Energy News Monitor | Volume XIV; Issue 22

     ENM, Energy Monitor, November, RIL, ONGC, GAIL, ONGC, IOC, HPCL, Crude

    CAN CHEAP IMPORTS SHAPE A GAS BASED ECONOMY?

    Gas News Commentary: October 2017

    India

    India wants to attract foreign investors to $300 billion worth of energy projects planned for the next decade. India ships in about 80 percent of its oil needs and India aims to reduce this to 67 percent by 2020. The planned projects will include increasing the country’s refining capacity, oil and gas block exploration, and developing gas infrastructure, including for transporting LNG and regasification. India’s oil and gas output has been stagnant for years while its fuel demand has risen with economic expansion, hitting federal finances with an import bill worth billions of dollars.

    India is pushing to renegotiate more LNG deals after its success in reaching agreements with some of the world’s largest energy suppliers. GAIL (India) Ltd is working toward renegotiating two more long-term deals. Those would follow new deals with Qatar’s RasGas Company in 2015 and Exxon Mobil Corp that saw the Indian buyer get lower prices in exchange for agreeing to purchase higher volumes. GAIL is renegotiating its 20-year contract with Russia’s Gazprom PJSC. India, the world’s fourth-largest LNG buyer, is increasingly relying on imports as it seeks to double use of the fuel by the end of decade amid falling domestic production. The recent renegotiation of an existing LNG contract between PLL and Exxon Mobil would open the doors for similar re-negotiations for companies like GAIL who are also trying to re-negotiate such contracts, ratings agency ICRA said. ICRA said that similar to PLL, GAIL has also been trying to re-negotiate its contracts and swap the LNG with other marketers in other regions of the world.IOC aims to have capacity to import about 13.5 mt of LNG in five years helping India to gradually move to a gas-based economy. The government wants to raise the share of natural gas in India’s energy mix to 15 percent in the next few years from about 6.5 percent now. IOC currently holds rights to annually import 2.25 mt of the super cooled fuel at Petronet LNG’s Dahej terminal in western Gujarat state. The company is betting big on growing demand for natural gas for transport and manufacturing. It has a target to generate 15 percent of its revenues from its gas supply and distribution business by 2021. IOC is adding capacity through its own upcoming LNG terminal and through stakes in other regasification plants. It is in talks to buy about a 25 percent stake in the 5 mtpa Mundra LNG terminal, besides leasing 1 mt of capacity at Swan Energy’s 5 mtpa facility at Jafrabad. Both of these plants are being built in the western state of Gujarat. Western India is connected with pipelines and LNG import facilities, while industries in the east are still deprived of the cleaner fuel because of a lack of infrastructure. To fill that gap, IOC is building a 5 mtpa LNG import terminal at Ennore on the eastern coast. It has also booked 3 mtpa of capacity at Adani Enterprises’s 5 mtpa Dhamra LNG terminal and plans to lease about 0.5 mtpa of capacity at Petronet’s Kochi LNG plant in south India. IOC, which has long-term agreement to import 0.7 mt from the Cameron LNG Project in the United States, is scouting for more such deals. Supply from the Cameron project will begin by end of 2018. The company is also looking at a mix of long-term and LNG spot deals. Currently, the company on average imports two spot LNG cargoes a month.

    The petroleum ministry will soon send a proposal to the Cabinet to set up a gas trading exchange that will replace the current pricing structure for natural gas. The country will gradually move towards market-determined prices for gas. Priority sectors will get gas at government-determined prices during the transition. The ministry is planning to set up a think-tank to take advice on policy reforms and will consist of industry representatives and experts from India and abroad. The government is exploring an investment opportunity of $300 billion in hydrocarbons sector over the next 10 years. The petroleum ministry also launched a new ‘Forum for Energy for New India’. The industry was tasked with the challenge of putting one of India’ basins in the north-east on Super Basin list: Cambay, or the KG Basin.  The term was coined by IHS Markit ‘Super Basins’ for 25 basins around the world that have at least 5 boe of recoverable resources remaining.

    Japan and India have taken their discussions of LNG technologies in inland water and coastal shipping forward. Enhancing cooperation in establishing a transparent, efficient, truly global and balanced LNG market is also being discussed between the two countries.

    As the government is unlikely to implement major policy-level interventions in the CGD entities either through a change in the gas allocation policy or capping the returns earned by them, their return profiles are likely to remain structurally strong, Credit rating agency Ind-Ra said. The business profile is strengthened by the players' sole supplier status in their respective geographical areas, supply-side advantages in the form of access to crucial inputs such as gas supply and availability of land for setting up a marketing infrastructure for both CNG and PNG. According to Ind-Ra, CGD as a space complements the government's move towards cleaner fuels and any policy directed towards lowering the importance of CGD could derail the objective. It is believed that OMCs do not pose a threat to the business models of CGD players in terms of setting up their own city gas infrastructure post marketing exclusivity.

    RIL and its partners, BP and Niko Resources, have so far paid only $82 million to the gas pool account, maintained to park the differential between the notified gas price given to others and the $4.2/mmBtu that the three contractors charge their customers. The firms are yet to pay the penalty imposed on them for disallowing recovery of cost incurred for missing the target during six years from 2010. After a fresh penalty of ₹ 264 million in August, the total now stands at $3.02 billion. Fining them, the government had cited their failure to drill the committed number of wells and producing less than the targeted natural gas from the Dhirubhai-1 and 3 fields in the eastern offshore KG-D6 block. Production was supposed to be 80 mmscmd. The firms have contested the fine. They are of the view that the disallowance of costs incurred by the joint operation has no basis in the production-sharing contract and that there are strong grounds to challenge the government’s position. RIL and its partner BP will invest over $1.5 billion in six satellite gas discoveries in the KG-D6 block, the combine has said in a refreshed plan for starting production from these finds by 2022. This is part of Reliance-BP's plan to infuse ₹ 400 billion (over $5 billion) into the block and marks the beginning of the investment cycle in the east coast as a result of policy reforms, especially allowing remunerative price to producers, initiated by the government. Besides the six discoveries, Reliance-BP is also working on development plan for R-Series and MJ gas discoveries in the block. RIL-BP combine does not plan to alter the $3.18 billion investment plan for D-34 or R-Series gas field in the same block, which was approved in August 2013. About 12.9 mmscmd of gas for 13 years can be produced from D-34 discovery, which is estimated to hold recoverable reserves of 39.6 bcm. A separate development plan for the MJ find would be submitted by mid-2018. RIL and its partner BP have submitted to the government a $2 -2.5 billion plan to bring to production India's deepest gas discovery by 2021-22. The partners submitted to the DGH a field development plan (FDP) for the MJ-1 gas find, which is located about 2,000 meters directly below the currently producing Dhirubhai-1 and 3 (D1 and D3) fields in the eastern offshore KG-D6 block. MJ-1 is estimated to hold a minimum of 27.9 bcm of contingent resource. With this, RIL-BP have finalised investment plans totalling $5-5.5 billion (about ₹330 billion to ₹ 360 billion) for three sets of discoveries in the KG-D6 block. Earlier this month, they submitted an FDP of $1.4 billion for bringing to production six satellite gas discoveries in the block. RIL-BP combine had in 2013 submitted a $3.18 billion investment plan for D-34 or R-Series gas field in the same block, sources said adding the actual investment in the find may actually be $1.4-1.6 billion only. The investment in MJ-1 would be slightly higher because a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) will be used to produce the gas. Work on the three sets of discoveries will start sometime in 2018 and contracting for equipment and services has already started.

    Since November 1, 2014, after the new domestic natural gas price came into effect, the contractors were being paid the earlier price of $4.2/mmBtu and the difference between this and the revised price was getting deposited to the gas pool account. Niko said that commencing April 2016 and, thereafter, to date, the revised gas price under the guidelines was below $4.2/mmBtu and deposits were not required to be made to the account. The companies were, therefore, also not paying to the account for nearly 18 months, despite lower gas-price regime. The government fixes prices based on a formula linked to key gas markets across the globe. Analysts cite the prices were below $4.2/mmBtu much before March 2016, they were down to $3.82/mmBtu in October 2015. Since October, the prices came down further to $2.89/mmBtu. This means RIL and its partners should have deposited a larger amount of differential into the account.

    In a novel initiative by the petroleum ministry, 10 oil and gas companies under it launched a startup programme for entrepreneurs with a fund corpus of ₹ 3.2 billion to be disbursed over a 3-year period to support innovations in the energy sector. The scheme was launched with MoU being signed by 36 startups for partnering with various state-run firms like IOC HPCL and GAIL (India) Ltd, which is India’s largest gas transmission utility. It is believed that India could not afford to miss out on the ongoing Industrial Revolution 4.0 that signifies the changes being wrought by information technology.  The third largest energy consumer in the world with an annual oil import bill of ₹ 7 trillion, India wants to act on import substitution.

    The supply of PNG is about to be initiated in Odisha. With this, GAIL (India) Ltd started supply of environment-friendly PNG to 255 houses in Nalco Nagar located at Chandrasekharpur area in the state capital. The supply of PNG to a limited households was done ahead of its schedule in March 2018. PMUG will pass through five states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. The longest stretch of the project, which is about 769 km will be built in Odisha. CGD projects in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack are being taken up in parallel with the JHBDPL. In Odisha, the Natural Gas Pipeline will be constructed at an estimated investment of ₹ 40 billion and will have a length of about 769 km covering 13 districts, like Bhadrak, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Angul, Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Debagarh, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Khurda, Puri and Kendrapara. Initially, natural gas will reach Bhubaneswar in special containers which will be transported by road from Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh. Later, natural gas will be supplied through the JHBDPL. The pipeline is presently under construction and likely to be completed by 2019. In Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack, the number of PNG connections will be gradually ramped up in the next three to five years. Moreover, 25 CNG stations will be commissioned in the twin cities to supply CNG fuel to vehicles.  Some experts said that the proposal has high probability of success as the supply of household energy such as electricity and cooking fuel (LPG or PNG) have become vote winners from women voters. With expectation of state elections and speculation on the oil minister’s chances of becoming the chief minister, energy schemes are likely to receive the highest priority from the ministry.

