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by Michael last modified 2006-11-08 19:11

Gas Authority of India, Ltd. (GAIL) (20% share in the A-1 gas block)

GAILCompany Profile

The Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) was established in August 1984, with 100% equity held by the Government of India. GAIL is one of India's leading public sector enterprises and the largest gas transmission and marketing company in the country. The company is ranked among the top ten companies in India, with a 2002-03 turnover of Rs.11, 775 crore (US$ 2,5 billion) and a net profit Rs. 1639 crore (US$ 343 million). Today, the government holds 67% equity in GAIL. [1]

GAIL owns and operates over 4600 km of pipeline and has a 95% market share in the natural gas industry in India. Moreover, GAIL operates the country's largest gas-based LPG extraction plant and operates the world's longest - 1,269 km - and India's first cross-country LPG pipeline from Gujarat in western India to Loni near New Delhi in north India. [2]

GAIL and Shwe

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In spite of their investment in Burma and related future risks of being held responsible for complicity in human rights abuses by the Burmese military, GAIL states that "we are writing a new genetic code for ourselves to achieve all round excellence in our endeavor towards services for the Nature and the People - The Ultimate Customer [...] We endeavor to create superior value for all our stakeholders through the use of best-in-class standards of operations, technologies and safety, health and environmental practices". [3]

The company has an IS0-9002 and ISO-14001 certification for adherence to environmental standards for its pipeline system and LPG plants. For the past five years GAIL has been winning the 'Excellent Performance Award' from the Indian Government. [4] (Further, GAIL won Five Star Safety Awards by British Safety Council, for LPG Vijaipur Plant and UP Petrochemical Complex, Pata and Safety Awards for Lakwa, Usar and Vaghodia LPG Projects.)

The company's statement and performance record stands in stark contrast to its investment in the Shwe gas project. GAIL already operates a gas processing plant in Assam and gas pipelines in the north-east Indian states of Assam and Tripura, where civilians continue to be victims of military operations against armed opposition groups seeking autonomy from India. Pipelines in the region are targeted by rebel groups, who object the exploitation of Assam's oil and gas resources by the federal government. [5]

By investing in the Shwe gas project, GAIL is becoming involved in yet another unstable region. Not only will the company itself face considerable risks by relying on the Burmese military for the provision of security during pipeline construction and maintenance - thus possibly having to face related lawsuits in the future. Moreover, their investment will only further strengthen the regime and bring about suffering among the communities in Western Burma and beyond.


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