Strategic investors sought for Dabhol LNG terminal
1-Jan-1970

The government is scouting for strategic investors for Dabhol power plant?s LNG terminal. The terminal, which has been at the centre of a stand-off between the lenders and the plant?s new owner, Ratnagiri Gas and Power (RGPPL), may be hived off into a separate company after its capacity is doubled to handle 10 million tonnes of LNG.

According to the broad contours of the proposal, one or more strategic investors could be roped in to bring in Rs 2,000 crore needed to complete the terminal and augment its capacity. A news agency report says that the government has roped in ICICI Securities for valuation of the LNG terminal.

Sources close to the development indicated that the government had been looking for investors who have long-term access to gas supply. ?If companies like Ras Gas and Ad Gas are interested, the government will consider the offer,? sources said.

The Abu Dhabi-based Ad Gas and Ras Gas of Qatar are expected to ink a deal to supply gas to the Dabhol plant from April 2007. According to estimates by GAIL India Ltd, one of the stakeholders in the project, completion of the 5-million tonnes LNG terminal, the breakwater and the jetty will require close to Rs 500 crore.

The lenders to the project ? Industrial Development Bank of India, ICICI Bank and State Bank of India ? have, however, indicated their unwillingness to invest any further in the plant, given the uncertainty over global gas prices.

Gas prices, which were hovering around $3 per mmbtu when the revival plan was drawn up, have since gone up to around $10 per mmbtu.

The lenders have already pumped in close to Rs 850 crore. According to RGPPL?s agreement with the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company, if the fixed cost of power from the plant goes beyond Rs 1.10 per unit of power, it will have to be borne by the lenders and will not be reflected in the final power tariff. If the lenders were to bear the cost of completion of the LNG facilities, the fixed cost is likely to go up to Rs 2 per unit of power.




Source: Business Standard, Mumbai, August 26, 2006
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