Gujarat model is best for Rajasthan gas ambitions

Vol 9, PW 18 (15 Dec 05) People & Policy

Ten companies are competing to set up city gas distribution networks in Rajasthan: British Gas, GSPC, Gujarat Adani Energy, GAIL, Indraprastha Gas, Mahanagar Gas, Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum, Indian Oil and Haryana City Gas.

On 29th November, they all assembled in Jaipur following an invitation from the state energy department to make presentations on how to set up CGD networks in the state. Presentations began at 11am and lasted the whole day.

In attendance was a panel of state industries, mines and energy secretaries. It seemed more like an educational exercise, one of the assembled companies tells this report.

They had a lot of questions and received a lot of suggestions. Among the suggestions was that Rajasthan should follow Gujarats model in first setting up a dedicated pipeline transmission company (Gujarat State Petronet).

Rajasthan is not clear on who will lay the transmission pipelines, we hear. They wanted our views on that as well.

Rajasthan also asked for information on how different states were reacting to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Bill. Says a state official: The response was very encouraging.

We want to be fully transparent in what we are doing. State authorities are evaluating the presentations and when this is done will make a recommendation to the state cabinet on what action to take.

We are looking at the offers, says a Rajasthan source. There were different perceptions about gas availability and supply.

One key issue is about the transmission network. We are told Rajasthan needs to decide, If it should move quickly to set up its own company or let things take their course once CGD licences are granted.

Present plans are to follow a two-pronged strategy. The grant of one CGD licence will be linked to the company also supplying gas to one or more underdeveloped non-urban area, he adds.

The other strategy is to get gas for industrial hubs along the route of the pipelines transiting the state.