Patel pushes GSPC Gas to greater heights

Vol 14, PW 2 (15 Jul 10) Midstream & Downstream

Gujarat energy minister Saurabh Patel’s favourite company, GSPC Gas, will soon become India’s largest volume gas retailer.

PETROWATCH learns GSPC Gas is set to overtake BG-owned Gujarat Gas, which holds the top position. Figures from June show GSPC Gas was selling 3m cm/d to 150,067 households, factories and commercial establishments, still short of Gujarat Gas, which is selling 3.2m cm/d, but not by much.

In June last year, GSPC Gas was selling 2m cm/d of gas, increasing gas sales by 1m cm/d in 12 months. “We are the fastest growing retail gas player in India,” says a company source.

Many credit Patel, who has relentlessly driven the company since it was set up in February 2006. “Patel looks like a stern headmaster during quarterly review meetings,” says a source.

“He’s never satisfied and excuses aren’t tolerated.” Patel, he continues, is highly educated and holds an MBA from a US university.

He also belongs to a wealthy family of industrialists with ties to Reliance owner Mukesh Ambani. Driving Patel is Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi who sees gasification across Gujarat as a major political objective.

Modi wants GSPC Gas to work in sync with GSPC gas transmission company Gujarat Petronet. “Wherever the Gujarat Petronet network ends,” adds a source, “the GSPC Gas retail network begins.

” Modi’s support gives GSPC Gas an edge. “If I need permission to dig a road it can take weeks if not months,” says a private sector gas player.

“But GSPC Gas gets the same permission in days.” GSPC Gas supplies piped gas to 629 commercial establishments and to 820 factories in 41 Gujarat cities and towns.

It has 70 CNG stations across Gujarat, almost twice as many as Gujarat Gas, which has 33 CNG stations, and plans to add another 80 by next March.