Special Correspondent

Infrastructure required to begin gas supply almost in place, says official

HYDERABAD: Clear indications were available on Monday that gas found by Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) in the Krishna-Godavari basin off Kakinada will be supplied from June itself instead of July 15 as announced by Energy Minister Mohd. Ali Shabbir last week.

At a meeting with D. A. Somayajulu, adviser to Government, Economic Affairs, RIL officials informed that the infrastructure required to begin the gas supply “has almost been completed.”

The 800-km pipeline from the onshore point near Kakinada to Jamnagar in Gujarat is also ready except two stretches—four km in Ranga Reddy district and about 20 km in East Godavari. Work is in full swing to fill these gaps too at the earliest.

Tapping point

If everything goes well with the present plans, Medchal in Ranga Reddy district will be the tapping point for supply of gas to Hyderabad and its environs for household purposes.

Mr Somayajulu told The Hindu later that the RIL officials had promised to meet all the gas requirements of Andhra Pradesh, as over 40 million standard cubic metres of gas per day (MCMD) was expected to be available on the platform onshore initially out of the find. By June, when Reliance gas was expected to be available, the requirement of the State might be hardly 10 MCMD.

The power sector is in for a boom as five major gas-based power stations, kept idle so far for want of gas, will be operational. Over 2,000 MW of installed capacity, accounted by these plants, will be available all of a sudden, pushing the State into a surplus power category. Adding to this, hydel stations turn active again by then with the onset of the monsoon.

Grand plan

The Government has drawn up a grandiose plan to ensure round-the-clock power supply to rural areas once gas-based projects are operational.

If not the 24-hour supply, the possibility is that at least the duration of the present power cut on villages, ranging from 4 to six hours, may come down.

Cost factor

Cost-wise too, the gas availability will place the exchequer in a comfortable position.

While the average generation cost under AP Genco thermal stations is put at Rs 1.44 per unit, it may work out to Rs 2 per unit under gas-based projects. RIL has indicated it might supply gas at Rs 7 per cubic metre.