Energy News Monitor | Volume XIII: Issue 40

     Energy Monitor, ENM, March, Bright, Bulb

    Coal Takes on Obituaries

    Coal News Commentary: February – March 2017

    India

    Obituaries continued to pour in for coal from the those who have identified coal as the primary enemy of mankind. The latest is the report from TERI that makes the case for India to shift away from coal and into green energy because of the excess capacity in coal based power generation caused some excitement among the green community and some anxiety among the ‘not-so-green’ community. According to the TERI study, if India can halve storage technology prices by 2024 it can do without the need for new coal-based plants. Sections of the business media said that TERI’s report was in line with a recent report by the CEA that said the country did not need new coal based power generation capacity till 2027. This is inaccurate. The CEA report says that as over 50 GW of coal based power projects are under construction that are likely to yield benefits during 2017-27 no additional coal based capacity is required for the period.

    Naturally the WCA responded that it is not credible to suggest that the country can achieve universal energy access and develop its economy without coal in the next 10 years, regardless of the country’s investment in renewables. According to WCA coal will remain the driving force behind electrification and industrialisation.  WCA also quoted the IEA report that states that coal will continue to make the largest contribution to electricity generation in India through to 2040. WCA said although the competitiveness of renewables and gas-fired technology in India is likely to improve over time, coal is expected to remain the most affordable option through to 2035.

    BMI Research joined in to say that India’s power sector will continue to be dominated by coal over the coming decade despite significant growth in cleaner fuels or renewables. According to the BMI Research, the country’s efforts to bolster domestic supply of coal and the loosening of the global coal market over the coming years will ensure that coal will remain the power feedstock of choice for the Indian market. India’s power sector will remain dominated by coal over our 10-year forecast period, with coal making up a share of just less than 70 percent to the total power generation mix by 2026. This is roughly the same level as it is currently, with growth underpinned by the significant and continually growing project pipeline for coal-fired power facilities in the country, it said.

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    The coal ministry for its part is identifying alternative uses for coal. It said that domestic coal gas can be used as a feedstock for producing urea and other chemicals that can help reduce the country’s import bill by $10 billion in five years and cut carbon emissions. India’s dependence on petroleum and natural gas can be reduced or done away with if the country is able to get gas from coal.  If the country is able to gasify coal and use that for production of chemicals, including urea and methanol, it would lead to reduction in import bill manifold by 2030. Underground coal gasification is a method of converting coal underground into gaseous mixture of hydrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and water that can be used in place of natural gas as fuel or feedstock. The government is planning to come up with a series of pilot projects in areas like coal gasification and coal-to-polychemicals next fiscal.

    On the policy front there was a progressive move that will hopefully be the beginning of the end of the coal linkage policy that not only constrained supply but also encouraged corruption.  The government announced that private power plants can now bid for coal allotted to state utilities, a move the government feels will lead to more efficient fuel use, reduce cost of generation by ` 0.40-0.50/unit and result in savings of $ 3 billlion/year in 4-5 years. In other words the landed cost of power from private producers inclusive of the transmission charges and losses should be lower than the variable cost of the state generating station whose power it replaces.  But the rules for swapping coal between state utilities and private power producers, notified by the CEA lays down certain conditions such as availability of transmission lines between the state and the power plant with which the coal is being swapped.

    The swap will be subject to ability of the railways to transport coal to the new plant from the mine from which coal is allotted to the state utility. The decision is expected to help states phase out old plants and energise several new power plants languishing due to fuel shortage. The plan allowed all long-term coal linkages – supply quotas from specific mines – of individual power plants in a state to be clubbed together and put under the charge of the state government or its nominated agency. According to the new rules, the energy generated under this arrangement will be treated as transfer of coal.  The rules provide that any restriction imposed by regional/states load dispatch centres on scheduling of power due to breakdown of transmission and grid constraints shall be treated as force majeure without any liability on either side. During the force majeure, no coal transfer shall be made to the seller, the new rules stipulated.

    CIL’s average e-auction prices for the solid fuel have risen after about 12 months, reflecting a hardening global trend in the costs of coal. In the December quarter, average realisations from e-auction rose to ` 1,546/tonne, 17 percent higher than the preceding three months, reversing a series of declines that had begun in April 2015. Analysts expect prices to remain firm and aid CIL improve its financial performance because of output moderation by large regional exporter Indonesia and revival of demand from smokestack industries in China, which had initially triggered global declines by shutting some coal-fired power plants. CIL is one of the world’s few miners of the fossil fuel that returns at a rate higher than its weighted average cost of capital.

    Rest of the World

    Obituaries to coal continued to pour in from the rest of the world as well.  However China has said that it will not force coal mines to cut output on a large scale if prices remain within a reasonable range. China’s NDRC said provincial governments and relevant agencies will decide whether to implement cutbacks at mines that are not considered “advanced”. It did not say what price range it would consider reasonable.

    On the other hand, an Oxford University study warned that China’s utilities could write down between $449 billion and $1.047 trillion in assets over the next 20 years, exposing them to financial risks as the country enacted more intensive pollution controls. China Huaneng Group, China’s largest utility, has more than 22,720 MW of new coal generation capacity under construction. These assets face possible devaluations as a result of China’s tightening pollution controls and intense price competition for surviving and new power plants, the study said. Other companies such as China Datang Corp, China Guodian Corp and China Huadian Group are subject to similar risks as they plan to build more than 45,000 MW of new capacity, the study said. The country’s energy regulator has ordered 11 provinces to halt more than 100 coal-fired power projects some of which are under construction, with a combined installed capacity of more than 100 GW.

    Britain’s coal production fell by 51 percent to a record low last year as all large deep mines closed and others neared the end of their operational life, preliminary government statistics showed. Coal output fell to just over 2 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2016.  Britain’s coal production has fallen by 77 percent in the last five years. Coal accounted for 10.6 percent of electricity supplied in 2016, down from 25.8 percent in 2015, due to coal plant closures and a carbon price floor which has made coal-fired generation more expensive than gas-fired power.

    The US coal miner Peabody Energy Corp said it has agreed to set aside collateral to cover future mine clean-up costs as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan, ending its controversial use of “self-bonds.” For decades the largest US coal companies have used a federal practice known as “self-bonding,” which exempts companies from posting bonds or other securities to cover the cost of returning mined land to its natural state, as required by law. Peabody had warned that the financial strain of having to replace all of its self-bonds would eat into its liquidity.

    Finally China’s sanctions against high quality coking coal or Anthracite have sent China’s steel mills and traders scrambling to find alternative supplies. Chinese prices of steel, coking coal and coke all rallied, as traders and analysts said mills will likely be forced to buy more expensive domestic material or seek alternatives further afield from Russia or Australia, driving up costs. While North Korea accounts for only a small portion of China’s total coal imports, it is the main foreign supplier of high-quality coking coal which is used to make coke, a key ingredient in steelmaking. Business with North Korea had become increasingly difficult under years of sanctions and the once-bustling trade handling coal from the north had shrunk to just a few private merchants. China bought 22.48 MT of anthracite from North Korea in 2016, 85 percent of its total imports.

    NATIONAL: OIL

    Eighty percent dip in kerosene stove sale in Old City, Hyderabad

    March 12, 2017. The sale of kerosene oil stoves in Old city has dropped by almost 80 percent, over the last couple of years. Once in great demand, the number of takers for these stoves has now reduced to just a handful, locals said. The reduced demand has also affected the cost of these kerosene stoves, shopkeepers said. Now there are priced at just 300, even as the cost of gas stoves start from anywhere upwards of 1,000. While a two-burner stove costs 1,000, the price of three-burner gas stove is 15,000. The more sophisticated ones are, of course, priced at 25,000 or more.