    India and Mozambique agreed to expedite development of the giant Rovuma gas discovery, which is planned to be converted into LNG for exports. OVL the overseas arm of state-owned ONGC holds 16 percent stake in Mozambique offshore block Rovuma Area 1. OIL has 4 percent stake while a unit of BPCL holds 10 percent stake. The Area 1 covers roughly 10,000 square kilometre area and is located in northernmost part of offshore Mozambique Rovuma Basin. According to OVL, second and final exploration phase for Area-1 ended on January 31, 2015 and have resulted in five discoveries, with combined recoverable resource of about 1.7 tcm. Area-1 represents one of the largest natural gas discoveries in offshore East Africa and has the potential to become one of the world’s largest LNG producing hubs. Area-1 plans to develop initially two LNG trains of capacity 6 mtpa each.

    Prepaid smart cards has been launched for CNG consumers in Delhi. The cards introduced by gas distributor IGL are expected to allow customers to save time at CNG stations. It is being promoted as part of GAIL and IGL contribution to the Digital India Campaign.

    The Maharashtra Natural Gas Ltd (MNGL) plans to expand its PNG network to areas like Bibvewadi, Baner, Balewadi, Pashan, Sahakarnagar, Undri and Pisoli. This will take PNG to 1 lakh households this fiscal year. PNG is currently being supplied to more than 58,000 households in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad for cooking purposes. Areas such as Hadapsar, Magarpatta, Vimannagar, Kothrud, Model Colony, Warje, Sinhagad Road, Erandwane, Pimpri, Nehrunagar, Ajmera, Chikhali, Moshi, Chinchwad, Chakan, Hinjewadi and Wakad currently have PNG connections. Being a pollution-free fuel, PNG is easily accessible without storage troubles. In November 2015, the urban development ministry had asked all states and municipal corporations to supply PNG and CNG stations in smart cities. Petroleum and natural gas authorities had urged the civic bodies to ensure speedy approvals for laying gas distribution pipelines in smart cities.

    Despite Tripura being the toughest zone for gas exploration in the world, the success ratio is the best, according to ONGC. ONGC has drilled 225 wells in Tripura so far, of which 116 were found to be gas-bearing. The company would start exploration works in the Tichna area after it gets forest and environment clearance from the central government within the next six months. ONGC has, since 1962, established around 41 bcm of recoverable gas reserves in Tripura's 11 gas fields. ONGC had to spend ₹ 1.6 million/ day for drilling of gas in Tripura against ₹450 million in the deep sea areas. The firm had commissioned its first commercial gas-based power project in India, located in Palatana, 60 km south of Agartala, and run by the ONGC Tripura Power Company.

    Upstream oil regulator DGH has refused to review the commerciality of India's deepest gas discovery made by ONGC on grounds that developing the find poses technological challenges. ONGC plans to invest ₹ 215 billion to develop the ultra deepsea UD-1 discovery in its Bay of Bengal block KG- DWN-98/2 (KG-D5) by 2022-23. The find would have helped double the output from the KG block. It had earlier this year submitted to the DGH for approval a DoC of UD-1 find. DGH refused to review the DoC on grounds there was no technology available to produce gas from such water depths. ONGC plans to drill nine wells on the discovery that lies in water depths of 2,400-3,200 metres and will produce a peak output of 19 mmscmd.

    With shale gas business becoming uneconomical due to low crude oil prices, RIL has said it would sell its remaining shale gas assets in the US if any company makes it an “attractive offer”. RIL has invested almost $9 billion in US since 2010. The company was not a distress seller of its shale gas assets and at the same time is not looking to acquire any more assets. At present, RIL owns 45 percent stake in Pioneer Natural Resources’ Eagle Ford shale block and 40 percent stake in Chevron’s asset. On October 11, the company had announced that it sold its Marcellus shale assets for $126 million to BKV Chelsea, an affiliate of Kalnin Venture. RIL had bought stake in Marcellus shale-gas areas of Pennsylvania for $392 million In August 2010. RIL was one of the early investors in the US shale gas assets, but was earning negative returns on its investments since fall in crude oil prices made shale gas production unviable. RIL has agreed to sell a shale oil and gas block in the US for $126 million, a third of the price it paid seven years ago, amid a downturn in global oil prices. It could further receive $11.25 million based on changes in natural gas prices. RIL bought the Marcellus asset in 2010 for $392 million. The US shale market has since become highly competitive and companies have cut costs to stay afloat after a slump in crude oil and gas prices. The three shale assets accounted for less than 1 percent of the consolidated revenue of RIL, which runs the world’s biggest refinery complex in western India.

    Cairn Oil and Gas, part of Vedanta Ltd, will invest ₹ 300 billion ($4.6 billion) in exploration projects off India’s east coast and in the onshore fields of Barmer in the west. The company expects approvals to be in place by the end of October. The company had said that it could invest more in further developing its four main Barmer fields on the condition its production-sharing contract was extended. The fresh investments are part of the company’s plan to produce oil and gas in India beyond 2020. Cairn will also start drilling for oil and gas in the KG basin in the Bay of Bengal by the end of March. The projects, apart from KG basin, include its gas field in the Raageshwari field in Barmer and an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) programme in the Bhagyam and Aishwariya fields.

    India’s H-Energy Pvt Ltd, a unit of real estate group Hiranandani, will start operations at its LNG terminal in the western Maharashtra state by May 2018. India plans to raise the share of natural gas in its energy mix to 15 percent in three years from the current 6.5 percent. H-Energy has invested ₹ 17 billion ($261 million) to build its 4 mtpa regassification terminal near the Jaigarh port in the state. The global market is currently flooded with cheap LNG with many suppliers queuing up to sell volumes to India on a spot basis. H-Energy is among the three companies in India, which will be adding LNG capacity to a gas-hungry nation in 2018. H-Energy is building another LNG terminal off the coast of Kolkata in the Bay of Bengal. The increase in natural gas prices from this month would benefit domestic gas producers by around ₹13 billion during the second half of the current fiscal. The government has increased the price payable for domestic natural gas by around 17 percent to $2.89/mmBtu for the period October 2017 to March 2018. This is the first price increase after five consecutive domestic gas price reductions, and has been driven by an increase in the average gas prices prevalent at the reference gas hubs over the period July 2016 to June 2017.  The price ceiling for gas from difficult deep-sea and high-pressure high-temperature areas/fields has been raised 13 percent to $6.30/mmBtu. The gas price for the April-September period was $2.48/mmBtu, and the ceiling for gas from difficult fields was $5.56/mmBtu. Prices of domestic natural gas are revised twice a year. Last year, the government allowed pricing freedom to producers of gas from difficult areas, with a ceiling linked to a mix of other fuels such as coal, liquefied natural gas, naphtha and fuel oil.

    Upstream oil regulator DGH has refused to review the commerciality of India's deepest gas discovery made by ONGC on grounds that developing the find poses technological challenges. ONGC plans to invest ₹215.28 billion to develop the ultra deepsea UD-1 discovery in its Bay of Bengal block KG- DWN-98/2 (KG-D5) by 2022-23. The find would have helped double the output from the KG block. It had earlier this year submitted to the DGH for approval a DoC of UD-1 find. DGH refused to review the DoC on grounds there was no technology available to produce gas from such water depths. ONGC plans to drill nine wells on the discovery that lies in water depths of 2,400-3,200 metres and will produce a peak output of 19 mmscmd.

    Rest of the World

    The Russian Yamal LNG project will ship the first two cargoes of LNG in November, followed by another four in December. The Yamal LNG project is co-owned by local Russian gas producer Novatek, as well as France’s Total, China’s CNPC and the Silk Road Fund. Russia’s biggest natural gas producer Gazprom aims to take a 10 percent share of the Chinese gas market after 2025. Gazprom said earlier this year it planned to begin supplying gas to China through Siberia on December 20, 2019.

    Exxon Mobil has pulled out of a major project in Pakistan, in a potential blow to plans to boost imports of LNG after years of winter shortages. Differences among the six-member group behind the project in Port Qasim in Karachi mean French oil major Total and Japan’s Mitsubishi may also quit and join a rival scheme. A highly-developed pipeline grid, extensive industrial demand and the biggest natural gas-powered vehicle fleet in Asia after China and Iran make Pakistan an easy fit for LNG and official estimates show imports could jump fivefold to 30 mtpa by 2022. The new project would include a FSRU where LNG will be converted back into gas for feeding into the country’s grid. Qatar Petroleum, the world’s biggest LNG producer, Turkish developer Global Energy Infrastructure Ltd and Norway’s Hoegh LNG, which will provide the FSRU, are the other partners. Pakistan plans to add its second LNG import terminal by the end of this year, but private companies have proposed building six more largely around Port Qasim.

    Africa is set to develop a gas pricing index based on the cost of electricity set midway between existing global benchmarks to ensure fairer pricing in new export projects on the continent. The idea is being floated when the world’s poorest continent, where 600 million people are without electricity, is turning to LNG as a cheaper way to power up amid plentiful global supply. Plans to boost African power generation by 30,000 MW by 2030 could translate into 42 mt of additional LNG consumption a year, according to the US Department of Energy. Trading firm Gunvor could peg some sales of LNG from its planned Fortuna facility in Equatorial Guinea, due to start in 2020, to the index. Gunvor struck a deal to buy all of the plant’s output, but there is a provision allowing Equatorial Guinea and its partners to sell up to half the volumes within Africa. Equatorial Guinea already exports LNG to countries that include South Korea and Argentina. Angola and Nigeria are also major African LNG exporters, with Cameroon set to start this year. New LNG projects are planned in Senegal, Mozambique, Congo Republic and Tanzania. Equatorial Guinea aims to export LNG to Africa for the first time, including to Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana. Africa’s natural gas consumption rose 20 percent from 2011 to 2014 from 110 bcm to 130 bcm, according to the US EIA still a tiny market but the world’s fastest growing. In Nigeria, Seplat Petroleum expects demand to grow rapidly for use in energy, cement and fertiliser projects. But the still small size of Africa’s gas market may make establishing an index difficult, industry experts said.

