Companies & Sectors
Herd on the Street: RPower and its Sasan water problems

The buzz around Reliance Power’s project and the problems it might face

Reliance Power: The word on the Street is that the reservoir allocated to Reliance Power's Sasan project has water only for 8 months in the year - therefore it would be difficult for the project to achieve 90%+ PLF as it claims. That the Sasan project has been facing water problems is known. The Central Electricity Authority had apparently expressed its apprehension about RPower commissioning the first 660MW unit by March 2012 at a high-level ministry meeting this year. NTPC had not accepted Sasan's petition to provide water from the open discharge channel of its Singrauli power station as an interim arrangement till its permanent water delivery system was constructed. RPower had not obtained permission from the Uttar Pradesh government's Jal Vidyut Nigam for the water pipeline which would have to pass through the Rehar reservoir.

Sasan Power was transferred to Reliance Power from Power Finance Corporation in 2007 and is now a fully-owned subsidiary. It is developing a 3,960MW coal-fired UMPP in Sasan, Madhya Pradesh, approximately 25km from three captive pithead coalmines. RPower was given the project after it bid at a levelised tariff of Rs1.2/kWh (very low). However, RPower claims 2 billion tonnes of domestic captive coal mines - with Tilaiya at 1.23 billion tonnes, Sasan at 700 million tonnes and Rampia at 113 million tonnes, which it believes will ensure lowest cost per kWh in India. The project is to have six 660MW coal-fired plants.

Brokerage firm Kotak believes that Sasan's boiler foundation work is close to completion and mine development has begun but land acquisition still remains a concern. A BoA-ML report talks about the success of its CSR acts at Sasan that helped its land acquisition without much 'noise'. I am assuming CSR means corporate social responsibility.

In a recent television interview chief executive officer JP Chalasani said that RPower's Sasan and Krishnapatnam projects are on track and will be completed by 2015.

(This article is based on secondary research. The report is for information only. None of the stock information, data and company information presented herein constitutes a recommendation or solicitation of any offer to buy or sell any securities. Investors must do their own research and due diligence before acting on any security. Some of the opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and may not necessarily represent those of Moneylife).


Deora to support ONGC's bid for BP's Vietnam gas project

New Delhi: Oil minister Murli Deora will make a pitch for Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) buying BP Plc's Vietnam gas fields when the British energy firm's chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, and newly appointed chief executive, Robert Dudley, visit India next week, reports PTI.

ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas investment arm of state-run ONGC, wants to buy BP's 35% stake in the $1.3 billion Nam Con Son gas project in Vietnam.

"Mr Deora will try and influence Mr Svanberg into selling the Vietnam assets to OVL," a government official said.

OVL has roped in Vietnam's PetroVietnam for buying BP's stake in two offshore gas fields, a pipeline and power project - together referred to as Nam Con Son.

Block 06.1, where the Lan Tay and Lan To fields currently produce about 14 million cubic metres of gas per day, was originally allocated to OVL, but due to the foreign exchange crisis of the 1990s, it had to farm-out some of its stake to BP.

With BP considering the sale of fields in Colombia, Venezuela and Vietnam to finance its Gulf of Mexico oil spill liability, OVL sees an opportunity to get the fields back.

China's CNOOC and Sinopec, as well as Thailand's PTTEP, may also be interested in BP's stake, he said.

OVL has a 45% stake in Block 06.1, where the balance 20% is with PetroVietnam.

A 370-km-long pipeline ships the gas produced from the fields to onshore power plants. BP has a 32.33% stake in the $565 million pipeline, where its other partners are ConocoPhillips (16.7%) and PetroVietnam (51%).

The gas produced from the fields is supplied to a 720-MW, $412 million power plant, where BP, NI of Japan and Semb Corp of Singapore have a 33.3% stake each.

The Nam Con Son project's upstream part is Block 06.1, located 370 km South-East of Vung Tau on the southern Vietnamese coast. The 955 sq km block holds the Lan Tay and Lan To gas fields. Lan Tay currently produces around 14 million standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd) of gas, while Lan To is currently under development.

OVL has so far invested $217 million on the gas fields and has government approval to invest up to $377.46 million, the official said.

Chinese firms could come up against political opposition in Vietnam, where suspicion of China runs high due to the territorial disputes between the two in the South China Sea.


Running on empty

The period of peak oil is currently playing out, say analysts.

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