UK Energy Giants Close India's Troubled Dabhol Plant

Article excerpt

Byline: JAKE LLOYD-SMITH

BRITAIN's biggest energy companies are preparing to go head-tohead to take over the largest foreign direct investment in India, the controversial Dabhol power project.

BP, Royal Dutch/Shell and BG Group have all confirmed they are taking a close look at the multimillion dollar gas facility, which has been put on the block by failed American energy giant Enron and its partners, General Electric and Bechtel.

BP is weighing up a joint bid with Tata Power, a unit of the leading Indian conglomerate. It is understood that Reliance Industries, India's largest private-sector group, has also been invited to bid.

Despite India's large and fastgrowing need for energy, Dabhol has been wracked with problems and delays since its inception in 1992.

Disputes over pricing and environmental concerns dogged the development of the 2194-megawatt project, located near India's commercial capital Mumbai, formerly Bombay, in the west of the country.

The plant has been mothballed for two years after Dabhol's sole customer, the Government-run Maharashtra State Electricity Board MSEB) fell more than $200 million [pounds sterling]110. …