Gas wanted for two Kerala power stations

Vol 14, PW 8 (07 Oct 10) Midstream & Downstream

Kerala’s tourism board proudly describes the southern Indian state as ‘God’s own country.

’ Hopefully, Kerala’s prayers for subsidised gas will be answered, if not by God, at least by India’s Central Electricity Authority (CEA). PETROWATCH learns Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) officials made a strong pitch to the CEA at a meeting in Vizag on September 6, asking for subsidised domestic gas for power generation.

Kerala currently has no gas-fired power stations and almost all its electricity is generated by hydroelectric projects. But it is planning construction of two new gas-fired power stations.

Kerala wants 4.79m cm/d of subsidised gas for its proposed 1026-MW Brahmapuram power station to meet electricity demand in Kochi. It also wants 6m cm/d for the 1200-MW proposed Cheemeni power station in north Kerala’s Kasargode region.

“The CEA said it would consider our demand,” confirms a KSEB source. KSEB currently has a 106-MW power station at Brahmapuram, fuelled by diesel.

“We have enough land for the new (gas-fired) power station,” he adds. KSEB is preparing to invite Expressions of Interest to hire a technical consultant to coordinate the Brahmapuram station EPC project.

“We want to float an EPC tender within six months,” we are told. This proposed Brahmapuram gas-fired station could cost Rs4000cr ($897.3m) of which 30% could come from Kerala government funds while the remaining 70% could be financed with loans from either the Rural Electrification Corporation or the Power Finance Corporation, both attached to the Ministry of Power.

KSEB wants Brahmapuram commissioned by 2014 and is working hard to get 12 ‘statutory’ clearances so physical work can begin on the ground. Unless it gets subsidised domestic gas, KSEB will have to run Brahmapuram using relatively expensive R-LNG from Petronet-LNG’s under-construction Kochi LNG terminal.

One of the aims of the September 6 meeting was to assess total gas demand in southern India during the country’s 12th five-year plan from 2012 to 2017.