Agartala, Sept. 24: The North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (Neepco) is deeply upset over ONGC’s delay in giving assurance of natural gas supply to its 101MW thermal power project at Monarchak in Sonamura subdivision, 70km from here.
Expressing concern over the project’s future, Neepco officials said the corporation had already incurred financial losses as ONGC backed out of its initial assurance on natural gas supply for the project.
“We have been incurring a monthly loss of Rs 3.5 crore because of the delay in commissioning of the project. If this continues, we will end up as a huge loser,” an official said.
“This environment-friendly project had been mooted in 2000 with an installed capacity of 500MW power, but following ONGC’s inability to supply requisite gas the installed capacity of the Monarchak project was reduced to 280MW in 2003-2004,” said S.R. Biswas, Neepco general manager (electrical).
He said the ONGC authorities had further slashed the promised natural gas supply in 2008 and the installed capacity of the project was reduced to only 101MW.
Biswas, who heads the project, said its foundation was laid in 2002 by then Union minister for power Suresh Prabhu. The cost of the Monarchak project has already escalated to $150 million and without early availability of promised gas it will go up further.
An official said because of the delayed commissioning of the environment-friendly power project, the corporation, under the Union power ministry, has been incurring a loss of Rs 3.5 crore a month.
“Mooted in 2000 with an installed capacity of 500MW, the power plant’s capacity was reduced to 280MW in 2003-04 after ONGC reduced its gas allocation by half,” Biswas said.
“The ONGC further slashed gas allocation in 2008, forcing Neepco to scale down the installed capacity of the project to 101MW,” he said.
Biswas heads the project, the foundation stone of which was laid in March 2002. The commissioning of the project has now been rescheduled to January 2014.
Biswas said US-based General Electric Company had designed the project and Bharat Heavy Electricals (Bhel) was supplying turbines for the 101MW project.
“Out of 101MW of power to be produced, 62MW will be produced by a gas turbine while the remaining 39MW of power will be generated by a steam turbine,” Biswas said.
He added that Neepco, based in Shillong, is also planning to generate at least 1,500MW power from solar and wind energy in the next five years.
Palatana project: The jinxed Palatana power project of South Tripura has started power from September 7 following extensive repair of natural gas pipeline to ensure supply of clean natural gas. On September 7, the 363.3 MW first unit of Palatana had generated only 15MW but later the generation rose to 81MW.
Sources in Palatana said generation was not rising because they were using only one gas compressor booster. “The second one is still in Hyderabad for repairs. Once it is back, generation will rise to optimum level automatically,” a source said.