GAIL Gas building CNG station in Mathura before bids

Vol 12, PW 14 (27 Nov 08) Midstream & Downstream
     

If you build it, will the regulator notice GAIL retail subsidiary GAIL Gas clearly hopes not, as it builds a CNG station in Mathura, located 150-km south of Delhi and famous as the birthplace of the Hindu deity Krishna.

GAIL Gas risks angering the regulator following its decision to ask Delhi-based Indraprastha Gas (IGL) for help to build a CNG station at a BPCL retail fuel site in Mathura, which the Board last month named as one of six cities open for bidding to companies that want to build a retail gas network. “IGL has provided compressors, dispensers and even tubing to GAIL Gas for the CNG station,â€‌ we hear.

IGL despatched the equipment on November 18, and construction is expected to take around one month. GAIL Gas, we learn, is also planning to bid for a licence to operate in Mathura.

So why build a CNG station now GAIL Gas has only been in business since April this year; it has no operations and has not yet approached the Board to become â€کauthorised’ under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Act, 2006. These facts, we are told, should lead to the following conclusion.

“Mathura does not have a CNG station,â€‌ our source tells us. “But if GAIL Gas builds one it could claim â€کdeemed authorised’ status.

â€‌ Another source planning to bid for Mathura is surprised that GAIL Gas would “build a CNG station there before bidding.â€‌ Contacted by this report, GAIL Gas denies it is building a CNG station in Mathura but industry sources are adamant the CNG station is under construction.

In addition to Mathura, the Board has invited bids to build retail gas networks in Kota in Rajasthan, Sonipat in Haryana, Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh, Meerut in Uttar Pradesh and Dewas in Madhya Pradesh. GAIL Gas will bid for those cities as well, we hear.

The Board has set a February 27, 2009, deadline for the bids and hopes to announce winners two or three months later.