With the work for the Gokak-Goa natural gas pipeline being almost complete, the industry and common man are poised to be biggest beneficiaries of this ambitious project.
Sources in the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Francis D’Souza’s office, that is handling the natural pipeline project, said that although five private power producers have shown interest in setting up gas-based power plants, the government is yet to take a decision on it. But with an immediate aim to bring down the state consumption of expensive fuels like diesel, furnace oil and naphtha, all steps are being taken to substitute them with natural gas in manufacturing and households.
For this, the sources pointed out, “Companies located along the pipeline route will be persuaded to switch over to gas as soon as feasible in order to reduce the load on government-supplied power.”
In the case of the common man, plans are afoot to introduce piped gas as it would take care of complaints of late deliveries of cylinders, the source added.
Like other states that have a separate corporate entity to look into the distribution of natural gas, the Goa government, it is learnt, will soon set up a company in the lines of Maharashtra Gas Limited, or Indraprastha Gas Limited existing in Mumbai and Delhi. The company would be a joint venture with the GAIL as one of the partners in it.
On the prospects of Goa having its own power plant, government sources informed The Navhind Times that gas-based projects are very much on the agenda as at least two plants with a capacity of 250 MW are being considered. These projects entail a massive capital investment of at least Rs 2,000 crore each in addition to allocation of water and land. It requires a lot of groundwork to be done before “interested parties are given the go-ahead”.
A senior-level manager at the GAIL said the gas pipeline is “on schedule with horizontal directional drilling work in progress and a maximum of a week’s work is left”.
Scotching off rumours coming from sections of the industry that the pipeline is technically not suitable for power plants, the manager added that its capacity is 6 MMSCMD as against the minimum capacity of 1 MMSCMD needed for a gas-based power generation plant.
The GAIL has signed gas sales agreement with at least four companies in Goa. They are Zuari Industries, Reliance Power, Unicor and Binani Glass. Senior managers at the GAIL said that they would be supplying gas to these four companies directly, but for the rest of the consumers it would distribute gas in partnership with the government, adding that mining companies have not asked for gas from the pipeline, although in the past they had shown interest in it.
The Gokak-Goa gas pipeline originates at Dabhol in Maharashtra and terminates in Karnataka. The pipeline length in Goa is 175-km long and it passes through Bicholim, Ponda and Murmugoa talukas and work remaining is only at Quelossim.
The total cost of the project is Rs 4,500 crore and the Goa cost estimated at Rs 800 crore. [NT]