With little gas supply, Ratnagiri power plant shut down

In another indication to worsening power generation in the country, now the largest gas based power project - Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd (RGPPL) formerly known as the Dabhol Power Project has been shut down since Wednesday as the gas supply to the project has shrunk to 0.4 mmscmd (million metric standard cubic metre per day), which is insufficient to run even a single turbine.

"Two weeks ago, the supply went down to 1-1.1 mmscmd, which was insufficient to generate power at the technical minimum load. So, we initially went for shutdown over weekends," said a top official. "However, since last Monday, the supply went down to 0.4 mmscmd. With that sort of supply, we can't run and had to go for a complete shutdown on Wednesday."

The official said if the supply does not increase, then they will have to keep power generation on hold for few more days. He added that currently, they are in an "overdrawn situation" and if supply is increased, they would first have to square-off their position and would be able to restart by Tuesday.

"The situation has deteriorated and there is something wrong, for which everyone, including the government is concerned," he added.

While the project has government allocation of 7.6 mmscmd of KG Basin gas and another 0.9 mmscmd from the government, sources say that it is enough to run a 2,000 MW plant. However, with six turbines in running condition available with the company, only one was operational over the last few months.

Sources said they have the option to purchase gas from the market but that is four times costlier than the price of rationed gas available to them at $4.2 per mmbtu.

"The spot gas in the market is available at $16 to $18 per mmbtu. At that price, no one will buy power from us," the official said. "I need to have cheaper gas. Unless basic gas generation goes up, we are in a serious position."

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