Nine stranded power plants with an installed capacity of 5.070 GW in southern India have been allocated 9.93mn m³/day of imported natural gas after a reverse e-auction process, India’s power ministry said September 3. It was the fourth phase of auctions intended to use gas-fired capacity more. These plants would generate 8.81bn kilowatt-hours for delivery from October 1 to March 31, 2017.
The grid connected gas based power generation capacity in the country is 24.150 GW. Of this, 14.3 GW had no supply of domestic gas. These comprise 29 plants which were eligible to participate in the auction process held on September 3, of which 14 plants with a cumulative installed capacity of 7.575 GW participated in the latest round. Indian power plants are using more gas as the price is low. LNG imports have witnessed strong growth during the first four months of fiscal year 2017. Cumulative imports during April-July were 8.092bn m³, up almost by 22% on the same period last year. Imports in July were, however, marginally lower at 1.96bn m³, down 3.8% compared with the same month last year.
The cost of importing LNG has dropped sharply this year after New Delhi signed a revised long term contract with Doha. Qatar is the largest supplier of LNG to India. Given the backdrop of low global LNG prices, Petronet LNG insisted on renegotiating its long term contract with RasGas. In December and the two parties revised their deal, which now takes the three-month average figure of Brent crude oil, replacing a five-year average of a basket of crude imported by Japan.