ONGC project to help end northeast’s power crisis

August 21st, 2010 - 7:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Agartala, Aug 21 (IANS) The state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) 726-MW project coming up in Tripura will help to resolve the power crisis in the electricity-starved northeastern region by 2012, ONGC officials said Saturday.
India’s hydrocarbons exploration major has been setting up the gas-based power project — its biggest so far — in south Tripura’s Palatana, about 65 km south of capotal city Agartala. The plant is expected to be operational by March 2012.

“The forthcoming power project would be the single largest investment of Rs.9,000 crore ever invested in the northeastern region of India,” ONGC chairman and managing director R.S. Sharma told reporters here.

“With the commissioning of the giant power project, the electricity requirement of the seven northeastern states would largely be met up by 2012,” he said.

Sharma said that the Bangladesh government has agreed to allow India to use its waterways to transport the turbines and heavy machines for the power project, for which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation stone in October 2005.

He said that India would develop a jetty in the Ashuganj river port in Meghna river in eastern Bangladesh, 31 km from Agartala and expand the road, if necessary, across the border, to ferry the equipment for the project.

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

He said dispatching the heavy equipments by surface within India (through the mountainous northeastern states) is extremely difficult.

“A consortium comprising the US-based General Electric (GE) and India’s state-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has been awarded contract to supply the all-important gas turbines for the thermal power project,” Sharma said.

The first unit of the project with a generation capacity of 363 MW is expected to be operational by December next year.

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

According to ONGC officials, the state-run Power Grid Corp of India Ltd (PGCIL), OTPC and the northeastern states would set up a 660-km transmission line at the cost of Rs.1,771 crore to hook Palatana with the national grid at Bongaigaon in western Assam.

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

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