Central India pipeline one step closer to reality

Vol 5, PW 12 (01 Aug 01) Midstream & Downstream

Construction of the 1,760-km Central India Pipeline moved a step closer July 23rd when the board of directors of Petronet India cleared the detailed feasibility report for both phases during a meeting in the Bharat Petroleum boardroom in Mumbais Ballard Estate business district.

Earlier, Petronet had issued advertisements in Indian newspapers seeking expressions of interest from concessionaires interested in building, owning, operating and transferring the Rs2,587cr ($570m) project. Preparations are now underway to select a consultant to prepare tender documents.

Five consultants have been shortlisted: Credit Rating and Information Services of India (CRISIL), Price Waterhouse, KPMG, State Bank of India Capital Markets (SBI Caps), and Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI). Barring any mishap, one of them should be selected in the next 10 days.

Indian Oil and Reliance will benefit most from the pipeline and are expected to put in strong bids. IOC has experience in laying and operating pipelines, while Reliance is keen to get access to new markets.

Both have been showing strong interest in the project from day one," reveals a source. "Overseas parties are unlikely to show interest given the Indian work environment and the bureaucratic hassles involved in clearances."