Cabinet wants NTPC report for Dabhol expansio

Vol 13, PW 14 (17 Dec 09) Midstream & Downstream

India’s cabinet has directed state-owned NTPC to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) about increasing capacity at the 2150-MW Dabhol power station near Mumbai.

PETROWATCH learns that on December 7 the Empowered Group of Ministers (EgoM) directed NTPC, the country’s largest power generating company, to have the DPR ready by the panel’s next meeting, likely around March 2010. NTPC last made a presentation on December 4 to power secretary HS Brahma, saying the area surrounding Dabhol could fit two additional 750-MW generating modules.

“But Brahma asked NTPC,â€‌ says a source, “to try to find a location for a third 750-MW module, to take total capacity to 4400-MW.â€‌ At the December 7 panel meeting, we hear, the EGoM headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee was unclear about how much Dabhol’s capacity should increase, but simply said NTPC should try to work out how many additional units could fit on available land.

After this DPR is presented, we hear, the EGoM will decide whether the expansion project should be executed by Ratnagiri Gas and Power (the NTPC/GAIL joint venture that owns Dabhol) or by NTPC alone, or with another company. Plans to raise Dabhol capacity come in response to rising energy shortages across India, especially in the fast industrialising and urbanising western regions, which face a 12% electricity deficit.

Some in the power sector predict Dabhol’s increased capacity could go on-stream as quickly as 30 months after the government commits investment in the project. In addition to Mukherjee, members of the EGoM are oil minister Murli Deora; power minister Sushilkumar Shinde, planning commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, law minister Moodbidri Veerappa Moily and Prithviraj Chauhan, the junior minister in the PMO.