State-owned ONGC's first commercial power project in the country started commercial production Tuesday night in Tripura, six months after President Pranab Mukherjee dedicated the 726 MW capacity facility to the nation.
"After the inauguration of the power project June 21 by the president, technical hurdles were found in the 53-km gas ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) pipelines. All types of technical hitches were resolved by engineers, and the generation from the first unit (363.3 MW capacity) of the power plant began Tuesday night," ONGC Tripura Power Company (OTPC) managing director Sudhindra Kumar Dube said.
"The second unit (363.3 MW capacity) of the gas-based power project is expected to start by June," Dube told reporters.
OTPC is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) promoted by ONGC, Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL & FS) and Tripura government, created in 2004 for execution of the 726.6 MW combined cycle gas-based thermal power project (using both water and natural gas) at Palatana, 60 km from the state capital, in southern Tripura.
The Palatana power project, expected to ease the power problem of seven of the eight northeastern states, is the biggest gas-based thermal power project in the region.
Dube said that from this power plant, Assam will get the maximum share of 240 MW of electricity followed by Tripura (196 MW), Meghalaya (79 MW), Manipur (42 MW), Nagaland (27 MW), Mizoram (22 MW) and Arunachal Pradesh (22 MW), while IL & FS and OTPC keep 98 MW.
"OTPC has signed a gas sale and purchase agreement with ONGC for supplying 2.65 million metric standard cubic meters gas per day. The agreement would be valid for 15 years against the assumed power plant's life span of 25 years with a provision of further extension by another 10 years," he said.
To set up the Rs.4,047 crore power plant, a total of Rs.10,000 crore is being invested for the project and related works including transmission lines and setting up of ONGC gas pipelines.
"A 400KV high transmission power line (661 km) has been drawn up to Silchar in southern Assam from Palatana to connect with the Bongaigaon national grid in western Assam to distribute electricity to various northeastern states," the OTPC chief said.
"The supply of power to the seven northeastern states would start from Saturday after getting mandatory clearance from the North East Regional Load Despatch Centre in Shillong," he added.
The Palatana project is a hallmark of cooperation between India and Bangladesh, which ensured smooth passage of heavy project equipment and turbines to Palatana through its territory by road and waterways, from Haldia port in West Bengal.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone of the power project in October 2005.