.
A dish that hails from the south of India, the people of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana prepare this sweet dish out of wheat flour, rice flour, and jaggery. The dough that's made out of this is then flattened and fried in oil to form a sweet, crispy dish that'll leave anyone wanting for more. By tradition, it is presented to the God figures in the house before consumption.
- Ramdane ke Laddu
This dish hails from the north of India. Ramdane ke Laddu is prepared by mixing puffed ramdana or rajgira, cashew-nuts, raisins, and crushed green cardamom seeds with molten jaggery - which is then rolled into balls to form laddus.
A specialty of Gujarat. This dish symbolises the start of winter. Prepared specifically for the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti, Undhiyu is a delicious concoction of seasonal vegetables like sudti papdi, yams, egg-plants, unripe bananas, etc. - cooked to perfection in deep vessel and served with Pooris and Bajra Roti.
The people of the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand have quite an interesting way of celebrating Makar Sankranti. In Uttarakhand, this festival is called Ghughutiya and consequently, Ghughute is the dish prepared to commemorate the occasion. Wheat flour and jaggery is mixed and the mixture is then beaten into different shapes like pomegranate flowers, knives, spirals, etc. Following this, the batter is amply fried in ghee and strung together to form a garland - the entire arrangement being called a Ghughute. Kids wear these garlands and try to feed these sweets to crows as a symbol of welcoming migratory birds.
Try Bebinca: A layered Goan dessert
A traditional rich Goan dessert, Bebinca is seen as a must-have at any celebration - whether that be a birth, a wedding, a promotion or even on festive occasions like Christmas or Easter. Making Bebinca requires time and patience. It needs just four main ingredients - eggs, all-purpose flour, coconut milk and sugar with a hint of nutmeg and ghee. But it's the cooking process that involves baking one layer at a time, which can sometimes take up to four hours.
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