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NTPC revving up; eyes foreign gas

business Updated: Jan 12, 2010 21:53 IST
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To ensure fuel security and meet its ambitious gas-based power generation targets, the country’s largest power producer, NTPC Ltd, is eyeing stakes in overseas gas fields.

“In order to have fuel security, we have already ventured into coal mining and the same logic holds good for gas as well,” NTPC’s Chairman and Managing Director RS Sharma told Hindustan Times.

The cash-rich corporation, which has reserves in excess of Rs 16,000 crore, is open to making joint bids for overseas exploration assets with other state-owned energy firms like ONGC, GAIL and Indian Oil Corp (IOC).

Sharma said NTPC has already made joint bids in domestic exploration blocks offered by the government under the New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP) rounds. The same strategy is being followed for overseas blocks.

Asked about the funds requirement to acquire overseas assets, Sharma said, “That will be met from internal accruals.”

The state-owned power utility is currently embroiled in a legal controversy with the country’s largest private sector firm, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), over supplies of 12 million standard cubic metres of gas for its power plants in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Differences between the two sides over the terms and conditions of gas supply have de-railed gas-based power capacity addition plans of NTPC, which has a gas-based power capacity of 4,000 MW.

Without commenting on the company’s ongoing gas dispute with Reliance, Sharma said, “We are confident of achieving 10,000 MW gas-based power capacity in the next few years.”

At Dadri, the controversial project site where the younger Ambani brother is still struggling to put up a power project due to land and fuel issues, NTPC has an 817 MW gas-based power project along with another 840 MW coal-based unit.

Sharma said the company hopes to shortly commission 980 MW of coal-based capacity at Dadri to meet the power requirement of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.