Assam will soon set up a gas-based thermal power plant; which for the first time will use 'waste' gas as its fuel. The power plant, proposed to be set up at Titabor in Jorhat district, will come up at an estimated cost of Rs 300 crore and would be commissioned in next two and half years time.
The project will use the associated gas that is produced as a byproduct during drilling and extraction of crude oil. The associated gas is generally regarded as an undesirable byproduct, which is either re-injected or flared or vented. In oil fields in Upper Assam, these gases are burnt down at the sites after separation from the crude.
"We have been asking the Centre, ONGC and Oil India to allow us to use these associated gases. ONGC has finally given the nod. The project will be executed jointly by two Assam government PSUs - Assam Power Generation Company Ltd. (APGCL) and Assam Gas Company Limited (AGCL)," said Pradyut Bordoloi, Assam's power minister
He said some small pockets of gas reserves had been traced in the Jorhat-Golaghat belt, in areas like Nambor, Kachomari, Uriamghat etc. AGCL will divert these associated gases from the production sites to a central place (Titabor) through pipelines. The power plant will be developed by APGCL.
It is estimated that that daily around 2 lakh standard cubic metre of gas will be available from these reserves for the proposed project. Though the associated gases are "waste", the state government will have to buy the gas from Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).
"Initially, the generation capacity of the plant will be 50 MW. Later, depending upon the availability of gas, we will increase the capacity," Bordoloi said. Though the detailed project report (DPR) is yet to be made, it is estimated that the new power plant will be built at an estimated cost of around Rs 300 crore. A joint-venture (JV) agreement between the two companies is also expected to be inked soon.
Pradyut Bujarbarua, managing director of APGCL, said the DPR would be prepared in two months time. Thereafter, the tendering process will start. "The project should be developed in two and half years' time," he said.
The proposed plant would require around 70 km of pipeline to divert the associated gases from the reserves to the project site.
The power department is also exploring the possibility of setting up a similar plant in Barak Valley (South Assam) to use the associated gas reserves available there. The state-owned power generating company is also contemplating on setting up a solar power plant at Amguri in Upper Assam.
Bordoloi further said that Centre had "assured" coal-linkages for a proposed greenfield thermal power plant at Margherita in Tinsukia district of Upper Assam and expectation are thus high that works on the project would start soon.
The project was conceptualised in 2008 but much had moved on the ground due to lack of coal-linkages. The state had earlier demanded coal-linkage of 1 million metric tonnes for the project.