Workers lay an underground oil pipeline. (Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

City Gas Distribution Auctions: Adani Gas Wins Most Bids

Billionaire Gautam Adani-led Adani Gas Ltd. emerged winner in the latest round of city gas distribution network auctions, winning licenses to set up piped gas networks to households in six cities on its own and in five others through joint ventures.

Oil marketer Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. won 8 licenses, followed by six each for Bharat Gas Ltd. and Torrent Gas Pvt. Ltd. GAIL Gas Ltd. won five licences.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board today issued the letters of intent to 18 bidders that participated in the ninth round of the auctions—which was India’s largest—early this year.

A statement issued by the board said that the outcome of the bidding for 48 out of 86 geographical areas have been announced, while those for the remainder are under evaluation.

Also read: India’s Biggest Gas Distribution Auction To Boost Investments Fourfold, Says Crisil

India, home to cities with the world’s most toxic air, kick-started its largest auction in March to distribute natural gas in more urban areas as it looks to cut emissions by switching to cleaner auto and kitchen fuels.

The country ranks alongside China in having the world’s deadliest air pollution, according to a study by Boston-based Health Effects Institute. Toxic fumes, largely emitted by coal-fired power plants and automobiles, caused 1.1 million deaths each in both the neighbouring nations in 2015. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is looking to fast-track expansion of city gas distribution grid to increase the share of natural gas in the kitchen and auto fuels mix from 6 percent to 20 percent by 2030. That would help reduce emissions as part of the global pledge to keep the average increase in temperature below 2-degree celsius.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board had revised bidding norms for licences to retail CNG and piped cooking gas in cities. The new norms focused on parameters such as selecting winners on the basis of the number of connection to consumers and CNG stations, and the length of gas pipelines the bidders promise to achieve in a given time frame.