The Dabhol Jinx Continues

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday intervened to avoid a permanent closure of the Ratnagiri power project, previously Dabhol project. Singh directed Cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar to ask Maharashtra state chief secretary Johny Joseph to hold meeting on July 29 with the Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd's (RGPPL) shareholders-NTPC, Gail India, financial institutions and banks, MahaVitaran-and work out a plan for an early repairs of the damaged gas turbines by organising speedy delivery of necessary spares by GE.
Besides, Joseph will also look into the issue of additional funds required for the revival of phase I and also other gas turbines. State chief secretary will also deliberate on RGPPL's demand for increase in tariff to ensure that the project does not default on payments to lenders.
Meanwhile, state energy secretary Rahul Asthana on Thursday briefed power secretary Anil Razdan on the immediate measures needed for an early revival of the project with a total installed capacity of 2,150 mw.
Two major gas turbines (GT) failures have occurred since revival in April 2006.
These turbines have been supplied by GE. Due to the frequent closure or under capacity utilisation, the project is losing huge amounts of money. The project is currently not in a position to order mandatory spares. This is leading to longer outages and some of the units may have to shut down on account of lack of spares.
The Prime Minister decided to intervene after agriculture minister Sharad Pawar gave him the present state of affairs at the project site. Besides, after discussing the matter with the state energy minister Dilip Walse-Patil, Pawar, also talked to external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee who is the chairman of the empowered group of ministers on Dabhol project. RGPPL has sought an immediate bailout package which includes allowing interim increase in power block capacity charge till completion of project viability exercise, funding of about Rs 300 crore through Power Finance Corporation (PFC), make available Rs 200 crore for mandatory spares for power facility and Rs 100 crore for balance completion of works, including interest during construction (IDC) payout to PFC. Further, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (Bhel) may be advised to help in indigenous/non-original equipment manufacturer (OEM) repairs of spares due to repeated failures and prohibitive cost of GE and 5% inter-state sale of power be deferred till completion of project viability exercise. Inter state sale of 5% of power is mandatory as the Ratnagiri project enjoys mega power project status.
Sources said GT-2A failed in January after 2,841 firing hours and failure of GT-2B had occurred in January last year after 8,801 firing hours. Third major failure was averted.During borescopic inspection on June 23, 2008, crack detected in compressor stage 15 static vane (S15) of GT3B after 5,248 firing hours. GE has advised opening of casing leading to shutdown of about 45 days.
There are also frequent failure in Liners, TPs and Nozzles. In view of failure, GE has advised preventive borescopic inspection of each machine at an interval of 1,000 hours.

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