    Indonesia has agreed with Japan’s Inpex to extend the company’s contract to operate the Masela LNG field in the country’s east by up to 27 years once it expires in 2028, the energy ministry said. Indonesia in March 2016 rejected a $15 billion plan by Inpex and its partner Royal Dutch Shell to develop what would have been the world’s largest floating LNG facility to process gas from Masela, saying an onshore plant would benefit the local economy more. Inpex subsequently asked to increase output from the LNG plant to 9.5 mtpa but the government has pushed the company to set aside a larger portion of the gas via a pipeline to domestic buyers. Inpex is also working with BP, Mitsubishi, China National Offshore Oil Corp, Sumitomo and Sojitz on an $8 billion expansion of the Tangguh project in West Papua province that will boost annual LNG production capacity there by 50 percent. Indonesia’s gas demand has been in decline in recent years, and questions remain around how quickly Southeast Asia’s largest economy can develop infrastructure to absorb gas from these projects.

    South Africa said the government remains committed to shale gas exploration despite a court order revoking fracking regulations that pushes back plans to award the first exploration licenses by 2019. Farmers lobby AgriSA had said earlier that the High Court had issued an order quashing regulations governing proposed shale gas fracking in the Eastern Cape, one of the main areas where proposed shale gas exploration could take place. The ruling to quash the regulations marked the latest setback to South Africa’s shale gas ambitions after a scientific study published last month suggested its Karoo Basin probably has a fraction of estimated deposits, deflating expectations of an energy bonanza. Africa’s most industrialized economy has been hoping to find sufficient shale gas resources to exploit on a commercial basis. The Japanese government will offer $10 billion to support firms bidding to build LNG infrastructure around Asia. It will allow Japanese firms to bid aggressively for work to build facilities such as LNG receiving terminals and power plants, backed by loans and investments from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and insurance from Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI), it said. Japan will announce the initiative in Tokyo at the annual LNG Producer-Consumer Conference.

    Fortum said it would launch an €8.05 billion ($9.5 billion) takeover bid for Uniper, the power stations operator and energy trading business partly owned by German utility E.ON. However, Uniper, along with four other Western companies, has also pledged to invest up to €950 million each in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project which should double the amount of gas directly shipped from Russia to Germany. Some Finnish politicians have questioned whether the government’s indirect involvement via Uniper would tie Finland to the Nord Stream project, which has split the European Union over worries of Russia’s growing influence. Eastern European and Baltic states fear the pipeline will increase reliance on Russian gas and undermine Ukraine’s role as a gas transit route, but Germany and other beneficiaries in northern Europe back the project.

    Chevron Corp said it has started producing LNG at its Wheatstone project in Australia, slightly later than expected, and plans to ship its first cargo soon. The LNG market will be focused on how smoothly Wheatstone progresses following the troubled start-up at Chevron’s bigger Gorgon LNG project. Both projects are fed from natural gas fields offshore the state of Western Australia. Wheatstone is the sixth out of eight projects in a $200 billion Australian LNG construction boom that is now in its final stretch. The two remaining ones are Royal Dutch Shell’s Prelude floating LNG project and Ichthys, led by Japan’s Inpex. Wheatstone exports could stall rising spot LNG prices, which have surged 55 percent since March to $8.50/mmBtu on strong demand and the delayed ramp-up of many of the Australian LNG export facilities.

    Kazakh firm KazTransGas will ship 5 bcm of natural gas to China’s PetroChina for about $1 billion, the Kazakh company said. Shipments will start on October 15 and will be carried out over the course of one year, KazTransGas said. A gas pipeline completed in 2009 connects all Central Asian energy exporters - Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan - to China. But Kazakhstan has until now exported gas only to Russia because additional pipelines were needed to link its fields to the Chinese one. KazTransGas, which operates Kazakh gas pipelines and has no upstream assets, did not name the producers that would supply the gas but said some of it would come from the stocks in its storage.

    NATIONAL: OIL

    Indian Oil denies role in Lanka fuel crisis

    November 7, 2017. The Indian Oil Company’s subsidiary in Sri Lanka has dismissed as "mischievous and factually incorrect" the allegations that it was responsible for the fuel shortage in the island nation. The Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) received flak for the fuel shortage after motorists lined up in long queues at petrol stations. The company denied any responsibility to the ongoing petroleum crisis. The LIOC said it catered to only 16 percent of the Sri Lankan market, while the remaining 84 percent relied on Ceylon Petroleum Corp (CPC) supplies.

    Source: India Today

    Government to give 60 percent stake in ONGC fields to private firms

    November 6, 2017. Nearly 25 years after Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC)'s prime discovered oilfields were privatised, the oil ministry has identified 11 more producing oil and gas fields of the state-run firm for handing over to private firms to raise output. The ministry is approaching the Cabinet to allow private companies take 60 percent stake in producing oil and gas fields of national oil companies, ONGC and Oil India Ltd (OIL), with the view that they would raise production above the baseline estimate. As many as 15 fields - 11 of ONGC and four of OIL - with a cumulative in place reserve of 791.2 million tonnes of crude oil and 333.46 billion cubic metres of gas have been identified. These include Kalok, Ankleshwar, Gandhar and Santhal - the big four oilfields of ONGC in Gujarat. All of these fields are in blocks or areas that were given to the national oil companies on nomination basis and the current policy does not allow private firms taking equity stake in a nomination block.

    Source: Business Standard

    Rs 470 mn LPG subsidy deposited in Airtel bank accounts 'opened without consent'

    November 4, 2017. More than 23 lakh customers have received liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or cooking gas subsidy of Rs 47 crore in their respective Airtel Bank accounts they don’t seem to have opened, prompting the government to intervene even as the top mobile operator denied any wrongdoing. Consumers receive cooking gas subsidy in their bank accounts linked to their unique biometric identity, or Aadhaar. But after several consumers lately complained about not receiving subsidy, it emerged that their subsidy had actually been credited to their respective Airtel Bank accounts. The oil ministry has clarified that the rule is to transfer subsidy to the latest bank account of the beneficiary seeded with their Aadhaar number. Since June 9 this year, more than 23 lakh gas consumers received over Rs 47 crore of subsidy in more than 41 lakh transactions in their Airtel Bank accounts, according to a communication sent by a state oil company to National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). Of these, about 11 lakh gas customers belong to Indian Oil Corp (IOC) while the balance is evenly split between Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL). NPCI maps bank accounts with Aadhaar and oversees retail payments and settlement systems in the country.

    Source: The Economic Times

    India's crude oil production flat in September, import bill rises 21 percent

    November 3, 2017. India’s crude oil production in September remained flat at 2,920 thousand metric tonne (tmt) as compared to the corresponding month a year ago while natural gas output grew 4.74 percent to 2,723 million standard cubic meter (mmscm) in the same month. The country’s gross petroleum imports in value terms increased a whopping 21 percent to $7.5 billion in September as compared to the corresponding month a year ago. Cumulatively, gross petroleum import bill increased 17 percent to $43.4 billion in the first six months of 2017-18 as compared to the corresponding period last year on the back of increased international crude oil prices. Oil production dipped due to poor performance of fields under Production Sharing Contracts (PSC), data shows. The growth in natural gas production is attributed to healthy performance of acreages under government-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), Oil India Ltd (OIL) and fields under PSC, data released by Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) indicated. On a cumulative basis, the country’s crude oil production in the first six months of 2017-2018 remained almost flat at 18,025 tmt decreasing 0.22 percent as compared to the corresponding period a year ago. Cumulative natural gas production during the period grew 4.38 percent to 16,413 mmscm as compared to the corresponding period a year ago. Government-owned ONGC, responsible for 63.15 percent of country’s crude oil production in September, witnessed a crude output growth of 2.25 percent to 1,844 tmt in September. Cumulatively, the oil and gas behemoth witnessed a 2.48 percent increase in production to 11,302 tmt in the first six months. The company’s natural gas production witnessed a growth of 5.20 percent to 1,938 mmscm in September as compared to the year ago period. Cumulatively, gas production increased 9.28 percent to 11,675 mmscm in the first six months.

    Source: The Economic Times

    India's ONGC seeking oil assets in other regions amid Iran gas row

    November 2, 2017. India’s ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corp) Videsh Ltd (OVL) has turned its focus to buying stakes in overseas producing oil and gas assets to meet output targets after a delay by Iran in awarding development rights for a gas field, its Managing Director N.K. Verma said. Indian firms led by OVL, the foreign investment arm of ONGC, have been negotiating with Iran for development rights of Farzad B gas field since its discovery in 2008. OVL is targeting production of 60 million tonnes of oil and gas by 2030 from 12.80 million tonnes in 2016/17. Verma listed Africa, Central Asia and Latin America as preferred regions for acquiring producing assets. India was hoping to get rights to develop Farzad B as the South Asian nation was one of the handful countries that continued to deal with Tehran despite sanctions. Verma said India modified its bid several times to match Tehran’s expectations and terms to get the development rights. Iran has modified its petroleum contract model, ending a decades old buy-back system that barred foreign firms from booking reserves or taking equity stakes. Under new terms Iran wants India to operate the field for 20 years and commit to buy gas for 25 years at prices higher than those proposed by ONGC, he said. Iran’s previous contracts gave investors an assured return of 18 percent. India, the world’s third biggest oil consumer, has told state oil firms to acquire assets overseas to improve energy security. India imports about 80 percent of its crude needs.

