Vinod Papal heads the city gas distribution (CGD) network that is being developed in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, by Unison Enviro Private Limited, a subsidiary of Ashoka Buildcon Limited. He has over 13 years’ experience across operations and maintenance (O&M), manufacturing, business analytics and business development.
He began his career as an apprentice in BEST Mumbai, dismantling engines and repairing buses. After he completed a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, he joined BEST as a deputy engineer in 2005. Subsequently, he worked in organisations such as Mahanagar Gas Limited (MGL), Sabarmati Gas Limited (SGL) and Rolta India Limited.
In his current role at Unison Enviro, Papal is responsible for planning, designing, building and operating the CGD infrastructure in the Ratnagiri geographical area, based on virtual pipeline technology. At present, challenges are being encountered in laying the gas pipeline along the under-redevelopment Mumbai-Goa highway, as the pipeline can be laid only after the road expansion works are completed. “The challenges are being overcome using the latest technologies. Besides, we are adopting a mixed transportation model, where the gas will be transported either via a pipeline network, a LNG network, or through cascades,” says Papal.
With regard to the sector, Papal believes, “The new government has taken many CGD-friendly decisions. These include giving a priority status to CGD while allocating domestic gas, the renegotiation of contractual gas prices with RasGas, and bringing down the import duty on LNG.” On the global scenario, Papal says, “LNG prices will be comparatively less volatile and may hover in the range of $6-$10 per mmBtu for the next few years. So the segment has a bright future. Increased private participation will help to bring greater efficiency.”
Papal’s memorable assignments include handling CGD operations in Navi Mumbai for MGL, handling the Mahape terminal during the gas supply crisis, and revamping O&M contracts at SGL.
Papal has a master’s in finance from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, and believes in management by delegation. “Crises provide an opportunity to put forth one’s best efforts,” he says.
While spending time with his family is of highest priority, Papal also likes to work out, play cricket and read in his spare time. Coming from a farming background, he prefers to lead a simple life and be close to nature.