The pipeline that carries jet fuel to Mumbai Airport has become a bone of contention

PW Bureau 

The pipeline is operated by HPCL and BPCL and Reliance is asking PNGRB to allow sharing of the pipeline on non-discriminatory and open access basis by any third-party

New Delhi: Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd’s (HPCL) objections to the consultation process started by India’s oil and gas regulator, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), to break the monopoly enjoyed by public sector undertakings (PSUs) on the lucrative pipeline supplying jet fuel to the Mumbai International Airport has been turned down. The PNGRB said that the refiner will get a formal opportunity to make its case against the move.

Earlier, in a February 21 order, PNGRB had said that it had received a request from Reliance Industries on November 7 to allow the sharing of the pipeline that carries jet fuel to the Mumbai airport on non-discriminatory and open access basis by any third-party. The two pipelines originate from HPCL and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd’s (BPCL) refinery and terminate at the airport as a common carrier.

The regulator wrote to both HPCL and BPCL looking for specific clarifications. Saying the PNGRB Act provides for only city and local distribution networks for gas to be used as common carriers, HPCL objected to the move. PNGRB then initiated a public consultation on Reliance’s request.

HPCL objects to the consultation process

“The Board has formed its opinion without consulting the entity owning aviation turbine fuel (ATF) pipelines,” said HPCL in a review petition with PNGRB. In its order, PNGRB said that HPCL had given written objections in the consultation process.

The regulatory body said that the law provides that “after the closing of the public consultation process, an opportunity of being heard is to be given to the concerned entity within a minimum notice period of 21 days.”

“As the views and comments have been received and those have been web-hosted, the PNGRB now gives an opportunity to HPCL for a formal hearing as per provisions under Section 20(2) and Regulation 10(1)(b). HPCL may submit a comprehensive representation to the Board and appear for a hearing on April 5, 2019,” the order said.

BPCL, HPCL run two separate pipelines

To supply jet fuel to airlines at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, BPCL and HPCL operate two separate pipelines from their Mahul refineries in the city.