    Source: Reuters

    Non-subsidised LPG price hiked steeply by Rs 93 per cylinder

    November 1, 2017. Cooking gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) price was hiked by Rs 4.50 per cylinder, the 19th increase in rates since July 2016 when the government decided to eliminate subsidy on it by raising prices every month. Also, jet fuel or aviation turbine fuel (ATF) price was increased by 2 percent on firming international rates, the fourth straight increase in rates since August, according to price notification posted by state-owned retailers. The price of non-subsidised LPG or market priced cooking gas has been hiked by Rs 93 to Rs 742 per bottle. At the last revision on October 1 the rate was hiked by Rs 50 to Rs 649 per bottle. Subsidised LPG price has been hiked by Rs 4.50 per 14.2 kg cylinder to Rs 495.69. The government last year had asked state-run oil firms to raise prices every month to eliminate all the subsidies by March next year. Since the implementation of the policy of monthly increases from July last year, subsidised LPG rates have gone up by Rs 76.51 per cylinder. A 14.2 kg LPG cylinder was priced at Rs 419.18 in June 2016. Every household is entitled to 12 cylinders of 14.2 kg each at subsidised rates in a year. Any requirement beyond that is to be purchased at market price. ATF will now cost Rs 54,143 per kilolitre (kl) in Delhi, Rs 1,098 per kl more than Rs 53,045 previously, oil companies said.

    Source: The Economic Times

    NATIONAL: GAS

    RIL awards R-Series gas field contract to McDermott

    November 6, 2017. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has awarded a major contract for bringing to production the R-Series gas field in the flagging KG-D6 block to United States engineering and construction company McDermott. R-Series is one of the three sets of discoveries in the eastern offshore KG-D6 block that RIL and its partner BP plc of United Kingdom are working to bring to production by 2021-22 to reverse the declining trend in output. This is the first of three planned projects in KG-D6 that RIL-BP had announced in June, involving a cumulative investment of Rs 40,000 crore and producing from about 3 trillion cubic feet of discovered gas resources. The R-series (D34) project is a dry gas development in water-depths of more than 2,000 metres, about 70 kilometres offshore. It is to be developed by linking six producing wells with existing producing facilities at Dhirubhai-1 and 3 (D1&D3) gas fields in the block. McDermott said in addition to the R-Cluster of six subsea wells, RIL can give it the job of five to seven more subsea wells at the Satellite-cluster fields in the KG-D6 block. McDermott said it plans to leverage its significant experience and presence within India including its Engineering Center of Excellence office in Chennai providing engineering and project management oversight for the project. RIL-BP had in August 2013 won approval to invest up to $3.18 billion to produce gas for 13 years from D-34 (R- Series) discovery in the KG-DWN-98/3 or KG-D6 block. The planned output from D-34, which is estimated to hold an in-place reserve of 2.2 Trillion cubic feet, more than double of the combined current production from D1&D3 gas field and MA field in the KG-D6 block.

    Source: The Economic Times

    ONGC to double gas output by FY22

    November 3, 2017. Oil & Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) plans to nearly double natural gas production in four years as it invests billions of dollars to produce from newer discoveries, its Chairman Shashi Shanker said. India's biggest oil and gas producer is investing Rs 92,000 crore in 35 major projects which include 14 to bring new finds to production and six to improve recovery from the ageing fields. Shanker said ONGC is investing over $5 billion in developing oil and gas discoveries in the Krishna Godavari basin block KG-DWN-98/2, which sits next to Reliance Industries' flagging KG-D6 fields. Also, natural gas pricing is a challenge as the current rate of $2.89 per million British thermal unit is way below $4.5 needed to cover for cost and provide a reasonable return, he said. As on October 1, 2016, ONGC had 577 hydrocarbon discoveries. Most of them were either in production or action had been initiated to monetise them. The roadmap for increasing output addresses monetisation plan of all the discoveries of ONGC, barring about 42 finds which are isolated/far from existing infrastructure, or have very low volumes or are located in difficult areas. ONGC's output from the currently producing fields is projected to fall from 18.5 mt in the current fiscal to 12.66 mt in 2021-22. This is to be supplemented by about 5.3 mt expected from fields where investment approval has already been given and another 8.45 mt from the fields that are under conceptualisation or investment approval is under process. For natural gas, the output is projected to drop from 19.73 billion cubic meters from current fields to 11.9 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2021-22. The situation is rescued by fields that are under development or conceptualisation that will give 29.65 bcm in 2021-22.

    Source: Business Standard

    AG&P's India LNG project deal first step to 10 mt per annum portfolio

    November 3, 2017. AG&P will set up a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal on India’s east coast by mid-2019, the first of nine projects expected to result in the developer handling 10 million tonnes (mt) of the fuel annually within five years, its president Augusto Gan said. The Philippines-based company has agreed with India’s Karaikal Port to put up the terminal and secure initial supply of 1 million tonnes of LNG per year, with deliveries expected to double during the first three years as new customers are added, Gan said. The initial phase will be able to supply 125 million cubic feet of gas daily. At a price-tag below $200 million, the project’s sea-to-land structure costs less than a typical $250 million marine-only Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU), which also incur added mooring and onshore equipment costs, Gan said. Part of the LNG earmarked for its Karaikal Port project will supply the biggest power producer in India’s heavily-industrialized state of Tamil Nadu, PPN Power, the company said.

    Source: Reuters

    GAIL LNG project restarts in Kerala with police protection amid protests

    November 3, 2017. Notwithstanding protests against the GAIL (India) Ltd's LNG (liquefied natural gas) project at Mukkam, work to lay pipeline for the project restarted with police protection, even as the agitators allegedly pelted stones and blocked roads. Under GAIL's Kochi-Koottanad-Bengaluru-Mangaluru LNG project, pipes will be laid for about 80 kilometre (km) in the district.

    Source: The Economic Times

    NATIONAL: COAL

    CIL app for smooth fuel delivery by road launched

    November 7, 2017. The coal ministry launched a mobile application to facilitate smooth despatch of coal by road transport to customers of Coal India Ltd (CIL). The "Grahak Sadak Koyla Vitaran" app was unveiled recently in Kolkata by Coal and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, the ministry said. The app also provides details of coal allotment and lifting status for the convenience of customers from different sources. In a move to provide more coal to power stations, CIL had earlier directed supplies via road to plants located at shorter distances. The ministry said that of CIL's total despatch of 542 million tonnes (mt) in the last fiscal, 140 mt, or around 26 percent was despatched by road.

    Source: Business Standard

    CIL arm examining show cause notices issued by Odisha government

    November 7, 2017. Coal India Ltd (CIL) said its arm Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) is examining the show cause notices issued to it by the Odisha government for violating environment norms and other regulations. Odisha's mines department had a few days back issued show cause notices and slapped a penalty of Rs 20,169 crore on MCL on charges of violating environment norms and other regulations. MCL is studying the show cause notices and taking the required actions.

    Source: The Economic Times

    CIL misses production target by 5 percent during April-October

    November 2, 2017. Amid complaints from thermal power plants over inadequate supply of fuel, Coal India Ltd (CIL) reported that it has produced 278.01 million tonnes (mt) during the April to October period, but missed the target by five percent. The miner, which has a target to produce 292.77 mt during the period, achieved a 1.6 percent growth in production from 273.57 mt produced in the same period last year, its provisional data showed. According to data, CIL produced 46.14 mt in October only, missing the production target of 49.47 mt for the month by seven percent. The Central Electricity Authority's latest data showed coal stocks available with power plants stands now at an average of six days while 22 plants have very low stocks positions. CIL Chairman Gopal Singh said the company is "pushing hard" to meet the 600 mt production target for fiscal 2017-18 and the one billion tonne production mark for 2019-20. In October only, its off-take was at 48.28 mt, as against the target of 48.14 mt.

    Source: Business Standard

    Coal stocks start building up at power plants: Power Secretary

    November 1, 2017. The power ministry said coal situation at power plants is “much better” now and dry fuel stocks have started building up at the stations. Power Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla said that the number of plants facing acute coal shortage has come down. The coal ministry earlier had blamed power producers for low stocks of dry fuel at their plants. A power plant is classified as super critical if coal stock is less than of four days. If a plant has stock for four to seven days, it is termed critical. As many as 295 coal-based power plants have got more time of two to four years to meet strict new environment norms which were to be implemented by December 2017. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had asked the Centre to ensure adequate supply of coal and early allocation of a coal block situated in Odisha to meet the severe fuel shortage being faced by power units in his state. Earlier, Rajasthan Urja Vikas Nigam had said that power generation at thermal power stations has reduced by 2,700 MW due to shortage of coal, forcing it to resort to load shedding in the state.

    Source: The Hindu

    CIL to take up clean coal technologies in a big way: Coal Secretary

    November 1, 2017. Coal India Ltd (CIL) would be taking up clean coal technologies like coal to liquid, coal to poly-chemicals and coal to methanol in a big way, Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar said. Kumar said that coal ministry has fixed four priorities for CIL -- quality, safety, environmental management and clean coal technologies. Kumar said CIL should generate greater profits by better efficiency and larger volumes. Construction of washeries are to be accorded a high priority.

    Source: The Economic Times

    NATIONAL: POWER

    Essar Power to commission Mahan-Sipat transmission line by January

    November 7, 2017. Essar Power Transmission Company, an arm of Essar Power, expects to commission the 337 kilometre (km) Mahan-Sipat transmission line being put up at an investment of Rs 2,000 crore by January.  The line is primarily built to evacuate power from the 1,200 MW Mahan Thermal Power Project and connect to the grid. The 400 kilovolt (kV) line extends from Mahan in Madhya Pradesh to the Sipat pooling station in Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh that is connected to the national grid, and will be commissioned by January, Essar Power said. The company has already commissioned the 105 km 400 kv Gandhar-Hazira transmission line in April 2013. Essar Power operates three transmission lines spanning 470 km across three states.

