To improve the gas-based investments in the State, Tripura state officials have stated that the ONGC and other Exploration Agencies need to step up the gas exploration work and should confirm the gas availability to potential investors on long-term basis. Without this, the state officials have mentioned that it will not be possible to make any serious and meaningful efforts for setting up of gas-based industries in Tripura.
In a meeting in the State to discuss the natural gas availability, the officials discussed that the gas production capacity reported by ONGC in different Forums from time to time, has shown a fluctuating trend. In the year 1997, it was reported to be 4.5 mmscmd. In the 3rd High Level Monitoring Committee (HLMC) meeting held in 2002, the production potential was reported to be 4 mmscmd and projected to be 8 mmscmd by end of 10th Plan. In 2003, this was reported to be 4.3 mmscmd.
In March 2006, in the Parallel Task Force meeting, it was reported to be 3 mmscmd by 2006 to be enhanced to 4.5 mmscmd by 2008 and 6.0 mmscmd by 2010. In 2007, ONGC informed that the gas availability would increase from 1.5 mmscmd to 4.5 mmscmd after 2009 and further projection would be possible after 2014-15. It was further informed that they cannot fulfil the allocation of 1.78 mmscmd natural gas made by the Ministry and can supply only 1.5 mmscmd gas as contracted with GAIL.
In 2010, ONGC informed the State that the production rate was about 1.62 mmscmd and the gas supply commitments during 2011-12 would be 3.15 mmscmd, while the same would be about 5.32 mmscmd during 2012-13. Also, it was informed that they have formulated revised investment proposal titled “Projects and Facilities to produce and supply 6.0 mmscmd gas from Tripura Gas Fields” at an estimated capital cost of Rs. 4376.01 crore. The ‘’Mission 6 million’ was to be in 3 phases and their future plan of action included generation of at least 5.5 mmscmd production potential by 2011-12.
However, as per the information furnished by ONGC earlier this year, the ONGC informed that they are now producing about 1.8 mmscmd to feed present consumer demand. Present Gas supply commitment is 3.15 mmscmd and maximum production rate of 2.85 mmscmd was achieved on in January 2013.
The officials further deliberated that the investors has been showing interest in setting up gas-based industries, but in the absence of gas-linkage the same have not materialised. They noted that ARCL Organic approached the State Government for setting up of a Natural Gas based Petrochemical Complex in the State of Tripura and indicated requirement of 0.5 mmscmd of natural gas for this project. The proposal was referred to ONGC, but no response was received. ONGC has indicated in various meetings that the gas explored so far is just enough for the 726 mw gas-based project at Pallatana and gas allocation for other projects may not be possible. The State officials stated that the petroleum ministry and ONGC should consider making commitment for gas availability for various gas-based industrial Projects in addition to the upcoming power project.