Anger at PNGRB as GITL alters pipeline diameter

Vol 23, PW 11 (09 Apr 20) Midstream & Downstream

GSPL India Transco (GITL) can expect strict PNGRB action after unilaterally reducing the diameter of its much-delayed pipeline from Mallavaram to Vijaipur.

Expect the PNGRB to announce the details of the fine or other action against GITL this month (April) or early May. "We need to decide the size of the penalty," warns a senior PNGRB source.

GITL, a joint venture between Gujarat State Petronet, IndianOil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum, was supposed to lay an 1881-km pipeline from Mallavaram in Andhra Pradesh to Vijaipur in Madhya Pradesh by July 2014, also passing through Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and Bhilwara in Rajasthan. After much delay, it finally commissioned the 363-km Phase-I stretch on November 1 (2019) but with an 18-inch diameter instead of 42-inch.

"GITL reduced the pipeline size unilaterally leading to reduced capacity concerning its authorised capacity," says a stern 11-page order from the Board on March 19 (2020). "This has been done without seeking permission or approval of the PNGRB in violation of the bid and the terms and conditions of the authorisation granted to GITL."

The Board adds it will initiate proceedings against GITL under Section 28 and Chapter IX of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Board Act, 2006. "Our action is necessary as the changes took place without consent," adds our PNGRB source.

"The Board must approve any deviation from the agreed terms of an authorisation, or it amounts to a violation."