Vedanta and ONGC bid for Pipavav stake as does Swan

Vol 16, PW 7 (18 Oct 12) People & Policy

Most are genuinely interested but some are bidding only to please Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

PETROWATCH learns almost all the major electricity generation companies in India submitted bids to GSPC by the extended October 1 deadline to take a 49% stake in the upcoming gas-fired 2100-MW Pipavav power project. Most surprising is a bid from Mumbai-based Swan Energy, which silently withdrew from the controversial project in January after accusations that it won the stake without an open tender, violating government guidelines.

Now it seems Swan wants a second shot. ONGC is another surprising bidder.

Less surprising is the bid from Anil Agarwal-controlled mining giant Vedanta Resources. Agarwal, who also owns Cairn India, has been courting chief minister Modi to revive work on the stalled 74-km Salaya to Bhogat oil pipeline.

They had a 40-minute meeting on August 29 where, according to an industry source, Modi asked Agarwal to invest in Gujarat. Modi also suggested Vedanta should bid for the Pipavav stake.

Vedanta subsequently complied, bidding through group company Sterlite Energy. Other bidders include Tata Power, Reliance Power, UK-headquartered Hinduja Energy, Calcutta Electric Supply (CESC), Hong Kong-based China Light & Power (CLP) and Houston-based energy trader Gulf Petro.

CLP chief Sir Michael Kadoorie too is keeping his promise, made to Modi at the Vibrant Gujarat summit in Gandhinagar last January, to increase his company’s presence in the state. “We are working out the qualifying criteria,” confirms a senior GSPC source.

“Within a week we will start talking to bidders.” GSPC expects to commission the first 351-MW unit at Pipavav by December followed by a second 351-MW unit by mid-2013.

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