Energy News Monitor | Volume XIII: Issue 43

     Oil rig, ENM, Energy Monitor, April

    SYNERGY FOR ENERGY: TIME TO REHABILITATE AN OLD IDEA?

    Oil News Commentary: March 2017

    India

    The old idea of restructuring oil firms to create an integrated ‘oil major’ under the caption ‘synergy for energy’ re-emerged this month. The Krishnamurthy Committee set up to evaluate the merits of the idea advised against such a merger in 2005. The oil ministry has apparently decided that the idea needs to be revisited and asked state firms to prepare a plan for the merger. In their plan, companies have to indicate who they will prefer to combine with and what kind of synergy that will bring. The government is said to be planning to sell its entire equity stake in HPCL to ONGC for ₹ 440 billion in order to help build a company that will have a presence across the industry value chain. The government thinking is that a much bigger entity will give bigger negotiating power in activities globally such as the purchase of crude, technology, R&D expertise, as well as faster decision making and economies of scale. The motivation behind the move was that power had gradually shifting from oil and gas producers to consumers.

    The oil ministry and the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management will oversee the process of integration. The idea of creating an integrated oil major germinated outside the oil ministry, and so it is entirely possible that the key decisions regarding this will be made outside. Therefore, it is not necessary that the plans state oil companies present will actually get adhered to, and the government may just direct them according to what it thinks is the best way to create an integrated player.

    quick-fact

    The issue of linking Aadhaar card for LPG connection was in the news this month.  In Kolkata, Aadhaar linkage for LPG has been extended as Aadhar linkage with banks is only 11-12 percent, while with oil companies it is 20 percent. Staying with Aadhaar, women of households BPL will need to enrol for Aadhaar by May 31 to be able to avail themselves of a free LPG connection under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. Under the Ujjwala Yojana, the government aims to give 50 million LPG connections to BPL families by 2019 while absorbing the cost of ₹ 1,600 per connection. Nearly 16.7 million free LPG connections have been released under the scheme. This news-letter argued in 2015, that is before the scheme was announced, that India must give LPG as dowry to its poor daughters rather than provide them with clean cook-stoves as one UN project had proposed (ORF Energy News Monitor | Volume XII; Issue 23). The move to make Aadhaar mandatory will impact nearly 32.3 million BPL women who are still to benefit from the scheme. It is LPG that is likely to be more of an aadhaar for a poor woman and not an aadhaar card.  Access to modern cooking fuels will help women move into the market while an aadhar card will help them to move into queues for government handouts.

    The roadmap to cut import dependence to 67 percent by 2022 from 82 percent received some traction with the award of DSF and the policy to extend timeframes for existing contractors for oil production. The winners of the DSF auction have signed contracts with the government which will help them take possession and start developing these oilfields. Of the total 31 contracts to develop oilfields, 24 have gone to newcomers. The government had received 134 bids for 34 of the 46 contract areas bid out in November. The cumulative peak production from the awarded fields is expected to be around 15,000 bpd and 2 mmscmd of gas over the economic life. Besides auctioning small fields, the government has introduced a raft of policy measures including a new exploration policy and higher prices for gas from difficult fields in the last two years to raise local oil and gas production.

    The government estimates the total revenue from the awarded small fields of about ₹ 464 billion. The development of these fields is also estimated to generate 37,500 jobs. The next round will include fields that did not receive bids this time as well as new fields that belong to state-run companies such as ONGC and OIL but have not been developed yet.

    India approved a policy allowing extra time to contractors of old blocks to unlock oil and gas reserves of more than 426 million barrels, worth over $21 billion, as it seeks to cut its dependence on imports. The policy approved by the Cabinet will help companies including Cairn India and ONGC that are exploring blocks awarded before 1999. During the extension period, contractors are expected to make an additional investment of more than $5.4 billion. During April-February, the production from these old oil and gas blocks was around 55 million barrels of oil and 965 mcm of natural gas. The Cairn-operated Barmer block in the desert state of Rajasthan accounts for about half India’s onshore production of crude oil.

    In the current fiscal till January, the share of imported crude on the basis of domestic consumption stood at 82 percent. Most of crude oil production in the country is from ageing fields in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and offshore areas.

    India’s relationship with its neighbours is being cemented with pipelines for oil transport.  The latest was IOC’s plan to build pipeline to supply petrol, diesel and cooking gas to Nepal.  India has been a traditional supplier of fuel to Nepal, which receives its entire demand of about 200,000 kilo-litres of fuel every month from IOC. India is considering extending the natural gas pipeline from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh to Nepal. GAIL (India) Ltd is building the proposed pipeline from Jagdishpur in Uttar Pradesh to Haldia in West Bengal, which crosses Gorakhpur. IOC and NOC will form a joint venture to market fuel in Nepal. IOC has agreed to supply petrol, diesel, kerosene, jet fuel and cooking gas to Nepal for the next five years, beginning April 1. Under the agreement, IOC will supply BS-IV grade fuel to Nepal and use Patna-Motihari-Amlekganj Pipeline, when it is built, to supply fuel. This pipeline can take fuel from Barauni as well as Haldia Refinery. IOC has been supplying fuel to Nepal since 1974.

    Notwithstanding the policy to reduce crude imports, India for the first time imported petrol and diesel from China. India imported 18,000 tonnes of petrol and 39,000 tonnes of diesel in the first nine months of the current fiscal. Traditionally, Singapore and the UAE have been its biggest sources of petrol and diesel. During April-December 2016, India produced 27.1 MT of petrol against a consumption of 17.96 MT. In case of diesel, the production stood at 76.55 MT in comparison to 57.24 MT. India imported 8,20,000 tonnes of diesel and 4,76,000 tonnes of petrol in April-December.

    In the first nine months of the current fiscal, the UAE toppled Singapore to become the India’s biggest supplier of petrol at 243,000 tonnes. Singapore supplied 169,000 tonnes of petrol. India has installed refining capacity of 230.1 MT, while the total fuel demand in 2015-16 was 184.7 MT. In April-January period of 2016-17, the fuel demand stood at 161.4 MT as compared to refineries producing 202 MT.

    India’s oil consumption fell 3 percent in February, declining for the second month in a row after shrinking 4 percent in January. Oil demand fell to 15.886 MT in February from 16.339 MT in the same month last year. In January, the oil demand had shrunk to 15.617 MT from 16.238 MT in the year-ago period. The sale of diesel, which makes up about 40 percent of all domestic oil demand, fell 4 percent to 6.159 MT in February. The demand for Petrol, however, rose 3 percent to 1.897 MT. The sale of jet fuel also rose by a tenth to 575,000 T. The demand for LPG rose 3.5 percent to 1.809 MT.  Naturally one no longer sees stories of India taking the place of China in oil consumption growth in the media.

    Rest of the World

    OPEC production cuts, its implementation by member and non-member countries and its impact on price dominated the news this month. OPEC and 11 other leading oil producers including Russia agreed in December to cut their combined oil output by almost 1.8 million bpd in the first half of the year. A poll analysis said that OPEC will have to extend its oil output curbs in order to sustain a recovery in prices, as a revival in crude production outside the group may scupper its efforts to erode an overhang of unused inventory. OPEC is curbing its output by about 1.2 million bpd from January 1, the first cut in eight years. Russia and 10 other non-OPEC producers have agreed to jointly cut by an additional 600,000 bpd. Strong compliance by OPEC has helped the price of oil rally, but gains have been tempered by rising US shale oil production. Brent crude has averaged about $55/bbl this year but prices touched a three-month low on concerns over excess supply in the market following an increase in US output. OPEC 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. OPEC reported a rise in oil inventories and raised its forecast for production in 2017 from outside the group. Goldman Sachs said oil demand was set to overtake supply in the second quarter of this year and it was not in OPEC’s interest to extend the deal beyond six months as the group’s aim was to normalize inventories and not support prices. OPEC and its allies may prolong production cuts after they expire in June if the world’s crude inventories remain excessive, Saudi Arabia said. So far, Saudi Arabia has shouldered the bulk of OPEC cuts, trimming February output to 10.011 million bpd, which is below the ceiling imposed by the agreement. OPEC output in February was 1.39 million bpd lower than its reference level.

    Saudi Arabia expects its crude oil supply to be stable at around 10 million bpd in the next few months, fully in line with the country’s OPEC quota and regardless of possible fluctuations in monthly production. Riyadh has stressed the importance of focusing on its supply rather than output as supply includes crude delivered to the market – domestically and for export – from the wellhead and from storage.  Iraqi Oil Minister said the market is a decisive factor in deciding whether to extend into the second half of this year a global agreement on reducing oil output. Any decision to extend OPEC production cuts past June would have to include the continued participation by the non-OPEC members of the November accord, OPEC Secretary General said.

    Much to the disappointment of environmental activists in North America, the US President signed an executive order to advance the project, which will link Canadian oil sands to US refiners, soon after taking office in January, saying it would create thousands of jobs. TransCanada tried for more than five years to build the 1,897 km pipeline, until Obama rejected it in 2015. The company resubmitted its application for the project in January, after Trump signed the executive order smoothing its path. The multibillion-dollar pipeline would bring more than 800,000 bpd of heavy crude from Canada’s oil sands in Alberta into Nebraska, linking to an existing pipeline network feeding US refineries and ports along the Gulf of Mexico.

