Energy News Monitor | Volume XIV; Issue 23

     ENM, Energy Monitor, November, LPG, LNG, Solar Energy, Wind Power
    Source: Daniel Parks

    Coal News Commentary: October - November 2017

    India

    A mid complaints from thermal power plants over inadequate supply of fuel, CIL reported that it has produced 278.01 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 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. The power ministry said coal situation at power plants is “much better” and dry fuel stocks have started building up at the stations. 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. Despite efforts of state and central governments, the coal stock position in power plants of the state remains alarming. Not a single power plant in the state that supplies power to MSEDCL has adequate coal stock. Any disruption at the mines or in railways will see return of load shedding. Ideally, a plant should have over 14 days’ coal stock to ensure that generation is not affected even if there is a major disruption at mines or in railway traffic. Among MSEDCL’s suppliers, Parli plant of MAHAGENCO has the maximum stock equivalent to 9.5 days of its daily coal consumption. In order to avoid load shedding in the state, MAHAGENCO is generating at full capacity unmindful of the stock. However, any reduction in supply due to a variety of reasons will force the company to reduce production.

    In the backdrop of robust demand for coal, the government has asked CIL to ramp up the production and dispatch to 2 mt/day against around 1.6 mt at present. The direction to CIL comes at a time when the power plants in the country have low fuel stocks. The dispatch of coal to the power sector in the month of August has been 14.4 percent higher compared to the same month last year, and 22 percent higher in September as against the same month last year. In view of increased demand for coal the government has also asked CIL to liquidate its stock at pithead and bring it down to nil from present 30 mt. In order to liquidate the old stock CIL is dispatching vigorously. Rajasthan Urja Vikas Nigam had said 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.

    The coal ministry has drafted a coal supply augmentation plan to supply 730,000 tonne of fuel on a priority basis to multiple states in a bid to tackle shortages at thermal power plants. As per the plan, it has been decided to supply 220,000 tonne coal to Uttar Pradesh, 129,000 tonne coal to Madhya Pradesh, 56,000 tonne to Gujarat, 52,000 tonne to Rajasthan, 187,000 tonne to Maharashtra and 84,000 tonne coal to Tamil Nadu on a daily basis. Many states have recently complained of coal shortages leading to disrupted power supply. Following a review meeting last month, the ministry had decided to increase coal loading through railway rakes to 250 rakes per day by CIL of which 225 rakes per day were to be supplied to the power sector. Heavy rain this month in the coal belt areas of the eastern parts of the country which had an impact on production at CIL subsidiaries BCCL, ECL, MCL, and CCL. The overall loading of railway rakes stood at 214.6 per day in the current calendar year so far, 4 percent higher than the loading during the same period last year. In October, the average loading has increased to 209 rakes per day as compared to 173 rakes in October last year. Also, the power sector’s share in coal loading has grown to 94.6 percent in the current month as compared to 82.8 percent in October 2016. The power ministry had said it is coordinating with its coal and railways counterparts to address the issue of temporary shortages due to the rise in demand for thermal power.

    From a comfortable position, the Tamil Nadu power situation has suddenly turned precarious due to hot and humid weather this time of the year. Coal shortage and shutdown of unit 2 of Kudankulam along with a unit in Vallur plant have disrupted supply, which had been smooth until a month or two ago. Residents in Chennai have been complaining of unscheduled outages. Wind power generation has ground to a halt and there is coal stock only for three days for the state's thermal power units against the normal stock position of 30 days. Unit one of Kudankulam is functioning only at 50% capacity.  Despite both the units being commissioned two years ago, the nuclear units at Kudankulam reactor have not touched maximum capacity generation of 1000 MW each. The unit 2 will generate power continuously, provided there is no problem for three months. From February next year, the unit will be shut down for annual maintenance.

    Fuel supply to power stations from CIL's mines has risen 17% in September to 32 mt from 27.4 mt in the year-ago period as the government scrambled to meet spike in demand as a result of thermal power stations stepping up operations to meet shortfall from other sources. According to the coal ministry, CIL's supplies to power stations was 6.8% higher at 205.5 mt in the April-September period than the previous corresponding period. CIL is the anchor source for coal, accounting for 80% of supplies. The Dhanbad-Chandrapura railway line was shut on safety fears just when CIL was in the middle of reducing its pithead stocks by pulling back production. Next, unprecedented rains hit Central Coalfields Ltd production.

