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PNGRB says lacks powers to regulate setting up of LNG pumps

New Delhi, Jun 3 (PTI) Oil regulator PNGRB has said it has no powers to regulate setting up of LNG dispensing stations and any entity can set up such fuel outlets anywhere in the country.

Giving its ruling on requests made to it for setting up of standalone liquefied natural gas (LNG) stations, the PNGRB said the Act that governs its powers and regulations pertains only to licensing and setting up of CNG outlets. It does not provide for a regulatory framework for CNG stations.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) Act 'has extensively covered CNG stations and even the mode of granting authorisation to an entity that is desirous of establishing or operating a City Gas Distribution network which is essential for establishing or setting up a CNG station,' the regulator said.

'The Act has therefore laid down a regulatory framework for the CNG stations. However, the same is not provided for LNG Stations,' PNGRB said in its order.

'Furthermore, there is also no provision under the Act which states that the LNG Station can only be set up by an entity which has been authorized for developing a City or Local Natural Gas Distribution Network in accordance with the Act.' So far only entities permitted or licensed by the government or by PNGRB can retail CNG to automobiles and piped cooking gas to household kitchens in authorised geographical areas.

'From the above-referred provisions, it is concluded that any entity can set up an LNG Station in any Geographical Area (GA) or anywhere else, even if it is not the authorized entity for that GA,' PNGRB said.

Gas found below the earth's surface or below sea bed when extracted is known as natural gas. This gas when cooled down to liquid form for ease and safety of non-pressurized storage or transport is called LNG. Gas when compressed at high pressure is called compressed natural gas or CNG.

CNG is used as fuel in automobiles and now even LNG is being used as fuel in long-haul trucks.

PNGRB has so far held 10 bid round for giving out city gas distribution (CGD) licenses. It has authorised entities for undertaking CGD network in 228 GAs comprising 402 districts spread over 27 states and union territories covering approximately 70 per cent of India's population and 53 per cent of its geographical area.

Companies such as Petronet LNG Ltd, the nation's biggest LNG importer, plan to set up LNG stations on highways to retail LNG to trucks and buses. PTI ANZ MR MR