    China’s Sinopec will pay almost $1 billion for a 75 percent stake in Chevron Corp’s South African assets and its subsidiary in Botswana to secure its first major refinery in Africa, the companies announced. Sinopec, Asia’s largest oil refiner, said the assets include a 100,000 bpd oil refinery in Cape Town, a lubricants plant in Durban as well as 820 petrol stations and other oil storage facilities. Chevron Global Energy Inc said that Sinopec’s bid was selected in part because of the better terms and conditions it offered, including a commitment to operate the businesses as going concerns and the opportunity to reap strategic value for its longer-term strategy in Africa. With a growing middle class, demand in South Africa for refined petroleum has increased by nearly 5 percent annually over the past five years, to a current total of about 27 MT, Sinopec said.

    China’s stockpiling of crude oil appears to have increased in the first two months of the year, despite prevailing higher prices caused by OPEC and its allies curbing output. In the first two months of 2017 the total amount of crude available from net imports and domestic output was 96.72 MT, equivalent to about 11.97 million bpd.

    NATIONAL: OIL

    Guar farmers in Rajasthan villages cheer oil rig rise in North America

    April 4, 2017. As the count of oil rigs rose in North America, guar farmers in remote Rajasthan villages were cheering. The rise in rigs have pushed up guar seed and guar gum prices by 30% over the past three months, unlike the past two years when a drastic drop in drilling activities in the United States (US) had led to a slump in guar demand. Guar gum split is used in fracking, a method for extracting shale gas that involves pumping pressurised gas into the ground. Guar gum is derived from guar seed. India is the largest producer of guar seed in the world with Rajasthan being the largest producing state. Gujarat and Haryana also produce these seeds. The latest Baker Hughes North American rig count showed an increase to a total of 824 in the week ending March 31 from 809 the previous week. The number of oil rigs increased to 662 from 652 previously while the number of gas rigs increased to 160 from 155.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Oil Minister launches BS-IV transportation fuel across nation

    April 2, 2017. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched the BS-IV transportation fuel across the country from Bhubaneswar. To mark the launch of BS-IV fuels across the country, Pradhan symbolically commenced sale of the eco-friendly and low-emission fuels from 12 different locations across the country through live video links – Varanasi, Vijayawada, Durgapur, Gorakhpur, Imphal, Bhopal, Ranchi, Madurai, Nagpur, Patna, Guwahati and Shillong. At the event, the Petroleum Minister also handed over a deposit-free domestic liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connection under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) scheme to Swalia Bibi of Shikharchan Basti in Bhubaneswar to mark the completion of release of 2 crore LPG connections to women beneficiaries from below poverty line (BPL) households across the country under the PMUY. Pradhan said that with the launch of the BS IV fuel, a new era of clean transportation fuels has begun, adding that this era will benefit all citizens of the country by substantially reducing pollution levels everywhere. The oil ministry is vigorously pursuing various other forms of energy such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) for industries and transport sector, compressed natural gas (CNG) and AutoLPG for automobiles, and piped natural gas (PNG) for households, besides ethanol and bio-mass to expand the existing energy basket, he said.

    Source: The Financial Express

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    India to cut Iranian oil purchases in row over gas field

    April 1, 2017. Indian state refiners will cut oil imports from Iran in 2017/18 by a fifth, as New Delhi takes a more assertive stance over an impasse on a giant gas field that it wants awarded to an Indian consortium. India, Iran’s biggest oil buyer after China, was among a handful of countries that continued to deal with the Persian Gulf nation despite Western sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear programme. However, previously close ties have been strained since the lifting of some sanctions last year as Iran adopts a bolder approach in trying to get the best deal for its oil and gas. Unhappy with Tehran, India’s oil ministry has asked state refiners to cut imports of Iranian oil. Indian refiners told a National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) representative about their plans to cut oil imports by a fifth to 190,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 240,000 bpd. Indian Oil Corp and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Corp will reduce imports by 20,000 bpd each to about 80,000 bpd. Bharat Petroleum Corp and Hindustan Petroleum Corp will together cut imports by about 10,000 bpd to roughly 30,000 bpd. In turn, NIOC threatened to cut the discount it offers to Indian buyers on freight from 80 percent to about 60 percent. Cutting imports from Iran amid an OPEC-led supply cut aimed at propping up the market exposes India’s refiners to the risk of struggling to find reasonably priced alternatives. From April last year to February 2017, India imported 542,400 bpd from Iran, compared to 225,522 bpd a year earlier. Average oil volumes supplied by Iran over this period were the highest on record.

    Source: Reuters

    List of nations keen to replicate India’s LPG reform story grows

    March 31, 2017. India’s success stories in the cooking gas distribution sector seem to be travelling far and beyond. North African nation Morocco is the latest entrant into the list of nations which have shown interest in replicating the government’s flagship Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) under which the centre provides free liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections to below poverty line (BPL) families. The oil ministry’s joint secretary Ashutosh Jindal has just met a delegation of World Bank from Morocco who were visiting Delhi to know more about the populist schemes including PMUY, Direct Benefit Transfer in LPG (DBTL), popularly known as PAHAL and GiveitUp. The government since 2014 has rolled out a three-pronged strategy to increase subsidised LPG penetration, eliminate bogus connections and encouraging Above Poverty Line (APL) families to give up LPG subsidy. The Modi government had approved Rs 8,000 crore under PMUY for release of five crore deposit free new LPG connections to women of BPL families over three years starting from 2016. Prime minister officially launched the PMUY scheme on 1 May 2016. As per data available on the oil ministry’s website, the government managed to provide more than 1.97 core LPG connections to BPL families within one year from the inception of the Ujjwala scheme. The government, in order to eliminate bogus LGP connections and provide LPG subsidy directly to the beneficiaries, announced another scheme in 2014 called Pratyaksh Hasthantarit Labh (PAHAL), touted to be the world’s largest direct benefit transfer scheme. Under this scheme the government managed to identify more than 3.34 bogus connections, which were eventually blocked leading to a cumulative saving of more than Rs 21,000 crore during FY15 and FY16. According to data available on the ministry of petroleum’s website, the government has so far transferred more than Rs 46,000 core under PAHAL. Further, the Give it Up campaign launched by the government prompted people who could afford LPG connections at market prices to give up their subsidy voluntarily. The subsidy given up is being used to provide LPG connections to BPL families. The government claims the scheme is a success as more than 1 crore families gave up LPG subsidy which enabled the government to provide more than 63 lakh new LPG connections to BPL families. All the three schemes launched by the government received interest from the international community including World LPG Association (WLPGA). WLPGAs flagship campaign ‘Cooking for life’ — which aims at facilitating the transition of 1 billion people to cleaner LPG fuel by 2030 — would have not been possible without the contribution of India.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Withdrawal of sops to IOC to impact investor sentiment in Odisha: CII

    March 31, 2017. The standoff between Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Odisha government over sops for Paradip refinery has taken a fresh twist. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has come out in public stating that the withdrawal of tax incentives by the state may hit investor confidence. The oil marketing major is the single largest investor in Odisha and withdrawal of sops may cast shadow on another Rs 50,000 crore worth of investments that the company is planning for associated projects like pipelines and port. It includes setting up of a polypropylene plant of Rs 3,150 crore and mono ethyl glycol (MEG) unit of Rs 4,000 crore. The state government claims the profitability of the refinery has increased because of low global crude oil prices and higher capacity configuration than planned. Though the refinery was initially planned for 9 million tonnes (MT)  production, it was later increased to 15 MT. To make the project viable, IOC had recently offered the state interest-free unsecured bonds.

    Source: Business Standard

    RIL sells its 76 percent stake in Gulf Africa Petroleum to Total

    March 29, 2017. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) announced completion of the sale process of its entire 76 percent equity stake in Mauritius-based oil retailer Gulf Africa Petroleum Corp (GAPCO) to Total Marketing & Services, a subsidiary of French oil and gas firm Total SA. RIL subsidiary Reliance Exploration & Production DMCC (REPDMCC), TOTAL and GAPCO have obtained requisite regulatory approvals, consents and successfully completed the sale transaction, RIL said. As per the sale agreement, REPDMCC agreed to divest its stake in GAPCO for cash.

    Source: NDTV

    Oil ministry tweaks norms for allotment of gas agencies, petrol pumps

    March 29, 2017. The oil ministry has tweaked norms for allotment of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sale agencies to private individuals, raising the upper age limit of applicants to 60 years and lowering educational criteria to just 10th pass. State-owned oil companies allot petrol pumps and cooking gas LPG agencies to individuals offering own land and meeting certain educational and financial criteria. While previously LPG distributorships were alloted to persons in age group of 21 to 45 years, the new guidelines provide for upper age limit to be raised to 60 years, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. Educational qualification for general or regular category LPG agencies has been lowered to 10th pass from previous requirement of applicant being a graduate, he said. He said requirement of finance for setting up the gas agency has been done away with while also reducing the security deposit. Also, 33 percent reservation for women has been provided. Besides gas agencies, the ministry has tweaked norms for allotment of petrol pumps. Also, the definition of family whose land can be used setting up a petrol pump has been expanded to include applicant and his or her spouse, parents, siblings including step brothers and sisters, children including step children, son-in-law and daughter-in-law, parents-in-law and grandparents. Earlier the Family Unit consisted of individual applicant, spouse, unmarried children. In case of unmarried applicant, it comprised parents, unmarried siblings while in case of divorcee/widower, it consisted of individual and unmarried children only. Pradhan said the previous norm that the land offered for setting up of petrol pump cannot be changed except in cases where statutory approvals could not be obtained has been changed. Now, the allottee can “offer an alternate land” meeting the specifications.