    Source: Business Standard

    Postmen to collate data on homes still without electricity

    November 6, 2017. The power ministry has engaged postmen for door-to-door survey to expedite the Saubhagya scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for complete household electrification by December 2018. India Post through its network 1.73 lakh outlets has begun collecting data on un-electrified households spread over three states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Similar initiatives are being launched in Assam and Jharkhand. The data for a total 1.75 lakh villages in the five states is likely to be submitted in a month. The programme could be extended to other areas. The data is being uploaded online through a web portal and a mobile application by the postmen called ‘Gram Dak Sewaks’ by the postal department. The web portal and the application have been created and are being monitored by Rural Electrification Corp. The data will help the Central government in speedy assessment of project reports that will be submitted by states seeking grant under the Saubhagya Scheme. The Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana –Saubhagya- launched in September with over Rs 16,000 crore outlay for universal household electrification, will cover a total of 300 lakh households--250 lakh households in rural areas and 50 lakh in urban areas. As per scheme, the states will have to submit detailed project reports to the Centre. Projects would be sanctioned based on the detailed project reports to be submitted by the states. The postal department will collect status of electrification of households and details of heads of the unelectrified households in villages

    Source: The Economic Times

    NTPC to light up 4 more units in UP before Lok Sabha polls

    November 6, 2017. The National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC) has decided to expedite its expansion plans of installing four super-critical units of 660 MW in two more power plants in UP (Uttar Pradesh) ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections. NTPC confirmed that installation of at least one 660 MW units each in Meja(Allahabad) and Tanda (Ambedkarnagar) power plant will be completed in August and September next year. The Tanda power plant, which is totally owned by the NTPC, has a total installed capacity of 440 MW, while the Meja power plant is a new venture being jointly set by the NTPC in association with the state owned UP Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd. The expansion plans of NTPC also fall in line with the Centre's ambitious RsPower For All' scheme, envisaging round the clock to every household before 2019. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had pressed the accelerator in September by launching the RsSaubhagya Scheme' under which electricity connections would be provide to poor families free of cost. The 2000 MW Singrauli power project happens to be the flagship project of the NTPC in UP.

    Source: The Times of India

    Long power cuts may disrupt mobile telephony services in Delhi: TAIPA

    November 6, 2017. Long power cuts due to grid failure or a natural calamity can cause disruption in mobile telephony services in Delhi NCR any time as use of generator sets for powering towers has been banned till March 15, telecom infrastructure players said. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) following a decision of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority has imposed ban on generator sets running on petrol, kerosene or diesel till March 15, 2018. Telecom infrastructure industry body TAIPA said that though mobile towers are deployed with high-capacity batteries including fast charging to extend backup, these cannot run for long in case of long power outage due to grid failure or a natural calamity. TAIPA that as the DPCC has allowed use of generators for essential services such as hospital, railways, airports and elevators, mobile infrastructure should also be included in the list of essential services. TAIPA said that besides need to provide telecom services, telecom operators are required to comply with rules of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to maintain round the clock network availability with 99.95 percent uptime. Under the new Quality of Service norms, effective October 1, telecom operators may face a maximum penalty of Rs 10 lakh for call drops which will now be measured at mobile tower level instead of telecom circle level.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Farmers in Telanagana to get 24 hour power from March-April

    November 5, 2017. The farm sector in Telangana will get 24 hours free electricity from March-April next year. The authorities will supply uninterrupted power on an experimental basis across the state. This will continue for five to six days and based on the feedback, the Telangana State Transmission Corporation (TS Transco) will take follow up action. The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. Farmers in Telangana are currently getting nine hours free supply everyday. The state had been supplying round-the-clock electricity to farmers in three districts on pilot basis. Rao instructed that all the arrangements for distribution and supply systems should be in place for 24-hour power to farmers by March-April 2018. Power generation and transmission corporations and distribution companies are making arrangements for the same. They have spent Rs 12,000 crore to strengthen the distribution and supply systems.

    Source: Business Standard

    Spot power price rises 66 percent to Rs 4.08 per unit on IEX in October

    November 3, 2017. Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) said the average spot power price rose by 66 percent to Rs 4.08 per unit in October compared to the year-ago period, mainly due to supply side constraints. The average Market Clearing Price (MCP) for the month at Rs 4.08 per unit was almost same as in September, 2017 and 66 percent higher over Rs 2.46 per unit in October, 2016, the IEX said. According to the IEX, a total volume of 4,079 MU (million unit) was cleared, almost same as trade volume of September and about 13 percent more over 3,609 MU traded in October, 2016. On a daily average basis about 132 MU were traded. With average daily sell bids at 169 MU against buy bids at 179 MU, the market largely remained a deficit market. The total sell bids during the month were 5,248 MU and the total buy bids were 5,535 MU.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Haryana Power distribution utility gears up for winter maintenance

    November 2, 2017. Power distribution company Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) is scaling up its maintenance drive across the city as winter draws closer. The discom staff is all set to upgrade transformers, prune trees and fix snapped lines. DHBVN carries out maintenance work around the year, but it is scaled up during the monsoon and winter seasons. DHBVN said maintenance work would be undertaken across the city in the coming days to ensure the system is in order before summer. This year, DHBVN recorded the highest power demand in Gurgaon at 288 lakh units on June 5.

    Source: The Economic Times

    State seeks Rs 11 bn from Centre for power connections

    November 1, 2017. The state energy department is to submit within a week a detailed project report to the Centre to seek Rs 1100 crore for providing household electricity connections under Saubhagya scheme that envisages payment of power installation charges to every household in 60:40 ratio by the Centre and state, respectively. The Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana or Saubhagya scheme launched by PM Narendra Modi on September 25 aims at providing electricity connections to over 4 crore families in rural and urban areas by December 2018. State energy department has already provided meter-based electricity supply to more than 13 lakh households till date under Mukhya Mantri Vidyut Sambandh Yojana, commonly known as Har Ghar Bijli scheme, which was launched by CM Nitish Kumar on November 15 last year. The state has allocated Rs 1,896 crore for providing electricity to 35 lakh APL (above poverty line) households under the scheme. The beneficiaries under Har Ghar Bijli scheme are required to pay Rs 2,200 in 10 easy instalments for electricity connection. However, Saubhagya scheme envisages payment of power installation charges to every household by the Centre and state in 60:40. The scheme also stipulates that Centre would pay 75% of the cost to those states which achieve the desired targets on or before time. Energy department said the state is most likely to be benefited by the incentive as it is set to achieve 100% electrification by December 2018.

    Source: The Times of India

    NATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    Bihar University develops solar tree for irrigation in areas sans power

    November 7, 2017. Rajendra Prasad Central Agriculture University (RAU), Pusa (Samastipur), has developed ‘solar tree’ for irrigation in areas where there is no electricity and farmers are forced to use diesel pumping sets, especially in diara areas. Scientist SK Jain, who has developed the ‘solar tree’ said, recently, five such solar trees were installed in Dhab areas of river Burhi Gandak at the university’s farm. Jain said that the solar trees, which have attractive design and about 20 % more efficiency, have another advantage as almost no land is required for hoisting the solar panels, while normal installation of 1 KW capacity gen set requires minimum 10 square meter area. It also reduces the threat of intentional damage to the solar panels for which farmers are generally afraid of.

    Source: The Economic Times

    India’s effort in renewable energy led to drop in solar price: US Senator

    November 7, 2017. India’s massive effort towards renewable energy has resulted in considerable drop in solar price and the country now believes that the solar power is cheaper than coal without subsidy, US (United States) lawmakers have been told. Influential Senator Jeff Merkley said during the hearing on Energy and International Development that because of India’s effort in renewable energy there has been a considerable drop in solar price. He referred to his conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the transition.

    Source: The Indian Express

    As Delhi gasps, odd-even rule may be reimposed

    November 7, 2017. Delhi’s air quality, famously poor, has worsened in the last two days, making the clamour for closure of schools and cancellation of high-profile sporting events louder. Given the severe pollution levels, even the odd-even traffic scheme may be brought back, if the air quality does not improve, the State government would consider bringing back the traffic rule in winter in an attempt to curb pollution levels. The Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) has recommended that parking fees in the city be quadrupled in an effort to discourage the use of private vehicles. The Authority also directed that all measures laid out in the ‘severe’ category of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) be imposed. Under the action plan, which was notified earlier this year, the odd-even scheme is to be introduced once the air quality hits the “severe” level, which Delhi has now crossed. Further, entry of trucks into Delhi (except essential commodities) is to be stopped and all construction activities need to be halted immediately, according to the plan. Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said that cost-effective measures are crucial as pollution control would require sustained work over a long period. The air quality, across nine monitoring centres, has stayed at “hazardous” levels — well above the hazardous level cut-off of 300. In some parts of Delhi, the Air Quality Index (AQI) stood at an astounding 900. The acceptable range for “good” air quality is below 50, while an AQI between 50 and 100 is considered to be moderate. According to the BLK Super Speciality Hospital, the inflow of patients with breathing trouble has shot up 50 percent since Diwali, when pollution levels increased. The Indian Medical Association has recommended that schools be closed till the air quality normalises. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has also sought closure of schools.

