SN Eachampati, CEO, Power SBU, Essar Projects, discusses the business of constructing power plants, the challenges, opportunities and successes.
Having constructed about 1,600 MW Power Projects that are under successful operation and targeting for a completion of total of 11,470 MW by 2014, EPIL Power SBU gained vast experience and capabilities in executing Essar Groups' as well as external Power projects on EPC basis.
The larger projects, for example 2 x 600 at Salaya in Gujarat and 2 x 600 at Mahaan in Madhya Pradesh are under advance stage of construction and targeting for commissioning during this financial year, are being built for Essar Group Companies. For these Power Plants, we already have the Power Purchase Agreement with the Gujarat Government
In addition, to cater for captive requirement of Essar Groups' Refinery expansion project in Vadinar, steel projects in Paradip and Hazira about 734 MW power projects are under construction.
Challenges viz, excess wind velocity in Salaya because of its location, in the vicinity to Gulf of Kutch made the working at heights, a very difficult experience. We timed our tasks when the wind was less and managed with additional resources to compensate for the loss of progress. Last year's severe monsoon also made things hard but we could subsequently overcome it by enhancing the manpower. Challenging conditions notwithstanding, the first unit, boiler hydro-testing of the Salaya Power Project are complete and it is almost ready for commissioning. Our resource mobilisation ensured that we were never short and had about 5,000 nos. comprising skilled and unskilled manpower. We are proud of constructing the chimney of 275 m height by Slip form method. Further, the boiler erection was also achieved by using two 75 MT tower cranes on either side for speedy execution.
The Mahaan Power Project in Madhya Pradesh consisting of 2 x 600 MW. Its boiler and other parts are imported from China, and since it requires a lot of logistics support, we took assistance from Essar Logistics, our in-house company. The challenge in this case began from the shipyard in China, continued to India through port clearance, freight transportation and getting all the clearances.
For power SBUs, Critical Statutory Approvals/ Clearances from the Indian Boiler Regulation Authorities have been closely monitored right from the drawing stage, through vendor manufacturing, deliveries, ground inspection and finally hydro-testing before certifying that it is well installed.
Other big challenges are timely managing critical lifts viz. Boiler, Steam Drum, Generator, de-aerator, feed water and pressure parts of BTG area and utilities for the Balance of Plant (BoP). During construction, the tendency is to give focus on BTG and as a result BoP takes a backseat and commissioning gets delayed. We have consciously tried to concurrently execute both BTG and BoP, so that the completion time remains the same for both.
The key for timely execution of power projects is availability of various project materials in a sequential manner. Our Project Management Team ensures through the vendor meetings and local expeditors to achieve this objective.
Delays due to external factors such as clearances are part of project execution. It requires meticulous micro level planning, which is the focus of our project management. We schedule the total project through Prima Vera processes with the sequence of inter dependent activities and take corrective measures to pro-actively prevent the situation of delays.
Experience and expertise
Our best value proposition is our in-house ability to execute on EPC basis in the power division. We have the engineering and global supply capability in the Middle-East and across the globe, and benefit from the most competitive rates and the timely deliveries at minimum cost. As far as construction capabilities are concerned we have executed almost all the in-house projects on our own. Forty years in the construction, a vast fleet of construction equipment, proven project management skills and global reach; we have all the aces to execute a superior, world-class project.