    Source: India Today

    NATIONAL: GAS

    RIL gets green nod for Rs 132.5 bn Dahej petrochemical unit expansion

    April 4, 2017. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has received environment clearance for expansion and debottlenecking of its Dahej petrochemical facility in Gujarat at a cost of Rs 13,250 crore. RIL wants to expand its Dahej facility located in Bharuch district in view of erratic supply of feed stock, change in the government’s policy to prioritise domestic supply over industrial sector, adequate supply of Shale gas ethane from the United States (US), besides meeting demand-supply gap of petrochemicals in India. As per the proposal, RIL Dahej facility presently utilises a mixture of ethane and propane to produce downstream products and by-products. Dahej facility proposes to modify its feedstock ratio of ethane and propane in the gas cracker plant owing to the availability of shale gas ethane imported from the US.

    Source: Business Standard

    India’s gas production to rise over 40 percent to 125 mmscmd over the next decade: ICRA

    April 3, 2017. India’s natural gas production is set to rise by over 42 percent to 125 million metric standard cubic meter per day (mmscmd) over the next decade through 2027 owing to a market-linked pricing formula and the marketing freedom allowed by the government to companies, according to research and ratings agency ICRA. It said that apart from marketing and pricing freedom for gas discoveries, the centre has announced various reforms like implementation of the revenue-sharing model, a uniform licence framework and an open acreage policy under the new Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) and reduction in royalty rates for the deepwater and ultra-deepwater areas which could aid in incremental gas production over the long term. The recent fall in prices had made future development of many gas fields unviable. But the government provided marketing and pricing freedom to players operating in deepwater, ultra-deepwater and high pressure-high temperature areas that were yet to commence commercial production as on January 1, 2016. Natural gas price ceiling for the challenging areas are US$5.3 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu) as of now but this may keep varying in line with the prices of substitute fuel. According to ICRA, the capacity utilisation levels of some gas transmission pipelines would remain sub-optimal in the near to medium term due to shortage of gas supplies but would show an increasing trend with rising liquefied natural gas (LNG) consumption. India’s total natural gas supply potential is expected to increase over the next five to six years with higher domestic production and commissioning of firm re-gasification capacity during 2018-22. With the increase in supplies, the difference between the projected demand and supply potential is expected to narrow down 2019-20 onwards. However, the upcoming LNG capacities may operate at relatively lower utilisation than the current utilisation of regasification capacities in the country, according to ICRA.

    Source: The Economic Times

    MoD allows use of land for PNG infrastructure

    April 2, 2017. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has granted permission to use defence land to create Piped Natural Gas (PNG) infrastructure across all cantonments and military station areas in the country. The MoD’s communication has been marked to all three chiefs of the Indian Armed Forces as well as the Director General Defence Estates (DGDE). According to defence source, the ministry has specifically mentioned that for work related to building PNG infrastructure on A-1 defence land the concerned authorities will have to seek permission from the areas’ Station Head Quarters. Similarly, for residential pockets in cantonments, the company will have to get permission from the chief executive officers (CEOs). The cantonment board’s CEO shall place the proposal to lay PNG infrastructure in the board meeting for approval along with land details, etc

    Source: The Economic Times

    Pakistan extracting gas from Indian fields: Pradhan

    March 29, 2017. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in reply to a question by Barmer MP Col Sona Ram Choudhary agreed that Pakistan is producing gas from the fields located near border areas. Col Sona Ram said Pakistan is producing gas on a large scale and its gas fields are quite close to Indo-Pak border adjoining Jaisalmer.  The MP asked the minister which are the steps government is considering so that the other side can’t extract gas from Indian reserves. The Minister indicated that his ministry may very soon clear pending approvals for Thar oil fields. It may be mentioned that OMV Pakistan company started exploration activities in Sindh in 1991 and is producing gas from the Sawan, Miano, Latif, Tajjal, and Mehar gas fields. Mari and Miano gas fields are situated closest to Indo-Pak border. Bhit, Kadanwari, Kandkot, Qudirpur and Sui are other fields at Pakistan side of border producing gas. In Indian area of ghotaru, longewala the ONGC are doing the exploration works, but till now there has not been any big success and ONGC is producing only 50000 cubic metre gas in this area.

    Source: The Times of India

    NATIONAL: COAL

    CIL hopes about higher coal demand in FY18

    April 4, 2017. Coal India Ltd (CIL) hopes that with national electricity generation rising by 4.7 percent and prediction of early summer there would be higher coal demand. CIL was able to surpass its production target for the month of March 17′ achieving 104 percent at 66.07 million tonnes (MT). While, offtake remained subdued to 52.30 million for the month at 90 percent of the target. CIL missed the annual production target by 44.48 MT against a target of 598.61 MT and its off-take target by 55.45 MT for 2016-17 from its target. The world’s largest coal miner said in the fiscal 2016-17 as whole the average rake loading per day was 221.8 compared to 212.8 rakes/day during last financial year registering a growth of 4.3 percent. Increase in absolute terms was 9 rakes per day for the year. CIL said that plants had higher coal inventory at their yards.

    Source: Business Standard

    ‘Adani’s project will supply lower quality coal to India’

    April 3, 2017. Indian energy giant Adani is planning to supply lower quality coal with high ash content to non-premium markets like India from its controversy-hit Carmichael coal and mine project in Australia’s Queensland state. However, Adani Australia has clarified on its Facebook page that in terms of quality of the coal it is almost 50 percent better than used domestically. Australian Resources Minister Matt Canavan He said that while the coal product was of lower quality as compared to Australian benchmarks for energy contents and ash contents but “certainly the coal India uses, and they’re a large coal producer in their own right, is much, much lower quality”. Company Chairman Gautam Adani recently said that the final approvals from the Australian government could be by May or June, after which construction could begin. Adani Enterprises has maintained that the work on mine project would begin this year creating 10,000 jobs for the state. The project involves dredging 1.1 million cubic metres of spoil near the iconic Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which will then be disposed off on land.

    Source: The Economic Times

    CIL misses annual production target by 44.48 MT

    April 3, 2017. Coal India Ltd (CIL) said it missed its annual production target by 44.48 million tonnes (MT) as it produced 554.13 MT of coal by the end of 2016-17 against a target of 598.61 MT. According to the provisional data, the miner also missed its off-take target for 2016-17 by 55.45 MT. Against a target of 598.61 million tonnes, its off-take for the last financial year (FY) was at 543.16 MT— up 1.6 percent over the off-take for 2015-16. The miner achieved 93 percent of its annual production target for the last FY, achieving a 2.9 percent growth over its production in 2015-16. At the beginning of the 2016-17, CIL’s Chairman Sutirtha Bhattacharya had said that going forward the miner needed to step up to a double-digit growth rate in order to meet the production target. Recently, Bhattacharya said the miner looked at the target as to meeting the requirement of the consumers. CIL, which produces 84 percent of the country’s coal, exceeded the target for March by excavating 66.07 MT of coal.

    Source: Business Standard

    Govt mulls amending rules for coal mine auctions

    March 30, 2017. The government plans to amend the rules for auctioning of coal mines through competitive bidding, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said. Goyal said that stock of the dry fuel has been going up. Amendment of ‘Auction by Competitive Bidding of Coal Mines Rules, 2012’ is under consideration of the Government of India, the Goyal said. The amendments are being considered for permitting sale of coal since there have been changes in the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 and to align with the rules under this Act. Goyal said the changes to the ‘Auction by Competitive Bidding of Coal Mines Rules, 2012’ are being considered to accommodate the provisions of the proposed revised standard bidding document for Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP) framed by the Power Ministry to “facilitate allotment of coal blocks for UMPPs at an early date”.

    Source: The Economic Times

    NATIONAL: POWER

    DVC power generation grows 21 percent in FY17

    April 4, 2017. Damodar Valley Corp (DVC) has outspaced the national average in electricity generation, registering a growth of 20.8 percent in FY17′. Revenue jumped by 12.2 percent to Rs 14,700 crore for the year under review compared to Rs 13,096 crore registered in 2015-16. DVC’s merchant power sale had tripled to 582 million units in 2016-17 compared to 171 million units in 2015-16. The long term debt had also got reduced to Rs 19,500 crore (as on March 31, 2017) from Rs 21,560 crore in FY16′ with debt restructuring, DVC said. DVC during the year commissioned long delayed thermal power projects totalling 1700 MW during the year, one unit of 500 MW at Bokaro at Jharkhand and two units of 600 MW each (total 1200 MW) at Raghunathpur TPS in West Bengal. While, generation of 130 MW of Chandrapura TPS was decommissioned in January 2017.

