Regulator expects $21b investment in gas network

Pension and hedge funds are keen on buying stakes in firms building the networks

INDIA?S gas distribution regulator expects companies including Reliance Indus tries and Gail India to invest Rs 100,000 crore ($21 billion) in the next five years to build pipeline networks connec ting cities.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board invited bids for eight areas in July and plans to hold monthly auctions for another 305 cities, chair man Labanyendu Mansingh said in an interview at his office in New Delhi. Pension funds and hedge funds are
interested in buying stakes in companies building the networks, he said, declining to name the potential investors. "We are working closely with state governments to ensure these projects come up on time," Mansingh said on Tuesday. "India has been fortunate enough to have major gas discoveries and this trend is going to continue for several years."

"The underlying logic to this is that there's established demand and there will be supply of gas," said Tony Regan, a Singapore-based consultant with Tri-Zen International. "This investment is just about what India needs to tap that demand and expand the existing distribution network."

Source: Financial Chronicle, Delhi, 29 July, 2010
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