Hyderabad: State-owned ONGC, which is seeking environment clearances for setting up a 2200 MW gas-based plant in Maharashtra, has been asked to ensure availability of fuel, according to sources.
A committee under the Environment Ministry, which is reviewing the project, has suggested that ONGC approach the Petroleum as well as the Power ministries for necessary clearances with regard to gas availability.
"The Committee observed that a number of power plants are stranded due to non-availability of gas. As such the project proponent may obtain clearance from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Ministry of Power on the availability of gas for the power project prior to application of environmental clearance," said a source.
The project requires 350 acre, as well as 8-9 mmscmd Natural gas.
Cholamandalam MS Risk Services Ltd has been appointed as consultants for the some of the clearances required by various Government agencies, sources said.
ONGC officials were not available for comments.
A communication from Central Electricity Authority to all state governments last year said that as per Ministry of Power data, no additional domestic gas is likely to be available until 2015-16. Hence, developers were advised not to plan projects based on domestic gas till 2015-16.
When the Petroleum Ministry indicates the availability of gas, developers will be intimated, it said.
With power plants, involving investments of Rs 100,000 crore, facing closure due to natural gas shortage, Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily recently had said he would move a note for the consideration of high powered ministerial group to change priority of allocation of the fuel as well as pooling price of imported and domestic gas.
Meanwhile, heads of leading private power producers including Anil Ambani of Reliance Power, G M Rao of GMR Group, G V K Reddy of GVK Group and Madhusudhan Rao of Lanco, have informed the government that 15,000 MW of gas based plants are getting supplies from domestic fields at less than 10 per cent of their operating capacity, making operations unviable.
In addition, they said, 8700 MW of new gas-based capacities are stranded with no gas available for the commissioning of their plants.
ONGC is currently implementing a 727 mw-combined cycle power project in Tripura, which is undergoing trials before final commissioning.