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Gas hurdle for fertiliser plant
Correspondent
 AGARTALA, July 29 - Setting up of a fertiliser manufacturing unit in Tripura still remains a distant dream as sufficient gas reserve is yet to be discovered.

Although initial indication was encouraging at Khubal in Unakati district’s Panisagar subdivision but the gas block is not enough to establish such a big project.

“I had words with Chief Minister Manik Sarkar on the issue and assured him of making all out effort to ascertain exact gas reserve at Khubal”, ONGC Tripura Asset Manager SC Sonia said at a press conference here on Thursday.

He said ONGC will have to dig eight more wells at Khubal and its vicinity to know the gas reserve there. “There is a plan to submit a detailed report on the exploration status and possibility of finding gas to the higher-ups by early next year”, he said. It means there are many ifs and buts in the plan of setting up fertiliser manufacturing unit at Khubal.

Asserting that ONGC’s gas production in the State has increased substantially – from 3.2 to 4.4 MMSCMD during the past two years, Soni said the company is not in a position to supply more gas to OTPC to commission the third unit at Palatana. “The OTPC requires 1.5 MMSCM gas to commission its third unit. But ONGC is not in a position to supply that much of gas now”, he said.

However, the Asset Manager said if Gajalia GGS gets operational, there might be a possibility of increase in gas production. Besides, hectic preparations for resuming exploration drive at Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary is going on and there is a hope to get environmental clearance within next couple of months. “Therefore, ONGC will be capable of increasing its gas production in the next few years as we are working on a mission– producing 5 MMSCMD gas per day by 2018”, Soni said.

The Asset Manager further informed ADB (Agartala) GGS will go for routine shut down for twenty days starting from August 18 next. Therefore, OTPC will also switch off its plant for routine maintenance during the period. But there will be no major problem as TSECL has already decided to bring extra power from outside the State during the period.

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