Maharashtra asks for more gas  

The Maharasthra government has sought clarification from the petroleum ministry on issues relating to completion of the Dahej-Uran gas pipeline, fuel availability for Dabhol power project and the extension of the gas pipeline from Krishna Godawari Basin to Mumbai and Western Maharashtra. The state has been striving to solve the ever present mismatch between power demand and supply.

It emphasised the need for early completion of the Dahej-Uran pipeline and an increase in gas allocation for the state so that it can encourage gas-based projects. Gas-based projects with total capacity of over 2,500 mw have been put on hold for want of gas. Also, Maharashtra state power generation company (Mahagenco) has been forced to operate its Uran project below capacity due to inadequate gas supply.

The government in its recent communication argued that against the required 15 mmscmd natural gas, only 5 mmscmd is available for the past several years from Petronet?s LNG terminal in Dahej.

GAIL India had planned a pipeline from Dahej to Uran, which was to be extended to Pune, nearly five years ago. The pipeline was originally scheduled to be completed in 2005 to synchronise with the commissioning of the Dahej LNG plant. However, work on the pipeline has not yet begun with GAIL?s inability to award the contract for the pipeline.

?It is absolutely essential that the pipeline be completed at the earliest as natural gas would be a lifeline to industry in the Mumbai-Pune region, which is already suffering due to the high cost of alternate fuels,? the government said.

The Dabhol power plant, which was revived from April 30, was closed once again from July 4 for want of naphtha and MahaVitaran?s inability to draw power, which may cost Rs 6.10 a unit.

?Maharashtra is facing a power shortage of 4000 mw and demand for power from Dabhol would rise again after the monsoons. However, GAIL has not been able to secure a long-term fuel arrangement for Dabhol in the absence of which, the plant cannot be operated using costly naptha as a fuel,? the government said.

The Maharashtra government also demanded that the gas pipeline from the Krishna Godawari Basin be extended to Mumbai and western Maharashtra.

Source: The Financial Express, Mumbai, September 13, 2006
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