Gas legislation grinds through Gujarat state assembly

Vol 4, PW 2 (01 Mar 00) Midstream & Downstream

If all goes well, laws governing the nascent gas industry in Gujarat should be on the statute books by the end of March this year.

On 21st February, Gujarat governor Sunder Singh Bhandari told the opening session of the local state assembly he wants to see the 'Gas Act' introduced and (crucially) "enacted" in this session of the assembly, which ends on 31st March. This is good news if it happens but pessimists suggest that lack of parliamentary time may force the bill's postponement to a later date.

Optimisitic state officials however insist it will go through. Other legislation competing for the short attention span of Gujarat's local politicians during this 28-day working session of the Gujarat State Assembly are laws relating to the 'right of use for water and gas pipelines' as well as a 'state electricity reform bill'.

If the 'Gas Act' is enacted on schedule, companies with an interest in the development of Gujarat's gas industry will be able to examine the fine print on the internet. Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation tells Petrowatch the full and complete version will be displayed on its website at the moment parliament approves.

More to the point, multinationals (with present or future LNG interests in Gujarat), which offered advice will be able to see if any of their suggestions have been implemented. Enron, British Gas and PriceWaterhouse Coopers are among a handful of companies that responded to a request by GSPC for feedback when they were sent draft copies ten months ago.

Shell did not respond.