A petrol pump employee fills Compressed Natural Gas at a gas station in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg News)

Billionaire Adani Among 400 Bidders for India City-Gas Licenses

(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Gautam Adani’s gas retailing unit is among firms that submitted 400 bids for the 86 areas the Indian government offered in its latest auction for city-gas licenses.

Adani Gas Ltd. bid for 32 licenses, Chief Executive Officer Rajeev Sharma said Wednesday, while its joint venture with Indian Oil Corp. bid for 20. A unit of state gas utility GAIL India Ltd. bid for “close to 30 cities,” the Press Trust of India reported, without saying where it got the information. India Gas Solutions, a joint venture between BP Plc and Reliance Industries Ltd., scrapped its plans to participate, according to PTI.

“We have got unprecedented response,” Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board Chairman D.K. Sarraf said by phone, declining to identify the bidders. “This will be a big boost to India’s effort toward increasing gas consumption.”

Evaluation of the bids in the ninth round of auctions will run from July 12 to July 18, and licenses are expected to be awarded by October, the PNGRB said Tuesday. The regulator awarded a combined 56 licenses out of 106 areas offered in previous rounds since 2009.

India is seeking to double the share of natural gas in the country’s energy mix to 15 percent by 2030, while slashing emissions by a third. The country, which the World Bank said in 2016 was home to 14 of the 30 most polluted cities on the planet, is building gas pipelines and new import facilities to increase use of the fuel. The areas in this week’s auction cover almost a quarter of the nation and are aimed bringing gas to 29 percent of its 1.3 billion people.

The licenses in the latest round are expected to fetch investments worth 700 billion rupees ($10.2 billion) to develop gas infrastructure, the PNGRB has said. That is about four times the cumulative spending in the sector through March 31, according Crisil Ratings Ltd., the local unit of Standard & Poor’s.

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