L Mansingh, chairman, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), said on Thursday that the board is expected to issue authorisation to the prospective gas distributors by March 2009.
The distributors are likely to take two more months to supply piped gas in Phase I states, including Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, UP and Haryana, he added.
As the bidding process is time-bound, we propose to call for technical bids in the next one month and issue authorisation to the prospective city gas distributor by the end of March 2009, Mansingh said.
Further, to facilitate the supply, the board is expected to notify the regulations relating to standards and safety code, fixation of transportation tariff for city gas distribution network and fixation of transportation tariff for pipelines in the next one month, he said.
He further said that the board has received overwhelming response from the prospective bidders to its expression of interest call.
The board has received entries for about 71 cities from gas players evincing interest to develop city gas distribution (CGD) network within the radius of 100-150 kms, he added.
According to the rough estimates, Mansingh said, the city gas distribution network may require an investment of about $10 billion in the next five years. Mansingh is in Hyderabad to participate in the CIIs Round Table meet on draft regulations on local natural gas distribution networks and to clarify doubts raised by the prospective bidders.
On the constraints, the PNGRB chairman said that there is acute shortage for skilled manpower, expected to manage the CGD network infrastructure, which is more hazardous.
While there are three universities exclusively catering to petroleum sector, he felt there is a need for more since, oil and natural gas sector next to IT and telecom in providing employment.