Indian companies seal deal to step up use of LNG lorries in mineral-rich west Maharashtra

NEW DELHI, March 2 (Reuters) - India's Baidyanath LNG will sell fuel to GreenLine Logistics' lorries that run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the coal and limestone-rich region of western Maharashtra state, the companies said on Thursday.

India, one of the world's biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, has set a goal for net zero carbon emissions by 2070.

Using LNG will help the country cut demand for diesel, which accounts for about two-fifths of its refined fuel consumption and is widely used by buses, trucks and the mining sector.

Baidyanath LNG, a unit of India-based ayurvedic products maker Baidyanath, operates two LNG fuel stations and hopes to set up around 15 stations in the Vidarbha region of western Maharashtra by the second quarter of 2024, its chief executive Vaddadi Subbarao told Reuters.

GreenLine, India's only LNG-powered heavy trucking logistics company, said its LNG-fuelled lorry emits 24 tonnes less carbon dioxide than diesel-fired ones. It plans to expand its fleet to 1,600 by March 2024 to annually cut 38,400 tonnes of carbon emissions, it said.

GreenLine already provides LNG trucks to some cement makers in the Vidarbha region.

Industries in India are increasingly switching to cleaner energy to cut their carbon footprint and help the country meet its commitment to cut emissions by 1 billion tonnes by 2030.

Indian companies are also spending billions of dollars building gas infrastructure, including pipelines and import terminals, to raise the share of gas in the energy mix to 15% by 2030 from the current 6.2%.

Baidyanath has six-year LNG purchase contracts with GAIL (India) Ltd (GAIL.NS) and Indian Oil Corp (IOC.NS) for 26,000 tonnes and 10,000 tonnes, respectively, of the supercooled fuel, Subbarao said.

($1 = 82.5190 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Susan Fenton

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