Global energy giant Shell will foray into retailing LNG for long-haul transportation like trucks, with its first filling station coming up in Gujarat this year as it bets big on the Indian gas market, a senior company official said.
Shell operates a 5 million tonnes a year liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facility at Hazira in Gujarat and has a small network of petrol pumps. It is now looking at the LNG for trucks/buses market as a growth avenue.
"We are looking to develop our own LNG sites and retail stations in the country," Nakul Raheja, country head of Shell Energy India, told PTI.
"So we are working now on our own expansion plans in this place and if things go to plan, then within this calendar year we should have our first site ready selling LNG as a transport fuel to heavy-duty vehicles in the state of Gujarat and we are going to follow that up with a few more sites next year," he added.
While the first site is likely to be an exclusive LNG retail outlet, the company may in the future look to co-locate the LNG refuelling facility within petrol pumps.
"We are starting with Gujarat in the vicinity of Hazira. Of course, as a very natural place to first start with around Surat and then logically expand, you know, further into Western India to begin with and then working on plans beyond that," he said, adding the company may have three-four sites in next 12 to 18 months.
The government is pushing the use of LNG as fuel for long-haul transportation. It is targeting 50 stations in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Rajasthan in the next three years and ultimately 1,000 outlets.