Mizoram, where assembly elections have been announced, will also be included once clearance from the Election Commission is obtained.
Launching the bid round, Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said after this round, gas will be taken to islands which are the only uncovered areas.
There are 300 authorised GAs by PNGRB covering around 88 per cent of the country’s geographical area and 98 per cent of its population.
On successful completion, India’s entire area and population will be covered except Mizoram, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.
“The government is focused to promote the usage of natural gas as a fuel/feedstock across the country to increase its share in primary energy mix from current level of 6.2 per cent to 15 per cent by 2030,” he said. “An approx. investment of USD 67 billion is expected in natural gas infrastructure by next 5-6 years.” Bidding for 12th round will close on January 11 and award of areas is likely in 2-3 weeks thereafter.
A presentation made at the launch said an investment of USD 4.5 billion is expected in the developing of city gas infrastructure in the areas being bid out.
The country has 1.15 crore house kitchens connected with piped natural gas. There are some 5,900 CNG stations in the country.
The city gas sector consumes about 35 million standard cubic meters per day or 22 per cent of all gas consumed in the country.
In the last 11th and 11A CGD bidding round, PNGRB authorised 67 GAs for the development of CGD network in the country.
Puri said that to promote the usage of natural gas, the government has put thrust on expansion of national gas grid pipeline, expansion of city gas distribution (CGD) network and setting up of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals.
At present, about 23,500 km long gas pipeline network is under operation in the country and around 12,000 km pipeline is approved/under construction.
Efforts are underway to complete the vision of One Nation One Gas Grid by 2030, he said.
“The government had insulated people from recent turmoil in oil and gas prices caused by geopolitical events. We had taken measures so that impact of the surge of international gas prices did not pass on to the consumers of the country. Last year, when Henry Hub prices witnessed an increase of 262 per cent in comparison to the preceding year, the rise in CNG price in India was only 75 per cent,” he said.
“The development of gas sector and its allied industries are expected to create a robust gas ecosystem with multi-fold increase in investments as well as employment opportunities. The existence of such assured demand from the CGD sector can provide a strong incentive to increase domestic manufacturing and development of ancillary industries,” he said.
Speaking at the occasion, PNGRB chairman Anil Kumar Jain said that the current focus of the sector regulator (PNGRB) is to create a vibrant and sustainable gas infrastructure in the whole country.
The launch of this bidding round for Himalayan states is a step towards providing a cleaner fuel in the fragile ecosystem of these states, he said.