    Source: The Economic Times

    India’s oil consumption fell 3 percent in February

    March 10, 2017. India’s oil consumption fell 3% in February, declining for the second month in a row after shrinking 4% in January. Oil demand fell to 15,886 thousand metric tonnes (TMT) in February from 16,339 TMT in the same month last year. In January, the oil demand had shrunk to 15,617 TMT from 16,238 TMT in the year-ago period. The sale of diesel, which makes up about 40% of all domestic oil demand, fell 4% to 6159 TMT in February. The demand for Petrol, however, rose 3% to 1897 TMT. The sale of jet fuel also rose by a tenth to 575 TMT. The demand for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) rose 3.5% to 1809 TMT.

    Source: The Economic Times

    OIL signs MoU with Houston University to augment reserves base

    March 10, 2017. Oil India Ltd (OIL) has signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the University of Houston in a bid to augment its reserves base and maximise recovery from its ageing oilfields. The MoU was inked in the presence of Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Terming the MoU as historic, Pradhan said this will go a long way for the pilot study of CO2 capture technology application in Assam oil fields. The major focus of the MoU is collaboration in the areas of improved oil recovery and enhanced oil recovery for augmenting the production from matured fields, improvement in drilling and well intervention practices, seismic interpretation and reservoir characterisation studies, and unconventional hydrocarbon studies. It is believed that this collaboration will help OIL to further consolidate and upgrade the various initiatives the company has undertaken to improve production and contribute significantly to the energy security of the country. This will contribute towards national obligation set by Prime Minister Modi to reduce import dependency of oil and gas by 10 percent by 2022.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Bombay HC gives a week to file affidavit on petrol pumps without NOCs

    March 10, 2017. The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court (HC) granted a week’s time to Aurangabad district collector and commissioner of police to file their affidavits related to a PIL, seeking directions for shifting petrol pumps from eight sensitive areas of the city. The PIL — filed by an NGO in 2015 — has also pointed out that these petrol pumps are situated closer to heritage sites and religious places in densely populated areas. The NGO approached the HC through lawyer Roopa Daxini, seeking directions to the concerned authorities for shifting the petrol pumps which according to them may result into huge loss of life and property in case of an accident. Daxini had pointed out several reports suggesting many petrol pumps were functioning without following the norms or NOCs from different departments. Daxini pointed out reports of fire brigade department that had suggested shifting of a petrol pump from the busy Jaffar Gate area following an accident at the petrol pump. She referred to a 1984 incident when a petrol tanker had caught fire at a petrol pump near historic Shahganj mosque.

    Source: The Times of India

    ONGC fields to be pushed into more production enhancement contracts

    March 8, 2017. Following the sustained and steady fall in production from both onshore and offshore fields of oil major Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) since 2006-07, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) plans to push the company into more production enhancement contracts (PEC). A large number of fields will be put under PEC and it is being decided which ones should taken up in the first round. The DGH had been asked by the oil ministry to regularly monitor the national oil companies. Data show ONGC’s production from major onshore fields have fallen from 4.84 million tonnes (MT) in 2006-07 to 2.79 MT by 2015-16, and that for major offshore from 15.43 MT to 11.77 MT during the same period. Interestingly, the production figures have shown a continuous fall. Production from major fields of Oil India Ltd, which only operates onshore fields, has also been falling — from 1.139 MT in 2006-07 to 0.553 MT by 2015-16, although some years witnessed minor correction. The government is of the view that ONGC’s productivity is low and the number of wells it drills per annum is not adequate. Falling production of the national oil companies does not augur well for the country which is striving to achieve energy security and plans to reduce its imports drastically by 2030. To this end, the NDA government has also announced that some of the oil companies will be merged to create integrated companies which will provide end-to-end services and have the financial muscles to compete with international firms such as Shell and BP.

    Source: The Financial Express

    Aadhaar made must for free LPG connections too under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana

    March 8, 2017. Women of households below poverty line (BPL) will need to enrol for Aadhaar by May 31 to be able to avail themselves of a free liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connection under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. The oil ministry has made this mandatory after making the 12-digit identification number compulsory for subsidised cooking gas cylinders under its Pahal scheme a few months ago. Under the Ujjwala Yojana, launched last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, the government aims to give five crore LPG connections to BPL families by 2019 while absorbing the cost of ` 1,600 per connection. Nearly 1.67 crore free LPG connections have been released under the scheme, which is among the more successful schemes of the Modi government and has had an impact especially in Uttar Pradesh. The move to make Aadhaar mandatory will impact nearly 3.23 crore BPL women who are still to benefit from the scheme. The government is set to make Aadhaar mandatory for 50 more schemes within this month.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Contractors sharing a common reserve will have to develop the oil field jointly: Govt

    March 8, 2017. The government will order joint development of oil and gas fields if it is found that the fields being developed by different contractors share a common reservoir, the disagreement of the contractors notwithstanding, according to a draft contract under the new exploration policy. This offers a glimpse of how the state aims to handle in future disputes such as that between Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) over a common reservoir. The government unveiled Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) last year, which replaces the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) that governed India’s oil and gas exploration for more than a decade. HELP offers freedom to market oil and gas, and provides for a revenue-sharing contract that replaces the contentious profit sharing provision under NELP. A draft model revenue sharing contract has just been opened to public consultation. NELP provided for a situation where a reservoir extends below two discovery areas under two separate contractors. HELP also provides for a condition where a contract area is already being developed – a situation similar to RIL’s producing field in the KG Basin that partly shares the reservoir with the undeveloped field of ONGC.

    Source: The Economic Times

    NATIONAL: GAS

    Disruptive changes to alter O&G industry dynamics: ICRA

    March 14, 2017. The crude oil era is set for a structural slowdown leading to significant implications for different stakeholders in the oil & gas (O&G), ICRA said. ICRA said crude oil, since its emergence in early 1900s, is witnessing a steady rise in usage to about 45% of global energy consumption by mid-1970s. Subsequently it reduced to 30% due to the emergence of other energy sources notably natural gas, it continues to be a fuel to reckon with among policy makers. At present disruptive potential for oil consumption levels comes from environmental concerns, car-pooling, electric cars, solar power, liquefied natural gas (LNG) based commercial vehicles, advent of e-rickshaws, e-bikes and driver-less cars. LNG based trucks and buses are likely to make a large dent in crude usage.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Oil ministry moves Cabinet to get RIL, ONGC pricing freedom

    March 14, 2017. In a boost to firms like Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), the oil ministry has moved a proposal to the Cabinet for allowing pricing freedom for natural gas produced from coal seams. The ministry has proposed to the Cabinet that coal bed methane (CBM) gas producers be given pricing freedom and allowed to price the fuel at market rates. The move will benefit RIL which has two blocks in Madhya Pradesh that are in the process of starting production. ONGC and Essar Oil too will benefit from the new policy as it will help them put their acreage into production quickly. According to the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), India has the 5th argest proven coal reserves in the world and holds significant prospects for exploration and exploitation of CBM. The estimated CBM resources in the country are about 92 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). The 33 CBM blocks awarded so far hold a total of 62.4 tcf of the estimated CBM resource, of which, so far, 9.9 Tcf has been established as Gas in Place. The CBM gas pricing policy proposed to the Cabinet is in line with the recently unveiled regime governing small and marginal oil and natural gas blocks.

