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Bechtel agrees to help in putting Dabhol project on track

Anil Sasi

New Delhi , July 16

THE restart process of the Dabhol power project has received a shot in the arm with Bechtel Corporation — the project's original engineering procurement construction (EPC) contractor — agreeing to make a team available to assist NTPC, GAIL and GE in getting the project back on stream.

The San Francisco-based engineering major, which had earlier refused to participate in the restart of the idle project, has also agreed to provide all original design drawings and construction records, sources involved in the project said.

This comes in the wake of the comprehensive settlement arrived upon by Indian negotiators and Bechtel representatives earlier this week. The active involvement of Bechtel Corporation in the restart process is being seen as a crucial step since NTPC and GAIL, who would be operating the plant and the adjoining LNG terminal, respectively, require a host of technical details before attempting to restart the first phase of the plant.

Also, the second phase of the project and the LNG terminal, where the civil work is incomplete, needs to be completed by the NTPC and GAIL teams. "Bechtel's inputs in the completion of the second phase is of vital importance," an official said. GE, the other key player, had supplied the turbines for the station in the original package. "GE has already handed over the essential restart keys to the team and is actively participating in the restart process," an official said.

NTPC, GAIL and other stakeholders have formed a new SPV — Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt. Ltd — to complete and operate the 2,184-MW station. While NTPC, GAIL and Indian lenders will hold 28.5 per cent each in the new company, the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) will hold the remaining 15 per cent stake. The power from the project would be priced at Rs 2.30 per unit, with fixed cost at Rs 0.93, regassification cost at Rs 0.17 and fuel cost at Rs 1.20 per unit. The LNG for the project has, however, not been tied up as yet, and talks are underway to secure a fuel linkage, according to officials.

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