    Source: The Hindu Business Line

    Coimbatore goes green, to set up two solar power plants at Rs 55 mn each

    November 7, 2017. The city corporation plans to tap solar energy to bring down its electricity bills by setting up two plants of one megawatt capacity each at Ukkadam and Kavundampalayam. Tenders for the project were floated. The panels will be set up on a 10-acres land at a cost of Rs 5.5 crore each. As per the data available for 2015-2016, the civic body consumes 4.47 million units at its office buildings, 9.16 million units at the sewage treatment plants at Ukkadam and Ondipudur and water treatment and pumping stations at Velliangadu and Pillur. Another 46.37 million units are consumed by streetlights. The two solar panels are expected to produce 4,000 units each per day. About 6,000-6,800 panels, each of which will produced between 300-320 watts, will be installed. As per corporation, this was the first time in Tamil Nadu that an urban local body is setting up solar panels to generate electricity. The corporation pays nearly Rs 1 crore for pumping and treatment of drinking water at Pillur and Velliangaadu. Also, another Rs 30 lakh is spent for paying electricity bills of the treatment plants. The project was announced in 2014, but could not be taken up due to funds crunch. Later, it was added in the smart city project. It will be completed within four months once the contractor is finalised, the corporation said.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Gujarat High Court clears decks for state’s first wind power auction

    November 7, 2017. The Gujarat High Court dismissed a petition opposing the holding of the state’s first wind auction. The auction had been opposed by the Indian Wind Energy Association on the grounds that the guidelines governing such auctions had not yet been announced by the Centre and thus holding it contravened Section 62 of the Electricity Act, 2003. The Gujarat High Court then passed an interim order on October 24, restraining Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL) from holding the auction. Following the October court order, the last date for filing techno-commercial bids, which have to pass muster before developers are allowed to participate in the actual price auction, had been postponed to November 7. GUVNL confirmed that the last day would now remain unchanged. Date for the actual auction is yet to be announced. GUVNL had first announced this auction of 500 MW of wind projects, along with 500 MW of solar projects, in mid-June and had intended to hold them on successive days in mid-July.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Delhi to source 1 GW solar power by 2019

    November 4, 2017. By 2019, Delhi would have over 1,000 MW of clean energy, lessening the burden on fossil fuel, Power Minister Satyendar Jain said. Jain said after six months of deliberations, all three distribution companies (discoms) and the power ministry have agreed in principle to switch to green energy. Jain also said that his department has approved subsidies for solar pumps for Delhi farmers. Central PSU Solar Energy Corp of India is the nodal agency and would be in charge of the tender process over the next three months. The solar panels, though, would be set up elsewhere in the country; Delhi would only buy the power generated. Industry experts said that Delhi currently sources around 100MW of its total power demand from solar generation units through PTAs and net metering by users. A reduction in input costs for solar power has facilitated the move. The ministry estimates this solar power to cost about Rs 3 per unit, lower than conventional energy that costs on an average Rs 5.5. Jain announced that the power ministry has given in-principle nod for providing additional subsidy to Delhi's farmers for installing solar pumps to lower their costs. Currently, several thousand agricultural connections are being used for boring work. Most of these agricultural connections are in north and west Delhi.

    Source: The Times of India

    IIT-Roorkee researchers find low-cost biofuel production method

    November 4, 2017. Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee have come up with a new low-cost method for production of biofuels. The research team led by Richa Katiyar, Centre for Transportation Systems and B R Gurjar, Department of Civil Engineering and Centre for Transportation Systems, IIT, Roorkee, has used the algal-based crude glycerol, which is a low-cost organic carbon source and the main by-product of the biodiesel production process. Crude glycerol works as a media feedstock for the cultivation of microalgae, thereby reducing the cost of the substrate to a negligible point. The research has shown that the use of the crude glycerol has caused the enhancement in total lipid accumulation in the algal cells. The various analyses and testing post-production of biodiesel using this method have shown better quantity and quality of the fuel and the fuel thus produced was also comparable to the existing vehicular fuel standards. Microalgae are considered as one of the superior resources for the production of biodiesel due to its ability to produce higher biomass and accumulate more lipids, which are the target material for biodiesel production.

    Source: Business Standard

    Tax quibble stalls India solar cargoes, delaying projects

    November 3, 2017. Several solar projects in India are facing delays and inflated costs as customs officials have blocked more than 900 containers of panel shipments for more than a month by demanding higher import duties. Officials clearing import shipments at the Port of Chennai in South India are classifying solar panels as motors, which attract 7.5 percent import duty as opposed to zero on solar modules, Hero Future Energies Ltd Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sunil Jain said. A 30 MW shipment of Hero Future was cleared after paying higher duties, he said.

    Source: Bloomberg

    Private investment can help India reduce 35 percent greenhouse gas emissions: IFC

    November 2, 2017. India is on track to meet its climate targets, including reducing the greenhouse gas emissions by up to 35 percent by 2030, by channelling trillions of dollars in private investments through a combination of policy reforms and innovative business models, a report by International Finance Corp (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, said. The report titled 'Creating Markets for Climate Business: An IFC Climate Investment Opportunities' identifies seven industry sectors that can make a crucial difference in catalysing private investment - renewable energy, off-grid solar and energy storage, agribusiness, green buildings, urban transportation, water, and urban waste management. India's target, submitted as part of the Paris Climate Agreement, envisages a reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions intensity by up to 35 percent by 2030. This presents the country as an attractive, and emerging market for climate business and will accelerate the market for climate-friendly solutions, it said. India's success in creating markets for solar power, estimated at more than 13 GW in capacity in 2017, has led the government to expand its National Solar Mission. The new target of 175 GW of installed solar energy by 2022 is five times the original target. Similarly, India has now become the world's fourth largest wind power generator, with a target to install 60 GW by 2022. The government also recently announced a commitment to end the sale of gasoline-powered cars by 2030. Additionally, India is leading the market, along with China, in grid-tied renewables with nearly half of new capacity added. The country leads the off-grid solar market, with over 3 million systems sold in 2016. It is also anticipated that rooftop solar for residential and commercial consumers, is set to grow in key emerging markets including India. In India, IFC has invested about $1.2 billion in climate-friendly projects through direct investments, in the last five years.

    Source: Business Standard

    EESL secures $454 mn funding from Global Environment Facility

    November 2, 2017. In a boost to India’s efforts to transition to a low-carbon economy, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) will provide $454 million in funding for energy-efficiency projects run by state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL). This funding by the GEF, an international partnership of 183 countries, United Nations agencies, multilateral development banks, and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), will help EESL’s projects mitigate 60 million tonnes (mt) of carbon dioxide emissions. India is among the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change. The funding will be utilised for EESL’s programmes for street lighting, domestic lighting, five-star rated ceiling fans and agricultural pumps and also help diversify its portfolio. The energy-efficiency market in India is estimated at $22.81 billion. India, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the United States and China, plans to reduce its carbon footprint by 33-35% from its 2005 levels by 2030, as part of its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted by 195 countries in Paris in 2015. EESL, promoted by public sector firms in the energy sector—NTPC Ltd, Rural Electrification Corp Ltd, Power Finance Corp Ltd and Power Grid Corp of India Ltd—is leading India’s energy efficiency programme seeking to reduce carbon emissions as part of its climate change goals.

    Source: Livemint

    Ghaziabad waste will be sent to Hapur energy plant

    November 2, 2017. Over 200 tonnes of municipal solid waste will be transported daily by Ghaziabad Municipal Corp (GMC) to the neighbouring Hapur district to be used in a waste-to-energy conversion plant. The GMC has entered into an agreement with the operator of the 6 MW plant before the model code of conduct for urban local body polls were notified by state election commission. The plant is located in Pilakhuwa town of Hapur and GMC is likely to commence transportation of solid waste to it from next week. The move is part of GMC's effort to streamline the solid waste management system in the city. A set of 80 vans had been flagged off by the GMC for door-to-door collection of municipal solid waste. The municipal corporation will pay a processing fee of Rs 184 per tonne to the waste-to-energy plant for converting solid waste generated in Ghaziabad into electrical energy.

    Source: The Times of India

    Kudankulam 2nd unit may restart mid-November

    November 1, 2017. The restarting of the second 1,000 MW nuclear power unit at Kudankulam belonging to Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd is expected to happen during November second week, S.V. Jinna, Site Director, Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) said. He also said some of the equipments for the upcoming third and fourth units at Kudankulam has arrived from Russia. The mega nuclear power plant was shut down on August 4, due to hydrogen concentration in the stator. Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district has two 1,000 MW nuclear power plants, built with Russian equipment. Two more units -- third and fourth -- of similar size are being built at Kudankulam. According to Jinna, construction work is going on for the third and fourth units.

    Source: Business Standard

    Government thrust on renewables cooling: Solar stakeholders

    November 1, 2017. Though India was a major inspiration behind the formation of the Gurugram-headquartered International Solar Alliance, the government's earlier thrust on renewable energy seems to have abated, stakeholders said. One indicator was the government's emphasis on coal-fired power plants in its latest Economic Survey brought about by the finance ministry. Having first announced that solar would be in the 18 percent tax slab, the GST Council later lowered the rate and clarified that all solar equipment and parts would attract five percent GST. Solar was previously in the exempt category. Besides, unlike the equipment makers, solar power developers like SunSource cannot avail the benefit of input credit for the tax paid under GST, SunSource Energy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Adarsh Das said. Gaurav Mathur, the India sales head of Chinese module manufacturing giant Trinasolar, spoke of the lack of clarity surrounding smaller components such as cables, meters and the steel structures that go into a solar project. Norwegian solar panel multinational REC's India head Rohit Kumar said anti-dumping measures recommended three years earlier had been rejected by the finance ministry on the ground that the local industry lacked the capacity to meet the government's target of achieving 100 GW solar capacity by 2022. Few companies in India are currently manufacturing solar cells, according to Trinasolar, which makes the largest cumulative shipments worldwide, and has supplied equipment for 3 GW capacity in India. The solar stakeholders said that with the sharp fall in solar and wind tariffs, as well as in equipment costs, government incentives had dried up.

