EGoM to decide on fate of Dabhol LNG terminal next weekagainst RGPPL

Mumbai: The empowered group of ministers on the Dabhol project is likely to meet on April 11 to take a decision on whether to hive off the liquefied natural gas terminal and sell it to bridge the fund deficit for completion of the project.

The EGoM, headed by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, is expected to decide on the use of funds by the new owner of Dabhol power project, Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd (RGPPL).

All three existing stakeholders of the Dabhol power project — NTPC, GAIL and the Maharashtra government - are keen on taking over the asset and a decision on selling the LNG terminal is likely next week.

NTPC as well as GAIL, which hold 28.33-per cent stake each in Ratnagiri Gas & Power Pvt Ltd, Dabhol''s new owner, have secured the approval of their respective boards for infusing Rs500 crore into the cash-starved company provided they get the first right to buy the five million tonnes LNG terminal.

NTPC was reportedly keen to acquire the LNG terminal linked with the 2,150 MW Dabhol power plant.

The Gail board also had earlier this week approved additional fund infusion for RGPPL to clear dues to the tune of Rs500 crore to contractors working on the LNG terminal.

While Gail, after infusing the additional Rs500 crore, gets the right to match the highest bid when the terminal is auctioned, both NTPC and Maharashtra government have also been now given the same right if they inject the additional money.

The LNG terminal is part of the Dabhol power plant. It is understood that Gail wants to use a part of the terminal for meeting the gas demands of its other customers.

Meanwhile, the contractor — a joint venture company of Punj Lloyd and Whessoe of the UK — has stopped work on the terminal due to payment defaults. Construction of fuel jetty, breakwater and other marine structures are yet to be completed.

RGPPL was incorporated in July 2005. The empowered group of ministers decided to set up the company for taking over assets of the erstwhile Dabhol Power and revive its power generation and regassified LNG facility.

While Gail and NTPC hold 28.33 per cent stake each in the company, the Maharashtra government holds 15 per cent equity stake in RGPPL. The balance 28.34 per cent equity is jointly held by IDBI, SBI, ICICI and Canara Bank.