Millennium Post

Rs 1,600-cr gas subsidy auction for 24 gw plants on Mar 15

State-owned NTPC, Essar Power, GMR and Tata Power are among the power producers in fray to get Rs 1,600 crore of government subsidy for buying costlier imported gas for their stranded units. 

Third reverse e-auction for subsidy support for buying 10 million standard cubic meters per day of gas, which can support 24 gigawatt (gw)  of generation, will be held on March 15.

“State-run MSTC Ltd will conduct third reverse e-auction to provide a total subsidy of Rs 1,600 crore for purchasing RLNG (R-Liquefied Natural Gas) imported by GAIL on March 15, 2016,” a senior official said.

According to the bid document, the auction of stranded gas-based power projects (SGP) and domestic gas-based power projects (DGP) will be held on the same day on March 15 and letter of awards to successful bidder will be issued on March 18, 2016. While the government will offer Rs 1,400 crore subsidy for SGPs, the DGPs will be offered Rs 200 crore to buy imported gas to run their plants. A total of 10 mmscmd of R-LNG will be imported to run SGPs as well as DGPs from April 1, 2016 to September 30, 2016. The expensive 8.9 mmscmd of gas will be imported for SGPs whereas 1.1 mmscmd will be allocated to DGPs for the six month period, as per the bid document.

This gas subsidy is being provided under the Power System Development Fund (PSDF), a scheme which was started by the government last year to revive the gas-based capacity of 24,150 mw including 14,305 mw  of SGPs and 9,845 mw  of DGPs. The companies including NTPC, Essar, GMR, Lanco, GVK, Tata Power, Torrent Power, GSEC, RGPL, RGPPL (Dabhol), CLP India. As many 31 SGPs and 24 DGPs will participate in the auction.

Every company will participate in auction for each plant separately to get gas subsidy for running the unit. Earlier last year, the Centre had introduced a PSDF scheme for importing spot RLNG for the stranded gas and partly stranded gas-based plants selected through a reverse e-bidding process. The scheme provides for financial support from PSDF. 

The outlay for the support from PSDF was fixed at Rs 7,500 crore (Rs 3,500 crore and Rs 4,000 crore for the year 2015-16 and 2016-17 respectively). Auctions for the 1st phase (June 1 to September 30, 2015) of PSDF Support to gas-based power plants was held in the months of May 2015. 

A combined total of 10,270 MW plants were able to secure gas allocation. The entire process was completed in less than a month and gas supply by GAIL started on June 1, 2015. Auctions for 2nd Phase (October 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016) were held in the month of September 2015 and helped in revival of gas-based generation plants with installed capacity of 11,717.72 mw. 
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