Oil Min blocks PSUs buying Gujarat Gas stake

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 17:35

New Delhi: Gujarat State Petroleum Corp (GSPC) going solo in acquisition of British energy major BG Group's stake in Gujarat Gas Co Ltd (GGCL) was a result of Oil Ministry blocking its PSUs from joining the Gujarat government firm.

Originally, a consortia of GSPC, Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) was to buy 65.12 percent stake in the nation's biggest private gas distributor. BG Group too had shortlisted GSPC-ONGC-BPCL as a consortia for the stake sale.

Later, state-owned Oil India Ltd (OIL) too joined the consortia but when it came to making a final price bid GSPC quoted Rs 2,463.8 crore on its own, sources with direct knowledge of the development said.

Oil PSUs were very much part of the consortia till 24-hours before the final bid but pulled out at the last moment after their parent ministry did not give them clearance.

Oil Ministry was vary of giving BJP-leader and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi any kind of advantage on the eve of elections in the state, sources said.

The ministry was upset about Modi claiming credit for gas pipelines that GSPC is to lay with oil PSUs from the east coast to the west and then up to Jammu. It felt majority of the money was being put in by oil PSUs but it was Modi who was getting all the credit, they said.

ONGC and BPCL had after the October 3 announcement of GSPC buying GGCL stated that they did not have time to complete all the formalities for putting the bid.


First Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 17:35

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