GAIL UNBUNDLED

Business Today - - THE BUZZ - – Anilesh S. Ma­ha­jan

IN­DIA’S GAS mo­nop­oly GAIL, is set to re­struc­ture op­er­a­tions and be­come a pure in­fra­struc­ture provider. It opened its Nat­u­ral Gas Pipe­line Open Ac­cess Sys­tem gov­ern­ing the 11,400-kilo­me­tre pipe­line net­work to pri­vate gas mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies. This strength­ens the mar­ket­ing busi­ness of the com­pany, along with freer move­ment of gas. Al­most two-thirds of GAIL’s ca­pac­ity stays unutilised. With this move, pri­vate play­ers can now im­port and sell gas to con­sumers us­ing GAIL’s in­fra­struc­ture. Reg­u­la­tor PNGRB is al­ready work­ing out plans to un­bun­dle the mar­ket­ing and pipe­line busi­ness in a phased man­ner. It is learnt, that GAIL plans to seg­re­gate the two busi­nesses.

Mean­while, Pe­tro­leum Min­is­ter Dhar­men­dra Prad­han is push­ing GAIL to con­cen­trate on build­ing pipe­line in­fra­struc­ture and sell off non- core busi­nesses like petro- chem­i­cal com­plexes at an ‘ap­pro­pri­ate’ time and price. Sta­te­owned oil mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies – Bharat Pe­tro­leum and In­dian Oil – have al­ready of­fered to buy stakes in the unbundled GAIL.

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