    Electricity generator MAHAGENCO said the coal stock situation is improving in Maharashtra as the companies supplying the fuel to it have overcome the monsoon calamities. Since September, due to untimely rains and shortage of coal stock with MAHAGENCO, the power production declined resulting in state distribution company Mahadiscom resorting to load shedding for almost 8-10 hours. It said the situation improved especially after a high level joint meeting. Through these measures, MAHAGENCO is in a position to increase its power generation by 800-1000 MW per day in comparison with that in previous month. Load shedding had started in Maharashtra in September due to coal shortage in thermal plants supplying power to Mahadiscom.

    Two of the biggest states in the country, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, have around 40 percent of their generation capacity under outage due to coal shortage. Data with the Central Electricity Authority says of the installed 32,973 MW in Maharashtra, 13,555 MW is under outage. In Rajasthan, 4,865 MW of the installed 11,114 MW is shut down. Barring a few under maintenance, major power plants in these states have mentioned "coal shortage" as the reason for the shutdown of the generating unit. In Rajasthan, a 250 MW unit at Chhabra, 600 MW at Kalisindh, two units of 110 MW each at Kota, 693 MW at Surtagarh and 600 MW at the Kawai TPS have indicated coal shortage on the CEA website for outage. The TPS in Maharashtra which are shut due to coal shortage are Chandrapur (720 MW), Khaparkheda (420 MW), Koradi (210 MW), Paras (2x250 MW), Amravati (3x70 MW), GMR Warora (2x300 MW), Mauda (2x500 MW) and Solapur (600 MW). Neither state's energy secretary responded to calls or SMS sent to them for comment on the coal supply shortage. Coal stocks at power plants across the country have declined to a point where they can meet the requirement for an average of only five days. The average was six days a week before.

    Karnataka has 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.

    Karnataka is said to be missing an opportunity to reduce cost of power by 84 paise per unit by ignoring the railway ministry's advice to discontinue the practice of transporting half of the coal supplies to Raichur power station by rail-cum-sea route and move the entire fuel supplies by rail. Karnataka is losing the opportunity to reduce coal cost by Rs 1,200 per tonne by sticking to the rail-cum-sea route even after augmentation of rail capacity. Karnataka had sought additional coal from the Centre and urged it to allot a captive mine in Odisha. Raichur power station is supplied coal from Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd mines in Odisha's Talcher district. The company also supplies fuel to power stations in other southern states. Because of limited capacity in southern rail routes, these states were traditionally advised to move part of coal through the costlier rail-cum-sea route, involving movement from Talcher through Paradip and Krishnapatnam ports in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, respectively. Under pressure from the Karnataka government for moving 100% supplies through rail, the Railway Board in 2014 relented and agreed to move half the supplies through rail, which is cheaper. Karnataka government has said power stations in Bellary and Raichur districts are facing shortage and have coal stock of less than a day. Besides MCL, WCL and SCCL are the main suppliers. During the first six months of this fiscal, both MCL and SCCL have met their supply commitments of 2,670,000 tonnes, but WCL has supplied about 49% of the allocated 1,163,000 tonne of coal.

    Indian railways witnessed a growth of 5.76 percent in freight earnings to Rs 81.39 billion in September after higher demand from power utilities jacked up coal loadings. Total freight earnings stood at Rs 76.95 billion in the same month last year. In a review meeting of the coal sector, the coal ministry had issued a set of directions in a bid to ramp up coal supply. The ministry had decided to increase coal loading through railway rakes to 250 rakes per day by CIL of which 225 rakes per day were to be supplied to the power sector. Coal, which accounts for 47.54 percent of the national carrier’s freight basket, saw a growth of 3.13 percent over last fiscal year. The coal loading in September stood at 42.84 mt as compared with 39.71 mt in the same period, last year. Indian railways even surpassed its monthly target in September by 0.65 percent which stood at 42.19 mt. The national carrier’s freight loading target for the current financial year stands at 1,165 mt of which the target for coal amounts to 555 mt. Fresh power ministry data shows coal based thermal power generation grew 17 percent in August after hydro power generation dipped 12 percent and nuclear power generation dropped 36 percent over the corresponding month last year.

