RIL’s KG-D6 gas comes to aid to drought-hit states

RIL’s KG-D6 gas comes to aid to drought-hit states

New Delhi: The Petroleum Ministry has allocated additional natural gas from Reliance Industries’ eastern offshore gas fields to three power plants to meet electricity deficit in northern states reeling under drought.

Oil Minister Murli Deora this week approved a ‘fall-back´ or temporary allocation of about 3.7 million standard cubic meters per day of KG-D6 gas to Lanco’s Kondapalli power plant in Andhra Pradesh, Utran plant in Gujarat and Pragati Power in Delhi and supplies are likely to begin in a week to 10 days.

“We raised the issue of additional gas to power plants at a meeting called by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee (on 25 August), and Deora that very evening called a meeting of officials at his residence and approved the additional allocation," Power Secretary HS Brahma said here.

The gas would help generate about 800 MW of additional electricity and help bridge the shortfall in hydro power generation caused by insufficient rains.

Brahma said in all 10 mmscmd of gas is needed at power plants operating below capacity or about to be commissioned. Of this 3.7 mmscmd has been allocated. “If we get another 7 mmscmd, we can generate 900 MW of additional power."

KG-D6 gas would help the Power Ministry meet its 100-day agenda of adding 5,200 MW generation by mid-September.

“We have added 4,000 MW already and we will definitely meet the target," he said.

Brahma said the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) had allocated 18 mmscmd to the power sector, of the initial KG-D6 output of 40 mmscmd. “Currently, power plants are getting about 17 mmscmd (of KG-D6 gas)," he said.

The Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the technical arm of the Ministry of Power, had recommended 1.37 mmscmd of gas to Lanco’s 366 MW Kondapalli extension project.

It sought 1.21 mmscmd for the 374 MW Utran plant in Gujarat, which will go on stream shortly, and 0.82 mmscmd for the 220 MW Tanir Vavi plant before its commissioning in March 2010. For the 108 MW Tithalia and 250 MW Bawana power plants in Delhi, the CEA recommended 0.40 mmscmd and 0.93 mmscmd of gas from KG-D6.

The CEA has recommended these allocations considering a maximum power capacity of 70% and if these plants operate at full capacity, the requirement would be 6.33 mmscmd, an official said.

RIL produces 36-37 mmscmd gas from KG-D6, half of which goes to power plants. The firm has the capacity to produce 60 mmscmd but is constrained to produce less as the government is yet to identify customers for buying gas beyond the initial 40 mmscmd, allocated primarily to fertiliser and power producers in accordance with the Gas Utilisation Policy.