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''No hitch'' in Dabhol project to start before May: Shinde

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 23 (UNI) Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today said the first phase of the 2,184 MW Dabhol power plant would start before May one this year and said there is ''no hitch'' in the progress of the 2.9 billion dollar project in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra which would be initially fuelled by Naptha.

Mr Shinde said that he would be going to the site on 25th of this month.''We would run the project on naptha as the procurement of gas is yet to be tied up,'' the Minister said on the sidelines of a PowerGrid conference here.

Naptha will be used during peak period and the procurement is currently being worked with Iran and and Oman.

The Minister said gas will be availabe within six months to one year as many things have to be considered like environment and most import of all pricing.

Qatar is expected to supply 2.1 million tonnes a year of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from December to fire the power plant.

Petronet India Ltd is also negotiating with Rasgas of Qatar for gas supplies for the Dabhol plant.

The Enron built plant is now controlled by Ratnagiri Gas and Power Private ltd owned by GAIL (India) Ltd and the National Thermal Power Corp Ltd.(NTPC).

Petroleum ministry sources said that LNG supplies for the project had been firmed up for two and a half years.

The Dabhol power plant that would restart before May will work initially for just three hours per day, Power Secretary, R V Shahi had said.

The mothballed project was shut down in May 2001 after a billing dispute with its customer, Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB).

The plant's first phase of 744 MWs is operational and the work on the remaining phase is nearing completion.


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