Gujarat Gas backs 'access code' from Mansingh

Vol 13, PW 26 (17 Jun 10) Midstream & Downstream

Gujarat Gas managing director Shaleen Sharma has thrown his full support behind calls from gas regulator chairman Labanyendu Mansingh for an ‘access code’ to regulate transmission pipelines and city gas distribution networks across India.

Under this proposed new set of regulations, Indian gas sellers, distributors and consumers would be guaranteed equal ‘access’ to the country’s gas pipeline infrastructure. Gas transmission pipelines would be regulated to ensure no large company unreasonably blocks capacity to exclude less powerful or less cash-rich companies.

Assembled city gas operators and gas customers listened raptly as Sharma discussed these plans at a round-table titled ‘Access Code Issues – SME (small and medium enterprises) sector’ in Ahmedabad on June 10, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, and sponsored by Gujarat Gas. Sharma rejected the prevailing view of most retail gas players that they would not benefit from regulation of their gas pipeline networks.

“I personally believe this isn’t the case,” said Sharma. “I believe this (access) code will help assure revenues for operators by potentially increasing the use of their gas pipeline networks.

” Sharma said regulating gas infrastructure is critical to the development of India’s gas market. “The access code can create a balance between the rights and obligations of city gas players, gas sellers and gas consumers,” added Sharma.

He also said the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board headed by Mansingh was best suited to administer these proposed regulations and resolve any operational problems that might arise. Most of all, he stressed the gas regulator would play a crucial role in stamping out unfair monopolies on gas infrastructure and supplies by larger players.

Mansingh had earlier told gathered representatives that these proposed rules governing gas infrastructure would be a step in the right direction towards a thriving Indian gas market, eliminating the need for constant government intervention.