    Gujarat’s tender to buy 1,000 MW of coal-based electricity received dismal response with only one company participating in the bid, that too with an offer to sell only 500 MW of power. State electricity department said that GMR Chattisgarh offered to sell power to the state under the ‘flexible utilisation of coal’ scheme. While the ceiling tariff for the reverse auction was kept at Rs 2.82/kWh, GMR agreed to sell electricity at Rs 2.81/kWh. The state is now awaiting the approval of the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission to complete the deal. The tender under the ‘flexible utilisation of coal’ scheme, popularly known as ‘tolling’, were invited in August — the first of its kind after the Centre introduced the scheme in May 2016 to bring some respite to 28,000 MW of thermal power plants without regular fuel supply arrangements with Coal India. Under the mechanism, Gujarat will transfer the coal allocated to power generating stations owned by GSECL to more fuel-efficient private plants. Coal-powered GSECL plants’ power-sale price range between Rs 2.92-5.42/kWh. GSECL has allocation from Korba coalfield in Chhattisgarh and Korea Rewa coal field in Madhya Pradesh in ratio of 80:20.

    The power producers are now asking for a separate index for deciding the price of coal and its transportation, because, they are claiming, they pay more than what the indices work out. The cost of coal comprises several elements before it lands at the power unit. These include taxes imposed by states, the cess imposed by the Centre and states, the coal terminal surcharge, the busy season surcharge, and the development surcharge during various demand seasons. The clean energy cess is imposed to recover the cost of investment in renewable and environment projects. The tax and surcharges on transportation are done by the railways in accordance with rake availability and seasonal demand for coal and wagons for it.  The faulty coal and transportation price escalation index, where presently 49 percent of coal costs and 21 percent of fuel transportation costs are not covered, has been leading to under-recovery to the tune of Rs 84 billion for 12,000 MW of installed generation capacity, the Association of Power Producers said. Cases on allowing such costs as pass through are pending in several courts and regulatory bodies. The power developers have asked for passing through of these charges under “change in law”. The National Tariff Policy, 2016, has laid down that any change in cost after a project has been awarded would come under the category of “change in law” and would be allowed to be passed through in the final cost of power. However, any change in power tariffs requires approval from either the state or the CERC. The CERC in an order of October last year had observed that the index for deciding the cost of coal and its transportation needed revision.

    The twin projects of the proposed transportation of coal and nationalisation of six Goan rivers came under scathing criticism at several gram sabhas across the state, as members and elected panchayat representatives unanimously adopted resolutions to oppose them. Panchayats in Goa's southern border in Loliem-Polem to Uguem in Sanguem in the east and Agarvaddo-Chopdem in the north opposed the nationalization of rivers. In some cases, like Agarvaddo, the members protested against only the nationalization but did not take up the issue of coal transportation. In Calangute, the gram sabha opposed the increase in coal handling at Mormugao and the transportation of coal as it will lead to pollution and respiratory diseases, as well as the nationalisation of rivers. Goa Against Coal said over 20 panchayats took up the twin issues at their gram sabhas and adopted resolutions, opposing the projects. The stakeholders expressed fears that nationalization of rivers would destroy the ecology in estuarine areas and displace traditional communities plying their occupations of fishing. The transportation of coal would cascade into a serious health issues, if the expansion proposals were taken up, they said.

    According to the coal ministry, CIL would be taking up clean coal technologies like coal to liquid, coal to poly-chemicals and coal to methanol in a big way.  The coal ministry has fixed four priorities for CIL -- quality, safety, environmental management and clean coal technologies. CIL would generate greater profits by better efficiency and larger volumes. Construction of washeries are to be accorded a high priority.

    The coal ministry launched a mobile application to facilitate smooth despatch of coal by road transport to customers of 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 mt in the last fiscal, 140 mt, or around 26 percent was despatched by road.

    CIL said its arm 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 201.69 billion on MCL on charges of violating environment norms and other regulations. MCL is studying the show cause notices and taking the required actions.

