With the unprecedented nationwide lockdown shutting down factories, ONGC has been forced to cut natural gas production by up to one-tenth as customers refused to take supplies because of business disruption. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), which produced 64.5 million standard cubic meters of gas per day till earlier this week, has reduced the flow to 59.8 mmscmd on Wednesday, and will further cut by another 3 mmscmd on Thursday, sources aware of the development said.

The company has received requests from customers for reduction in gas supplies of around 7.7 mmscmd. Besides this, another 4-5 mmscmd supply reduction requests have been lodged with the gas transporter GAIL. The sources said these customers are largely small companies whose business has been completely shut because of the lockdown, and city gas distributors who have seen volumes vanish after CNG vehicles went off-road. In the most far-reaching measure undertaken by any government to check the spread of coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday evening announced a three-week-long nationwide lockdown. The lockdown meant offices and factories, barring those involved in essential supplies business, are shut and people asked to stay at home.

So far, 562 persons are reported to have infected with the virus and as many as 9 killed. Some states like the national capital Delhi had last week declared lockdown and now this has been extended nationwide. While factories across sectors have been shut down following the lockdowns, the ones seeking stoppage or reduction in gas intake are mostly in the Gujarat region. Out of the 7.7 mmscmd gas reduction request received by ONGC, 6 mmscmd has come from the Hazira region, the sources said, adding the remaining reduction was sought by factories in Andhra Pradesh and adjoining areas.

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