• GSPL pipeline plan gets boost from Jammu and Kashmir move

    Gujarat State Petronet Ltd’s (GSPL) ambitious project of developing a natural gas pipeline project from Mehsana all the way up to Jammu and Kashmir is expected to get a major boost with revocation of special status to J&K under Article 370.

    The project is divided in two phases. Work on first phase connecting Gujarat and Punjab has been on. The second phase, covering Jammu and Kashmir, has been stuck for a long time. “Land acquisition — not permitted under Article 370 — was a major problem in Jammu and Kashmir,” according to a state government official. Now, land acquisition and infrastructure development will be smoother, he added.

    Also, the Central government’s plans for industrial development in Jammu and Kashmir will create a market for the clean fuel option. The J&K Gas Pipeline Act, 2014 with provisions of Right of User (RoU) needed amendments that got stuck with the state government for a long time, said another government official.

    “While some amendments were made last year, there was no provision for acquiring land to build gas terminals for storage purposes,” he added.

    The Centre’s decision to do away with the special status for Jammu and Kashmir paves way for the project as it will now fall under the Union government’s Petroleum and Minerals Pipeline (P&MP) Act, 1962. Officials say challenges of building pipelines in difficult terrains and its economic viability have to be taken into account before starting construction for second phase.

    The construction work for first phase to build a 1,670km gas pipeline from Mehsana to Bhatinda will begin in a month’s time, said an industry official.

    Contracts of about Rs 3,000-3,500 crore for laying pipeline infrastructure have already been awarded to companies like Kalpataru Power Transmission Ltd and Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd.

    The first phase will be commissioned in 2020 following which construction for the second phase will begin. The pipeline project is a part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan for National Gas Grid.

    A consortium led by GSPL has formed a special purpose vehicle called GSPL India Gasnet Ltd to implement the project. GSPL has a 52% stake in the SPV, with Indian Oil Corp Ltd holding 26%, and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd having 11% each.

    In 2011, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) had authorized Gujarat State Petronet Limited (GSPL), a subsidiary of the Gujarat government, to lay Bhatinda-Jammu-Srinagar gas pipeline.

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