The government has appointed Spanish speciality consultancy firm, Mercados Energy Markets International, to examine possibility of a uniform domestic price of natural gas, which is now sold at rates ranging from $1 to $5.73 per mmBtu depending on source. The idea, a brainchild of petroleum secretary RS Pandey, aims to bring about uniformity in rates with a view to put all customers at par. "We have selected Mercados EMI from a open tender," said BC Tripathi, CMD, GAIL India, who appointed the nodal agency for doing the study. Currently, the government fixes the price of gas produced from fields given on nomination to state-run ONGC and Oil India Ltd, while for others pricing is determined in line with the production sharing contracts. Under consideration is pooling or averaging out all prices of domestic natural gas and imported LNG to have a uniform price all over the country.
"The study will consider the feasibility of having a uniform cost price regime. The report is expected to be available by the first week of January," Tripathi said. The gas from fields given to ONGC and OIL on nomination basis was sold at about $1.8 per mmBtu, while in the north-east it was priced at $1 to 1.2 per mmBtu.