Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) has bagged the city gas distribution licences for four districts of Bengal, bringing the entire state under the coverage of the clean fuel which can be used by households and the transport industry.
The price bids for Malda, Murshidabad, Birbhum and South Dinajpur were opened on Thursday by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board and HPCL came out on top in all the four districts. The public sector oil major had previously won the right to lay gas networks in eight districts of the state.
“We expect to put in Rs 2,000 crore to build the infrastructure in these four districts, taking HPCL’s cumulative investment in Bengal for city gas distribution (CGD) across 12 districts to close to Rs 8,000 crore,” Sanjoy Ghosh, general manager of CGD, HPCL, said.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the 6th edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit here.
These are the last four districts of the state to be put under the hammer.
After the latest round (11A) of bidding, HPCL will have the largest share of CGD pie of Bengal, ahead of Indian Oil, BPCL and GAIL.
IOC has three districts under its belt directly and two in partnership with Adani Group.
BPCL has won the rights for four districts and GAIL has the prized licence of Calcutta and its adjoining areas under the name of Bengal Gas Company Ltd, which is a joint venture with a state government entity.
Oil companies have pleaded with the state administration to come up with a policy to create the physical network on the ground. They cite delays in getting permission to lay the pipeline and high government fees associated with the work as some of the impediments to faster implementation.
“We are greatly enthused by the remarks of the chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday as she identified GAIL’s pipeline as one of the gamechangers for the state’s industrialisation process. The oil industry is hopeful that a policy for laying pipelines will come up soon,” an executive with a PSU said.
The development of the CGD network in the entire state is contingent upon an 846-kilometre long pipeline network GAIL is building at an investment of Rs 4,000 crore, connecting Bengal with the national gas grid. The latest deadline to complete the remaining part between Durgapur and Calcutta is now September 2023, M.V. Iyer, director (business development), GAIL, said at the BGBS on Thursday.
The pipeline network of GAIL will facilitate the supply of natural gas to all the 22 districts of the state within a few years. The gas will be available in the form of piped natural gas to 38 lakh domestic households and CNG to more than 600 CNG stations and a large number of industrial and commercial establishments. CGD licence holders will take gas supply from GAIL’s main trunk line.
GAIL’s network will also include a stretch of the Barauni and Guwahati pipeline which will pass through north Bengal and feed the districts there. “We look forward to the support of the Bengal government for faster implementation of the network,” Iyer added.