Sharp criticism of fifth city gas licensing round

Vol 18, PW 11 (29 Jan 15) Midstream & Downstream

Gas retailers are sharply critical of the fifth city gas licensing round launched last week by the PNGRB, saying most of the 20 areas on offer are “duds” with “hardly a chimney there.

” On January 19 the PNGRB announced bid documents will be uploaded for sale on its website on February 23. But just four cities have any potential - Belgaum, Ahmednagar, Haridwar and Udham Singh Nagar.

Any city gas business needs a mix of factories, businesses and household customers to be sustainable, says a source. “Hardly any of these 20 locations makes sense,” he says.

“Google each of these cities. Most of them have a population of no more than 200,000.

” Another operator says you need a minimum city size of one million inhabitants for your CGD business to succeed. The entire exercise is just for show, they say.

“Looks like the PNGRB has picked up some random gas pipeline route map,” adds a gas sector analyst, “found these cities close to trunk pipelines and offered them for bidding without checking if they are viable.” Another analyst says the response will be “poor” like in the fourth round “when almost half the 14 cities received no bids.

” Badaun has a home-based industry of hand-woven carpets, all done by a few families. “Why would they need gas?” we hear.

Similar is the story for Aligarh, with its home-based locksmiths.