Richa Mishra

New Delhi, Oct 20

The city gas distribution joint venture project between IOC and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), which had got stuck on the issue of who would get to be majority partner, may finally move ahead.

Speaking to

Business Line

, senior IOC officials said: "Discussions with RIL to resolve the issue are on. We hope to reach a solution soon."

A new proposal envisaging equal ownership for both the partners is being considered now.

A meeting between IOC team and RIL officials is expected shortly. Once the project structure is agreed upon, the two would enter into a general MoU, which would form the basis of the projects, the officials said.

The two companies would then set up a Steering Committee to identify the cities for setting up the distribution networks for piped natural gas to households and industries.

The areas of co-operation include use of existing retail outlets for marketing CNG and LPG used by automobiles.

At a recent IOC board meeting, the board was not in favour of IOC being a minority stakeholder in the project.

The original proposal envisaged 49 per cent equity for IOC. It also proposed that if any State Government expressed interest in a city gas distribution project, it would be given five per cent in such a way that combined strength of IOC and the State would not be more than 50 per cent.

The joint venture was expected to leverage availability of gas from Reliance's huge find off the Andhra coast and IOC's extensive retail outlet network.

IOC owns half of the 29,000 retail outlets run by PSUs.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 21, 2006)
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