State gas utility GAIL India Ltd on Monday going to launch a new portal to allow anyone to hire its vast pipeline network for transporting natural gas as it makes last-ditch attempt to ward off breaking of the company, people in the know of the development said.
The Oil Ministry has been for last few months considering separating GAIL’s gas transportation and marketing business to resolve the conflict of the same entity doing both the jobs. One of the reasons for this was some industry players alleging that GAIL was not giving them access to its 11,000-kilometer pipeline network to transport their gas.
Sources said while GAIL has maintained that it allows third-party access based on firm commitment, the company will tomorrow launch an online portal for common carrier capacity booking by marketing entities and consumers for transportation of natural gas through its pipelines.
The Ministry had in January stated that it is considering to split GAIL into two - one for laying pipelines and the other for marketing and petrochemicals - to encourage more transparency between the two operations and resolve the conflict of interest in it being both the transporter and marketer of natural gas.
This is because it believed that all entities authorised to lay natural gas pipelines including GAIL have to “provide mandatory open access of its gas pipeline infrastructure on common carrier principle at the non-discriminatory basis, at transportation rates determined by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB)”.