    Source: The Times of India

    qc_GoodPradhan meets US Energy Secretary, discusses LNG deal

    March 9, 2017. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has discussed with new Energy Secretary Rick Perry the possibility of importing LNG from the United States (US) and Indian investment in the energy sector there. Pradhan met Perry during an unscheduled trip to the US Capitol and discussed energy cooperation between India and the US, Indian investment in liquefied natural gas (LNG) and Shale sectors, and the possibility of the US exporting LNG to India from early next year. Perry said co-operation between India and the US in the energy sector is in mutual interest as India’s energy need is set to see a rapid increase as the economy expands.

    Source: The Financial Express

    Govt to offer incentives to companies keen on developing O&G blocks

    March 8, 2017. The government will offer incentives to companies that take lead in proposing to develop oil and gas blocks of their choice leading to a government-monitored auction, according to the draft Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP). Besides encouraging companies to propose blocks for auction through the year, the open acreage policy will also keep alive the previous practice of the government carving out blocks and offering them to investors in an auction round. Open acreage licensing is part of the Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) unveiled last year.

    Source: The Economic Times

    NATIONAL: COAL

    Adani Enterprises applies to Australian govt fund for coal mine railway financing

    March 13, 2017. Adani Enterprises has applied for financing from an Australian infrastructure fund to build a rail line that is part of a $16 billion coal project in the state of Queensland, Australia’s resources ministry said. Financing from the A$5 billion Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility would offer a boost to Adani after some major banks said they would not participate in the controversial coal project. Since starting work on the Carmichael development over five years ago, Adani has battled opposition from green groups who say it will contribute to global warning. Adani has said the project would not threaten the reef, while creating thousand of jobs and providing India with cleaner burning coal only found in Australia.

    Source: NDTV

    Delhi HC upholds coal ordinance norms on compensation determination

    March 10, 2017. The Delhi High Court (HC) upheld the Centre’s 2014 Coal Ordinance’ provisions on determination of compensation payable to allottees who lost out in the 2015 coal mine auctions towards mining infrastructure and land. The court said that if the compensation was not computed in the manner indicated by it, then the companies can raise the issue before the tribunal set up under the ordinance. The court’s ruling came on pleas of GVK Power (Goindwal Sahib) Ltd, Jayaswal Neco Industries Ltd, Jindal Power Ltd, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd and several other similar companies who have alleged under-compensation by the government for their mining infrastructure and land. The petitions were filed by the companies whose coal block allocations were cancelled by the Supreme Court in 2014. These firms took part in the subsequent auction, which were conducted in 2015 as per the ordinance, and could not succeed to hold on to their mines. The court said fixing a rigid formula of the value of the land as per the historical value given in the sale deeds together with 12 percent simple interest may operate unfairly against the prior allottee and to the benefit of the successful bidder.

    Source: The Economic Times

    India has 80 MT of coal stocks at power plants and mines

    March 9, 2017. India had total coal stocks of a whopping 80 million tonnes (MT) at its power plants and coal mines put together at the end of February, thanks to the ongoing slump in the demand for power from distribution utilities and the low capacity utilization of thermal power stations. India is currently facing no difficulty in meeting its coal demand, Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said. Goyal said the government has taken steps to increase the domestic production including efforts to expedite environment and forest clearances, pursuing with states for assistance in land acquisition and coordinated effort with Railways for movement of coal.

    Source: The Economic Times

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    India to release discussion paper on rules for commercial coal mining

    March 8, 2017. The government will release a discussion paper this month for framing rules and regulations to auction coal blocks for commercial mining by private players. Commercial mines are alloted without specifying the end use and allow private entities to sell the fuel to buyers across sectors such as power, cement and steel. The government has identified four coal blocks which would be put up for auction in the next fiscal. The coal ministry will come out with the discussion paper this month and it will contain the procedure of auction of coal blocks, eligibility criteria and other issues, Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar said. As per the Coal Mines Special Provision Act of 2015, government can open up commercial coal mining for private players. The government had earlier allowed state utilities to commercially mine coal and sell to private companies.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Govt may clear new coal linkage policy for power plants soon

    March 8, 2017. The Centre is likely to approve a new coal linkage policy for ensuring adequate supply of the fuel to power plants through reverse auction route. The new coal linkage policy for power plants would help producers ensure fuel supplies in an organised manner. The government’s initiatives as well as international market conditions have helped bring down price of the dry fuel and boost domestic production. But a mechanism is required for providing coal linkages to power plants at competitive rates. The new fuel linkage policy would address this concern and put in place a proper mechanism for sourcing of dry fuel by the power plants as per their schedules. India has total installed generation capacity of about 314 GW, including 188 GW coal-based thermal capacity, as on January 2017, the Central Electricity Authority data showed.

    Source: The Economic Times

    NATIONAL: POWER

    Seven firms evince interest in Vizag’s power project

    March 14, 2017. The first phase of the underground cabling project in Visakhapatnam city is likely to begin in the second quarter of the next fiscal 2017-18. The first phase, which will come up at MVP Colony and its surroundings areas including Lawson’s Bay Beach, will have 6 sub-stations, and will come up at a cost of 230 crore. Seven firms across the country have evinced interest in the first phase of the underground cabling project by taking part in the technical bid and investing a security deposit of 4.5 crore. The seven firms include Vijay Electricals Ltd Hyderabad, GVPR Engineers Ltd Hyderabad, L&T India Chennai, BMC Electroplast Kolkata, KEI Industries New Delhi, Gupta Power Infra Ltd Odisha and Vindhya Power Pvt Ltd Hyderabad. The project monitoring unit (PMU) at Hyderabad will now pick eligible firms for the subsequent financial bid round. If none of the firms qualify, the PMU will have to issue a fresh tender notification again. However, that is unlikely to happen as all these firms are experienced in handling at least 10km long underground power cabling project. PMU said the financial bidding process would be taken up in April and formalities including the decisions of the World Bank, the Chief Minister and the union ministry’s clearances would be completed by the end of May or June.

    Source: The Economic Times

    BJP hits the ground running in UP for cheap power

    March 14, 2017. The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) has hit the ground running in UP (Uttar Pradesh) to fulfil two of its key election promises — to provide cheap power and free energy efficient pumps to farmers — even before formally forming the government in the state. UP power secretary Sanjay Agarwal will hold a meeting in Lucknow for signing the Centre’s ‘Power for All’, envisaging commitment to 24X7 power supply, connecting all households, supplying up to 100 units at Rs 3 for each household and giving free energy efficiency pumps to farmers. Though UP was one of the first states to accept ‘UDAY’, the Centre’s plan to rejuvenate debt-laden distribution companies, it refused to finalise the terms for signing the Power for All document, which commits states to improve power management and supply. This had been a sore point between the Centre and the state government and became a poll issue in the state, with BJP putting the blame on the Samajwadi Party government for the lethargic reforms and poor power service. The logical conclusion of the Power for All document will give a head start to the state government and show the BJP’s commitment towards its poll promises.

