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Mukesh Ambani gets PNGRB’s approval for selling loss-making pipeline to Brookfield

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani has won oil regulator PNGRB’s approval for selling his loss-making east-west natural gas pipeline to Canadian investor Brookfield, a top official said. Ambani’s Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure Ltd, which later changed the name to East West Pipeline Ltd (EWPL), a decade back built a 1,400-kilometer pipeline from Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh to Bharuch in Gujarat to transport natural gas discovered in a KG basin block operated by his flagship firm Reliance Industries. However, the pipeline which had a capacity to transport 80 million standard cubic metres per day of natural gas is currently operating at less than 5 per cent of its capacity as output from KG-D6 block of RIL fell sooner than expected.

While the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had in September approved the transaction where Brookfield is sponsoring an Infrastructure Investment Trust (IIT) called India Infrastructure Trust as the acquisition vehicle, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) gave its nod a few weeks back. Yes, the approval has been accorded  PNGRB Chairman Dinesh K Sarraf said. EWPL had a total outstanding debt of Rs 13,715 crore as of March while its plant, property and equipment had an asset value of around Rs 11,000 crore, according to its last annual balance sheet.

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