GAIL might soon be required to open up HBJ

Vol 9, PW 26 (20 Apr 06) News in Brief

GAIL might soon be forced to open up the HBJ gas pipeline to other companies.

An oil ministry source tells us the introduction last month of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Bill opens up the possibility that others can use the HBJ on an Open Access basis. There is no excess capacity available now, says the ministry.

But if it can be shown that excess capacity can be created with the installation of more compressors and other equipment then the HBJ will become an Open Access carrier. Today the HBJ is working to its full transmission capacity of 32m cm/d.

Until now GAIL has resisted attempts by Shell and British Gas to transport gas from Hazira in Gujarat to the energy-hungry north. Under new rules, however, GAIL would still have first right to use the pipeline.

With a length of 4600-km, the HBJ cuts across huge swathes of northern India and supplies the capital Delhi with mainly Bassein gas from ONGC.