Government trying to start LNG barges on Ganga by 2018-end

New Delhi: The government is making efforts to ensure that environment friendly liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fuelled barges commence navigation on the National Waterway-1 on the river Ganga by the end of 2018, an official statement said on Monday. "Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and Petronet LNG have been asked to plan and coordinate their work plans in a manner such that LNG barges could commence navigation on NW-1 by December 2018," a shipping ministry statement said here. State-run joint venture Petronet LNG will design, construct and operate LNG unloading, storage, bunkering and reloading facilities on the national waterways, it said. Action has already been initiated for preparing detailed feasibility report and it is expected to be completed by December 2016, it added. Petronet LNG plans to set up a base depot at Haldia and fuelling stations at Sahibganj (Jharkhand), Patna (Bihar) and Ghazipur (UP). The IWAI will facilitate the switchover of bunker fuel from diesel to LNG by persuading the barge owners and the operators about the benefits of LNG, the statement said. The IWAI will also provide land, wherever possible, for setting up LNG storage and will develop jetties to facilitate bunkering, it added. Introduction of LNG barges is being considered in Goa too, as national waterways there offer immense opportunities in transportation of iron ore and are closer to LNG storage facilities, the statement said. "Higher fuel efficiency and negligible pollution are major attendant benefits of the new fuel. As per the present pricing, operating LNG barges will be much cheaper than diesel as fuel. "LNG barges will be a step towards achieving the commitments made by the country at COP 21 (international climate change talks)," it added.