Dabhol power station expansion moves ahead

Vol 13, PW 25 (03 Jun 10) Midstream & Downstream

Ratnagiri Gas is moving ahead with plans to expand the 2150-MW Dabhol power station by another 1500-MW.

PETROWATCH learns Maharashtra state authorities sent Ratnagiri a written assurance in late April promising to buy some of the additional electricity generated by the proposed 1500-MW expansion. Ratnagiri has now formally applied to the union environment ministry for the mandatory environmental clearance, says a company source.

It also met environment ministry officials last month (May). Our source adds the Ratnagiri Gas application will soon go to the environment ministry’s 15-member appraisal committee.

Already the environment ministry has finalised the ‘Terms of Reference’ or guidelines for the proposed Dabhol expansion. “You could call this the ‘preliminary environment ministry clearance’,” he says.

Dabhol co-owner NTPC has begun preparing a Detailed Feasibility Report for the proposed expansion, and this DFR could be ready in about a month. “Once the DFR is ready it will go to the Ratnagiri board for approval,” we are told.

Ratnagiri Gas has also received an assurance of 6m cm/d of gas to fuel the proposed additional 1500-MW from co-promoter GAIL at “market prices”. Unfortunately the much-delayed Dabhol LNG terminal project isn’t experiencing the sort of progress as the proposed Dabhol power station expansion.

Ratnagiri Gas has cancelled the Gammon India contract to dredge the Dabhol shipping channel, and plans to issue a fresh dredging tender. “Even if Ratnagiri awards the fresh contract by September,” we hear, “actual dredging will take five to six months.

This means Ratnagiri can import LNG only next year (2011).” Last November, Gammon India received the LoI from Ratnagiri gas to carry out the Dabhol dredging.

But it did not begin work or sign any contract, infuriating Ratnagiri Gas.