SONARI, Aug 8 � The greedy attitude of the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) and failure of Oil India Ltd (OIL) to supply the assured amount of gas to Lakwa Thermal Power Station (LTPS) of Assam Power Generation Corporation Ltd (APGCL) has led to the present power crisis in the State. The LTPS depends upon the gas supply of 4 lakh cubic metre per day (CMD) from GAIL and 5 lakh CMD from OIL (Assam Oil Division). The LTPS, one of the major power contributors of the entire North-eastern region with its installed capacity of 120 MW, was able to generate on an average 100 MW till March last and it managed to achieve its target. But due to the failure of GAIL and OIL to supply the committed gas to LTPS, its power generation has been decreasing by 70 to 80 MW.
In July, the GAIL supplied average 3.5 lakh (CMD gas which decreased to 2.5 lakh CMD, forcing the LTPS to shut down its gas turbine unit or load reduction, informed highly placed sources of LTPS.
Contrary to GAIL�s plea of not receiving adequate gas from ONGCL, the Executive Director of ONGCL asserted that it has been providing 6 lakh CMD gas to GAIL. Moreover, 1.5 lakh CMD gas is available near Banamali TE under Lakwah plant of ONGCL and ONGCL is ready to provide the gas to GAIL for onward transmission to LTPS. But GAIL has been maintaining a dominating attitude and trying to set the condition that in the event of receiving below 90 per cent gas the LTPS of APGCL has to be penalised way of a compensation to be paid to GAIL.
In addition to this, GAIL has imposed another condition. It has asked LTPS to pay the flaring amount in the event of non-utilisation of the gas.
As a result of the contradiction between the APGCL and GAIL regarding the supply of 1.5 lakh CMD gas from the new source, the LTPS has suffered due to the inadequate gas supply.
In the event of receiving the extra 1.5 CMD gas from GAIL, the LTPS is supposed to generate 10 MW, in addition to its present power generation. Putting in the backburner the interests of the State, the GAIL has asked the ONGCL not to supply the 1.5 lakh CMD gas, sources in APGCL said.
It is learnt from highly placed sources in APGCL that GAIL has somehow realised Rs 5 crore from LTPS against the flaring gas from April to September last year, but the APGCL has been insisting upon refund of the amount as this condition was not laid down in the agreement between GAIL and LTPS.
Accusing the OIL for inconsistent and reduced gas supply to LTPS causing reduction in power generation, sources said that OIL (Assam Oil Division) supply heavy quantities of gas to tea gardens of Upper Assam in April to October, resulting in inadequate gas supply to LTPS.
Oil has supplied 3.5 lakh CMD gas to LTPS, out of the 5 lakh CMD committed gas. As a result, the power generation of LTPS has reduced to 60-70 MW against its installed capacity of 120 MW. The Oil has also failed to supply compressed gas to LTPS and this is due to the non availability of suitable infrastructure in tea estates for compressed gas and OIL (AoD) supplies non-compressed gas through the same pipeline to LTPS.
It may be mentioned that initially, natural gas was supplied by ONGC directly to LTPS. From February, 1992 onwards, gas supply was entrusted to GAIL for handling of all natural gas produced by ONGC. Since then, GAIL has been the transporter of ONGC gas to LTPS.
The LTPS is able to generate its highest installed capacity, i.e, 120 MW but greed on the part of GAIL and the failure of OIL to supply committed gas have forced it to reduce the power generation.