    International

    Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s charity gave another $64 million to a campaign that aims to slash the number of US coal-fired plants by two thirds by 2020, he said. Bloomberg Philanthropies made the donation to the Beyond Coal campaign run by non-profit Sierra Club, and other organizations fighting the burning of coal. Including this latest donation, the charity has given $110 million to Beyond Coal since 2011. The pledge was made a day after President Donald Trump’s environmental regulator announced a move to scrap former president Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan that would have reduced carbon emissions from coal plants. The Trump administration labeled the Clean Power Plan part of a “war on coal” by Obama. But Bloomberg said that since the plan has been tied up by the courts and never came into effect, the real threat to coal comes from competing power sources, such as cheap natural gas, solar, and wind power, as well as communities, local governments and companies concerned about public health. Since 2011 nearly half of the country’s coal-fired power plants, or nearly 260 plants, have been closed. Beyond Coal wants to push communities to fight coal plants which emit carbon and particulates blamed for lung and heart problems. It aims to increase closures to some two-thirds of the US coal fleet by 2020. While domestic coal use is under pressure, coal exports have risen this year amid high global demand. The Energy Information Administration, the independent statistics arm of the Department of Energy, said that US coal exports were up 62 percent from January to July, compared to the same period in 2016. But US coal-fired power plant closures have continued apace since Trump came to office in January.  According to experts this compromised the objectivity of Bloomberg new energy finance.

    China’s Shanxi province has sold mining rights for 10 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.

    China’s small coal miners are still losing money and struggling to pay off debt after being ordered to shut inefficient, outdated operations and forced to miss out on a historic price rally, China’s Coal Industry Association Vice Chairman Jiang Zhimin said. Jiang Zhimin flagged the widening gap between big state-owned coal producers and the smaller private ones in the world’s top consumer of the fuel in the wake of a crackdown by Beijing on illegal mines and curbs on coal transport by trucks. China’s coal market is expected to be balanced in the fourth quarter, he said.

    China’s Datang Corp has 28 days of coal stocks for its power plants, enough for winter consumption, the company’s general manager Chen Feihu said, brushing off concerns that utilities could not secure coal supplies for winter. That amount of supply is higher than China’s five major utilities were storing at this time last year. Overall Datang has abundant coal supplies but power plants in the three north-eastern provinces of Heilongjiang, Liaoning and Jilin still face some tightness, Chen said. Chen said Datang will build a large-size coal reserve center in Heilongjiang, to help safeguard coal supplies for the area, without giving the amount of capacity. Chen expects coal prices to return to a reasonable range as the government looks to increase coal mining capacity from mines with more advanced production technology.

    China’s state planner the NDRC said it will allow power plants to send more electricity to the grid if they sign more long-term coal supply contracts with miners in Beijing’s latest move to help calm a red-hot coal market. Long-term supply deals between utilities and coal producers will help calm volatile coal prices, the NDRC said. Coal prices remain high as utilities look to book winter supplies in the peak demand period for the fuel. The rising prices, increasing safety checks and low domestic production rates have all added to concerns that supply may tighten. The NDRC urged utilities to sign long-term purchase contracts with coal producers for next year as early as they can to secure enough supplies for this winter.

    Authorities in Shanxi, one of China’s biggest coal-producing regions, said they plan to close nine more coal mines by the end of this year, according to a post on a government website. The planned closures come after authorities in the region vowed to suspend or slow the construction of 12 mt of coal production capacity from 2016 to 2020 to battle oversupply. The closures will mean the suspension of production in mines which produced a total of 5.25 mt of coal a year, said Shanxi authorities. In May, the province said it would shut 18 collieries and cut 17 mt of coal capacity this year.

    Enel has agreed to divest its 10% stake in Indonesian coal producer Bayan Resources, held through its subsidiary Enel Investment Holding to Bayan’s controlling shareholder Low Tuck Kwong, for a consideration of $85 mn. Enel purchased a 10% stake in Bayan coal producer in August 2008, during the Initial Public Offering (IPO) resulting in the listing of the Indonesian company in the Jakarta Stock Exchange. Bayan is an Indonesian integrated coal producer. Bayan is engaged in open cut mining of various coal qualities from mines located primarily in East and South Kalimantan, Indonesia and is also working through its subsidiaries in various business sectors, including port service management, coal loading, barging, contractor and heavy equipment rentals.

