Central India Pipeline deadline extension to 1st April

Vol 6, PW 2 (27 Mar 02) Midstream & Downstream

ELSEWHERE THERES MORE delay at the Petronet-India promoted cross-country Central India Pipeline project.

PETROWATCH learns bidders have been given another extension till 1st April. The three technically qualified bidders for this Build Own Operate and Transfer project are Reliance Industries, Larsen & Toubro and Sun Securities in alliance with OAO Stroytransgaz and Gazprom of Russia.

They will now have time to seek clarifications on the BOOT concessionaire document sent to them in February. This was to have been completed by 15th March but Reliance wanted an extension of one week, while L&T's request for a three-month extension prompted Petronet-India insiders to wonder if the company is serious.

Sun Securities did not want any extension. A pre-bid conference is scheduled for late April when the three bidders will meet Petronet-India officials to resolve common concerns.

"If there are no major issues the price bid should come in by end-May," reveals a source. "The contract should be awarded by June." Petronet is confident it can meet the completion deadline of December 2003, despite the delays.

"We are behind by only three months. This can be easily made up.

Once the contract is awarded the only issue will be sourcing of pipes. This can be done from South Korea, China or even India." Insiders believe Reliance is the only serious bidder, given its wish for an independent retail marketing network.

If Reliance is sole financial bidder, we are told Petronet will begin talks "to hammer down the price".