    Source: The Times of India

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    Govt trips on power infra upgrade in Haryana

    March 13, 2017. The state government is yet to take up maintenance of power infrastructure in developers’ areas, leaving residents to suffer erratic supply and long hours of load-shedding. Local residents alleged Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) had done nothing to upgrade infrastructure, as was promised, in DLF phases, Suncity, Sushant Lok 1, 2, 3 and Palam Vihar, even 10 months after the government promised to take over the upgrade work and augment power supply. With summer around the corner, the supply situation has gone from bad to worse. To make things worse, prolonged power cuts, sometimes stretching over 5-6 hours, have already started making life miserable for people in DLF phases 1, 2 and 3. Those living in other developers’ areas in the city are forced to brave similar outages even before summer. In July last year, the Haryana government had announced it would take over the Rs 200 crore upgrade work from RWAs, to boost power infrastructure in the entire Gurgaon circle.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Mount Abu to get rid of overhead power lines, develop underground cabling system

    March 12, 2017. The only hill station of the state, Mount Abu will soon get rid of overhead electric lines. All these lines will be converted to underground cabling system within three months to enhance beauty of this tourist town. The underground cabling work will incur a cost of Rs 1 crore which has been provided by the municipality of Mount Abu to distribution company (discom). Jodhpur discom said HT and LT lines between the two important landmarks of the town – Nakki Lake and Delwara Jain Temple – measuring about four kilometers will be made underground. Jodhpur discom said there was a huge turnout of tourists at this hill station round the year and these overhead lines harm the beauty of this place, considering which Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had given directions to shift these overhead lines into underground. Besides this, 17.8 kilometers long lines of 11 KV will be made underground in Sirohi during next phase of underground cabling work under center sponsored Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) at the cost of Rs 31.48 cores.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Interrupted power supply in Mahalakshmi and nearby areas

    March 11, 2017. Power supply in some parts of the city remained affected due to maintenance work by Madhya Pradesh Paschim Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company Ltd (MPPKVVCL). Residents of Mahalakshmi Nagar and other nearby colonies had a hard time in the morning. They complained of frequent power cuts, blaming the situation due to load shedding.

    Source: The Times of India

    Andhra power consumption to rise on warm summer warning

    March 11, 2017. Since the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned of a warm summer this year, state power utilities including city-based AP Eastern Power Distribution Company Ltd (APEPDCL) are expecting a sharp raise in power consumption in the state. At present, the average power consumption per day is 165 million units and officials expect that this will touch 180 to 185 million units by the beginning of April in the 20,575 villages across the state. Of this, 10,932 villages are under APEPDCL limits covering Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, East Godavari, West Godavari and Visakhapatnam. The state has two discoms that serve nearly 1.6 crore consumers. AP Genco and AP Transco said that the state would be able to overcome the demand of the power in the peak summer season as it has surplus in its kitty. The power generation companies in the state also has a stock of 10,64,666 metric tonnes of coal as on March 9, according to a report from APGenco. APEPDCL said the distribution company has already reached last year’s highest power consumption mark.

    Source: The Economic Times

    PGCIL seeks ban on kites

    March 9, 2017. Citing danger of metal-coated kite strings coming into contact with live overhead electric wires, the Power Grid Corp of India (PGCIL) has asked the district administration to ban the practice, especially in areas such as CB Ganj, Meerganj, Nawabganj, Bhojipura, Kareili and Baheri in the district. PGCIL explained how the strings, which are coated with glass and metal powder, come into contact with transmission lines and fault current of up to 20 kiloampere is created. It poses risk not only for human lives but the entire grid system. PGCIL said that over 1,100 kilometer of transmission lines carrying 765, 400 and 220 kilovolt of electricity are being used for power supply in the district. These lines in turn are connected with Lucknow, Moradabad and Uttarakhand power grids.

    Source: The Times of India

    Delhi govt sets aside Rs 16 bn for power subsidy

    March 9, 2017. The Delhi government has set aside Rs 1,600 crore for its flagship subsidy scheme for power consumers. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, presenting the Budget for 2017-18 in the Delhi Assembly, proposed Rs 2,194 crore expenditure in the energy sector, including Rs 1,600 crore for subsidy to power consumers. Under the subsidy programme, in the last two years domestic consumers using up to 400 units of electricity per month are charged at half the rate. The scheme will continue to benefit over 36 lakh domestic consumers in the national capital who come under the prescribed limit of electricity use.

    Source: Business Standard

    Nokia, Tata Power team up to modernize electrical grids in India

    March 9, 2017. Nokia and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (Tata Power-DDL) have joined forces for the implementation of Internet Protocol/Multiprotocol Label Switching (IP/MPLS) network to support the management of its electrical grid in its area of operation in North and North-west Delhi. Tata Power-DDL is the first power utility in India to successfully implement tele protection service using Line-Differential Relay (LDR) over an IP/MPLS network. The network is enabling Tata Power-DDL to support emerging smart grid applications such as distributed energy resources, mobile workforce management systems and automated demand response. The network delivers traditional business applications, including customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning and video surveillance systems.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    NATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    Tata Power Solar expands facility in Bengaluru

    March 14, 2017. Tata Power Solar said it has expanded the capacity of its cell and module manufacturing facility in Bengaluru. The two-stage expansion doubled the company’s module capacity to 400 MW from 200 MW, and increased its cell manufacturing capacity by 65% from 180 MW to 300 MW, the company said. Tata Power Solar has shipped 1 GW modules to over 30 countries, of which more than 60 percent was shipped in the last five years, it said.

    Source: Hindustan Times

    Reopening of Badarpur power plant a setback: Greenpeace

    March 14, 2017. The reopening of Badarpur thermal power plant will be a “setback” to the efforts in reducing public health crisis associated with air pollution, Greenpeace India said. It termed the decision as “wrong” from environmental and economic point of view. The coal-based Badarpur power plant will reopen on March 15, the Supreme Court appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) had earlier said while lifting a raft of measures implemented under the ‘severe’ air category of the graded response plan. NTPC was awaiting clearance from Delhi Pollution Control Committee to start the plant. The Greenpeace India campaigner said power from Badarpur station is much more costlier than the rate at which power is available from central grid and therefore purchasing power from central grid makes sense from economic perspective. A recent study by IIT Kanpur clearly articulated the need to reduce emissions from thermal power plants to as far as 300 km from Delhi to bring down air pollution in the city.

    Source: Business Standard

    Upcoming Rewa solar plant to receive loan from World Bank

    March 14, 2017. The World Bank has agreed to provide loan to develop internal transmission arrangements of the upcoming Rewa Ultra Mega Solar (RUMS) project in Madhya Pradesh. This would be the first solar power project of the country to receive a loan under Clean Technology Fund (CTF).

    Source: Business Standard

    Delhi Budget could have done more to fight pollution

    March 13, 2017. Despite severe air pollution levels in recent years, the Delhi Budget for 2017-18 doesn’t reflect any urgency to address the problem. The globally accepted measures such as developing walking, cycling and public transport infrastructure have found little or no mention this time. Even worse, many of last year’s budget promises are far from being implemented. Experts said this budget could have introduced several effective air pollution control measures such as increasing the cess on every litre of diesel from the current 25 paise per litre. This would have strengthened the air ambience fund meant to finance air pollution control policies in the city. The extra money could have been utilised to bolster public transport and last-mile connectivity, they said. Developing pedestrian infrastructure, and repairing and laying out cycling tracks could have also been beneficial.

