A man attaches a charging plug to a General Motors Co. (GM) Chevrolet 2017 Volt hybrid electric vehicle (EV) at a charging station in Jeju. (Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg)

GAIL Plans To Set Up Battery Charging Stations For Electric Vehicles

GAIL (India) Ltd., the country’s largest gas transportation and marketing company, plans to set up battery charging stations for electric vehicles as well as build solar plants, a senior company official said.

It also wants to explore the business opportunity in waste-water treatment plants, water distribution, large water pipeline laying as an early mover.

“We have the country's biggest network of pipelines and gas marketing infrastructure. We want to leverage for emerging business opportunities,” he said. “We want to be future ready.”

It is looking at possibilities of setting up battery charging stations for e-vehicles at Compressed Natural Gas dispensing stations in a bid to diversify its portfolio beyond gas and petrochemicals.

“It is all at drawing board stage. A lot will depend on norms. For example, we don't know if rules permit a battery charging facility at a petrol pump or a CNG station. We don't know at what price we can sell that battery charge,” he said.

GAIL wants to insert six new sections in the main objects clause of the memorandum of association of the company to foray into new business.

According to a shareholder notice, GAIL wants to invest in “start-ups in core business areas (of natural gas, petrochemicals, and energy) and non-core areas (like health, social and environment, safety, and security) either directly or indirectly.”

“The investment can be made through special purpose vehicle, alternative investment fund, fund of funds and trust,” it said.

The official said there is a necessity to adopt new and different pathways to provide clean, cost-effective and efficient mobility services that are safe, reduce dependence on oil imports and achieve more efficient land-use in cities with the least environmental footprints and impacts on human health.

With the objective in mind, the firm wants to set up “battery charging stations and provide charging services” to electric vehicles.

With the government planning to make a major shift to electric vehicles by 2030, GAIL feels that charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in India has not been fully developed yet.

Also read: India’s Biggest Gas Utility Is Opening Up Its Pipeline Network

GAIL with its “pan-India presence through the natural gas network is deep-pocketed and has the capability of setting up charging infrastructure at a faster pace,” he said. The 34th annual general meeting of the company is scheduled for Sept.11.

Availability and utilisation of water are becoming key issues in modern India with the depletion of groundwater and monsoons becoming less predictable. Many cities are sourcing the fresh water through long-distance transport ranging from 50-200 km.

The effluent water discharged has increased significantly owing to growing population and industrialisation, GAIL in the notice said the treatment of the effluent water and maintaining of the freshwater table is a big challenge and a business opportunity.

it is contemplating to promote gas appliances in households and minimise electric usage in housing equipment and appliances such as gas boiler, gas-based air conditioner and bathroom heater in line with its strategy to promote the use of green fuel.

Also read: Government Considering Subsidy For E-Vehicle Charging Infrastructure, Says AK Bhalla 

GAIL feels it can provide services such as engineering, procurement and construction, engineering, procurement, construction management and project management consultancy in the field of hydrocarbon pipelines as it operates nearly 14,000-km of natural gas and LPG pipeline and executing more than 4,500 km of new lines, .

“GAIL also has adequate experienced manpower and infrastructure for providing these services,” the notice said.