NTPC to buy 1.5 mmscmd more gas from RIL

State-owned power utility NTPC will buy an additional 1.5 million cubic meters a day of gas from Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries at government-approved price of $4.2 per mmBtu to feed its power plants in north India.

The government had allocated NTPC 4.46 mmscmd of gas from RIL’s eastern offshore KG-D6 fields but it currently draws only 1.81 mmscmd due to resistance from state gas utility GAIL to transport additional volumes, official sources said.

Close to 60 per cent of the allocated volumes were for NTPC’s Kawas and Gandhar power plants in Gujarat. But the state-owned firm did not want to use KG-D6 gas at these plants since it was in litigation with the Mukesh Ambani firm over fuel supplies to expansion projects planned at these sites.

So, an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) last year decided that the state gas utility GAIL India will swap KG-D6 gas with fuel from other fields. Under this scheme, gas from western offshore Panna/Mukta and Tapti (PMT) fields that was currently supplied to NTPC’s northern India plants, was to be diverted to Kawas and Gandhar. The deficit at the northern India plants was then to be made up by KG-D6 gas.

Sources said GAIL was however not willing to implement this. It feared that if PMT gas was supplied to Kawas and Gandhar, it would displace the costlier LNG that those plants currently bought. Kawas and Gandhar currently buy imported-LNG at about 50 per cent more price then the delivered cost of RIL gas.

The Petroleum Ministry, they said, a few days back convened a meeting to convey to GAIL in no uncertain terms that the EGoM decision has to be implemented at all cost.

It was decided that 1.5 mmscmd of PMT gas that is currently being supplied to NTPC’s northern power plants would be diverted to Kawas and Gandhar. The northern plants will then be supplied KG-D6 gas.

GAIL markets gas from PMT fields which is priced at $5.65-5.73 per million British thermal unit.

Sources said the scheme would be implemented in couple of weeks. NTPC has contracted 0.79 mmscmd of KG-D6 gas for its Anta plant in Rajasthan, 0.54 mmscmd for Dadri unit in Uttar Pradesh, 0.26 mmscmd for its Auriya plant in Rajasthan and 0.22 mmscmd at its Faridabad unit in Haryana.

With the swap, supplies would go up to 3.31 mmscmd. This would still leave 1.15 mmscmd of allocated quantities to be supplied.

RIL currently produces about 63-64 mmscmd of gas as against a potential of 80 mmscmd as government nominated customers like NTPC are yet to offtake their full allocated quantity.

KG-D6 gas has replaced costly imported LNG at Anta plant to save Rs 150 crore in power generation cost annually.



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