    Source: The Times of India

    India’s solar capacity grows over 3 folds to 10 GW in 3 yrs

    March 12, 2017. India’s solar power generation capacity has crossed 10,000 MW, a more than three-time jump in less than three years as government pushes for renewable energy sources to meet galloping demand. The milestone came as NTPC Ltd, India’s largest power producer, commissioned a 45 MW solar power project at Bhadla in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. India solar power generation capacity stood at 2,650 MW on May 26, 2014. As much as 14,000 MW of solar projects are currently under development and about 6 G is to be auctioned soon. In 2016, about 4 GW of solar capacity was added, the fastest pace till date. According to power ministry estimates, another 8.8 GW capacity is likely to be added in 2017, including about 1.1 GW of rooftop solar installations. Government is targeting 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind energy capacity by 2022. Total renewable energy generation capacity is envisaged at 175 GW by 2022.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Narela waste plant opened, to generate 24 MW power

    March 11, 2017. Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the much-delayed waste-to-energy plant at Narela-Bawana. Touted as the country’s biggest such plant, it can process 2,000 million tonnes (MT) of waste and generate up to 24 MW energy. The Minister said solid waste management was one of the biggest challenges in the country and the idea of Swachh Bharat Mission couldn’t be achieved until the municipalities go for scientific way of disposal for municipal solid waste. Union Minister Harsh Vardhan said the country produces around 55 million tonnes of solid waste and 38 billion tonnes of sewage and their disposal was a challenge. North Corporation would get a 3% cut from the profits made from the plant. The three Municipal Corporations, NDMC and Delhi Cantonment Board together generate around 9,500 MT of waste that’s dumped at the three landfill sites of Ghazipur, Okhla and Narela-Bawana. The existing waste-to-energy plants at Ghazipur and Okhla process 1,500 MT and 2,000 MT of solid waste and produce 12 MW and 16 MW of electricity, respectively. Once this plant becomes operational, Delhi would have the capacity to use almost 50% of waste to produce electricity daily. The project has been delayed by four years, and National Green Tribunal had to intervene and direct the civic body to speed up the process.

    Source: The Times of India

    20 hydro projects of 6.3 GW stalled or stressed: Power Minister

    March 10, 2017. As many as 20 under construction hydro power projects totalling 6,329 MW are either stalled or stressed in the country and Rs 30,147.08 crore has already been spent on them. Out of 44 hydro electric projects (HEPs) under construction presently, 20 HEPs totalling 6,329 MW are stalled/stressed and an amount of Rs 30,147.08 crore has already been spent on these HEPs, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said. The total hydro power generation in the country (from HEPs above 25 MW capacity) during 2016-17 up to February 25, 2017) is 113.53 billion units. Goyal said that the government has sanctioned the proposal regarding basin-wise reassessment of hydro potential in the country. The work has since been taken up by the Central Electricity Authority through WAPCOS Ltd for completion in about 30 months period. Goyal said that the energy deficit during October-January period this fiscal was 0.6 percent with power availability of 365.64 billion units.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Germany extends assistance to India’s energy efficiency programme

    March 10, 2017. Germany will provide additional funding of € 200 million to India’s energy efficiency programme, taking its total commitment to the green initiative to € 600 million. With the loan agreement signed in the presence of German Ambassador Martin Ney, the total German commitment for better energy efficiency in India stands at € 600 million (Rs 4,200 crore). Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) uses the funds to invest in energy efficiency measures in various sectors like domestic households, public buildings, street lighting, water supply and other public facilities, agriculture and industry. It also provides related services to clients for successful implementation of projects. The programme thus contributes to a more efficient use of energy and therefore reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is a follow up to the earlier programme ‘Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings and Infrastructure’ which has implemented the domestic efficient LED lighting programme (DELP) resulting in an estimated 600,000 tons of CO2 emission reduction annually. Besides, a financing agreement of € 500,000 (` 3.5 crore) was signed with Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA). IREDA will use these funds to assure the quality of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects and to mitigate the challenges faced in solar rooftop PV projects by establishing an implementation structure. These grant funds will also be used to support IREDA in market concerning future trends in solar PV, it said.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Price of solar power may fall further in FY18

    March 10, 2017. Solar power generation costs are set to dip further during third and fourth quarter of 2017-18, helped by expected softening of interest rates and a drop in solar panel prices due to a supply glut in the international market, analysts said. Solar power costs had hit a low of Rs 3.30 per unit last month, which is equal to average generation tariffs of NTPC, which produces bulk of its power from coal. NTPC’s lowest cost of generation from one of its old plant is around Rs 1.80 per unit, but on an average solar power prices are expected to become significantly lower than thermal power as solar generation prices fall further. In February, solar tariffs in the country touched a low of Rs 2.97 per unit for the first year of generation and an average tariff of Rs 3.30 per unit at a bidding for solar plants at Rewa in Madhya Pradesh. According to analysts, interest rates may fall by at least 25 basis points this year.

    Source: The Economic Times

    NTPC installs India’s largest floating solar PV plant

    March 10, 2017. State-run NTPC said it has installed India’s largest floating solar photovoltaic (PV) plant at Rajiv Gandhi Combined Cycle Power Plant (RGCCPP) at Kayamkulam in Kerala. The system was installed by Swelect Energy Systems Ltd, Chennai with support from NTPC Energy Technology Research Alliance and NTPC Kayamkulam station in a short span of 22 days. Such systems are fast emerging as an alternative to conventional ground mounted PV systems which are land intensive, it said. It has various benefits like conserving water through reduction of evaporation, increased generation due to cooling effect on the panels, reduced installation time etc and could be installed on saline water environment.

    Source: Hindustan Times

    Govt’s renewables push to power up equipment makers

    March 9, 2017. The government’s recent and upcoming auctions of renewable energy projects may provide a boost to the stocks of Ujaas Energy, Suzlon Energy and PTC India, which are engaged in green energy production and financing. Suzlon and PTC India are expected to be the beneficiaries of the government’s 1000 MW wind power auctions last month. The power generated will be supplied to states that do not have adequate wind resources. Bid wins will provide more revenue visibility and capacity expansion opportunities in the coming quarters for these companies. In terms of magnitude, 1000 MW of electricity can power 10 lakh homes and represents a business opportunity for more than ` 5,000 crore, according to analysts. The government has set a target of 12-15 GW expansion in solar energy projects by the end of this year and execution of 3 GW of these are set to take place in the next two months. Ujaas Energy will benefit from these auctions as the company is looking to bid for orders above 50 MW, analysts said. The company’s current order book stands at 50 MW.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Army lights up Rajouri hamlet with solar power

    March 8, 2017. The army has reached out to the people of a remote hamlet in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district with solar generating sets to light up mountain homes. The Kalakote-based Rashtriya Rifles has installed 40 solar light generating sets consisting of solar panels, inverters, batteries and light emitting diode (LED) bulbs in remote village of Mathiyanigala in Rajouri district.

    Source: The Economic Times

    INTERNATIONAL: OIL

    Hyundai signs $3.2 bn deal for Iran oil project

    March 14, 2017. Hyundai has signed a deal worth €3 billion ($3.2 billion) to invest in a major Iranian oil project, it confirmed. Hyundai Engineering plans to invest €3.1 billion in the second phase of the Kangan oil production and refinery project in southwest Iran, it said. The second phase of the deal, involving the construction of four production plants at the Kangan site, is expected to take four years. Iran has signed initial oil deals with European firms Total and Shell in recent months, potentially worth billions of euros. But doubts persist over how these deals will be financed so long as Iran remains frozen out of the international finance system by continuing US (United States) sanctions.

    Source: The Economic Times

    OPEC’s compliance with output cuts high, rebalancing progresses: Goldman

    March 14, 2017. OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries)’s compliance with output cuts remained high even though the group’s monthly report indicated a rise in global crude stocks and a production jump from Saudi Arabia, Goldman Sachs said. Goldman said that market rebalancing is still progressing, and it saw demand for oil finally exceeding supply in the second quarter aided by production cuts, despite an expected rise in US (United States) shale output. OPEC reported a rise in oil inventories and raised its forecast for production in 2017 from outside the group. It said its biggest producer, Saudi Arabia, increased output in February by 263,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 10 million bpd. Goldman said it was not in OPEC’s interest to extend output cuts beyond six months as the group’s goal was to normalize inventories, and not to support prices.

