Power min seeks RIL gas to up generation

Written by Sanjay Jog | Mumbai | Updated: Feb 28 2009, 05:26am hrs
In a bid to provide much-needed relief to the fuel-starved power sector, the power ministry has forwarded its recommendation to petroleum ministry for the allocation of 18 million metric standard cubic meter per day (mmscmd) gas from RILs K-G D6 basin.

The gas-based power projects with a total generation capacity of 14,734 mw, which are currently run either on naphtha, inadequate gas supply under administered price mechanism (APM) or via gas pool are expected to be major beneficiaries of the allocation. The K-G D6 basin gas would be supplied at $4.20 million british thermal unit (mmbtu) as fixed by the empowered group of ministers.

Indias largest generator NTPC, having a gas-based generation capacity of 4,000 mw, is expected to get around 8 mmscmd gas. This would help NTPC operate these projects at 80% capacity. NTPCs petition against RIL that is pending would not be a hurdle for the former to get the K-G D6 basin gas as the Bombay High Court in its order issued in January did not put impose such restrictions. The rest would go to projects in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Delhi.

According to sources, The ministry has made its recommendations to the petroleum ministry and the final decision on actual allocation is awaited. However, the gas availability will certainly help increase power generation to tackle the peaking shortage of (-)11.3%.

After NTPC, power projects in Andhra Pradesh would be the largest beneficiaries of K-G D6 gas supply. Six power plantsGowthami, Vemagiri, Reliance, Konaseema, GMR and GVKwith generation capacity of over 1,000 mw are yet to generate power to their full capacities due to non-availability of gas. At present, the power plants in Andhra Pradesh have been allocated 13.04 mmscmd, though they are being supplied only 3.2 mmscmd. The state wants to meet 9.8 mmscmd shortfall via the K-G D6 basin gas.

Also, the 2,150-mw Ratnagiri power plant would initially get 1.4 mmscmd, which would rise to 2.7 mmscmd by May or June and finally to 8.5 mmscmd before year-end.