Finally, Dabhol gets gas from Gail

State-run gas firm Gas Authority of India Ltd. (Gail) has delivered the first ever gas to the Dabhol power plant in Maharashtra, paving the way for the beleaguered unit to switch from expensive naphtha to the cheaper green fuel.

"We delivered first gas to dabhol plant around midnight on july 10," Gail chairman and managing director u.d. choubey told media here.

Gas was transported thr-ough a 577-km pipeline from dahej in gujarat where petronet lng is importing 1.25 million tonnes of natural gas in liquefied form (lng) from qatar.

This is the first time the dabhol plant has received gas supplies since beginning operations in may 1999. But it will not be before next weekend that the plant starts generating electricity from gas as the system gradually shifts from liquid fuel to gas.

Mr Choubey said Gail?s dahej-uran-dabhol pipe-line was a landmark as it was completed in a record eight months despite several obstacles, notably opposition from farmers in maharashtra and gujarat, difficult terrain and bad weather.

Ratnagiri gas and power pvt ltd. (RGPPL), the new owner of the project originally promoted by bankrupt us energy major enron, will by month-end start generating about 1,400 mw of electricity from gas. It will scale up to peak capacity of 2,184 mw by the year-end when a third unit is commissioned.

Dabhol plant?s phase-i (740-mw) began operating on naphtha in may 1999, but was shut down in may 2001 after its sole customer maharashtra state electricity board refused to buy expensive power. After enron?s bankruptcy, the project was taken over by rgppl, a joint venture between state-owned power major ntpc ltd, Gail and indian banks.

Mr choubey said that with the commissioning of da-hej-Uran-dabhol pipeline, regassified-lng from da-hej and hazira can also flow to maharashtra.

The 30-inch diametre two-way flow pipeline also links the gas markets in gujarat and maharashtra. While gu-jarat aleady had access to multiple gas sources ? lng from dahej and shell?s hazira terminal and offshore fields, mumbai rec-eived gas only from mumbai high fields.

Rgppl was operating two units of dabhol on naphtha imported by state-run Indian Oil Corporation.

Source: The Asian Age, New Delhi, 14 July 2007
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