The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry has decided to move a note, for the consideration of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), seeking pooling of price of imported and domestic gas and, also, a change in gas allocation priority. The move comes following demands made by the power sector, in view of the continued shortfall of domestic gas supply from Reliance Industries Limited (RIL)-owned KG D6 block and nearly 24000 MW of gas projects lying idle due to non-availability of gas. In its previous directions, the EGoM had accorded top priority to fertilizer plants for receipt of natural gas from the KG-D6 fields. LPG extraction units were placed at second, followed by the power sector at number three.
Private power producers, led by Anil Ambani of Reliance Power, G.M. Rao of GMR Group, G.V. K. Reddy of GVK Group and Madhusudhan Rao of Lanco, had met Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister M. Veerappa Moily and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and pointed out that 15,000 MW of gas-based plants were getting gas supplies from domestic fields for less than 10 per cent of their operating capacity, making their own operations unsustainable. They had demanded that fertilizer and power sectors be given equal priority in terms of supply of gas. They had also suggested averaging the price of domestic gas with costlier imported gas to make fuel more affordable for power plants. “The Petroleum Ministry has to go by the decision of the EGoM regarding allocation and priority for supply of gas. One way to change the same is to convene a meeting of EGoM. The EGoM is being convened to consider the issues raised by power producers. Scarcity of gas is a great problem, and the EGoM headed by Defence Minister A.K. Antony will discuss the note moved by the Ministry,” Mr. Moily told journalists here.