New Delhi: India is mulling inviting Qatar to invest in the country's energy sector, and may offer equity stake to the Gulf nation in NTPC's gas-based project in Kerala, in lieu of assured fuel supply for the plant.
Power Ministry which is battling with acute gas shortage at its generating stations is exploring avenues to source the fuel from overseas in order to mitigate the shortfall from domestic sources.
This proposal was discussed at a meeting of the Committee of Secretaries headed by Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Pulok Chatterji earlier this week, sources said.
The Power Ministry's proposal of offering stake to Qatar government in NTPC's gas-based Kayamkulam plant in Kerala and also the company's proposed renewable energy project was discussed, sources added.
Even as the government asked power companies to halt their plans of setting up gas-based projects as well as expanding the current ones till 2015-16 due to scarcity of natural gas, the the Power Ministry is looking at other means for bringing the fuel to the gas-starved plants.
State-owned NTPC may revisit its proposal of offering equity stake to Qatar in its gas-based Kayamkulam project with the assurance of getting regular fuel supplies for the same.
In 2010, Qatar Petroleum had evinced interest in picking up equity stake in NTPC's Kayamkulam plant but the deal could not materialise after remaining at the discussion stage.
The company, which was looking at expanding the plant capacity from the current level of 350 MW to over 1,000 MW, has put the plans on hold due to non-availability of gas.
NTPC, which currently generates nearly 40,000 MW of power had plans to become a 75,000 MW company by 2017.
However, it has scaled down the target to nearly 70,000 MW due to difficulty in making available adequate natural gas.
At present, NTPC has seven gas-based stations – 413 MW Anta (Rajasthan), 652 MW Auraiya (Uttar Pradesh), 645 MW Kawas (Gujarat), 817 MW Dadri (Uttar Pradesh), 648 MW Jhanor-Gandhar (Gujarat), 430 MW Faridabad (Haryana) and 350 MW Rajiv Gandhi combined cycle power project at Kayamkulam.