Water scarcity hits Petronet-LNG power plans

Vol 14, PW 11 (18 Nov 10) Midstream & Downstream

Diving into an empty swimming pool can give you a severe headache.

So can diving into a major power project without securing adequate water supplies, as Petronet-LNG is learning with its plans to set up a 1200-MW gas fired power station near its Dahej terminal in Gujarat. This proposed station will be built on 50 hectares of land provided by the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) using ‘cold energy’ from the minus-160 degree Centigrade LNG cargoes that regularly arrive at Dahej to cool its turbines and increase electricity generation capacity by 10%.

But the estimated $1bn power project also needs 50,000-kilolitres of water every day, and GIDC is now saying there’s no suitable water supply source near Dahej. Hearing this news, Petronet-LNG directors Amitava Sengupta and CS Mani rushed from Delhi to Gandhinagar on November 11 to seek help from Gujarat energy secretary DJ Pandian.

“Sengupta and Mani met Pandian,” confirms a Gandhinagar source, “and he promised to secure water supplies for the proposed station.” GIDC, we hear, could potentially supply the proposed station with water from the Narmada River, which passes about 30-km east of Dahej.

But in India getting permission to use river water for industrial purposes can be challenging. Alternatively, Petronet-LNG could use sea water by setting up a ‘reverse osmosis’ plant near Dahej.

But the only trouble with that is the seawater near the Dahej coast “is very muddy with a lot of silt.” Petronet-LNG completed a Detailed Feasibility Report (DFR) on the proposed Dahej station earlier this year but its board of directors has yet to approve the project.

Once approval comes through, it could take approximately 33 months to construct and commission the power station. When constructed, the power station will need up to 4m cm/d of R-LNG from Dahej.