“THINK Gas is at the forefront of adopting the latest technologies”
THINK Gas was established in 2018 with the aim of supplying clean fuel to consumers. It has adopted global best practices in safety, processes, technology and customer relationship management for city gas distribution (CGD). THINK Gas has seven licences to operate across 13 districts in India and is involved in the business of supplying compressed natural gas (CNG) and piped natural gas (PNG) to domestic, commercial and industrial users. At a recent Indian Infrastructure conference, Hardip Singh Rai, chief executive officer, THINK Gas, discussed the company’s existing operations, developments in the sector and best practices adopted by the company. Excerpts…
How has THINK Gas’s journey been in the CGD sector?
THINK Gas won its first authorisation in the ninth CGD bidding round and has presence in seven geographical areas (GAs) at present. The company is currently operational in the districts of Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Barnala, Moga, Kapurthala and SBS Nagar in Punjab; Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh; Bhopal, Rajgarh and Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh; Kangra and Chamba in Himachal Pradesh; and Begusarai in Bihar. THINK Gas has established over 100 CNG stations, 11 city gate stations (CGSs), one liquefied CNG station, more than 500 km of steel pipeline and over 1,850 km of medium density polyethylene pipeline. It is building an ecosystem covering an area of over 46,000 square km.
The job of a CGD company is to deliver gas to consumers, and generate revenue and profitability by ensuring reliable sourcing of gas. With this objective in mind, THINK Gas is focusing on rapid infrastructure development. In a span of four years, the company has laid 80 per cent of the total infrastructure it was required to set up in eight years as per the minimum work programme (MWP). The company has already operationalised 100 CNG stations against the MWP target of 72 CNG stations.
The quickest way to reach customers is by working with oil marketing companies (OMCs) and using their network. THINK Gas partners with OMCs such as Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Indian Oil Corporation Limited and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, which have resale outlets. THINK Gas installs a dispenser and a daughter booster facility, and partners with OMCs to establish a CNG ecosystem. At present, the company is prioritising the development of its own brand stations. It has a total of 69 OMC stations and 31 THINK Gas branded stations.
In 2018, when THINK Gas started developing a gas ecosystem, the development of CNG stations was given preference as they were more profitable. However, after the ninth CGD bidding round, things have changed. THINK Gas is now focusing on the household business. The company has achieved a gas sale of 300,000 mmscmd with 60,000 household connections, 55 industrial connections and 88 commercial connections across all its GAs.
What initiatives have been undertaken by THINK Gas to improve efficiency and operations?
THINK Gas focuses on delivering quality, reaching customers efficiently, improving functionality and generating revenue. Therefore, the company implemented smart meters for its connections right from the beginning to avoid billing and recovery issues. For improved safety and execution, the company uses multilayer composite pipes from the meter downstream in household connections, enabling efficient installation.
THINK Gas is one of the few CGD companies that operate with multiple CGSs in their GAs. Operating through a CGS allows the company to reduce the amount of steel pipeline that has to be laid, improve connectivity and reach customers in a shorter time. It also reduces the capital cost and helps leverage existing assets on the ground.
THINK Gas is at the forefront of adopting the latest technologies to ensure the safe and reliable supply of natural gas to its consumers. The company has developed “Nucleus” as a control centre to manage all its assets on the ground. It has deployed supervisory control and data acquisition, which is a computer-based system that gathers and analyses real-time data to monitor and control equipment at its CNG stations and CGSs. The company also has all its assets mapped on a geographic information system to identify the pipeline infrastructure in its GAs. The company also has a journey management application that helps manage cascade allocations at its stations, and a quality and construction management system that captures and monitors data (pre-built, and during and post construction). THINK Gas has developed a household execution and action tracking application that tracks household PNG conversions to help plan activities and monitor the customer conversion progress. THINK Gas is committed to the overall development of the gas sector with a focus on increasing customer trust in the sector.