    Source: The Economic Times

    INTERNATIONAL: OIL

    BP joins Shell in helping Mexico execute oil hedge

    November 7, 2017. BP helped Mexico execute its 2018 oil hedge, the biggest in the industry, becoming the second major after Shell to participate in the highly coveted program and challenging the traditional role of banks in the operation. BP has become a participant of the 2018 program on which Mexico spent some $1.26 billion to hedge its 2018 oil exports against oil price falls as part of government’s efforts to stabilize its budget.

    Source: Reuters

    Taiwan's Formosa Petrochemical offers 2018 jet fuel, diesel term

    November 6, 2017. Taiwan’s Formosa Petrochemical Corp has offered 2.1 million barrels of jet fuel and diesel for 2018 term contracts, tender documents showed. The company has offered four cargoes of 300,000 barrels each for delivery over January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018, the documents showed. It has also offered three cargoes of 300,000 barrels each of 10 parts per million sulfur diesel for delivery in the second, third and fourth quarters of next year. Both tenders close on November 9, with bids to remain valid until November 24.

    Source: Reuters

    UAE's ADNOC to launch fuel retail business stake sale in December

    November 5, 2017. United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) plans to launch a share sale of a stake in its network of fuel service stations and retail convenience stores in December. The listing for ADNOC Distribution, which manages petrol stations and convenience stores across the UAE, comes as Abu Dhabi and other Gulf states seek to privatize energy assets as revenues are squeezed by lower oil prices.

    Source: Reuters

    Russia, Saudi Arabia ready for more work to cut global oil inventory

    November 4, 2017. Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are ready to do more work to reduce global oil inventories, the Russian energy ministry said. Russia and Saudi Arabia are leading a deal between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to cut global oil production, with the aim of propping up oil prices. OPEC, Russia and other oil producers are due to meet at the end of November in Vienna to decide whether to extend the current supply-cut pact. According to the ministry, the formerly Soviet state Turkmenistan will take part at the meeting as an observer. Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih said after the meeting that more work was needed to cut inventories.

    Source: Reuters

    Pemex makes Mexico's biggest onshore oil find in 15 yrs

    November 4, 2017. Mexico’s national oil company Pemex has made its biggest onshore oil discovery in 15 years with a find in the eastern state of Veracruz, President Enrique Pena Nieto said. Pena Nieto said Pemex made the discovery by drilling its onshore Ixachi well, near the municipality of Cosamaloapan, and that the overall field is believed to hold some 350 million barrels of proven, probable and possible reserves. Pena Nieto, who pushed through Congress a sweeping energy reform in 2013 that ended Pemex’ decades-long monopoly, made the announcement at the company’s Tula refinery. The light oil field should begin producing by the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019, Pemex Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya said. The area near the discovery is located where infrastructure already exists which should allow for quicker development, Pemex said.

    Source: Reuters

    Weak US demand for Basra crude wipes out premium for Iraq's oil

    November 3, 2017. Iraqi Basra crude oil in November has sold at the widest discounts to official prices in more than a year, with cargoes that backed up after hurricanes hit the United States (US) Gulf Coast facing competition from Mexican crude, traders said. The drop in US demand for Iraqi oil may impede the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ second-largest producer’s effort to increase exports from the southern port of Basra to make up for a shortfall from the north. Basra crude shipments have been backed up after four hurricanes disrupted arrivals in the US Gulf between August and October. More than 22 million barrels of Basra crude were due to land in the United States in each of October and November, trade flow data showed.

    Source: Reuters

    Shell shelves plan to close Convent gasoline unit in 2018

    November 2, 2017. Royal Dutch Shell Plc has shelved a plan to permanently close the gasoline-producing unit at its 227,586 barrel per day (bpd) Convent, Louisiana, oil refinery in early 2018, the company said. Shell has decided to overhaul the 92,000 bpd gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) next year, extending its production for at least four to five years, the company said.

    Source: Reuters

    Iraq's October southern port oil exports 3.3 mn bpd: Oil ministry

    November 2, 2017. Iraq’s October crude exports from its southern ports rose to an average of 3.348 million barrels per day (bpd), up by about 100,000 bpd from September, the oil ministry said. Iraq has increased shipments from its ports on the Gulf to make up for a shortfall from its northern Kirkuk fields, the oil ministry and oil marketing company SOMO said. The volume announced by the oil ministry only covers crude sold by SOMO and not that sold by the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq. Iraq said it was increasing oil exports from the southern region by 200,000 bpd as output from Kirkuk fell when Iraqi forces took back control of the northern region’s oilfields from Kurdish fighters who had been there since 2014. Until these shutdowns, the northern oil region exported about 530,000 bpd, of which about half came from the KRG and the rest from Kirkuk, a disputed province claimed by both the Kurds and Iraqi authorities in Baghdad.

    Source: Reuters

    Russian oil output rises in October after maintenance at Pacific fields

    November 2, 2017. Russian oil output edged up to 10.93 million barrels per day (bpd) in October from a yearly low of 10.91 million bpd in September and August, energy ministry data showed, following the completion of maintenance at Pacific fields. In tonnes, oil output reached 46.23 million versus 44.639 million in September, but Russia remains in compliance with a global deal aimed at cutting oil production in order to reduce excessive inventories and support oil prices. Russian oil pipeline exports in October rose to 4.627 million bpd from 4.302 million bpd in September.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: GAS

    US cuts natural gas 2017 output growth forecast, raises 2018 outlook

    November 7, 2017. US (United States) natural gas production growth is expected to surge in 2018, after rising more modestly in 2017, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said. US dry natural gas production was forecast to rise to 73.45 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in 2017 from 72.85 bcfd in 2016, according to the EIA’s Short Term Energy Outlook. The latest November output projection was a little lower than EIA’s 73.63-bcfd forecast in October and falls short of the record high 74.14 bcfd produced on average in 2015. The EIA also projected natural gas production would rise to 78.90 bcfd in 2018, up from a forecast of 78.49 bcfd issued in October. Total gas consumption in the US is likely to fall slightly in 2017 to 73.06 bcfd from 75.1 bcfd a year earlier. Total consumption is expected to rebound in 2018 to 76.83 bcfd. However, natural gas usage in US homes is expected to grow in both years, rising slightly to 11.90 bcfd in 2017 and climbing to 12.89 the following year.

    Source: Reuters

    Egypt to award 12-cargo LNG tender to Gas Natural Fenosa, Swiss traders

    November 6, 2017. Egypt is expected to award its 12-cargo liquefied natural gas (LNG) tender to Spain’s Gas Natural Fenosa and three Swiss-based trading houses for supplies in the first quarter of 2018, traders said. The final allocation may change but traders currently expect Egyptian Natural Gas Holding (EGAS) to award the Spanish gas company five shipments, trader Trafigura to supply three, Vitol three and Glencore one. EGAS is seeking to bring in nine of the cargoes via Egypt’s two floating import terminals and three cargoes through a Jordanian terminal.

    Source: Reuters

    Dutch Council of State to rule on Groningen gas production November 15

    November 6, 2017. The Dutch Council of State, the country's top administrative court, said it will rule on November 15 on whether to uphold the government’s current plan for gas production at the Groningen gas field. The plan to lower production to 21.6 billion cubic meters per year beginning in October has been challenged by both environmental groups, who want the figure lowered, and the field’s operator, a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil.

    Source: Reuters

    CNPC plans to cut gas supplies to industrial users

    November 6, 2017. China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) plans to reduce natural gas supplies to industrial users as it expects shortages this winter after millions of residential households were switched to gas for heating under a government program to reduce pollution. CNPC, one of China’s top three gas producers, said it will cut supplies to industrial clients by a range of 3 percent to 10 percent. CNPC expects a 12-percent jump in gas consumption from a year ago because of the residential switch. The company will also try to increase imports from Central Asian countries, such as Kazakhstan. Analysts expect Kazakhstan to supply 1 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas before the end of the year as part of a supply deal through the Central Asia-China pipeline network operated by CNPC and local partners. CNPC said it can only provide about 76.5 bcm of gas even if it runs its gas fields and LNG terminals at full capacity and fully stocks its underground storage. This is below its expected current demand of 81.3 bcm. CNPC is the first natural gas producer to reduce supplies as China faces a potential supply crisis after the central government switched millions of residents to gas heating rather than coal this winter. Spot Asian gas prices have risen above oil-indexed cargoes as energy providers scramble to avoid a looming winter crunch. Under the new rules, residential users will have priority over industrial users in cases of supply curtailments.

    Source: Reuters

    Turkmenistan considers shipping gas through Russia to Europe

    November 2, 2017. Turkmenistan may ship natural gas to Eastern Europe through Russia, state energy firm Turkmengas Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Myrat Archayev, after Moscow stopped buying gas from the Central Asian nation. Russia’s halt on imports of its energy has effectively left Turkmenistan with China as the only buyer of its gas, straining its economy due to a drop in hard currency revenue. Turkmenistan produces about 70 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas a year and Russia used to buy up to 40 bcm of that. Last year, however, Turkmen exports were just 37.3 bcm, of which 29.4 bcm went to China.