    Source: Reuters

    Sinopec starts operation of crude oil pipeline in South China

    March 14, 2017. China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec Ltd) has started operating a major crude oil pipeline that connects eastern Jiangsu province with refineries in South China, the company said. The pipeline, which spans 560 kilometers, runs at an annual capacity of 20 million tonnes, Sinopec said. The new crude oil pipe will support crude demand from Sinopec’s Jiujiang and Anqing refinery, it said.

    Source: Reuters

    Russia’s Lukoil reports Q4 profit on higher oil price

    March 14, 2017. Lukoil reported a fourth-quarter (Q4) profit as higher crude prices helped Russia’s No.2 oil producer rebound from a loss a year earlier. Its net profit of 46.6 billion rubles ($790 million) was in line with the 45 billion forecast by analysts polled. Lukoil, whose name comes from the names of west Siberian towns Langepas, Urai and Kogalym, has struggled with falling oil production at its brownfield sites. Its oil output fell by 9 percent last year. The average price of Russia’s flagship Urals oil blend in the fourth quarter rose by 14 percent to $46.90 per barrel. For the whole of 2016, the average price fell by 18 percent to $41.14 per barrel.

    Source: Reuters

    Russia postpones scrapping oil export duties to 2022-2025

    March 13, 2017. Russia will not fully scrap its oil export duty until 2022-2025, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said, four years later than previously expected. Russia, the world’s biggest oil producer, is in the midst of a so-called “tax manoeuvre” whereby it is gradually increasing its mineral extraction tax, while at the same time cutting export duties on oil and refined products. Previously the finance ministry had considered cutting the oil export duty to zero between 2018 and 2020.

    Source: Reuters

    Norway proposes record number of Barents oil exploration blocks

    March 13, 2017. Norway announced preliminary plans to nominate a record number of blocks for oil and gas exploration in the Barents Sea, drawing criticism from environmentalists. Oil majors are restarting their search for giant offshore fields in the region after a two-year lull as recent stability in oil prices revives appetite for exploration. The oil and energy ministry said it had proposed 102 blocks for Norway’s 24th oil and gas licensing round, of which 93 are in the Barents Sea, in the Arctic, and nine in the Norwegian Sea. More than half of the blocks proposed in the Barents Sea are north of Wisting, the northernmost oil discovery made in Norway so far. Unlike many major producers, Norway does not sell licences but awards them to the best applicants and refunds 78 percent of drilling costs. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate estimates that the Barents Sea holds half of all undiscovered oil and gas resources on the Norwegian continental shelf.

    Source: Reuters

    Kazakhstan’s oil output in February exceeds level agreed with OPEC

    March 13, 2017. Kazakhstan’s oil production in February exceeded its agreed limit under an Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (lng)-led deal to cut output and support prices, Kazakh data showed. The central Asian country’s output of oil and gas condensate rose 2 percent last month from January to total 1.718 million barrels per day (bpd), or 38,000 bpd above its limit under the deal. In January, Kazakhstan produced 1.68 million bpd of oil and gas condensate. The rise in Kazakh production mainly came from the country’s largest fields, including the giant Kashagan field where daily output was up 7 percent month-on-month, according to the data from the analytical centre of the Kazakh energy ministry. Output at the Tengiz field was up 6 percent versus January levels, the same data showed.

    Source: Reuters

    BP starts retail fuel operations in Mexico

    March 13, 2017. BP has opened its first retail fuel site in Mexico, in the Satélite area of Mexico City. The company targets opening around 1,500 retail sites in the country, as part of its strategic intention to invest in the growing Mexican retail fuel and convenience market over the next five years and to grow its retail business globally. BP plans to open around 200 BP-branded retail sites in Mexico this year including both dealer and company owned-and-operated sites. The company is taking advantage of the energy reform in Mexico to gain market share on this retail segment and will offer “market price” for the fuel.

    Source: Enerdata

    Iraq exports 3.3 mn bpd oil in January, 3.2 mn bpd in February

    March 9, 2017. Iraq’s daily oil exports stood at 3.269 million barrels per day in February and 3.320 million bpd in January, the oil ministry said. The volumes announced cover all exports made by state-run oil marketer SOMO from the southern ports on the Gulf and from the Turkish terminal of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean, it said. Nearly all the oil sold was from the south as exports from Ceyhan ran at an average of 45,000 bpd in January and 29,000 bpd in February. Ceyhan receives crude from the northern Kirkuk oil fields. The volumes are lower than record exports of over 4 million bpd achieved in November, reflecting supply cuts decided by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to boost prices.

    Source: Reuters

    Iraq announces increase in Kirkuk oil refinery capacity

    March 8, 2017. Iraq has added a processing unit to the Kirkuk oil refinery, increasing the plant’s capacity by 10,000 barrels per day, the oil ministry said. The ministry will seek to add another unit by the end of the year, with the same 10,000 bpd capacity.

    Source: Reuters

    Statoil plans to extend Statfjord A output until 2022

    March 8, 2017. Norway’s Statoil plans to extend production at its oldest oil platform still in operation, the Statfjord A, until 2022, two years longer than previously planned, the company said. Statoil had planned to halt Statfjord A’s production in 2016, but decided in 2013 to extend operations until 2020 to squeeze more oil from the field. Other partners in the field are ExxonMobil and Centrica.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: GAS

    Algeria expects gas exports to surpass 57 BCM target in 2017

    March 14, 2017. Algeria expects to surpass its gas export target of 57 billion cubic metres (BCM) in 2017 as a new pipeline comes online in May bringing an additional 4 bcm, Sonatrach said. Sonatrach had previously said gas exports from Algeria, a key supplier to the European Union, were expected to expand to 57 BCM in 2017 versus 54 BCM last year.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Qatargas signs LNG agreement with PGNiG

    March 14, 2017. Qatargas announced the signing of a side agreement to the existing Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) with Polish Oil and Gas Company (PGNiG). Under the terms of the agreement, Qatargas will increase the volume of liquefied natural gas (LNG) currently supplied to PGNiG to two million tonnes per annum. The new agreement will come into effect on 1 January 2018 and will run until June 2034.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    Drilling boom in hottest US oil play is bad news for gas bulls

    March 14, 2017. A drilling surge in America’s hottest oil play may prove to be a pitfall for natural gas bulls. As explorers extract crude from the Permian shale in West Texas, they’re also producing gas. A jump in the number of rigs operating in the basin is adding to the so-called fracklog, or the number of drilled wells that are waiting to be connected. That’s a sign that gas output from the region will jump by about 25 percent over the next year, threatening to send prices below $2 per million British thermal units, according to Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. Gas is already this year’s worst performer among major commodities, and the prospect of a torrent of supply from the Permian means 2018 may not be much brighter for gas bulls. Output from the basin would augment production from the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, which is expanding as new pipelines carry the fuel to major markets. Gas production from the Permian may total 7.945 billion cubic feet a day in April, up 15 percent from a year earlier. The basin’s oil and gas rigs climbed for nine straight months through February, more than doubling from the 2016 low in May, the United States (US) Energy Information Administration said in a report.

    Source: Bloomberg

    Australia hauls in gas majors to boost local supply, cap prices

    March 14, 2017. Australia’s top gas producers, led by ExxonMobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell, are set to come under fire to supply more gas to the local market and curb soaring prices in crisis talks with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The meeting comes days after Australia’s energy market operator warned the country faces a gas crunch from 2019 that could trigger supply cuts to industry or power outages for lack of gas for generation. This is happening even as the country is on track to become the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Manufacturers who need gas have long complained they faced tight supplies and soaring prices as producers have been focused on supplying gas to the LNG plants that have locked in 20-year export contracts. Local supply has been sapped by three LNG plants that opened in the state of Queensland over the past two years, which has tripled gas demand and sent gas prices rocketing from around A$6 a gigajoule (GJ) to as much as $22/GJ.

