GSPL declares war against PNGRB at APTEL

Vol 25, PW 8 (24 Mar 22) Midstream, Downstream, Renewables

Angry and tired, GSPL has filed a complaint against the PNGRB with APTEL over the gas regulator's alleged unreasonable delay in authorising its plan to lay a 274-km pipeline from Mundra to Palanpur through Anjar.

APTEL will likely begin hearing the case early next month (April 2022) after GSPL filed an appeal with APTEL on December 6 (2021). "APTEL is examining the GSPL petition," confirms a PNGRB source.

GSPL's proposed Anjar to Palanpur pipeline is crucial to feed R-LNG from its 5m t/y Mundra LNG terminal directly into the 2052-km Mehsana to Bhatinda pipeline, expected to be commissioned by March 31 (2022). More than ever, the Anjar to Palanpur project is needed now that GSPL dropped plans in December (2021) to lay a second 196.14-km Anjar to Chotila pipeline after similar delays winning PNGRB authorisation.

GSPL had applied to the PNGRB to authorise the Anjar to Palanpur pipeline in February (2021). "But instead of authorising us, the PNGRB wrote a threatening letter, which is not right," complains GSPL.

Last year (2021), the downstream regulator asked GSPL to re-submit the authorisation application as an 'extension' of the GSPL state-wide grid, not as a 'spur' line. In addition, the PNGRB threatened to offer the pipeline under a bidding process, which GSPL might not win.

GSPL initially gave in and agreed to let the PNGRB go ahead with open bidding for the pipeline. But it has now had a re-think and approached APTEL.

"We decided to approach APTEL as the letter's tone was threatening," adds GSPL. Central to GSPL's case is that the PNGRB does not have the authority to force it to file the authorisation application as an 'extension' of the pipeline network.

GSPL is ready to spend an estimated Rs1233cr ($165m) to lay the proposed 274-km Mundra to Palanpur pipeline through Anjar. Piyush Joshi, a lawyer who takes on all GSPL cases at APTEL and the Delhi High Court, will represent GSPL in this case too.