    Source: The Times of India

    Power generation stopped in Kudankulam unit-2 due to snag

    April 4, 2017. The power generation in the second unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) was stopped temporarily following snag in the turbine of the unit. The unit had been taken up for repair. The power generation in the second unit became operational on March 31. The unit was generating 930 MW per day. KNPP units 1 and 2 have been built with Russian collaboration. The two units are the largest nuclear power generation units in the country. Units 3 and 4 are under construction.

    Source: Business Standard

    Punjab Power Minister rules out hike in power tariff

    April 4, 2017. The Punjab government ruled out any hike in power tariff in the state. Punjab Power Minister Rana Gurjit Singh said that there was no question of going back on the Congress poll promise of providing affordable power. The manifesto clearly states that the Congress government will ensure 24X7 power supply at affordable tariff to all sectors of the states economy, including domestic consumers, trade, business and industry, he said. Electricity tariff for industry will be frozen for five years, he said. The minister asserted that the poll promises in the manifesto were sacrosanct and would not be violated at any cost. The government is currently considering the industry’s demand for power at Rs 5 per unit, he said.

    Source: India Today

    BJP alleges “power scam” worth crores in Uttarakhand

    April 4, 2017. The Uttarakhand BJP alleged that the previous Harish Rawat led Congress government had “favoured” some gas based plants while entering into power purchase agreements which had led to a hike in electricity tariff in the state. The previous government struck a deal with gas based power plants in Kashipur to purchase power from them for 35 years at the rate of Rs 4.70 per unit at a time when its rate should have been just Rs 2.74 per unit, causing a loss of Rs 50 crore per month to the state exchequer, state BJP spokesman Vinay Goel said. It is a “power scam” worth at least a thousand crore rupees, Goel said. Goel claimed that the recent hike in power tariff in Uttarakhand was necessitated by the need to compensate the losses caused to the state exchequer by the deal inked between Harish Rawat government and the gas based power plants in Kashipur. Goel said that he has drawn the attention of Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat to the huge scam in power purchase who has promised that no one who is guilty would be spared. The Uttarakhand Electricity Regulation Commission had recently effected a 5.72 percent hike in power rates evoking sharp reaction from opposition Congress which had criticised it saying that it would increase the burden on the common people.

    Source: India Today

    SJVN surpasses power generation targets

    April 3, 2017. Surpassing the memorandum of understanding (MoU) targets of generating 8,700 million units of electricity, SJVN (Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam) Ltd has achieved generation of 9,045 million units from its three power plants during the financial year 2016-17, according to the company. The company said that the country’s largest 1500 MW Nathpa Jhakri Hydro Power Station in Himachal Pradesh had recorded a 103.5 percent achievement of the targets with a generation of 7,050.62 million units while the downstream 412 MW Rampur Hydro Power Station in the state had surpassed the targets by 110 million units with a generation of 1,960.36 million units. SJVN’s 47.6 MW wind power station at Khirvire in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra has generated 34 million units of electricity.

    Source: The Statesman

     ‘Water, power subsidies for tenants if AAP wins’

    April 3, 2017. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that his government would extend power and water subsidies to tenants, if voted to power in the municipal elections. People living in rented flats were denied power and water subsidies, with an average rate charged by owners. Soon after coming to power in Delhi in 2015, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government had provided 50% subsidy to households consuming up to 400 units of electricity per month.

    Source: The Hindu

    Power ministry crosses 13k village electrification milestone

    March 31, 2017. Power ministry achieved the milestone of electrifying 13,000 unelectrified villages against a target of providing electricity to 18,452 such settlements by 2018 as envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Earlier in 2015, Modi had announced in his independence day speech that all unelectrified villages (18,452) will be electrified in next 1,000 days i.e. 1 May, 2018. According to the Garv portal which provides real time data on rural electrification, as many as 13,028 villages have been electrified so far, which constitutes 71% of the target. As per the portal, the rural electrification work is in progress on 4,589 villages and there are 835 unelectrified villages which are uninhabited.

    Source: Hindustan Times

    Kalpataru Power bags orders worth Rs 12 bn

    March 30, 2017. Kalpataru Power Transmission Ltd (KPTL) said it has bagged new orders worth Rs 1,200 crore. These orders include a Rs 402 crore transmission line turnkey project by Transmission Corp of Telangana Ltd (TSTRANSCO), the company said. The company has bagged a Rs 336 crore transmission line turnkey project in Abu Dhabi, it said.

    Source: The Economic Times

    ‘Farmers must pay bills or lose power supply’

    March 30, 2017. Farmers across the state owe Rs 17,000 crore to Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd. This amount is a cumulative of their bills of electricity consumption for pumps that they use in their fields to draw water from the wells for last several years. Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule said that the government has issued a circular asking farmers to pay the outstanding bills in parts and a part payment plan can be drawn up for them. If they still don’t pay up, the government will be forced to cut their connections. The state gives power to farmers at subsidized rates for atleast 8 hours a day.

    Source: The Times of India

    Siemens consortium wins PGCIL order worth $520 mn for transmission system

    March 29, 2017. Siemens, in consortium with Sumitomo Electric, has bagged an order from Power Grid Corp of India Ltd (PGCIL) to supply a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system for a total of $520 million. The German engineering and capital goods major Siemens’ Indian arm said that the company’s share of the order stands at Rs 1,682 crore. The 200-kilometer-long HVDC connection will be India’s first direct current link using voltage-sourced converter technology, which offers stable and highly-flexible reactive power control independent of active power control and additional features to support the AC systems like blackstart capability. The grid connection is scheduled to go into operation in the first half of 2020.

    Source: The Economic Times

    UPERC probes into power distribution losses

    March 29, 2017. The Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) constituted an investigating authority to probe into the distribution loss figure reported by UPPCL in feeders of Saharanpur and Ghaziabad in January 2016. The probing authority will comprise UPERC director (distribution) Vikas Agarwal and former Electricity Ombudsman, R S Pandey, the commission said in its order. UPERC Chairman D D Verma said the commission in its previous tariff orders has been directing licensees consistently to carry out the energy audit/loss estimation study with voltage-wise break up of distribution losses into technical loss and commercial loss. UPPCL Chairman Sanjay Agarwal said all distribution companies will soon start an anti-power theft drive across the state.

    Source: The Economic Times

    ‘CCEA may amend Mega Power Policy to push 31 GW projects’

    March 29, 2017. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) is likely to approve the amendments in the Mega Power Policy to push 31 GW stuck projects entailing an investment of Rs 1.5 lakh crore. Besides, the initiative is aimed at bringing down the power tariff for making electricity more affordable for domestic as well as industrial and commercial consumers. Out of these stuck project which have not imported or not inked power purchase agreement would get extra time to seek various benefits under the policy. The Mega Power Policy was unveiled in 2009 with an objective to increase power availability, to boost overall growth of the country and also to ensure that consumers are reasonably charged for electricity supplied. The policy was later amended in 2014 mandating developers to tie up at least 65 percent of installed capacity/net capacity through competitive bidding and 35 percent under regulated tariff of host state under long term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with distribution companies (discoms)/State designated agency to avail benefits under the policy. The amendment had provided this dispensation would be one time and limited to 15 projects which are located in the states having mandatory host state power tie up policy of PPAs under regulated tariff. The other amendment was for extension of the maximum time period to 60 months instead of 36 months from the date of import for provisional mega projects, for furnishing final mega certificates to tax authorities. The benefits under the policy include zero customs duty, deemed export benefits and income tax benefits. The mega power projects include an inter-state thermal power plant of a capacity of 700 MW or more, located in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.

    Source: The Economic Times

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    India becomes net exporter of power for the first time

    March 29, 2017. India has become a net exporter of electricity during the April-February period this fiscal for the first time, the power ministry said. According to the power ministry, during the current year 2016-17 (April-February), India has exported around 5,798 million units to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar which is 213 million units more than the import of around 5,585 million units from Bhutan. Export to Nepal and Bangladesh increased 2.5 and 2.8 times respectively in the last three years. Ever since the cross border trade of electricity started in mid-80s, India has been importing power from Bhutan and marginally exporting to Nepal in radial mode at 33 kV and 132 kV from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh respectively. On an average, Bhutan has been supplying around 5,000-5,500 million units to India, it said. At present, around 600 MW power is being exported to Bangladesh.

    Source: Livemint

    NATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    Fortum commissions 70 MW solar power plant in Rajasthan

    April 4, 2017. Solar power company Fortum has commissioned a 70 MW solar power plant at Bhadla solar park in Rajasthan. Fortum won a reverse auction for the project in January 2016 and the building of the solar plant was conducted on schedule. The power plant will operate based on a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), with a fixed tariff for 25 years. The PPA has been made with NTPC Ltd. Fortum currently has an 85 MW solar capacity in India, with three solar power plants in the states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

    Source: The Economic Times

    NTPC makes wind energy debut, commissions first project in Gujarat

    April 4, 2017. NTPC Ltd has commissioned its first wind turbine of 2 MW at Rojmal wind power project in Gujarat having a total capacity of 50 MW. The power company is already present in power generation from coal, gas, hydro and solar.

