GE-BHEL consortium gets $550 mn ONGC contract (Lead)

June 24th, 2008 - 1:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala, June 24 (IANS) A consortium comprising the US-based General Electric (GE) and India’s state-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has been awarded a Rs.22 billion ($550 million) power generation contract by hydrocarbons exploration major Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), it was announced Tuesday. “After outbidding France-based Alstom, the BHEL-GE consortium won the bidding process last week for generation of 740 MW of power from natural gas produced by ONGC,” ONGC spokesperson Sanjeev Sharma said.

The power plant is being developed by ONGC Tripura Power Co (OTPC), a new company formed for commissioning the giant project.

ONGC, also a public sector undertaking, has 50 percent equity stake in OTPC. The balance is held by Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Service (IL&FS) and the Tripura government.

“The first unit of 360 MW would be installed in 42 months, followed by the second unit within three more months,” Sharma added.

The ONGC’s biggest power project is to be commissioned in south Tripura’s Palatana, about 60 km south of here, and is expected to be operational by 2012.

An ONGC statement said the state-run Power Grid Corp of India Ltd (PGCIL), OTPC and the northeastern states would set up a transmission line for Rs.18 billion to hook Palatana with the national grid at Bongaigaon in western Assam.

“Power from the Palatana project was initially meant to be allocated to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi (100 MW each) in the northern region and to Assam and Tripura (100 MW each) in the northeastern region,” said Tripura Power Minister Manik Dey.

He said the union power ministry had subsequently decided to allocate all electricity generated from the project to the power starved northeastern states.

Keeping in mind that the northeastern states are due to receive the entire quantum of power generated at the project, the power ministry has recommended that the associated 650 km, 400 KV double circuit transmission line from Palatana to Bongaigaon should be implemented through a joint venture company (JVC) formed between the PGCIL, OTPC, IL&FS and the northeastern states.

The much expected commissioning of the power project, a co-generation waste heat recovery power plant and ONGC’s first major commercial project, is likely to be delayed due to difficulties in transporting heavy turbines and machineries to south Tripura.

“ONGC intended to ship the power generation equipment from the Haldia Port in West Bengal to Tripura via Bangladesh in order to save considerable transportation time,” a senior official said.

He said dispatching the heavy equipments by surface within India (through the mountainous northeastern states) was extremely difficult. But Dhaka is yet to respond to New Delhi’s request in using Bangladesh’s waterways as a transit route for transporting the equipments.

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