Dabhol gets first supply of natural gas, finally  

State-run gas giant GAIL (India) 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 UD Choubey told PTI here. Gas was transported through a 577-km pipeline from Dahej in Gujarat where Petronet LNG is importing 1.25 million tonne of natural gas in liquefied form (LNG) from Qatar.

This is the first time the Dabhol has received gas 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.

Choubey said GAIL?s Dahej-Uran-Dabhol pipeline was a landmark as it was completed in a record time despite several obstacles, notably opposition from farmers in Maharashtra and Gujarat, difficult terrain and bad weather.

Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd, 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?s Phase-I (740-mw) began operating on naphtha in May 1999, but was shut down in May 2001 after its sole customer MSEB refused to buy expensive power. PTI

After Enron's bankruptcy, the project wastaken over by RGPPL -- a joint venture between state-owned power major NTPC Ltd, GAIL and Indian banks. RGPPL had restarted generation from naphtha in May last year.

Source: The Financial Express, New Delhi, 14 July 2007
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