    Source: The Economic Times

    IEL launches solar micro grid project in Odisha

    April 4, 2017. Industrial Energy Limited (IEL), a joint venture of Tata Power and Tata Steel, inaugurated a solar micro grid project at Baliapal village in Kalinganagar in Odisha. The project will benefit 255 people at Baliapal village with uninterrupted power. The village was facing frequent power cuts that hampered studies of students and daily household works of women, the company said. The project is the first of its kind in Odisha with the community contributing 10 percent of the total project cost and the rest 90 percent by IEL, it said.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Kerala startup to build floating solar plants in Malaysia

    April 3, 2017. The solar energy startup company which had set up the state’s first floating solar power plant at Banasura Sagar reservoir in Wayanad has made an ambitious overseas foray by signing a memorandum of understanding to build floating solar power plants in Malaysia. The agreement was signed by Vatsaa Energy Pvt Ltd based in Wayanad and Malaysian firm Mutiara Etnik Sdn Bhd in New Delhi. Vatsaa Energy said that the proposed floating solar projects to be set up in Malaysia would had a capacity of over 10 MW each.

    Source: The Times of India

    India adds record 5.4 GW wind power in 2016-17

    April 3, 2017. India added a record 5,400 MW of wind power in 2016-17, exceeding its 4,000 MW target. Of about 50,018 MW of installed renewable power across the country, over 55% is wind power. In India, which is the biggest greenhouse gas emitter after the US and China, renewable energy currently accounts for about 16% of the total installed capacity of 315,426MW. During 2016-17, the leading states in the wind power capacity addition were Andhra Pradesh at 2,190 MW, followed by Gujarat at 1,275 MW and Karnataka at 882 MW. In addition, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Telangana and Kerala reported 357 MW, 288 MW, 262 MW, 118 MW, 23 MW and 8 MW wind power capacity addition respectively during the same period. At the Paris Climate Summit in December, India promised to achieve 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022.

    Source: Livemint

    Solar energy generation for brighter India-Saudi Arabia business

    April 2, 2017. Saudi Indian Business Network (SIBN), a body to promote bilateral trade between the two countries, held a two-day scholarly and business seminar in Jeddah to explore the field of renewable energy. Referring to the Vision 2030 of Saudi Arabia, which aims to diversify fuel based energy to include renewable energy, the Consul general of India, Muhammad Noor Rahman Sheikh, asserted that India can be a great partner in it. He underlined India’s 2022 target of producing 175 GW renewable energy in which 100 GW would be from solar energy.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Maharashtra developing scheme for cheap solar power supply to textile units

    April 2, 2017. The state plans to design a scheme to develop solar projects to supply electricity to the textile sector at the lowest possible cost. Union Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani had launched the scheme at Bhiwandi in Mumbai and the programme was broadcast at 43 centres nationwide. The scheme was launched to upgrade the existing power looms, marketing, raising funds and develop common facility centres at the textile cities and towns. The government has decided to provide a Rs 2 crore subsidy to the textile towns or developing felicitation centres.

    Source: The Economic Times

    THDC India commissions 63 MW wind power project in Gujarat

    April 2, 2017. THDC India Ltd (THDCIL) has commissioned its second wind power project having capacity of 63 MW in Devbhumi Dwarka district in Gujarat. The second wind power project of 63 MW capacity was commissioned in Devbhumi Dwarka on March 31, 2017, the company said. With the commissioning of this project, the THDCIL has become entitled to receive generation based incentive of Rs 63 crore from the Centre. It is a landmark achievement for THDCIL, whose installed generation capacity has increased to 1,513 MW, it said

    Source: The Economic Times

    PTC Energy commissions wind projects in Karnataka, AP

    April 2, 2017. PTC Energy Ltd (PEL) announced commissioning of five wind power projects with an aggregate capacity of 238.8 MW in Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Karnataka. With 50 MW operational capacity in wind power already in Madhya Pradesh, PELs portfolio of renewable energy projects has scaled up to 288.8 MW, the company said. The projects use leading edge wind turbine technologies from reputed OEMs like Gamesa, GE, Regen and INOX. The technology used is expected to provide benefits of economies of size and scale in the fast evolving renewable energy market in India. The projects commissioned include 50 MW wind power project at Bableswar, Vijayapura district in Karnataka and a similar capacity at Molagavalli in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. Also in Andhra Pradesh, 49.3 MW wind power project was commissioned at Kandimalayapalli in Kadapa district, 49.5 MW project at Devenkonda in Kurnool district and 40 MW at Payalkuntla in Kadapa district.

    Source: India Today

    Meghalaya taps only 10.49 percent of its 3 GW hydro potential

    April 1, 2017. Power-starved Meghalaya can harness only 10.49 percent of its 3,000 MW hydro potential, a report said. This has been blamed to the Meghalaya Power Generation Corp Ltd for the failure to prepare long-term plans incorporating projects to be implemented as per the Meghalaya Power Policy, 2007. Meghalaya has a hydroelectricity potential of 3,000 MW, which is about three percent of the total hydel potential of the country. As in March 2016, the state had seven hydroelectric power stations in operation owned and operated by the corporation, the report said.  During the five-year period covering 2011-2012 to 2015-2016, the report stated that 38.23 percent of the power consumed in the state was internally generated, 2.78 percent was met from the state’s share of free power from the central government’s power generation utilities while the balance 58.99 percent was purchased from outside the state. The Meghalaya Power Policy, 2007, had envisaged commissioning of 24 projects during the Eleventh Plan (10 projects with capacity of 558.50 MW) and Twelfth Plan (14 projects with capacity of 891 MW) periods.

    Source: The Economic Times

    EIB makes Rs 14 bn loan to SBI for mega-solar projects

    April 1, 2017. The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced a € 200 million (Rs 1,400 crore) long-term loan to the State Bank of India (SBI) to finance mega-solar projects in the country. The loan will support a total investment of € 650 million in five different large-scale photovoltaic solar power projects for India’s National Solar Mission. Four schemes, with a generation capacity of 530 MW have been identified for the purpose. The 20-year EIB loan, facilitated by SBI Capital Markets, will support individual solar power generation projects in Telangana, Tamil Nadu and elsewhere. Since 1993, the EIB — owned by 28 member states of the European Union — has financed projects in India totalling € 1.7 billion (Rs 11,900 crore).

    Source: The Economic Times

    No entry in NCR for polluting oil tankers

    March 31, 2017. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed public sector oil companies to stop plying tankers carrying petroleum products, which are BS I or BS II-compliant, in Delhi and the rest of National Capital Region (NCR). NGT was hearing applications filed by various contractors seeking registration of BS IV diesel vehicles, purchased to transport petrol from the company premises to various petrol pumps in Delhi-NCR. Bharat Petroleum Corp submitted to NGT that its contractors have 93 BS III vehicles, which are more than 10 years old. Hindustan Petroleum said that the company’s contractors own 99 vehicles, of which 30 are BS II and 69 are BS III compliant. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) claimed its contractors had about 640 diesel vehicles—two vehicles BS I, 622 BS-II compliant and 16 BS-III vehicles.

    Source: The Times of India

    Aligarh Muslim University adopts solar power in association with CleanMax Solar

    March 31, 2017. Aligarh Muslim University, one of the oldest and most renowned educational institutes in the country, has adopted solar power in association with CleanMax Solar, India’s largest rooftop solar developer. Built in collaboration with Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI) and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), a rooftop plant of 1.5 MW has been installed across 17 roofs at the campus, and will provide 10% of the university’s electricity. The solar plant will reduce emissions from grid power and backup diesel generators, and will abate 2069 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Solar power capacity addition seen at 7-7.5 GW in FY18: ICRA

    March 31, 2017. Solar power capacity addition is estimated to increase to at least 7-7.5 GW in the next financial year as compared to 3.5-4 GW this year, ratings agency ICRA said. With declining module price levels and the bidding process adopted, the tariff competitiveness for solar photovoltaic (PV) projects has also shown an improvement in the last three year period, as seen from a decline in the weighted average bid tariff of Rs 6.79 a unit in 2014 to Rs 5.01 per unit in 2016. Subsequently, a levelised bid tariff of Rs 3.3 per unit was also achieved for award of 750 MW capacity by Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Ltd in February 2017, which remains the lowest discovered tariff as of now. ICRA said an improving tariff competitiveness of solar PV energy remains favourable for the distribution utilities. However, tariff viability for project developers from their credit perspective will be critically dependent upon the availability of long tenure debt (up to 18-20) at cost competitive rates as well as their ability to keep the cost of PV modules within the budgeted levels.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Thermal plants must meet emission norms: Environment ministry

    March 31, 2017. Sending a strong message to coal-based power plants across the country, the environment ministry has made it clear that it will neither dilute the emission norms for thermal power plants, as notified on December 7, 2015, to minimise air pollution, nor relax deadline for implementation of the stricter standards. Besides notifying new emission norms in 2015, the government had taken other steps to clean up the environment in areas adjoining thermal power plants. It included installation of continuous emission/effluent monitoring systems (CEMS), revised norms for fly ash utilisation, industry specific action plans for critically polluted areas where significant number of thermal power plants are located and development of green belt in surrounding areas. According to the ministry, 142 out of 162 standalone power plants have so far installed CEMS. Among these, 102 have also initiated online transmission of emission/effluent data to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) whereas six plants have installed flue gas de-sulphurisation (FGD) system for control of Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) emissions. Apprehending dilution of emission norms following industries appeal to the Centre, several NGOs flagged the issue and submitted a signed petition of over 1 lakh citizens to the joint secretary Arun Kumar Mehta and requested the ministry to have a mechanism in place to monitor implementation of emission standards.

