Indian gas company Gail is expected to register a new company within the next few days that will take over the group’s role in the mothballed Dabhol plant in Maharashtra. Comments attributed to Gail Chairman Prashanto Banerjee indicate that the plant will begin operations in the second half of 2006.

The $2.9 billion Dabhol project is expected to produce some 2,184 MW when completed having been delayed over a contractual issue with sole customer the Maharashtra state electricity board.

Initially, Gail and power utility the NTPC would form a 50:50 joint venture holding Dabhol before the Maharashtra State Electricity Board would move to eventually hold 15% equity. GAIL, NTPC and Indian financial institutions would subsequently hold 28.3% each.

Banerjee reportedly said. “What we are doing now is an independent exercise. After the settlement is done, the assets could be acquired by bidding or by a negotiated transfer. It would be an asset transfer with no liability.”