    Source: Reuters

    Global LNG-UK gas premium eroded even further in Argentine tender

    March 10, 2017. Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices remained on a downward trajectory for a third month as producers fully stocked with supply struggled to place cargoes into a largely saturated market which was also tainted by low demand. Spot prices for April delivery sank to $5.85 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu), 15 cents below last week levels. May spot LNG slipped to $5.75 per mmBtu. Purchasing by South Korea, Italy and Japan failed to offset the downward trend. The latest tender award by Argentina for 20 cargoes seemingly lowered the pricing bar even further, traders said, and it showed how global deals are increasingly being tied to Britain’s National Balancing Point (NBP) gas trading hub – a key price reference point. In Argentina’s tender, where Shell walked away with the bulk of deliveries, winning bids were estimated by traders to carry a relatively small 10 cent premium to forward contracts at Britain’s NBP. Shell is to supply about 18 cargoes to Argentina’s state-run Enarsa, with Petrobras and Gas Natural Fenosa each adding a cargo, traders said.

    Source: Reuters

    Statoil makes gas find offshore Norway

    March 10, 2017. Statoil Petroleum AS makes a gas discovery through wildcat well 6507/3-12 and appraisal well 6507/3-12 A offshore Norway. Statoil Petroleum AS has made a gas discovery through wildcat well 6507/3-12 and appraisal well 6507/3-12 A offshore Norway, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate confirmed. The wells were drilled about 4 miles east of the Alve field in the northern part of the Norwegian Sea. Well 6507/3-12 encountered a total gas column of about 22 feet in a Late Cretaceous sandstone layer with good reservoir properties. Preliminary estimations place the size of the discovery between one and five billion standard cubic metres of recoverable gas.

    Source: Rigzone

    Nigeria could triple gas reserves if NLNG expansion goes ahead

    March 8, 2017. Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) could unlock three times as much gas as the country’s proven reserves and create hundreds of thousands of jobs if it goes ahead with a proposed expansion plan, it said. NLNG is a venture between state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC), Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Eni to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) for export. It currently operates six trains — liquefaction and purification facilities – and CEO Tony Attah said the company was ready to add another two trains, although he did not say whether a final decision had been taken. Building Trains 7 and 8 would require total investment of $25 billion, he said. Nigeria has the world’s ninth largest proven gas reserves, at 187 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), and Attah said NLNG estimated “scope for reserves of 600 Tcf” if the company expands. NLNG was ready in principle to go ahead, he said. However, Attah warned that Train 7 needed assurances around supply because the six existing facilities were not full on an annual basis. NLNG, which has 23 LNG carriers, has generated $85 billion in 17 years with assets of more than $13 billion.

    Source: Reuters

    Bolivia seeks new natural gas buyers as Petrobras signals cutbacks

    March 8, 2017. Bolivia is scrambling to find new buyers for its natural gas after Brazil’s state-run oil company signaled it plans to reduce imports from the neighbouring country, Bolivia’s state-owned YPFB Chaco said. An existing contract between YPFB Chaco and Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) involves 30 million cubic meters per day of gas supply under a take-or-pay mechanism, turning Brazil into the main buyer of Bolivian gas. It expires in 2019. But as Petrobras’ own gas production increases, it has notified YPFB that it will not renew the contract under the same terms, forcing the Bolivian firm to find new buyers in Brazil.

    Source: Reuters

    BP’s Tangguh Train 2 LNG plant in Indonesia to shut for nearly 2 months

    March 8, 2017. Oil and gas giant BP will shut down its Tangguh Train 2 liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Indonesia’s West Papua province for nearly two months for maintenance, the company said. The routine maintenance from early April to the third week of May has been factored into Tangguh’s 2017 production plan this year, BP’s Indonesia country head, Dharmawan Samsu, said. The Tangguh Train 2 plant has an annual capacity of 3.8 million tonnes of LNG. The overall Tangguh project, which also includes Train 1, delivered a record of 119 LNG cargos last year.

    Source: Downstream Today

    INTERNATIONAL: COAL

    China’s Shanxi province launches crackdown on illegal coal mines

    March 14, 2017. China’s Shanxi province has launched a new campaign against illegal coal mining, as one of China’s top producing regions seeks to get tough on cutting overcapacity. Shanxi province accounts for a quarter of China’s coal output and has pledged to cut 20 million tonnes of overcapacity this year as part of Beijing’s plan to remove 150 million tonnes across the whole industry as it battles smog and tries to make heavy industry more efficient. But recent price gains have tempted some coal mines into producing more than they have been allowed, the Shanxi Administration of Coal Mine Safety and the Shanxi Coal Industry Bureau said.

    Source: Reuters

    Tanzania gives coal mining licence to Dangote after President’s order

    March 13, 2017. Tanzania has awarded a coal mining licence to the local unit of Nigeria’s Dangote Cement as part of plans to lower the company’s production costs and ease disruptions caused by energy shortages. Tanzanian President John Magufuli gave government officials a seven-day ultimatum to allocate a coal mining area to Dangote within the mineral-rich Ngaka coal fields, which are licensed to another company.

    Source: Reuters

    Biggest Ukraine foreign investor alarmed over weeks-long coal blockade

    March 10, 2017. The biggest foreign investor in Ukraine expressed alarm over a weeks-long blockade of railway lines for transporting coal between the separatist east and the rest of the ex-Soviet state. Global steel giant ArcelorMittal has a plant in the mining city of Kryviy Rih that needs coal to produce steel. The firm said it had already run out of certain types of coal that are “crucial raw materials” and said it was gearing up for “possible electricity blackouts” in the region.

    Source: The Economic Times

    INTERNATIONAL: POWER

    Nord Pool plans to launch intraday power trading in Ireland from 2018

    March 14, 2017. Nord Pool plans to launch a day-ahead power auction and continuous intraday power trading in Ireland from 2018, the Nordic electricity market operator said. Nord Pool said it expects to launch its new market when the Irish Single Electricity Market goes live in 2018. Experts are concerned that Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (EU) could jeopardise plans to join the Irish and Northern Irish electricity markets, which is a multi-year project to create a unified Irish electricity market in line with EU legislation.

    Source: The Times of India

    French strike cuts electricity production by 4.2 GW

    March 14, 2017. A one-day strike in the French gas and electricity sector has cut power production by 4.2 GW, French utility EDF and grid operator RTE said. RTE said that the unplanned outages caused by the strike had reduced output at seven of France’s 58 nuclear reactors, cutting electricity output from the reactors by nearly 3 GW.

    Source: Reuters

    Polish grid operator sees risks of power shortages after 2020

    March 13, 2017. Poland may face electricity shortages after 2020 as some of the country’s outdated coal-fuelled power plants will have to be switched off, the head of Polish grid operator PSE said. Poland generates most of its electricity from coal-fuelled power plants, some of which were built in the 1970s. Poland hopes to introduce a power capacity market to help utilities build new coal-fuelled power plants, despite the European Union’s plan to limit such schemes. PSE said a capacity market, in which the state pays producers to keep plants online to generate electricity as and when needed, would help Poland secure power supplies in the long term. Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    Trump to roll back use of climate change in policy reviews

    March 14, 2017. US President Donald Trump’s administration is preparing to release a wide-ranging executive order to reduce the role that climate change plays in policy decisions. The move could alter how US agencies weigh regulations on a broad array of industries, from drilling, coal mining and auto manufacturing to refining. The executive order will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies to overhaul their use of the “social cost of carbon,” an Obama-era policy that seeks to quantify potential economic damage from climate change for the purposes of drafting regulation. Under rules put in by place by former President Barack Obama, the current cost of carbon in policy decisions is $36 per ton, which will rise to $50 by 2030. The Trump order would direct regulators to use a “discount rate” that would dramatically reduce, or eliminate, that cost.

