GAIL wants equity in Haldia Petrochemicals

Vol 8, PW 14 (06 Oct 04) News in Brief

GAIL believes it has a better claim to equity in the loss-making Haldia Petrochemicals plant in West Bengal than Indian Oil.

But GAIL faces opposition from the oil ministry and state-owned Industrial Development Bank of India. During a meeting on 13th September, oil secretary Sushil Tripathi said GAIL should be allowed to acquire equity only if IOC declines.

IDBI chairman M Damodaran went further saying GAIL and Haldia Petrochemicals are competitors and could not be partners. On 16th September GAIL finance director JK Jain wrote to the oil ministry making out a strong case for GAILs equity participation in the plant.

Jain reminds the ministry that GAIL began talks with Haldia in 2002 after IOC failed in its efforts to buy equity. Our participation will be a strategic investment where we want to capture the polymer market in the eastern region, writes Jain.

West Bengal authorities want the ministry to choose between GAIL and IOC.