    PT Adaro Energy Tbk, Indonesia’s second biggest coal miner by production, said  coal prices may be relatively stable in 2018. Coal production in Indonesia, the world’s top thermal coal exporter, is expected to increase 5 percent in 2017 and 2018 from an estimated 440 mt in 2016. Domestic consumption is expected to reach 101 mt this year. Coal is around 57 percent of the country’s energy mix, although the government wants to roughly double the share of renewable energy by 2025. Domestic and Southeast Asian coal demand was “quite strong”, but big price fluctuations in 2018 are unllikely. Adaro expected to keep its output “stable” in 2018, compared with targeted production of 52-54 mt in 2017. Adaro is developing 2,200 MW of coal-fired power plants and aims to expand that to as much as 4,000 MW of capacity within five years.

    A group of investors including buyout firm Apollo and pension fund Canada Pension Plan is bidding for coal assets put up for sale by mining giant Rio Tinto, which could fetch $2 billion. The sale, run by Credit Suisse, of the Kestrel and Hail Creek coking coal mines is part of Rio’s planned exit from Australian coal to focus on iron ore, copper and aluminium. Interested parties have been invited to submit tentative offers by a December 8 deadline. Rio Tinto has just completed the sale of its Australian Coal & Allied thermal coal unit to China-backed Yancoal Australia for $2.69 billion.

    NATIONAL: OIL

    HOEC to produce oil from Mumbai field by 2021, invest $43 mn

    November 14, 2017. Hindustan Oil Exploration Co Ltd (HOEC) has submitted a $43 million development plan to bring to production the Mumbai offshore oil field it had won in the first discovered field auction in March. HOEC is the first company out of the 31 that signed contracts for the fields won in the auction in March, to have submitted a field development plan (FDP). The B-80 block, which lies in the vicinity of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC)'s giant oil and gas fields in Mumbai offshore, is estimated to hold inplace reserves of 40 million barrels of oil and 26 billion cubic feet of gas. HOEC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) P Elango Elango said the plan envisages drilling two new offshore wells and installing a Mobile Offshore Process Unit (MOPU). The processed oil and gas will be transported by connecting to nearby oil and gas pipelines of ONGC for delivery to customers at an estimated capital investment of about $43 million over 30 months, he said. Besides B-80, HOEC is focused on raising natural gas output from its Assam fields, where commercial production started recently.

    Source: Business Standard

    L&T hydrocarbon arm wins Rs 12.7 bn contract from ONGC

    November 13, 2017. L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mumbai-based engineering giant Larsen and Tubro (L&T), announced it has bagged an offshore contract from Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) valued at Rs 1,276 crore. The subsidiary won an Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Installation and Commissioning (EPCIC) contract for balance of work for pipeline replacement project-4 from the state-run explorer, the company said.

    Source: The Economic Times

    In Karnataka, 50K families from DK district to get LPG connection

    November 12, 2017. Dakshina Kannada (DK) district will see 49,618 beneficiaries get LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections under the Mukhyamantri Anila Bhagya scheme, District Minister B Ramanath Rai said. Chairing a review meet on implementation of the scheme in the district, Rai said the administration based on a survey has identified 49,618 households that are yet to receive LPG connection. The government in the first phase will provide LPG connections to 15,888 beneficiaries. The food and civil supplies and consumer affairs ministry said a committee headed by local MLAs will select the beneficiaries for providing LPG connections. The committee will also ascertain that the beneficiaries indeed do not have LPG connections and a demand draft equivalent to the cost of obtaining a connection will be handed over to them. The beneficiaries in turn may handover the DD to a LPG agency of their choice and obtain the connection, the ministry said. The beneficiaries on the other hand will receive a gas stove free of cost. The government will bear Rs 4,040 per each connection under the scheme.

    Source: The Economic Times

    HPCL kicks off campaign to encourage judicious use of petro

    November 12, 2017. To encourage judicious utilisation of petroleum products, the Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) kick-started a campaign by organising a cycle rally. Minister of State for Finance Ajay Kumar Nanda flagged off the rally as part of the nationwide awareness programme 'Saksham Cyclothon-2017'.  The Minister said the rally was aimed at creating awareness among the masses towards judicious utilisation and conservation of petroleum products such as fuel, oil and gas in their day to day life.  Senior Regional Manager, HPCL Jammu, Aijaz Ahmad Kachroo, said various events aimed at creating mass awareness for conservation of petroleum products are being organised in the state.