    Source: The Times of India

    Indus hydropower projects being built despite Pakistan’s objections

    March 29, 2017. Five Indian hydropower projects being built on tributaries of the Indus, over which Pakistan has raised objections, are at various stages of implementation in the Indus river basin. Work on two other hydroelectricity projects – Bhakra Nangal (on Sutlej River) and Pong Dam (Beas River) has been successfully executed, Minister of State for External Affairs Singh V K Singh said. The Minister reiterated Centre’s position that it remains committed to fully utilise water of rivers in the basin, both eastern (Beas, Ravi and Sutlej) and western (Indus, Jhelum and Chenab), in accordance with the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) of 1960. Pakistan has been flagging concerns over designs of Pakal Dul (1,000 MW), Ratle (850 MW), Kishenganga (330 MW), Miyar (120 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW), contending these violate the treaty. India though has maintained that the designs of the projects do not violate the water distribution pact. Pakal Dul, Ratle, Kishenganga and Lower Kalnai are being built in Jammu and Kashmir while Miyar Nallah is being constructed on a tributary of Chenab in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul Spiti district.

    Source: The Economic Times

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    Wind developers at risk as India copes with dual payment system

    March 29, 2017. India’s wind-energy industry is seeing the viability of projects called into question as it adjusts to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s transition away from two separate systems to pay for clean power. The government is shifting toward auctions to buy electricity from wind, phasing out feed-in tariffs that guarantee a fixed price to producers for their power. Utilities that pay for the power are pushing developers who qualify for the fixed payments to match the lower costs auctions are achieving. The result is threatening the economic viability of work by developers including ReGen Powertech Pvt and turbine manufacturers led by Inox Wind Ltd, Gamesa Corp, Tecnologica SA and Suzlon Energy Ltd. They said that more projects will fall into disarray without a uniform policy setting out how the industry gets paid. The dueling systems have further implications for projects that would add hundreds of megawatts in wind capacity. India is currently racing to double its wind capacity to 60 GW by 2022 from about 29 GW at present.

    Source: Bloomberg

    Vikram Solar in pact with Israel co to develop drinking water from air

    March 29, 2017. Engineering, procurement and construction company Vikram Solar said the company has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Israel’s Water-Gen to develop hygienic drinking water solutions in the country. The company said the larger objective of this collaboration is to make available drinking water to the remote locations of the country using its rich natural resources – air and humidity. Under the MoU, Water-Gen will share their technology and know-how with Vikram Solar to manufacture the products in India. Vikram Solar will be responsible for developing and managing the manufacturing, sales, marketing and distribution of the products.

    Source: The Economic Times

    INTERNATIONAL: OIL

    Libya’s Sharara oil field resumes production

    April 2, 2017. Libya’s Sharara oil field resumed production after a week-long shutdown when a pipeline linking it to an export terminal was blocked. National Oil Corp (NOC) declared force majeure on exports of Sharara crude, a day after the shutdown of the field. NOC’s Chairman Mustafa Sanalla was able to convince the group which blocked the pipeline from the field to the Zawiya terminal of the importance of resuming oil flows unconditionally. The field was producing around 220,000 bpd before the shutdown.

    Source: Reuters

    ExxonMobil makes oil discovery in Snoek well offshore Guyana

    March 31, 2017. US (United States)-based oil and gas firm Exxon Mobil and its partners have made a new oil discovery at Snoek well on the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana. The partners encountered more than 82ft of high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs at Snoek well, which is located in the southern portion of the Stabroek Block, approximately 9 km to the southeast of the 2015 Liza-1 discovery. Drilling at the Snoek well started in February and targeted similar aged reservoirs as encountered in previous discoveries at Liza and Payara, the company said. In January 2017, ExxonMobil and its partners have made oil discovery at Payara-1 well in the Stabroek Block. The well had encountered more than 95ft of high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    Norway raises oil reserves estimates for Goliat field in Barents Sea

    March 31, 2017. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) has revised and increased the size of the oil reserves in the Goliat field in the Norwegian waters of the Barents Sea with the addition of two new wells. With the drilling of the two wells, which would result in production startup from the Snadd discovery, would increase the oil reserves on Eni-operated Goliat field by 7.5 million barrels of oil equivalents to about 200 million barrels.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    Glencore to sell 51 percent of oil products storage business

    March 31, 2017. Swiss-based trading and mining giant Glencore has agreed to sell a 51 percent stake in its oil products and logistics business for $775 million to China’s HNA Innovation Finance Group Ltd, the company said. Glencore said the deal was expected to close in the second half of 2017 and that the transaction would result in a new company called HG Storage International Ltd with a presence across Europe, Africa and the Americas. Dutch bank ING was the sell-side adviser to the deal.

    Source: Reuters

    Saudi Arabia likely to cut May crude prices to Asia on weak demand

    March 31, 2017. Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia may cut prices for most of the crude grades it sells to Asia in May to track weak demand in the region, traders said. The producer could cut the official selling price (OSP) for flagship Arab Light crude by 10-40 cents a barrel in May from a month ago, a survey of four refiners in Asia showed. Crude supplies in Asia remained abundant despite production cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other suppliers as several Asian refiners are shut for seasonal maintenance. The Middle East supply cuts and increasing U.S. shale output have made it economical for traders to send huge volumes of oil from west to east, reducing buyers’ appetite for spot Middle East crude. State oil giant Saudi Aramco sets its crude prices based on recommendations from customers and after calculating the change in the value of its oil over the past month, based on yields and product prices.

    Source: Reuters

    China to import first SGC, Thunderhorse oil from US in April

    March 31, 2017. China will import Southern Green Canyon (SGC) and Thunderhorse crude oil from the Gulf Coast of the United States (US) for the first time when a super tanker carrying 2 million barrels arrives in April. Oil major BP has sold the cargoes, carried on board the oil tanker Shaybah, to independent refiners in China’s eastern Shandong province. Independent refiner Shandong Dongming Petrochemical bought 1 million barrels of SGC.

    Source: Reuters

    North Dakota oil output set to rise as controversial pipeline opens

    March 30, 2017. North Dakota oil production will get a shot in the arm next month as a pipeline comes online despite opposition by environmental groups and Native Americans, allowing the energy industry to save at least $540 million in annual shipping costs. The Dakota Access Pipeline gives the state’s producers cheaper access to refineries and other customers on the United States (US) Gulf Coast. Market players said they expect this will hasten a revival of output from the Bakken region which fell sharply along with global oil prices during the past two years. President Donald Trump approved the $3.7 billion pipeline in February, reversing the prior administration which had blocked it last December with a decision by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Energy Transfer Partners LP has begun filling the line with crude and could reach full operating capacity by late April, based on industry estimates. The pipeline will carry about 500,000 barrels of oil per day, more than half of North Dakota’s daily output, cutting reliance on riskier rail-cars and reducing transport cost by roughly $3 to $5 per barrel, analysts estimate.

    Source: Reuters

    Venezuela’s PDVSA to buy gasoline blend stock for prompt delivery

    March 30, 2017. Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA is offering to buy on the open market up to four 300,000-barrel cargoes of gasoline blend stock for prompt delivery at any of its domestic ports, traders said. The company has bought two cargoes of catalytic naphtha in recent weeks and up to three gasoline blend stock cargoes for March delivery that were awarded to a unit of Russia’s Lukoil and US (United States) trading firm George E. Warren Corp. PDVSA offered to buy two cargoes of vacuum gasoil and a cargo of cutter stock to formulate fuel oil for exports, while it tries to restart several units at its refineries to ramp up production of finished fuels. Venezuela has capacity to produce up to 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) of fuels. Its domestic consumption is about 500,000 bpd.

    Source: Reuters

    China’s Zhenhua Oil setting up Singapore trading office

    March 30, 2017. China’s Zhenhua Oil is setting up an oil trading office in Singapore that will start operating in April, the company said. Zhang Jing, Zhenhua’s head of operations in Beijing, will also relocate to Singapore, a key regional oil hub. The office will also be used to obtain financing for the firm in Singapore. Set up in 2003, Zhenhua, a unit of state military group China North Industries Group Corp, operates 11 oil and gas exploration and production projects in Egypt, Myanmar, Kazakhstan and Iraq. The company recently signed a preliminary deal with Chevron to buy the United States oil major’s natural gas fields in Bangladesh worth about $2 billion.

    Source: Reuters

    BP sees trading benefits from oil boom in the Americas

    March 29, 2017. Oil major BP expects its trading operations to benefit from growing global crude trade on the back of abundant US (United States), Canadian and Brazilian production and rising energy demand in Asia, Tufan Erginbilgic, the head of BP’s downstream division, said. He wanted to expand BP’s trading activities using long-term deals on third-party oil and products. US shale oil production using fracking technology has turned the world’s largest oil consumer into an exporter of crude and products, while Canada is developing its vast oil sands deposits and Brazil is developing huge offshore fields. BP, which employs about 1,800 people in oil trading, trades over 5 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil and refined products, and is only exceeded by rival Royal Dutch/Shell and trading house Vitol. The trading unit does not normally disclose results separately from the downstream business, which includes refining and petrochemical production. But industry experts estimate trading profits can be more than $1 billion in a good year. But, in an unusual move, BP said its oil trading had a loss in the fourth quarter of 2016 partly due to a $70 million lawsuit claim related to a cargo for a Moroccan refinery.

