Gujarat asks Petronet-LNG for explanation

Vol 4, PW 7 (10 May 00) People & Policy

A damaging row between Petronet-LNG and Gujarat authorities over the construction of solid cargo facilities at the port of Dahej appears to be drawing to a close.

Credit for this goes to Suresh Mathur, Managing Director of the state-owned holding company, who flew to the state capital Gandhinagar on (Monday) 8th May for an emergency meeting with PN Roy Chowdhury, Chief Executive Officer, of the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) and senior port officials. This report learns from a source in Gandhinagar that Mathur assured Roy Chowdhury of Petronet-LNGs commitment to construct LNG and solid cargo facilities at the port "simultaneously" - as agreed in the Letter of Intent (LOI) issued by GMB.

Mathur's assurance contradicts earlier suggestions by senior Petronet-LNG directors that construction of solid cargo facilities is unfeasible in the absence of road and rail infrastructure (See: PW05, 12th April: 16-Obstacles in Gandhinagar for Petronet-LNG). On 18th April, a Petronet-LNG director told a correspondent for Petrowatch that the company is considering giving GMB money to undertake construction of solid cargo facilities on its behalf.

Petrowatch learns this suggestion has been rejected by the GMB, which in late April wrote a stern letter to Petronet-LNG asking it to stick to the terms of the LOI, in which it is clearly indicated that construction of solid cargo facilities is the responsibility of Petronet-LNG. Mathur's concession on this point is clearly a victory for the GMB.