GAIL India looks at petrochemicals, renewables for growth

GAIL transports over 70 per cent of all gas shipped in the country through its network of 12,426-km network of natural gas trunk pipelines

New Delhi: State-owned GAIL India Ltd is eyeing expansion in petrochemicals, specialty chemicals and renewables to supplement growth in its core business of natural gas marketing and transportation, its chairman Manoj Jain has said. The nation’s largest gas marketer and shipper has adopted a revised strategic plan identifying priority business initiatives. “This strategic plan will help us to address our challenges in changing industry scenarios and provide new areas for growth with geographic expansion,” he said in the company’s latest annual report.

GAIL transports over 70 per cent of all gas shipped in the country through its network of 12,426-km network of natural gas trunk pipelines. It sells 55 per cent of all natural gas in the country and petrochemical plants at Pata and Lepatkata in Assam that gives it a 17.5 per cent market share.

It has a small portfolio of wind and solar power generation capacity. “While gas will remain our core segment, we will look for growth in other areas such as petrochemicals, specialty chemicals, renewables, water, etc to reach new heights in coming years,” he said. GAIL in the annual report for 2019-20 said it has undertaken ‘Strategy 2030’ exercise to define its journey through the next decade.

“The strategy has been developed with the objective of building a strong business portfolio and organisation structure which is not only robust enough to respond to the fast-changing business scenario but also unlocks growth opportunities for the long-term growth of the company,” it said.

GAIL said it plans to bid for new pipelines put on offer by the regulator. Also, it will continue to grow its gas transmission business by laying important sections of National Gas Grid — about 7,500-km of lines, mostly to the eastern part of the country, are currently being laid.

GAIL said it shall push for higher gas usage in the industrial and transport segments using CNG and LNG. The company is talking to city gas licence holders to set up liquefied natural gas (LNG) dispensing stations on National Highways to supply fuel to long-haul trucks and buses.

It will also explore “opportunities in the petrochemicals segment to leverage upon GAIL’s extensive presence and high future demand of polyethylene and polypropylene,” the report said adding the firm was also assessing opportunities for certain specialty chemicals in India.

GAIL said it “will be selectively making investments in the renewable energy domain given the future growth potential. The company is exploring the opportunity of acquiring stakes in renewable energy assets of existing players and also looking towards participating in the solar park tenders as a solar power producer”.

Besides expanding city gas network, it will explore new business opportunities which have the potential to offer future growth engine and substantially add to the portfolio, the report said.

GAIL “shall also be focussing on preparing the next line of leadership and developing capabilities to realise the strategic direction that has been envisioned,” it said. “To promote new technologies, GAIL has invested in the startups which focus on new technologies like electric vehicles, digitisation, etc.”