185 City Gas Distribution Projects may Get Extension
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) may grant another extension to about 185 city gas distribution projects hit by the second wave of Covid-19. This would help city gas licensees avoid penalties for missing work programme targets and avail extended exclusivity period.
The second wave of the pandemic, which has resulted in record infections and deaths in the past two months in the country, has also hampered the progress of city gas projects in several places as most states have imposed lockdowns, restricting the mobility of men and material.
PNGRB will consider extending the city gas project time frames once again as it did last November after licensees declared force majeure and sought extension citing national and local lockdowns, said people familiar with the matter.
Once the current wave ebbs and lockdowns start getting eased, city gas licensees will be in a position to make a fair assessment of lost time and seek extension, they said. Last November PNGRB approved force majeure and permitted an extension of 129 days to 251 days, including 69 days of nationwide lockdown, varying periods of local lockdowns by states and district authorities, and 60 days for restoration. There has been no national lockdown this time around and even state-level lockdowns have been less restrictive.
PNGRB will take a final call on extension of duration after examining licensees’ pleas and the roll-back of lockdown in each state, said people with knowledge of the matter.
The extension would help avoid penalties for missing the minimum work programme commitments companies made during licensing bids. As per regulation, a penalty is to be levied on licensees within three months from the end of each contract year in respect of any shortfall in achieving cumulative work programme targets for that contract year.