Dabhol gets gas for power generation

GAIL (India) Ltd. has delivered the first gas consignment to the Dabhol power plant in Maharashtra, paving the way for a switch from expensive naphtha to the cheaper green fuel.

The 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, was used to transport gas to the power plant. This is the first gas consignment the Dabhol plant received since beginning of operations in May 1999. According to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Murli Deora, the Dahej-Uran-Dabhol pipeline is a landmark as it was completed in a record eight months despite several obstacles in Maharashtra and Gujarat, difficult terrain and bad weather.

Ratnagiri Gas and Power Private Limited (RGPPL), the new owner of the project, will start generating about 1,400 MW of electricity from gas by month-end. It will scale up to peak capacity of 2,184 MW by the year-end when a third unit is commissioned. The Phase-I of the Dabhol plant began operating on naphtha in May 1999, but was shut down in May 2001 after its sole customer, the Maharashtra State Electricity Board, refused to buy the expensive power. The project was then taken over by RGPPL ? a joint venture between the National Thermal Power Corporation, GAIL and financial institutions.

Mr. Deora said now GAIL would go ahead with the commissioning of re-gasified LNG from Dahej and Hazira for use in Maharasthra. He said the two-way flow pipeline linked the gas markets in Gujarat and Maharashtra. RGPPL was operating two units of Dabhol on naphtha imported by the Indian Oil Corporation.

Mr. Deora said that of the total length of 581-km long network of the Dahej-Panvel-Dabhol pipeline, about 222 km long stretch of the pipeline is covered in Gujarat and the remaining 359 km passes through Maharashtra.

Source: The Hindu, New Delhi, 14 July 2007
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