    Source: Business Standard

    Vedanta to invest $850 mn to raise Rajasthan oilfields output

    November 10, 2017. Vedanta Ltd announced a $850 million investment for raising oil and gas production from its Rajasthan oilfields by about 100,000 barrels a day. In a regulatory announcement, the company said its board of directors has approved brownfield growth projects. The fields were previously operated by Cairn India, which has now merged with Vedanta Ltd. The company currently produces less than 160,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) from Rajasthan. Key to raising output, Vedanta said, would be replicating the success of output enhancement at Mangala oilfield, the biggest in Rajasthan block, in Bhagyam and Aishwariya fields. Polymer injections were used in the enhanced oil recovery project at Mangala.

    Source: The Times of India

    Free LPG cylinder scheme spins-off this massive benefit; see storm it cooked up

    November 10, 2017. The Narendra Modi government’s flagship Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), which has provided more than 3 crore liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections to poor households over the last one and a half years, has had a multiplier effect on the manufacturers of equipment such as cylinders, pressure regulators, stoves and tubing — most of which fall in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) segment. The number of cylinder makers across the country in 2014-15 was 102, which has gone up to 146 in 2016-17 and this industry’s turnover has surged from Rs 3,491 crore to Rs 5,258 crore during the period. Similarly, the number of stove manufacturers has gone up from 39 to 45 and the corresponding increase in turnover has been from Rs 2,253 crore to Rs 2,728 crore. Overall, the total turnover of companies manufacturing cylinders, pressure regulators, stoves and connecting tubes has increased by 42% between 2014-15 and 2016-17 from Rs 6,240 crore to Rs 8,858 crore. For the six months between April and September, 2017, the combined turnover of these industries stood at Rs 4,281 crore. The oil ministry launched PMUY in May 2016 to provide subsidised LPG connections to women belonging to the below-poverty-line category. The government is targeting to provide 5 crore LPG connections by May 2019 under the scheme with the ministry of finance providing a support of Rs 8,000 crore. The petroleum ministry is in the process of getting Cabinet approval to add another 3 crore beneficiaries at an additional cost of Rs 4,800 crore. The average life of an LPG cylinder is 20 years wherein it is typically repaired once after 10 years and then five years from then. The three Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) — Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) — together hold an inventory of 25-30 crore LPG cylinders at any point in time as many of the cylinders undergo repair at bottling plants. The increased usage of LPG has also led OMCs to plan expansion of bottling capacity.

    Source: The Financial Express

    Government non-committal on cutting excise duty on petrol, diesel

    November 9, 2017. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan remained non-committal on cutting excise duty on petrol and diesel to cushion the rise in retail fuel prices that followed the rally in international oil rates. Petrol and diesel prices have risen by almost Rs 1.5 per litre in the last one month, taking away bulk of gains that accrued from a one-off cut in excise duty cut on the two fuels. The government had in October cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 2 per litre in a bid to moderate the relentless rise in fuel prices witnessed in the previous three months. After the cut, petrol price came down to Rs 68.38 per litre and diesel to Rs 56.89 in Delhi on October 4. Rates have since climbed to Rs 69.85 per litre for petrol and Rs 58.31 for diesel in the national capital. The excise duty cut cost the government Rs 26,000 crore in annual revenue and about Rs 13,000 crore during the remaining part of the current fiscal year that ends on March 31, 2018. The government had between November 2014 and January 2016 raised excise duty on petrol and diesel on nine occasions to take away gains arising from plummeting global oil prices. In all, duty on petrol was hiked by Rs 11.77 per litre and that on diesel by 13.47 a litre in those 15 months that helped government's excise mop-up more than double to Rs 242,000 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 99,000 crore in 2014-15. State-owned oil companies in June dumped the 15-year old practice of revising rates on 1st and 16th of every month and instead adopted a dynamic daily price revision to instantly reflect changes in cost. Rates during the first fortnight starting June 16 dropped but have been on the rise since July 4.

    Source: Business Standard

    Indian Oil Corp starts crude oil trading through Singapore subsidiary

    November 8, 2017. Indian Oil Corp began trading crude oil through its Singapore unit, buying a million barrels of Nigerian oil Akpo, the state-run company’s head of finance AK Sharma said. IOCL Singapore Pvt Ltd has bought the parcel from Total for December 8-17 loading, he said. The company will gradually increase its workforce in line with transactions from the city state.

