Gas consumers protest dwindling supplies in Gujarat

Vol 6, PW 15 (25 Sep 02) Midstream & Downstream

IF YOU ARE a gas consumer in Gujarat don't expect any improvement in supplies: the oil ministry has plainly told British Gas that it can't increase gas supplies to its subsidiary Gujarat Gas.

In a 12th July letter BG is told gas availability in Gujarat "is on a descending trend" and that "keeping in view the less availability of natural gas, pro-rata cuts have to be applied by GAIL for supply of gas to consumers in the region." It adds: "In these circumstances it would not be possible to increase the gas supply to Gujarat Gas." Officials were forced to react following a flurry of letters beginning early April to mid June from BG, the Surat Textile Processors and Exporters Association, Gujarat MPs Mansinh Patel and Dinsha Patel, Gujarat Gas, textiles minister Kashiram Rana and commerce minister Murasoli Maran. BG India chairman C.

R Prasad wants the ministry to reverse a 76% gas supply cut imposed on Gujarat Gas and restore allocation to the contracted quantity of 170,000 cm/d. Meanwhile, the Surat Textile Processors Association - also hit by falling supplies - accuses BG of "clear-cut violation" of business ethics "acting on a monopolistic attitude" and is demanding an independent inquiry.

Ministers Rana and Maran have sent separate letters supporting the textile industry. Identical replies from Shastri Bhawan have been sent to everyone.

"An allocation of over 48m cm/d of natural gas has been made to consumers ex-Hazira and along the HBJ," states the ministry. "But gas availability there is around 39m cm/d only." It adds: "In north Gujarat, against an allocation of around 1.8m cm/d of onshore gas, actual availability is around 0.9m cm/d.

In south Gujarat around 3.5m cm/d of gas is available against an allocation of over 9m cm/d."