The Rs 12,000-crore Dabhol power project will be split into separate power and LNG companies in an effort to revive the plant, which was originally built by the now-bankrupt US energy firm Enron.
Ratnagiri Gas and Power (RGPPL), a JV of state-owned power generator NTPC and gas utility GAIL, which took over the 1,967-MW power plant and adjacent 5-million-tonne-a-year liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in July 2005 — will be split into two separate firms — one to manage the power plant and the other to operate the LNG facility. The shareholding pattern will be the same with NTPC and GAIL holding 25.51% each, the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) 13.51% and financial institutions the remaining 35.47%, power minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday.
Additionally, the RGPPL board has decided to ramp up the capacity of the LNG terminal to 5 million tonne (MT) from the current 3 MT. The excess capacity will be used to serve the regions of southern Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. This will require a funding of R2,000 crore and will be borne by NTPC and GAIL through equity infusion, while the lenders will contribute the debt in proportion to their share holding.
Goyal said the plant, which has been shut for want of fuel for about one-and-a-half-years, will start generating electricity from November 1.
The first 500 MW of electricity will be sold to the Railways after the Maharashtra government decided to forego transmission charges to bring down the cost of power to R4.75 per unit. The average cost of power procurement for the railways is nearly twice at Rs 8.46/unit. The plant will use 1.7mmscmd of gas that it won in the recently concluded second-round of bidding for subsidised RLNG. This would enable the company to run its plant at 35% plant load factor (PLF) November-March period.
“With Railways as the anchor buyer, the plant will be able to produce power, generate revenues and service its interest cost in the short-run,” Goyal said.