Unison wins Ratnagiri as PNGRB bets on freshers

Vol 19, PW 26 (08 Sep 16) Midstream & Downstream

Betting on old-timers with experience is sensible but sometimes it's worth taking a risk to add youth, vigour and optimism to the mix.

Despite a bad experience with Jay Madhok the PNGRB is increasingly taking chances on newcomers to the gas retail sector. Take Mumbai-based Unison Enviro, which as predicted by this report, was awarded the gas retail licence for Ratnagiri in Maharashtra on August 24 after submitting a Rs12cr (1.8m) bank guarantee.

"Ratnagiri is lucky for us!" says a Unison source. "Finally we have our first GA (geographical area)." Unison, set up on December 14, 2015, also bid aggressively for the North Goa, Dahej-Vagra, Ahmedabad Rural and Panchmahal areas.

And for North Goa, Unison surprised everybody by coming second with a bank guarantee of Rs212.10cr ($32m) losing only to GAIL Gas and BPCL with Rs374cr ($56m) when bids were opened by the PNGRB on July 11. Similarly Ahmedabad-based newcomer IRM Energy, a subsidiary of the well known Cadila pharmaceuticals group, won Banaskantha in north Gujarat on July 1 and Fatehgarh Sahib in Punjab on July 5 this year.

Last year (2015) in the fifth retail round, Hyderabad-based novice Megha Engineering won Belgaum and Tumkur in Karnataka and Krishna in Andhra Pradesh while Delhi-based newcomer Mahesh Resources won Pune Rural in the fourth round in May 2015. "The gas regulator seems to be taking measured risks," says a city gas analyst.