New Delhi : The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board's (PNGRB) approval is not needed for setting up compressed natural gas (CNG) selling stations, the ministry's senior most official said Wednesday.
"There is no regulator approval required for setting up CNG stations, and companies are free to set up CNG pumps across cities," Petroleum Secretary Vivek Rae said at an India Energy Forum-Observer Research Foundation conference on regulatory issues in India's oil sector.
The PNGRB has since 2009 been issuing licences to entities for city gas distribution (CGD) networks, for sale of CNG to automobiles and piped natural gas (PNG) to households.
The petroleum ministry in a recent letter to the GAIL India chairman clarified that CNG stations are not covered in the definition of "city or local natural gas distribution network" as provided in the PNGRB Act of 2006. There was, thus, no authorisation required from the PNGRB for setting up a CNG station.
The PNGRB remains the licensing authority for CGD, which entails laying of local gas pipeline networks.
Now any company can start a CNG station, while hiring the pipeline network of PNGRB-licensed CGD entity for taking gas to its CNG pump.
The PNGRB invited bids in October for issuing licenses for retailing CNG and piped cooking gas in 14 cities, which are due in February 2014. It invited bids in 2009 for 13 cities.