Utpal Bora backs down on Assam gas pipeline

Vol 20, PW 22 (27 Jul 17) Midstream & Downstream

Oil India chairman Utpal Bora has embarrassingly been forced to reverse his stance on a 750-km gas pipeline proposed by local CGD retailer Assam Gas.

On the morning of July 18 Bora boldly declared to the Guwahati media that Oil India will join GAIL to build the proposed pipeline from Barauni in Bihar to Guwahati in Assam. But PETROWATCH learns the very same day, just hours later, Bora attended another meeting at the same Hotel Brahmaputra venue where Assam industries minister Chandra Mohan Patowary insisted Oil India must partner Assam Gas - not GAIL! Also attending the meeting was Assam Gas managing director Aditya Kumar Sharma accompanied by two deputy general managers; Bora was with Oil India director (operations) PK Sharma.

When contacted on July 24, Patowary confirmed to this report that the 12m cm/d R-LNG pipeline will be laid by Assam Gas with Oil India as partner. As reported in our last issue, state chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal met oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan in Delhi in June asking for central government support to make up a funding shortfall for the project while supporting the Assam Gas bid to build the 24-28-inch diameter pipeline.

An Assam Gas source adds the next step is to form a six-member joint working group with Oil India to discuss the way forward.

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