With Reliance Industries' KG-D6 gas field output dipping sharply, the Oil Ministry has proposed to roster supplies to power plants to ensure better availability of the fuel.
Natural Gas production from KG-D6 block has dropped to 25.35 million standard cubic meters a day this month, from over 63 mmscmd peak output achieved in August 2010.
This has led to pro-rata cuts in supplies to power plants, forcing some units to work at sub-optimal levels.
To overcome this, the Oil Ministry has proposed to roster gas supplies, official sources said. Under this scheme, gas will be supplied to power plants on rotation basis -- plants will get fuel supplies needed for operating the unit at optimal capacity for one month turn-by-turn.
Sources said the ministry, to begin with, wants to apply the scheme to six private power plants in Andhra Pradesh and has sought industry comments on the planned arrangement.
The acute shortage in availability of domestic gas for the power sector has lead to many of power plants operating at much less than the minimum required PLF.
The new scheme 'would improve the plant-load factor (or operating rate) as well as efficiency of one of the units instead of all the units functioning inefficiently and being compelled to shut down due to the drastic reduction in gas supply,' the ministry note on the issue said.
Besides rostering, the ministry is proposing to allow diversion/clubbing of allocation of two different plants of the same company for improving plant efficiency.
Sources said Torrent Power present gets 0.17 mmscmd gas at its 100 MW Vatwa plant against an allocation of 0.37 mmscmd and another 2.07 mmscmd at its 1147.5 MW Sugen plant as opposed to an allocation of 4.21 mmsmd.
Once diversion or clubbing is allowed, Torrent may be able to shift all of the supplies from the Vatwa plant to Sugen for better operational efficiency.
The Dhirubhai-1 and 3 gas fields in the KG-DWN-98/3 or KG-D6 block in the Bay of Bengal have seen output fall from a plateau level of about 55 mmscmd in August 2010 to 20.32 mmscmd currently.
MA oil field in the same block is currently producing 5.03 mmscmd, taking the total output from the block to 25.35 mmscmd.
Of the present production, about 14.61 mmscmd is supplied to fertiliser plants and another 7.72 mmscmd is split between 25 power plants.
The remaining 3.02 mmscmd gas goes to LPG extraction plant and the gas transportation pipeline's internal consumption.