IOC to focus on rural areas to expand Indane base

Kolkata, Oct 10 (IANS) With LPG (cooking gas) consumption poised to grow from the existing 18 million tonnes to 25 million tonnes by 2022, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is keen to expand its reach of cooking gas cylinders in rural pockets.

The company will target to increase penetration of Indane – its cylinder brand – in rural India by focusing on 5 kg cylinders.

“We are investing heavily on upgrading our capacity and infrastructure. In the current fiscal year, a capital expenditure of Rs.15,000 crore has already been earmarked,” chairman B. Ashok told media persons here on the sidelines of a company event.

IOC is coming up with three more bottling plants (LPG filling centres) in Bihar and Punjab and come up with two more import terminals in Cochin and Paradip.

Presently, IOC has 91 such bottling plants and 10 refineries.

“Work is also under progress for the gas pipeline originating from Paradip and passing though Haldia to connect Durgapur. After this, this pipeline will be extended to Muzzafarpur passing through Patna,” said Ashok.

The investment involved in this project is Rs.900 crore for the first phase (Paradip-Durgapur) and Rs.1,800 crore in the second phase (Durgapur-Muzzafarpur).

Noting globally around 4 million deaths are caused by indoor pollution arising from usage of traditional cooking habits based on wood, coal and others and India accounts for a substantial amount of these, Ashok said that the initiative to connect rural India with LPG cylinders will help the country in minimizing such deaths.

“A lot more needs to be done in the rural areas and we see tremendous opportunity in these markets,” he said.

Fifty percent of the 18 million tonne of LPG consumed in the country is imported.

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