    Source: Reuters

    NATIONAL: GAS

    India to save Rs 40 bn post Exxon LNG price revision

    November 9, 2017. India will save about Rs 4,000 crore after it got US (United States) energy major Exxon Mobil Corp to lower the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) after the new rates kick-in from January next year. Petronet LNG Ltd in August 2009 signed a 20-year deal to buy 1.44 million tonnes of LNG from Exxon's share in the Gorgon project in Australia. The deliveries under the contract started early this year. At $50 per barrel oil price, Gorgon LNG, whose supplies started in January this year, would have cost $7.25 per million metric British thermal unit (mmBtu) at the port of loading. Adding another $1 for transportation would have led to delivered price of $8.25 in the old contract. In the new formula, Gorgon LNG delivered at Indian port will cost $6.95 per mmBtu. India had used its status of Asia's third largest LNG buyer to renegotiate in 2015 the LNG pricing formula with Qatar's RasGas to buy the gas at half the original price. Petronet had in late 2015 renegotiated price of the long-term deal to import 7.5 million tonnes per year of LNG from Qatar, helping save Rs 8,000 crore. Petronet will buy one million tonnes more LNG from Gorgon project as well but the additional volumes would come in after few years. Price renegotiation with RasGas led to saving of $5 per mmBtu. Petronet had last year formally sought at least 10 percent cut in price of Gorgon LNG. The 14.5 percent indexation to prevailing oil rates agreed in August 2009 was one of the highest in the world. Petronet said LNG in spot or current market is available at $9.5 per mmBtu.  State-owned GAIL (India) Ltd, Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) hold 12.5 percent each in Petronet.

    Source: Business Standard

    ONGC seeks higher natural gas price to develop KG Basin block

    November 8, 2017. Oil & Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has sought higher gas prices from the government for a block it plans to develop in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) Basin, warning that it will otherwise have to mothball the $600 million-project, the company said. ONGC has recently written to the government asking for a special pricing dispensation for the block, KG-OSN-2004/1, which doesn’t qualify as a ‘difficult field’ under the government policy unveiled last year. India offers higher gas prices to fields located in difficult terrains such as deep water or highpressure, high-temperature areas. Price available to gas from difficult fields is $6.30 per million metric British thermal unit (mmBtu), as against $2.89 for ordinary domestic fields. In the absence of higher gas prices, ONGC will not be able to develop the KG project as well as a few other projects, including one in the Kutch region, the company said. These projects together can produce about 10 million metric standard cubic meter per day (mmscmd) of natural gas. ONGC’s KG block has four fields in deep and ultra-shallow waters. Its field is 300 meters deep, less than the 400 meters depth that qualifies as deep water under the government policy. The expected peak production of 5.35 mmscmd of natural gas by 2020 from the KG project will likely get delayed if the company doesn’t begin investing immediately, the executive said. Without higher gas prices, another 4 mmscmd of gas production planned by ONGC will also get delayed, he added. The company is hoping to ready in three months the field development plan for Kutch-GK-28/42 block, which is expected to produce 3 mmscmd at its peak. ONGC has a couple of smaller fields with a total expected peak production of 1.1 mmscmd, which can’t viably produce at the current domestic gas prices. The field development plan for these are not yet ready. India’s domestic gas prices are calculated by a formula that tracks international rates. Prices are revised every six months. Accepting ONGC’s demand can trigger similar demand from other gas producers. Therefore, the government may have to bring about a change in the existing pricing policy so that it applies to all companies. Cabinet’s approval is required for effecting any policy change.

    Source: The Economic Times

    NATIONAL: COAL

    Coal import graph turns flat at 16.65 mt for October

    November 12, 2017. Coal import for October came in flat at 16.65 million tonnes (mt), underpinned by cautious buying of the fossil fuel by consumers due to high prices in the overseas market. The figure for October 2016 was 16.68 mt, according to the latest data from mjunction services, a leading name in the e-auction space. However, going forward, the volumes may go up if there is a correction in the prices of coal, mjunction CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Vinaya Varma said. Of the 16.6 mt total coal imported last month, the maximum was of non-coking variety at 11.2 mt. Import of coal declines 6.37 percent to 191.95 mt in 2016-17, chiefly because of higher production by Coal India Ltd (CIL).CIL accounts for over 80 percent of the domestic coal production.

