Expect Gandhinagar to fight any action from GAIL

Vol 9, PW 2 (04 May 05) Midstream & Downstream

Gujarat officials take exception to any suggestion that GAIL might be allowed to seize gas infrastructure assets already in place, which belong either to GSPC and its subsidiary Gujarat Petronet, or to other private players.

In a letter to Tripathi on 23rd March, GAIL alleges that the No Objection Certificates issued by GSPC to Adani Energy, Bharat Petroleum and itself for gas distribution networks are illegal and wants the oil ministry to cancel them. We are awaiting clarifications from the central government on city gas distribution, our Gujarat government tells us.

How can GAIL call our gas circles illegal Two years ago GAIL itself applied for these very same illegal circles and also won them! GSPC and the Gujarat government have held several meetings with the oil ministry to ensure that clear guidelines on city gas distribution are laid out in the proposed petroleum regulatory board bill currently before parliament. GSPC is also an active member of the informal gas lobby group: the Gas Industry Group, which is lobbying to ensure that the gas industry is properly represented in new legislation to oversee the countrys oil sector.

Today, there is no law regulating the business of local gas distribution in the country, he adds. Why did GAIL not raise this question when Gujarat Gas was setting up its networks in Surat and Bharuch If GAIL wants a monopoly in gas distribution then all the states of India will be starved of gas.

GAIL should realise that gas distribution networks are a matter of prestige for any states development initiative. On GAILs objections to Gujarats new CNG Act, he said it was enacted in line with the Supreme Court ruling on 25th March last year.

CNG Act has nothing to do with gas supplies, he said. It has everything to do with curbing pollution.

Gujarat is awaiting central government approval for the Act. So far we have only received some comments from the surface transport ministry.

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