India’s largest gas-fired power plant at Dabhol in Maharashtra has seen power generation plunge to less than 450 mega-watts against the total capacity of 1,967 MW, on falling natural gas supplies.

Against allocation of 8.5 million standard cubic metres per day of gas required by Ratnagari Gas and Power Pvt Ltd, the firm that runs the beleaguered Dabhol power plant, it is getting less than 2.9 mmscmd of gas which is resulting in a substantial generation loss, sources privy to the development said.

RGPPL was allocated 7.6 msmcmd of gas from Reliance Industries’ eastern offshore KG-D6 gas fields. However, with KG-D6 output dropping to one-third in two years, Dabhol is getting less than 2.3 mmscmd.

Also, the plant is getting only 0.6 mmscmd out of the 0.9 mmscmd that was allocated to it from Oil and Natural Gas Corp’s (ONGC) western offshore fields.

Sources said RGPPL has consistently fallen short of meeting the 80 per cent capacity requirement for recovery of full fixed cost and if gas supplies continue to dip, the company will go into red.

RGPPL was conceived in July 2005 to takeover, revive and operate assets of now bankrupt US energy major Enron Corp— promoted Dabhol Power Company.

Located about 300-km from Mumbai, the project comprises one 640 MW power block and two blocks of 663.54 MW each. It has an adjacent 5 million tonne a year liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal.

Sources said RGPPL was in February this year accorded top priority at par with fertiliser plants in getting KG-D6 gas.

This meant in event of KG-D6 output dropping below volumes already committed to industries across sector, the full committed requirement of Dabhol and urea plants would be first met before others were given pro-rated supplies.

The Oil Ministry first took more than five months to implement this decision taken at by an Empowered Group of Ministers on February 24 and then put it hold within days of it being brought into effect as Andhra Pradesh power plants protested the drop in supplies.

Currently, RGPPL is operating about 32 per cent of the available capacity, they said.

RGPPL is now co-owned by state-owned power producer NTPC; gas utility GAIL, Maharashtra State Electricity Board and lenders (IDBI Bank, SBI, ICICI Bank and Canara Bank).

NTPC and GAIL own 32.47 per cent stake each in the company while 16.94 per cent is with MSEB. The remaining 18.13 per cent is with lenders.