Bharat Petroleum pursues aggressive gas strategy

Vol 7, PW 21 (14 Jan 04) Midstream & Downstream

Indias 3rd largest refiner Bharat Petroleum is gearing up to make its presence felt in the countrys growing city gas distribution market.

BPCL is nursing ambitions to replicate similar networks to that of its Delhi-based joint venture Indraprastha Gas in several urban centres across India. These include cities like Pune and Sholapur in Maharashtra, Chennai in Tamil Nadu, Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh and Bangalore and Belgaum in Karnataka.

We are convinced that natural gas distribution is an emerging and lucrative business, a top BPCL official tells PETROWATCH. To pursue its new gas strategy, BPCL has set up a special Gas Task Force of in-house experts responsible for replicating its successful IGL experiment across the country.

Right now, BPCL is looking for consultants to commission a study of potential city gas distribution networks. On 5th November, Gujarat authorities awarded three gas distribution circles to BPCL: Gandhinagar, Mehsana and Sabarkantha.

Shortly after, BPCL drew up an Rs320cr ($69.56m) budget to set up networks in the three circles. BPCL submitted its application for a gas distribution licence on 2nd November and received the No Objection Certificate within three days.

Getting a license within three days came as a pleasant shock! exclaims BPCL. This prompt action proves that BPCL can definitely be trusted to construct an effective gas distribution network.

BPCLs next priority is to appoint project management consultants to prepare detailed feasibility reports. We plan to execute the projects in a two year time frame beginning later this year for completion in 2006.

BPCL is yet to ascertain the number of industrial, commercial and domestic consumers for its gas circles in Gujarat. Getting gas, however, wont be a problem.

BPCL is confidant that it can supply 800,000 cm/d from the regassified LNG it has been allocated by Petronet-LNG.

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