    Source: Reuters

    Japan's Osaka Gas plans resales of 3 mt of LNG by 2020

    November 1, 2017. Japan’s Osaka Gas plans to raise its resales of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to third parties to 3 million tonnes (mt) a year by 2020, President Takehiro Honjo said, a move that would create more liquidity to Asia’s emerging natural gas markets. Most Asian LNG is supplied under fixed term contracts that include destination clauses that do not allow an importer to re-sell cargoes. But amid an abundance of supply that has emerged over the last two years, LNG producers have come under increasing pressure to allow the fuel to be traded more freely. Osaka Gas, Japan’s second-biggest city gas supplier, started reselling LNG in 2006 as one of a few buyers able to do so, and it has been pushing to increase its resale volumes. It sold 1.1 million tonnes of LNG to third parties in the year ended March 31, 2017, the company said. Osaka Gas is one of two Japanese companies that have signed a 20 year liquefaction tolling agreement to process about 2.3 million tonnes of LNG a year each from Freeport’s first unit. The other is Chubu Electric, which has passed its Freeport offtake to the JERA Co joint venture it has with Tokyo Electric Power. Honjo said Osaka Gas has not yet set specific volumes of Freeport LNG to be brought into Japan, but it expects the ratio of destination-free LNG volumes in its overall portfolio to double to around 40 percent in 2020, up from 20 percent now. Osaka Gas currently has a fleet of eight LNG tankers and said it plans to add at least one more by about 2020.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: COAL

    China's Shanxi province sells rights for 10 CBM blocks

    November 5, 2017. China’s Shanxi province has sold mining rights for 10 coal-bed methane (CBM) blocks, the first such deal after the government’s decision this year to use auctions as primary means for distributing rights. Seven regional firms obtained the rights to the blocks, estimated to contain a combined total of 430 billion cubic meters’ worth of coalbed methane, but did not say how much the rights were sold for. Shanxi has 8.3 trillion cubic meters of CBM assets, accounting for one-third of the nation’s reserves.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: POWER

    Enel wins 54 percent of Chile's 2024-2043 power auction

    November 6, 2017. Italian energy group Enel has been awarded the lion's share in a tender (Licitación de Suministro Eléctrico) launched by the Chilean National Energy Commission (Comisión Nacional de Energía) to supply 2.2 terawatt hour (TWh) of power to Chilean distribution companies to meet the energy demand of their regulated customers over the 2024-2043 period. Enel won 54% of the offered volume (1.18 TWh) at an average price of $34.7/megawatt hour (MWh).

    Source: Enerdata

    Vattenfall sets up a new power network operations business unit in the United Kingdom

    November 6, 2017. Swedish power group Vattenfall has created a new electricity networks business unit in the United Kingdom. The new subsidiary, Vattenfall Networks, is expected to start operations in 2018 and will support Vattenfall's investments and expansion in the British electricity market. The British energy regulator Ofgem has granted the electricity distribution operating license for the company. This marks the first step for the establishment of a new independent power distribution network. Vattenfall already has experience in operating power networks and in particular smart meters.

    Source: Enerdata

    Bangladeshi firm signs deal with Germany's Siemens to produce electricity

    November 5, 2017. A state-run Bangladeshi power generation company has signed a deal with Germany’s Siemens AG to boost its electricity production by more than 20 percent to help support the country’s economic development. North-West Power Generation Company Limited (NWPGCL) of Bangladesh said the project would be implemented in three phases and completed by 2021. It aims to produce 3,600 MW of electricity. The project will be set up in Payra of southern Patuakhali district, 320 kilometre from (200 miles) Dhaka and from there power will be transmitted to the capital. At present Bangladesh has only 12.68 trillion cubic feet of gas and it will be exhausted by 2030 if no new gas fields are discovered and the consumption rate remains at the present level. At present Bangladesh has the theoretical capacity to produce power of up to 15,000 MW but it produces a maximum of 10,000. It cannot produce to the optimum level of capacity due to a lack of natural gas and the fact that some plants need upgrade work. About 81 percent people of 160 million population in Bangladesh have access to power.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    France postpones target for cutting nuclear share of power production

    November 7, 2017. The French government has postponed a long-held target to reduce the share of nuclear energy in the country’s power production after grid operator RTE warned it risked supply shortages after 2020 and could miss a goal to curb carbon emissions. Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot said it was not realistic to cut nuclear energy’s share of electricity production to 50 percent by 2025 from 75 percent now and that doing so in a hurry would increase France’s CO2 emissions, endanger the security of power supply and put jobs at risk. He later said the government would be working towards a 2030 to 2035 timeframe. Hulot said that while there was a delay, the government would in a year’s time have a clear programme on which reactors to close and when. In 2015, the previous government of Socialist Francois Hollande passed an energy transition law setting out the 50 percent target by 2025. But Hollande took no concrete steps towards closing any reactors. Centrist President Emmanuel Macron, elected in May, had promised to keep the target and Hulot, France’s best-known environmentalist, said in July it might have to close up to 17 of its 58 reactors by 2025 to achieve it. RTE said in its 2017-2035 Electricity Outlook that if France went ahead with plans to simultaneously shut down four 40-year-old nuclear reactors and all its coal-fired plants as planned, there could be risks of power supply shortages. For this winter, RTE said electricity demand was expected to be stable, although unplanned nuclear reactor outages and a prolonged cold spell could squeeze supply. Concerns that nuclear-reliant France could face tight supplies similar to last year have contributed to wholesale power prices touching new highs in recent weeks, as utility EDF announced delays in the restart of several reactors for safety and regulatory reasons.

    Source: Reuters

    EU at impasse before final push to clinch carbon market reform

    November 7, 2017. EU (European Union) negotiators are split over the uses of a new clean technology fund ahead of talks on carbon market reforms, with the bloc keen for a deal this week to show leadership at UN (United Nations) climate talks in Bonn. The last round of talks between EU nations, the European Parliament and the EU executive to finalize reforms to the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) post-2020 broke down over the issue in October, and the negotiators remain divided. The cap-and-trade system is the EU’s flagship tool for reducing greenhouse gases and meeting its climate goals by regulating emissions at some 12,000 industrial and power installations. But it has suffered from a glut of permits, giving added political urgency to the push for reform. The 28-nation bloc hopes to show climate leadership during the UN talks aimed at finding ways to implement the 2015 Paris accord it helped broker on shifting the world economy away from fossil fuels this century.

    Source: Reuters

    Hungary to tap Russian loan to finance Paks nuclear costs

    November 7, 2017. Hungary will first tap a Russian loan to finance initial expenditure worth about €98 million ($113.36 million) related to the expansion of its Paks nuclear power plant, State Secretary Attila Aszodi said. Russian company Rosatom will build two nuclear reactors in Hungary in a €12.5 billion project that has been delayed by at least a year as Hungary ironed out regulatory and financing issues with European regulators. Aszodi said Hungary would use the funds to pay 10 invoices submitted by main contractors, with the loan covering 80 percent of expenses and Hungary financing the rest using own funds.

    Source: Reuters

    HSBC pledges $100 bn of finance by 2025 to combat climate change

    November 6, 2017. HSBC has pledged to provide $100 billion in financing and investment by 2025 to help combat climate change, the bank said. HSBC said it will facilitate financial flows to help boost support for clean energy and lower carbon technologies. Over recent years, HSBC has helped develop standards for issuers of green bonds and has issued its own €500 million ($580 million) green bond.

    Source: Reuters

    US tax proposal puts investment at risk: Wind turbine makers

    November 3, 2017. The world’s largest wind turbine makers said a proposed Republican tax bill that would cut support for the industry in the United States (US) would put its businesses and future investment at risk, in a rare public criticism of government proposals. Equipment makers operating in the world’s second-largest wind turbine market have relied upon so-called production tax credits agreed in 2015. Shares in Denmark’s Vestas, the world’s largest maker of wind turbines fell as much as 12 percent, due to its large exposure to the US market, where it overtook GE last year in installed capacity. The tax credit scheme was considered critical to enabling wind projects to compete with fossil fuel plants and the wind energy industry has said the proposed cuts put $50 billion in planned investment at risk. The planned legislative step comes after long-standing industry concerns that Trump might curb support for renewable energy to promote coal and other fossil fuels instead.

    Source: Reuters

    Exxon quietly researching hundreds of green projects

    November 3, 2017. One of the world’s biggest oil companies is working on hundreds of low-carbon energy projects, from algae engineered to bloom into biofuels and cells that turn emissions into electricity. The work by Exxon Mobil Corp includes research on environmentally-friendly technologies in five to 10 key areas, according to Vice President of Research and Development Vijay Swarup. While any commercial breakthrough is at least a decade away, Exxon’s support for clean energy suggests the world’s most valuable publicly-traded oil company is looking toward the possibility of a future where fossil fuels are less dominant. While Exxon has discussed some of its research before and runs advertisements about its work in algae, the remarks from Swarup are the first indication of the breadth of the oil company’s interests in alternative energies. It’s part of the $1 billion a year Exxon spends on research worldwide and the $8 billion it has spent since 2000 researching, developing and deploying low-carbon technologies. Exxon didn’t disclose the exact amount it’s spending on the green technologies. The broader investments it has made since the beginning of the century also include things like managing methane emissions from oil wells, on co-generation and on making its plants more efficient. The company joins a growing list of oil majors hedging against the wider adoption of renewables, which could displace some 8 million barrels of crude demand a day.

    Source: Bloomberg

    South Korea may consider filing WTO complaint over US solar tariffs

    November 2, 2017. South Korea’s trade ministry said it may consider filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) in response to US (United States) solar panel import restrictions. The ministry said that it will take all available measures and weigh the possibility of taking the case to the WTO once a detailed report from the US International Trade Commission (ITC) is released on November 13. The move came as the ITC made three different recommendations for restricting solar cell and panel imports including an immediate 35 percent tariff on all imported panels. Last year, South Korean solar power equipment manufacturers including Hanwha Q CELLS Co Ltd exported about $1.3 billion worth of solar cells and modules to the US, making up 15.6 percent of the US solar market, the ministry said.

    Source: Reuters

    DATA INSIGHT

    Installed Capacity & Crude Processing by Refineries in India

    Refinery-wise Installed Capacity (as on April 2017)

    Source: Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell

     


    Publisher: Baljit Kapoor

    Editorial Adviser: Lydia Powell

    Editor: Akhilesh Sati

    Content Development: Vinod Kumar Tomar

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