Agartala, March 2 : A Rs 9,000 crore gas-grid project has been approved to transport natural gas among northeastern states and West Bengal, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said here on Saturday.
"There is huge amount of natural gas available in Assam, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and other northeast states is being tapped into for the Rs 9,265 crore North East Gas Grid (NEGG).
The government has okayed this project to transport gas among the northeastern states as well as West Bengal via Siliguri," Pradhan said inaugurating the Rs 215 crore Sonamura Gas Collecting station of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).
An ONGC official said the NEGG is a joint venture of five oil and natural gas companies -- Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOC), Oil India Limited (OIL), Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) and ONGC.
Huge onshore gas reserves have been found in Assam, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Tripura, which is also the number one gas producing state for ONGC.
The transportation and availability of cooking gas (liquefied petroleum gas -- LPG) has been eased after the Centre signed a deal with the Bangladesh to ferry LPG via Chittagong international sea port and land route.
"Carrying LPG tankers or cylinders by trucks through the northeast is a big problem due to its mountainous terrain.
The ferrying through Bangladesh will not only be cost-effective but also consume less time," the minister said.
Use of Tripura's gas reserve would also improve revenue and income of the state, he said.
The ONGC should explore more gas reserves to develop new industries, power plants and other projects in the state to help create jobs, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said.
The ONGC has been working in Tripura for the past five decades.
It has drilled 225 wells and found gas in 116.
A 726 MW power plant in southern Tripura is already using local reserves, the ONGC said.
The gas-based power projects is supplying electricity to all the northeastern states and Bangladesh (160 MW).
Resereves are also providing CNG to fuel thousands of vehicles and PNG for household and industrial consumption.