    Source: Reuters

    Chisholm, Apollo Global to buy O&G assets in Oklahoma

    March 29, 2017. Chisholm Oil & Gas LLC and funds managed by investment firm Apollo Global Management said they would buy oil and gas (O&G) assets in Oklahoma. The companies made an initial acquisition of about 53,000 acres in the Sooner Trend Anadarko Basin Canadian and Kingfisher (STACK) area, with current production of about 3,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The field has emerged as a top investment priority for several companies including Continental Resources Inc, Devon Energy Corp and Marathon Oil Corp in the past year, largely because the cost to operate wells in this area is lower than other parts of the United States.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: GAS

    France’s Total extends British shale gas involvement

    April 4, 2017. French oil major Total has extended an option with British shale gas developer Egdon Resources to buy a stake in one of Egdon’s shale gas licences, the companies said. Egdon said in a statement Total had agreed on an option to farm in to its PEDL209 exploration licence in Lincolnshire by December 31, 2018, which would earn it a 36 percent interest. Total’s previous option on the licence had lapsed. In exchange, Total has agreed to then pay Egdon’s expenses of an exploration programme worth up to 13.47 million pounds, including the drilling of a well. In the United States, Total has been building a sizeable presence in the shale oil market, most recently buying assets from Chesapeake in September 2016. Its strategy differs from that of French energy peer Engie, which sold its British shale gas interests to petrochemicals firm Ineos.

    Source: Reuters

    Qatar restarts development of world’s biggest gas field after 12 year freeze

    April 4, 2017. Qatar has lifted a self-imposed ban on development of the world’s biggest natural gas field, the Qatar Petroleum said, as the world’s top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter looks to see off an expected rise in competition. Qatar declared a moratorium in 2005 on the development of the North Field, which it shares with Iran, to give Doha time to study the impact on the reservoir from a rapid rise in output. The vast offshore gas field, which Doha calls the North Field and Iran calls South Pars, accounts for nearly all of Qatar’s gas production and around 60 percent of its export revenue. The development in the southern section of the North Field will have a capacity of 2 billion cubic feet per day, or 400,000 barrels of oil equivalent, and increase production of the field by about 10 percent, when it starts production in five to seven years, Qatar Petroleum said. Qatar is expected to lose its top exporter position this year to Australia, where new production is due to come on line. The LNG market is undergoing huge changes as the biggest ever flood of new supply is hitting the market, with volumes coming mainly from the United States and Australia. President Vladimir Putin said Russia aimed to become the world’s largest LNG producer.

    Source: Reuters

    Mediterranean gas pipeline could be built by 2025

    April 3, 2017. European and Israeli governments gave their support to moving forward with a Mediterranean pipeline project to carry natural gas from Israel to Europe, setting a target date of 2025 for completion. The planned 2,000 km (1,248 mile) pipeline aims to link gas fields off the coasts of Israel and Cyprus with Greece and possibly Italy, at a cost of up to € 6 billion ($6.4 billion). Israel has discovered more than 900 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas offshore, with some studies pointing to another 2,200 bcm waiting to be tapped. Along with the European market, it is exploring options to export to Turkey, Egypt and Jordan. Cyprus’ Aphrodite natural gas field holds an additional 128 bcm, and Cypriot waters are expected to hold more reserves. Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said the pipeline could be completed in 2025.

    Source: Reuters

    Latvia opens natural gas market to competition

    April 3, 2017. Latvia opened its natural gas market aiming to end its decades-long energy dependency on Russia’s Gazprom by providing third-party access to the country’s natural gas system. Latvia is the last Baltic country to liberalise its gas market by splitting monopoly gas utility Latvijas Gaze, in which Russia’s Gazprom owns 34 percent. A new company – Conexus Baltic Grid – has been spun off. The transmission and storage operator is in charge of the region’s largest underground gas storage which has a capacity of 2.3 billion cubic metres. Latvia’s efforts to liberalise are in line with European Union rules which state that energy production and supplies must be separated from transmission and storage infrastructure. The plans were set by Latvia’s parliament in 2014. Economics Minister Arvils Aseradens said that anyone registered as a gas trader with the country’s regulator is entitled to buy and supply gas to Latvia from April 3. The prime ministers of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia agreed in December to establish a regional Baltic gas market by 2020. Further plans call for connecting the market to Finland via a planned Estonian–Finnish pipeline called the Baltic Connector which is expected to begin operations in 2020. The government then hopes the Gas Interconnection Poland-Lithuania pipeline will connect the Baltic gas market to mainland Europe by 2021. Aseradens said that while Latvia now consumes around 1.3 billion cubic metres of gas annually, the unified Baltic market will encompass nearly 4.6 billion cubic metres.

    Source: Rigzone

    NAmerico unveils natural gas pipeline plan to relieve Permian glut

    April 3, 2017. NAmerico Partners LP is proposing a multibillion-dollar pipeline to ferry natural gas from fast-growing fields in West Texas to the Gulf Coast, the company said. The pipeline, one of at least three being considered to ease a looming gas glut in the Permian producing region, would link to existing lines, including those that export gas to Mexico and to a Cheniere Energy Inc liquefied natural gas export facility under construction. NAmerico said that discussions with prospective shippers were at an advanced stage, and the pipeline would begin operations in 2019 if enough of them committed to supplying gas. NAmerico’s 468 mile (753 km) pipeline, named the Pecos Trail Pipeline, would transport some 1.85 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas to the major Gulf Coast refining and petrochemical hub in Corpus Christi.

    Source: Reuters

    Petronas, Pavilion Energy to collaborate on LNG supply and trading

    March 31, 2017. Malaysian state-owned Petronas will collaborate with Singapore’s Pavilion Energy in trading liquefied natural gas (LNG), the companies said. The subsidiaries of the two firms, Petronas LNG and Pavilion Gas signed a memorandum of understanding. The firms will “explore the supply and optimization of LNG including spot trading and cargo swaps” and look at efforts “relating to LNG receiving terminal and storage facilities”, according to the Pavilion Energy.

    Source: Reuters

    Japan liberalizes gas supply to retail customer from April 1

    March 31, 2017. Japan’s city gas industry embarks on a new era on April 1 when city gas suppliers lose their monopoly rights to sell piped natural gas to the 2.4 trillion yen ($21.5 billion) per year retail market comprised mainly of households. Japan, the world’s top liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer, had earlier liberalized the market for large corporate users in four stages since 1995, a 2.6 trillion yen market that accounts for 64 percent of city gas sales volumes.

    Source: Reuters

    US lower 48 natural gas output down for second straight month: EIA

    March 31, 2017. US (United States) natural gas output in the lower 48 states declined for a second month in a row to 78.3 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in January, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said. That compared with 78.7 bcfd in December. Production peaked at 82.6 bcfd in February 2016. Output declined in two of the three biggest producing states in the lower 48, Texas and Oklahoma, but held at a record high in Pennsylvania. Production in Oklahoma declined for a fifth month in a row, down 0.8 percent to 6.4 bcfd in January, its lowest monthly output since June 2014. In Pennsylvania, output held steady at a record high 14.9 bcfd in January, according to EIA data going back to 2005. That was up 3.2 percent from 14.4 bcfd during the same month a year ago. Gas production declined in 2016 for the first time since the start of the shale revolution a decade ago as low energy prices reduced drilling activity. Next-day gas prices at the Henry Hub benchmark in Louisiana averaged $2.49 per million British thermal units in 2016, the lowest annual average since 1999. Prices averaged $2.61 in 2015. Before 2016, US gas production last dropped in 2005 when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita slammed into the Gulf Coast, damaging energy infrastructure along the Gulf of Mexico, which had been supplying more than 20 percent of the nation’s gas.

    Source: Reuters

    Thailand to auction petroleum concessions for Erawan, Bongkot fields in December: Energy Minister

    March 31, 2017. Thailand will auction petroleum concessions for Erawan and Bongkot gas fields in December, Energy Minister General Anantaporn Kanjanarat said. The Erawan gas concession, operated by Chevron Corp, and the Bongkot gas concession, operated by state-backed PTTEP Exploration and Production PCL, will expire in 2022 and 2023, respectively. They have a combined production of 2.2 billion cubic feet per day, or 76 percent of output in the Gulf of Thailand. Currently, oil and gas companies must get a concession to operate in a Thai field. The approved amendment will add the option of striking production sharing agreements or service contracts.

