'Give us ONGC gas', demand Gujarat factories

Vol 16, PW 14 (07 Feb 13) People & Policy

About 100 small factories producing glass, tiles and ceramics in Gujarat are demanding that the oil ministry review its domestic gas allocation policy for ONGC’s isolated marginal fields.

These factories are worried they might otherwise lose 1.5m cm/d of gas supplies in total from five ONGC Gujarat fields: Kim, Katpur, Kosamba and Olpad at Ankleshwar; and Gamij at Ahmedabad. Oil ministry undersecretary Arunoday Goswami wrote to ONGC chairman Sudhir Vasudeva on January 22 for details of all gas allocations made under the present policy, passed into law on January 16, 2012.

Goswami’s letter followed a complaint by the Gujarat Small Scale Industries Natural Gas Consumer Association to oil minister Veerappa Moily on January 4. This lobby group is concerned mainly about an ONGC e-tender floated last July to sell gas from 17 marginal fields in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Assam.

Contracts have yet to be awarded, but under the marginal fields gas policy ONGC must give priority to urea factories, followed by LPG distillation facilities, power stations and CGD companies. “If ONGC allocates gas in line with the government policy we won’t get gas as CGD operators get priority over factories and businesses,” Girish Kajrekar, the group’s spokesman, tells PETROWATCH.

“There are 100 factories which are dependent on gas from these fields for the past six years.” Kajrekar says these factories have been deliberately set up near ONGC production units in Bharuch, Ankleshwar, Jambusar and Mehsana.

Despite poor roads in these rural areas, companies have spent huge amounts to lay gas pipelines to their factories from ONGC’s fields. Losing their gas allocations would be a deathly blow, says Kajrekar.