The Petroelum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) in a notice said GGCL is authorized to lay, build, operate or expand city or local natural gas distribution network in Bhavnagar.

GGCL can lay pipelines to transport gas and set up retail stations for selling compressed natural gas (CNG) in an area of 8,153 square kilometres.

"The activities of laying, building, operating or expansion of the city gas distribution (CGD) network to commence within a period of 180 days from the date of this authorization," PNGRB said.

GGCL, which beat Gujarat government firm GSPC Gas Co Ltd to win the licence, will have exclusive rights to retail CNG and piped cooking gas in Bhavnagar for 5 years.

PNGRB had in July 2010 invited bids for giving licences for retailing CNG to automobiles and piped cooking gas to households in eight cities in West Bengal, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana.

These included Asansol-Durgapur (in West Bengal), Bhavnagar, Ghandhidham-Anjar, Bhuj-Mundra and Jamnagar (all in Gujarat), Ludhiana and Jalandhar (in Punjab) and Panipat (in Haryana).

PNGRB in February 2011 opened bids seven cities offered in the third round of CGD bidding. GGCL and GSPC Gas were the only two firms to have bid for Bhavnagar.

It had invited bids for licences in 2009 for 13 cities in first two rounds.

GAIL Gas Ltd, a unit of state gas utility GAIL India Ltd, walked away with four of the six cities offered in round one. It won Sonepat in Haryana, Dewas in Madhya Pradesh, Meerut in Uttar Pradesh and Kota in Rajasthan while Bhagyanagar Gas Ltd got Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh and DSM Infratech Mathura in Uttar Pradesh.

In round two, Indian Oil Corp-Adani Group combine walked away with Allahabad and Chandigarh, while Reliance Gas got Rajahmundry, Shahdol and Yanam in Andhra Pradesh. Jhansi went to Central UP Gas Ltd.

The third round of bidding was opened in July 2010 and concluded in February 2011 (after extension), but final awards of most cities are yet to be made because of certain litigations involving PNGRB and a few other parties.

The regulator had awarded licence for Jalandhar to city-based Jay Madhok Energy Pvt Ltd and Jamnagar to GSPC Gas for Jamnagar.

(Agencies)

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