Bechtel wants to open new chapter in India

Mumbai, March 23 | Updated: Mar 24 2006, 05:30am hrs
After burning its fingers on the now-closed Dabhol project, US power major Bechtel wants to begin a new innings in India's fast-changing power sector. The company is keen to explore bidding avenues for the construction contract of the proposed five ultra mega power projects with a generation capacity of 4,000 MW each, later to be expanded up to 10,000 MW. The Centre has proposed development of these projects based on pithead and imported coal in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

STARTING AFRESH
BITTER PAST
Terminated construction contract with DPC over payment dues
Received compensation on contractual claims made against MSEB
LOOKING AHEAD
Proposes to associate itself with the Dabhol restart
Picking up equity in mega power projects right now not on the menu
Bechtel sources told FE: "We are bullish over Indian power sector developments. The upcoming ultra mega power projects are one of the options that the company can choose from for construction contract bidding. At this juncture, the company has not given any thought to explore an option of picking up equity in the ultra mega power projects."

Bechtel is currently involved in the development of coal-fired projects with large power generation capacities in Europe and the USA. Besides, the company, which had terminated its construction contract with the now-defunct Dabhol Power Company on June 17, 2001 for default in payment of dues, proposes to associate with the restarting of the Dabhol power project. Although Bechtel's engineers are regularly visiting the plant and assiting the NTPC-led team, it's yet to ink a formal contract for the same.

Bechtel, which has received compensation of $145 million towards its contractual claims made against the now-unbundled Maharashtra State Electricity Board in July last year, has already made it clear that it would not pick up any equity in the new Dabhol project but would be associated on a fee basis.