GAIL shortlists Indian contractors for ADB

Vol 5, PW 23 (16 Jan 02) Midstream & Downstream

Politicians in Bangladesh are yet to agree on natural gas exports to India but the Asian Development Bank is quietly working to select pipeline contractors on the assumption that gas will - at the very least - be exploited for local use.

A source tells us a senior ADB official met GAIL's top management in Delhi this month for talks on the issue. "ADB wants us to find a company competent to lay pipelines within Bangladesh," he said.

"We see this as a good business opportunity and have already begun the paperwork." GAIL has shortlisted Dodsal, Punj Lloyd and Larsen & Toubro for detailed discussions and a possible tie-up. "These three Indian companies have domestic and international experience of laying pipelines," he adds.

"India has the technology for this. We also have pipeline manufacturers and our costs are lower compared to overseas companies." If GAIL succeeds, it might anger Indian Oil.

Both companies and ONGC are members of a panel set up by Delhi to co-ordinate Bangladesh gas imports. In the first meeting, argument flared over who would lay the pipelines.

"ONGC does not want to lay pipelines. It is only interested in a swap for Tripura gas.

But Indian Oil wants to lay pipelines and so does GAIL." Shastri Bhavan is trying to make peace between GAIL and Indian Oil on this issue.

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