    Source: Reuters

    European Parliament seeks to phase out palm oil in biodiesel

    March 14, 2017. The European Parliament has adopted a draft report within the frame of the RED (Renewable Energy Directive) which proposes a new policy for palm oil use in biodiesel, due to deforestation concerns. The Members of the European Parliament said that 46% of all palm oil imported into Europe in 2014 was used as fuel for transportation. This figure represents a 34% increase compared with 2010.

    Source: Enerdata

    Britain sets subsidy ceiling price for geothermal projects

    March 13, 2017. The British government said it had set the ceiling strike price for geothermal projects in an upcoming auction at 140 pounds per megawatt hour (MWh). The auction for subsidy contracts in 2021-22 and 2022-23 for less-established renewable energy technologies such as wave and offshore wind will take place on April 3 and allocate up to 290 million pounds ($355 million) a year in subsidy contracts. The government had previously announced the ceiling strike price for other technologies and said bidding for geothermal projects would start at 140 pounds/MWh. Offshore wind farms, for example, start with a strike price of 105 pounds/MWh. Siemens said last week it expected offshore wind costs to fall below those of nuclear power, where the strike price for the Hinkley Point C project was set at 92.5 pounds/MWh. The subsidy contracts guarantee owners of renewable energy projects a top-up payment if the wholesale electricity price falls below the agreed strike price.

    Source: The Times of India

    Companies to invest $3.3 bn in solar projects in Vietnam’s Daklak province

    March 11, 2017. Vietnam’s Daklak province granted licences and signed memorandums of understanding for the development of several solar power projects worth a combined $3.3 billion. Vietnam has been mostly reliant on coal-fired and hydro power plants to accommodate its annual electricity demand growth of around 11 percent, but wants to boost its renewable energy output amid rising resources scarcity and environmental issues. United States group AES Corp signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the province to invest $750 million in a solar plant with expected capacity of 300-500 MW. Vietnamese private firm Xuan Thien Daklak received a provincial government licence to invest $2.2 billion in a 2,000 MW solar power project in Daklak province in the Central Highlands. Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are seeking to secure sources of solar energy and have introduced targets to fire up green energy generation as global agreements to curb pollution take effect.

    Source: Reuters

    Apple to use 100 percent renewable energy for manufacturing in Japan

    March 10, 2017. Apple said it has partnered with component supplier Ibiden to power all of its manufacturing in Japan with 100 percent renewable energy. To meet the commitment, Ibiden will invest in more than 20 new renewable energy facilities, including one of the largest floating solar photovoltaic systems in the country. Ibiden’s products help bring together the integrated circuitry and chip packages in Apple devices. Their renewable energy projects will produce over 12 MW of solar power, more than the energy they need for Apple manufacturing and support Japan’s nationwide efforts to limit its carbon emissions. Apple and its suppliers will be generating over 2.5 billion kilowatt hours per year of clean energy for the manufacturing of Apple products by the end of 2018, equal to taking over 400,000 cars off the road for a year. Apple has taken significant steps to protect the environment by transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy. Today, the company is powering 100 percent of its operations in 23 countries and more than 93 percent of its worldwide operations, with renewable energy.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Japan’s Environment Minister sees business risk in building new coal-fired plant

    March 10, 2017. Chugoku Electric Power Co and JFE Steel may need to rethink plans for a new coal-fired power plant if they cannot present clear measures to address climate change concerns, Japan’s Environment Minister Koichi Yamamoto suggested. Yamamoto, in an opinion statement over the companies’ plan for a 1.07 GW coal-fired power plant, flagged a business risk and suggested the companies should consider all options including scrapping the plan. The companies plan to build a power station in Chiba, near Tokyo, aiming to start operation in 2024. Government approval for a power plant project in Japan is based on an examination of its effects on the surrounding environment. The environment ministry had issued rare objections to five new coal-fired stations in 2015 but was pushed by the industry ministry last year to accept voluntary steps by power companies to curb emissions. But as Japan aims to curb emissions by 26 percent by 2030 from 2013 level and 80 percent by 2050, the ministry needs stricter checks, the environment ministry said.

    Source: Reuters

    Shell CEO urges switch to clean energy as plans hefty renewable spending

    March 9, 2017. The oil and gas industry risks losing public support if progress is not made in the transition to cleaner energy, Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive officer (CEO) Ben van Beurden said. The world’s second largest publicly-traded oil company plans to increase its investment in renewable energy to $1 billion a year by the end of the decade, van Beurden said, although it is still a small part of its total annual spending of $25 billion. The CEO said that the transition to a low carbon energy system will take decades and government policies including putting a price on carbon emissions will be essential to phase out the most polluting sources of energy such as coal and oil. He said the “biggest challenge” the company faces is maintaining public acceptance of the energy industry.

    Source: Reuters

    Greece to get EBRD funding for renewable energy drive

    March 9, 2017. Cash-strapped Greece will get more funding from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) after its board approved up to €300 million ($316 million) to fund renewable energy projects. Greece is heavily dependent on imported fossil fuels and the EBRD aims to mobilize much-needed investment and financing to help exploit the country’s huge potential for renewables, including solar, wind, biomass and geothermal power. The EBRD started investing in Greece in 2015 to support the country’s economic recovery following its debt crisis. So far it has invested about €850 million in 17 projects in the financial, energy, infrastructure and agribusiness sectors. The new facility will finance investments in electricity generation from renewable sources, power distribution and transmission capacity to improve efficiency and enable the integration of renewables into the electricity grid. The EBRD expects the funding will result in annual emissions savings of 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. One of the first renewable energy projects the EBRD is considering financing is a 43 MW wind farm project developed by Volterra, a Greek renewable energy developer and electricity operator fully owned by construction company J&P Avax.

    Source: Reuters

    German spot power price down on increased renewables output, fall in demand

    March 9, 2017. The German spot power price for day-ahead delivery fell, weighed down by increased output from renewable wind and solar source, and a forecast decline in consumption. Electricity demand in Germany is seen falling by 1.4 GW day-on-day to 75.5 GW, according to data. Power output from wind turbines will jump by nearly 5 GW to 14.8 GW, while solar power production will increase by 1.3 GW to 3.6 GW during the same period, the data showed.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Coal gets second wind as Australia battles power crisis

    March 8, 2017. The rise of wind and solar power in Australia was supposed to be the death knell for coal use in the world’s biggest exporter of the fossil fuel, but the shunned fuel is finding a new lease of life and may yet attract subsidies to keep the lights on. Growth in electricity demand and a drop in supply since 2014 have strained the Australian grid, triggering outages amid heatwaves and storms. The worst – an eight-hour blackout in South Australia last year – crippled industry for up to two weeks and provoked public outrage. Supplies are set to tighten with France’s Engie SA closing Australia’s dirtiest power station, Hazelwood, this month. That means the national electricity market will need to replace about 10,350 gigawatt hours of “baseload power” that can be called upon when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.

    Source: Reuters

    DATA INSIGHT

    Wind Energy Generation by Indian States

    d

    d2

    Source: Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 19 & 2514 for MNRE

    fact_file

    Publisher: Baljit Kapoor
    Editorial advisor: Lydia Powell
    Editor: Akhilesh Sati
    Content development: Vinod Kumar Tomar

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