New Delhi: The government will approach global markets for long-term gas supply pacts in view of low prices of the fuel, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday.
“I will be approaching the world market to see if we can get gas for may be seven or five years on reasonably low cost of fix price. That could be a game changer for the industry,” Mr Goyal said at the sidelines of an Assocham event.
“We have to go through the proper bidding process but considering the prices are low at this stage and the world is looking at clean energy…(government) will approach world market (directly),” he further said.
The government is already running a Power System Development Fund (PSDF) scheme to ensure supply to stranded gas-based power projects and plants running at sub-optimal levels due to lower supplies.
Under the scheme, RLNG (re-gasified liquefied natural gas) is imported to run these power projects. The projects are required to bid for lower gas subsidy to get the supplies under the scheme.
The minister also informed that the gas pooling mechanism is till 2017 and the system can continue the supplies even after that.
Regarding the upcoming auction of the ultra mega power projects (UMPPs) of 4000 MW each, the minister clearly indicated that as many as four projects will be put on the block in the next three months.
The projects include Cheyyur UMPP in Tamil Nadu, Bedabahal UMPP in Odisha and Banka UMPP in Bihar. Besides, there will be another UMPP for offer in Jharkhand.
“We have identified three or four UMPPs. The Cheyyur bid will come out. The Odisha bid came. Both the bids were aborted. I hope to talk to Chief Minister of Bihar to see if Banka (project bids) can be expedited,” Mr Goyal told reporters.
“Jharkhand has an opportunity which we are still developing. It could be an unique UMPP. Even different from the current UMPP scheme, probably even better and bigger. We are working on all of these,” he said.
Over the issue of plants running at lower load factor for want of coal, he said: “We are open to all options. We are studying the requirements of the industry. We have sufficient coal in the country now. Our effort is that all plants should run to the maximum capacity.”
“The effort is that the process of either giving out the coal mines or linkages continue to remain honest and transparent…We are building out a framework for future linkages. In the days to come you will hear more details about it. But we are very close to finalising the process.”
The minister said 5-6 states are already working on the MoU (memorandum of understanding) under the UDAY scheme and going forward it is expected that every state in the country will sign up.