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GAIL hopes to retail LPG along pipelines

Our Bureau

KOLKATA, June 26

GAS Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) is planning to start retail marketing of LPG and has accordingly appealed to the n Government for clearance.

"We produce one million tonnes of LPG annually, accounting for 18 per cent of the country's total, but we still cater to the bulk market only'', a spokesman for GAIL told Business Line. "Once the Government clearance is obtained, the retail outlets of LPG will be installed along our pipeline'', he said.

GAIL has more than 1,200 km of LPG pipeline already in operation between Jamnagar (Gujarat) and Loni (Uttar Pradesh). The work on two other pipeline projects, one between Vizag and Secunderbad, and the other in the Coimbatore area, is in progress.

The spokesman indicated that the company was currently toying with the idea of laying a pipeline network for transporting LPG in West Bengal, starting from Haldia. It could be started with imported LPG as Haldia has already got a LPG terminal. The proposed LPG line would run close to the existing LPG bottling plants of various public sector oil companies.

Subsequently when the gas from Bangladesh and Myanmar would be available, the same network could also be used for transporting the same.

Although, a joint venture company was proposed to be formed between GAIL, ONGC and Indian Oil Corporation for handling the gas from Bangladesh and Myanmar, the size of investment and the length of the pipeline network would be finalised only on receipt of firm commitment from Bangladesh.

"If we get 10 million standard cubic metres of gas a day from the other side of the border, we will perhaps be able to meet only the demand of West Bengal; if the availability is more, we can think of carrying the gas outside the state and firm up our plans accordingly'', he observed, expressing the hope that a firm indication in this regard was likely to be available from Bangladesh by September.

GAIL, he said, had big plans for the eastern region and the sources of supply would be partly from Bangladesh/Myanmar and partly from offshore fields and coal bed methane projects.

Referring to the offshore projects, the spokesman said the seismic surveys for both Bengal offshore (in partnership with Grrazprom of Russia) and Mahanadi basin (in partnership with ONGC and Reliance) were over.

Earlier, Mr S. Niyogi, Director (HR) of GAIL, announced here the opening of the company's eastern zonal office. Dr U.D. Chaubey has taken over as the zonal head.

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