Power Project Developers Rush to Join Queue for Gas

120 thermal projects waiting for gas linkages.

With recent gas finds boosting future supply prospects, natural gas is back in vogue as feedstock for new power projects.

At last count, developers of 120 thermal projects, with cumulative generation capacity of over 1,42,000 MW, had applied for gas linkages with the Government, of which 97,500 MW or nearly 70 per cent are in the private sector.

These applications are for projects slated to come up beyond the Eleventh Plan, mostly in the Twelfth Plan period. The total gas requirement for all of these projects is pegged at a cumulative 682 million standard cubic metres a day at 90 per cent plant load factor.

Key projects

Key projects in the Central sector include NTPC Ltd’s 2,100-MW Badarpur greenfield station, a 2,100-MW expansion at Kayamkulam, Kerala and a 3,000-MW expansion project for its Ratnagiri project, cumulatively needing 34.56 mscmd (million standard cubic metres per day) of gas.

Among State utilities, Karnataka, with 9,000 MW of new gas-capacity, Gujarat with over 6,000 MW and Andhra Pradesh (2,100 MW) top the list. Private projects include Reliance Power’s 2,400-MW Samalkot expansion, Spectrum Power’s 1,350-MW expansion project, GMR Coastal Energy’s 2,000-MW greenfield project (all in Andhra Pradesh) and Reliance Power’s proposed 7,200-MW Jambusar project in Gujarat.

Coal prospects dim

The renewed demand for gas among project developers comes at a time when coal mining prospects appear dim in light of new stringent environmental norms that have been proposed in terms of ‘no go’ areas. With demand for gas allocations perking up, the Centre has asked all gas-based project developers, including projects pending with CEA for the recommendation of gas allocation and others intending to put up gas-based units, to furnish the details by November 20.

This means that the final tally of projects seeking gas allocations could be even higher.

The Government had recently mandated that fuel for future thermal power projects — both coal and gas — will be allocated under a new score-card system, where the use of higher-efficiency units and progress on land acquisition have the highest weights.

The projects that have applied for gas allocations would be selected for linkages through this methodology, officials said.

Currently, the total availability of gas in India, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), is pegged at around 167.80 mscmd, which is projected to be around 271.92 mscmd by 2013-14.

Most of the increase would come when Reliance Industries hikes output from its eastern offshore KG-D6 fields to over 80 mscmd and the commissioning of LNG import terminal at Kochi in Kerala.

The Kochi terminal would import 2.5 million tonnes of LNG a year and shipments to the currently operational Dahej and Hazira facilities in Gujarat are also going to rise. The power sector’s current requirement of gas is pegged at around 77.44 mscmd.

Source – Hindu Business Line

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SUMIT KUMAR

Executive at India Electron Exchange

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