    Source: Reuters

    Petronas to export world’s first LNG from floating production unit

    March 30, 2017. Malaysia’s Petronas is about to export the world’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) produced from a floating production unit, according to shipping data. The Petronas Floating LNG Satu (PFLNG Satu), sitting off the coat of Bintulu on Malaysia’s Borneo island, is currently loading LNG into the 144,000 cubic meter capacity LNG tanker Seri Camellia, according to shipping data. Data shows that the LNG tanker arrived and has started loading the LNG cargo. Traders said that PFLNG Satu’s first export cargo was heading for South Korea.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: COAL

    Asia’s coal markets tighten on Indonesia port probe, Australian cyclone

    March 29, 2017. Port disruptions in Indonesia and a cyclone hitting mines in Australia have tightened Asia’s coal markets in March, while demand in China and other key import markets remains strong, lifting prices. Prompt thermal coal cargo prices for export from Australia’s Newcastle port have risen by more than 11 percent since March 10, partly reversing a steep decline since last November. The price jump has been driven mainly by an Indonesian government graft probe at ports in its East Kalimantan province, which is one of the world’s most important thermal coal export hubs. The probes have disrupted ship loadings around the port of Samarinda, where 38 large dry-bulk ships are currently sitting idle to take on coal, according to shipping data. Most ships are unable to berth at the port and are being forced to take on coal via a small number of loading vessels. The delays come as demand remains strong in China, by far the world’s biggest coal consumer, after a crackdown on mining led to a 1.7 percent year-on-year drop in domestic output in the first two months of the year. Cyclone Debbie missed most of the region’s mines, but Glencore halted operations at its Collinsville and Newlands mines, and coal carriers stopped heading north for several days, delaying shipments. The higher Asian prices have led to a pickup in shipments from the United States and Colombia as traders take advantage of cheap Atlantic basin coal, with prices there dipping due to an unusually mild start to the low demand spring season.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: POWER

    CenterPoint submits proposal for $250 mn power transmission project in Texas

    April 4, 2017. Electric utility firm CenterPoint Energy has unveiled plans to upgrade existing and build new electric transmission infrastructure to meet the growing demand from the petrochemical industry along the Texas Gulf Coast. CenterPoint has submitted a proposal to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas for the $250 mn transmission project, which will serve petrochemical industry in the Freeport, Texas area. The project will expand the utility’s capacity in the region to around 1,340 MW, which can be operational at different stages between 2017 and 2019. The proposed enhancements are expected to complete by summer 2019, while proposed new line is anticipated to start service in 2021. CenterPoint will upgrade two existing substations, in addition to building new 345 kilovolt double-circuit transmission line. With around 7,700 employees, the company provides services to about five million metered customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    JICA joins IFC to invest $30 mn in Bangladesh power plant

    March 30, 2017. The IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has brought in Japanese development agency JICA to invest $30 million in a Bangladesh power plant. The Sembcorp North-West Power Company Ltd, a joint venture of Sembcorp Utilities and Bangladesh’s North-West Power Generation Company Ltd, is building a 414 MW dual-fuel combined-cycle power plant at northern Sirajganj. The plant will “significantly” expand power-generation capacity in Bangladesh, the IFC said. The total project cost is estimated at around $412 million. The project is expected to be one of the “most efficient” plants in Bangladesh that will help modernise Bangladesh’s power sector, JICA said. The power plant will be the second largest power plant in power-starved Bangladesh and represents the largest foreign direct investment in this sector in recent years, the IFC said.

    Source: Bangladesh News 24 hours

    INTERNATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    Morocco launches final stage of world’s largest solar power plant

    April 2, 2017. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI launched in the fourth and final stage of Noor Ouarzazate, the world’s largest solar plant. The Noor Ouarzazate IV power station in the southern province of Ouarzazate, spanned over an area of 137 hectares (1.37 square km), will be set up with over $75 million with photovoltaic (PV) technology. The power station, scheduled to start operating in the first quarter of 2018, will be built as part of a partnership involving the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (Masen), and a consortium of private operators led by the Saudi Arabian Acwa Power group and German development bank KfW. While the first station has started operating in 2016, the second and third power stations of Noor solar complex have reached a completion rate of 76 and 74 percent respectively.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Chinese scientists explore all-weather solar cells

    April 2, 2017. Chinese scientists are exploring solar cells which can store sunlight energy in all weather conditions, a move that could bring down the cost of energy harvesting. Solar cell research is mainly focused on elevating photoelectric conversion efficiency upon direct sunlight until new light has been shed on persistent high-efficiency power generation in poor light conditions such as rain, fog, haze and night, Tang Qunwei, a professor with Ocean University of China said. Tangs team and one led by Yang Peizhi, a professor with Yunnan Normal University, developed a solar cell using a crucial material called long persistent phosphor (LPP), which can store sunlight energy in the day and harvest it in darkness.

    Source: India Today

    Engie signs agreements to develop renewable energy projects in Asia-Pacific

    March 31, 2017. French electric utility company, Engie has signed multiple agreements to invest and develop sustainable and clean energy solutions in the Asia-Pacific region. The company had entered into eight agreements to create new generation solutions that cover Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. In Singapore, Engie inked three deals to develop smart city solutions in energy storage and electric mobility by partnering with Bolloré and Senoko Energy. Partnering with Singapore’s Technological University (NTU) and Schneider Electric, Engie will create micro grid solutions, especially through the Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator (REIDS) project. The third agreement, Engie has signed in Singapore, is for establishing an international research hub with NTU. Through the agreement, the partners will jointly put efforts on renewable energy, with a focus on specific areas like energy storage, smart grids and power systems, wind and marine energies, green and smart buildings, and photovoltaics. In Indonesia, the French electric utility has made three agreements to develop micro grid and other renewable energy projects, with an investment of $1.25 bn that will be spent in the next five years.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    New EU rules aim to make power cheaper when the sun shines

    March 31, 2017. Utilities in the European Union (EU) may have to offer more flexible prices from 2020 to encourage consumers to use more electricity when supplies are abundant and cheap, according to proposed new rules, EU said. Most European utilities sell at fixed prices, regardless of price swings on wholesale markets, which makes sense when most power comes from coal and nuclear plants that are always on. But the surge in intermittent renewable energy, like solar and wind generation, has led to intraday price swings that demand a flexible approach to encourage usage on sunny and windy days when power is plentiful, the European Commission said. The challenge will be to encourage utilities to adopt a more flexible price structure and to expand the rollout of smart meters in Europe. These meters could be linked up to mobile phone apps or other displays to show power price changes through the day and indicate when using appliances would cost less.

    Source: Reuters

    Lyon Group to develop $1 bn solar and battery storage project in Australia

    March 31, 2017. Lyon Group has unveiled plans to develop a solar and battery storage project in South Australia, which will involve an investment of about $1 bn. The company intends to build a 330 MW solar generation and 100 MW battery storage system in Riverland, claimed to be the largest project of its kind in the world. The project will include around 3.4 million solar panels and 1.1 million batteries.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    SSE Energy will invest $421 mn in renewable energies in 2017-2018

    March 31, 2017. The British energy supplier SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy) has unveiled information regarding its financial situation and its investment program in 2017-2018. The definitive figures will be published in May 2017. The company expects its wholesale operating profit for 2016-2017 to be higher than in the previous year in spite of the lower renewable energy output and especially the wind power generation.

    Source: Enerdata

    In New York, neighbours trading solar energy electrify community

    March 30, 2017. A quiet energy revolution is taking place in the homes that light up in the evening in the New York City neighbourhoods of Gowanus Canal and Park Slope. It isn’t just power plant electricity that keeps this community lit at night, but also energy generated by neighbours across the street or a few houses away, who send one another their excess production of solar power. The experiment, called TransActive Grid, aims to soon allow homes and businesses fitted with solar panels and “smart” meters to sell spare electricity to neighbours, rather than simply give it away as they do now.

    Source: Reuters

    Environmental groups sue Trump administration for approving Keystone pipeline

    March 30, 2017. Several environmental groups filed lawsuits against the Trump administration to challenge its decision to approve construction of TransCanada Corp’s controversial Keystone XL crude oil pipeline. Environmental groups argued that the United States (US) State Department, which granted the permit needed for the pipeline to cross the Canadian border, relied on an “outdated and incomplete environmental impact statement” when making its decision. By approving the pipeline without public input and an up-to-date environmental assessment, the administration violated the National Environmental Policy Act, groups including the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and the Northern Plains Resource Council said. The Indigenous Environmental Network and North Coast Rivers Alliance sought injunctive relief, restraining TransCanada from taking any action that would harm the “physical environment in connection with the project pending a full hearing on the merits.” US President Donald Trump announced the presidential permit for the Keystone XL at the White House.

    Source: Reuters

    Huge nuclear cost overruns push Toshiba’s Westinghouse into bankruptcy

    March 30, 2017. Westinghouse Electric Co, a unit of Japanese conglomerate Toshiba Corp, filed for bankruptcy, hit by billions of dollars of cost overruns at four nuclear reactors under construction in the United States (US) Southeast. The bankruptcy casts doubt on the future of the first new US nuclear power plants in three decades, which were scheduled to begin producing power as soon as, but are now years behind schedule. Toshiba said it would guarantee up to $200 million of the financing for Westinghouse. Westinghouse’s nuclear services business is expected to continue to perform profitably over the course of the bankruptcy and eventually be sold by Toshiba.

    Source: Reuters

    DATA INSIGHT

    Renewable Electricity Scenario 2016-17 in India

    Share of Renewables in All India Electricity Installed Capacity & Generationgraf

    Trends in Renewables Installed Capacity

    graf1

    Source: Compiled from Central Electricity Authority & Ministry of New and Renewable Energy

    fact_file

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

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