Turbine accident hits GSPC Pipavav power plant

Vol 13, PW 5 (13 Aug 09) Midstream & Downstream

GSPC’s plan to set up a 700-MW gas-fired combined cycle power plant at Pipavav suffered a grievous blow last week when a gas turbine fell into a river on its way to the construction site.

PETROWATCH learns a 128-wheel trailer bringing the gas turbine to the project site at Pipavav plunged into the Shetrunji River on August 8 after the third pillar of the bridge on which it was passing could not bear the 500-tonne combined weight of the trailer and turbine. Local media reports that at least five people were killed in the accident.

“Six days after the accident the trailer still hangs on from the broken bridge and the gas turbine is lying in about eight feet of water,â€‌ a Bhavnagar district official said. “The problem faced is how to bring in a heavy duty crane that can pull out the trailer and the turbine.

There is no approach road to the river.â€‌ Indian engineering contractor Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL), which is constructing the power plant for GSPC, has not yet announced if the turbine is a total â€کwrite-off’.

“Our first priority is to bring out the turbine from the riverbed and do the initial assessments,â€‌ a BHEL source said. The first 350-MW unit of the power plant was to be commissioned by September 2010 but now BHEL will have to rework its schedule.

Imported from the General Electric factory at Greenville in the US, the turbine reached Mundra port end-July and was loaded onto the trailer on July 31 for its journey to Pipavav when the accident happened near Talaja. Clearing and forwarding agents JM Baxi & Co organised the transport.

BHEL was awarded the Rs1893cr ($394.37m) contract to set up Phase-I of the 700-MW power project in March 2008. DJ Pandian, GSPC managing director, has made construction of the power plant a company priority.

“He was at Pipavav in the last week of July,â€‌ we hear. “He also had a meeting with BHEL chairman and managing director Ravi Kumar to express concern about delays to project completion.


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