India's power and energy sectors receive a giant boost

BANGALORE, INDIA - Larsen & Toubro (L&T), India's largest engineering and construction conglomerate, has recently clinched a deal valued at $144 million with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), one of the nation's leading integrated refining and marketing oil company, to construct a 200,000-ton-per-annum lube oil base stock plant as part of HPCL's initiatives toward upgrading quality.

This deal comes less than six months after L&T decided to float a power generation arm called L&T Power Development with a total investment of $5 billion, aiming to generate 5,000 megawatts (MW) of power in the next five years.

At the beginning of March, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, a key player in the construction, commissioning and servicing of power plants worldwide, won a $450 million contract to supply a boiler package for the National Thermal Power Corporation's 1,320 MW power project. Earlier this year, in a deal worth $93.75 million, Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited commissioned the Hindustan Construction Company, another leading construction major, to construct India's first crude oil storage in underground rock caverns with a capacity of 1.33 million tons.

These numbers are merely indicative of the increasingly significant role being played by engineering and construction majors in the growth of petroleum and power generation industries. Despite the fact that these industries hold promising growth prospects, they remain shackled by inadequate infrastructure, obsolete technology, lack of modernized equipment, insufficient storage capacities, sub-optimal processes and, consequently, an inability to cope with a perennially increasing demand for the products.

It is estimated that the country will require an additional 100,000 MW of power to match the demand for electricity over the coming decade, which translates into an equivalent investment of $100 billion by domestic and foreign private companies in power projects. Players in the petroleum industry are also looking to adopt modern technologies and improved processes while grappling with the increasing demand for their products.

The engineering and construction giants' foray into the nation's petroleum and power generation industries bodes well for these sectors. This will attempt to bridge the gap between supply and demand for power and energy in the nation while ushering in a period of rapid and sustainable growth in these industries.


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