Amidst scramble for natural gas for fuel-starved power plants, Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Thursday said supplies to electricity plants cannot be at the cost of fertiliser units.
At present, only a third of the 72 million standard cubic metres per day of gas requirement of the 18,713 MW gas-based power plants is being met. Another 8,000 MW capacity is almost ready for commission but there is no gas to fire the plants.
Scindia said his ministry was working with ministries of oil and fertiliser to find gas for these power plants.
Yesterday, an Empowered Group of Ministers headed by Defence Minister A.K Antony rejected a proposal to divert some of the 14 mmscmd of KG-D6 gas consumed by fertiliser plants to the power sector as it would result in shortage of urea during the busy crop season.
The Minister said both fertiliser and power sectors were critical for the economy.
“Both the sectors are fundamental to the economy. But at the same time it cannot be at the cost of one for another. We are working at a solution,” he said.
While options like gas from untied fields of state-owned ONGC are being explored, fertiliser ministry has been asked if it can spare any quantity that is unutilised in events like plant shutdowns etc.
“We are working with fertiliser ministry as well as oil ministry. Next week, we will meet again to look at options in terms of possibilities, so it’s in progress. The whole EGoM is working out to find out modalities,” Scindia told reporters here.
Fertiliser plants would continue to enjoy top priority in receipt of scarce natural gas after an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) headed by Defence Minister A.K Antony turned down the proposal that would have resulted in fall in urea production during peak kharif season.
The ministerial panel would meet again on Monday to discuss methodology of making available gas from other sources to power sector in the short term and medium term.
The EGoM meeting was convened to consider abolishing the priority ranking in natural gas allocation so that the fuel currently consumed by urea plants can also be diverted to fuel-starved power plants.
Currently, fertiliser plants consume all of the 14 million standard cubic metres per day of gas produced from Reliance Industries’ eastern offshore KG-D6 fields. No gas flows to 25 power plants that had signed up for 29.74 mmscmd of KG-D6 gas.