    Source: Business Standard

    Goans complaining against coal should stop using electricity: BJP

    November 10, 2017. Those who complain against import and transportation of coal from Goa's port town of Vasco should stop using electricity, BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) state spokesperson Dattaprasad Naik said. Naik alleged that protests against coal handling at Mormugao Port Trust and complaints of excessive pollution were motivated by vested interests. Naik's comments came on a day when leaders of civil society movement 'Goa Against Coal' met Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to demand a stop to handling of coal at the port facility, located 40 kilometre (km) from Panaji, and a proposed expansion of coal handling infrastructure. A report by the Goa State Pollution Control Board has already confirmed that Vasco was severely hit by coal pollution. Coal imported into Goa is expected to be utilised by steel manufacturing units in the neighbouring Karnataka, through a road and rail network which is also under expansion. Naik condemned a statement by Congress legislator Aleixo Reginaldo, who had accused the BJP of turning a blind eye to coal pollution in Vasco town.

    Source: Business Standard

    NATIONAL: POWER

    Power Minister launches national portal for power sector

    November 14, 2017. Power Minister R K Singh launched a National Power Portal (NPP), a centralised platform for collation and dissemination of Indian power sector information. The NPP would be a single point interface for all power sector apps launched previously by the power ministry, the ministry said. The portal may be accessed at http://npp.gov.in. The NPP is a centralised system for the power sector which facilitates online data capture/input (daily, monthly, annually) from generation, transmission and distribution utilities.

    Source: Business Standard

    Hartek Power bags HVPNL project

    November 14, 2017. Hartek Power said it has bagged an order from the Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Ltd (HVPNL) for executing a gas-insulated substation at the national cancer institute of All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Jhajjar district. The project, scheduled to be completed by September next year, will cater to the electricity requirements of the 31- acre national cancer institute of AIIMS in Jhajjar having a 710-beds hospital, 15 laboratories for principal investigators and a separate diagnostics block, the company said. Hartek Power, EPC arm of the city-based Hartek Group, has created immense value in the T&D (transmission & distribution) value chain, as reflected in its execution of more than 150 high-voltage and extra high- voltage substations and transmission lines. Some of the key projects executed by the company include 13 bays of a 220 kilovolt (kV) substation at the first in-house 4x300 MW thermal plant of Reliance Energy at Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and 132 kV substation projects for a 40 MW solar plant in Rajasthan.

    Source: Business Standard

    MP breaks own record with 11.4 GW power supply

    November 13, 2017. Madhya Pradesh (MP) has surpassed its own record by supplying around 11,466 MW of power on November 11, MP Power Management Company managing director Sanjay Shukla. Shukla said the power demand in the preceding two years was increasing steadily, especially in December. This time, demand has increased during past one-and-a- half months due to scanty rainfall. Demand has been trending above 11,000 MW for the past six days, he said.

    Source: Business Standard

    Over 10k staffers of TNEB plead for permanent jobs

    November 13, 2017. Over 10,000 contractual employees of Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) have approached the Madras High Court for regularisation of their employment. According to the petitioner, the workers had been employed with TNEB on contract basis since 1999. Recently, the union made a request to the state government to regularise service of all such employees. In 2007, the state labour welfare department referred the issue to the industrial disputes tribunal. Even after several notices issued to TNEB by the tribunal, the board failed to file its reply.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Adani firm close to finalising RInfra power acquisition deal

    November 13, 2017. Adani Transmission is likely to clinch a deal of Rs 13,000-14,000 crore with Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) to acquire the latter's Mumbai power business much before the January 2018 deadline to mark its foray into power distribution business. The transaction would strengthen Adani Transmission's footprint in the power transmission sector and mark its foray into the distribution space, the Adani group firm had said. RInfra had entered into a period of exclusivity until January 15, 2018, to discuss the sale of its integrated business of generation, transmission and distribution of power for Mumbai city to Adani Transmission. Adani Transmission had completed acquisition of operational transmission assets of WRSS (Western Region Strengthening System) Schemes of RInfra for Rs 1,000 crore. In effect, its power-wheeling network crossed the 8,500 circuit kilometre mark. Adani Transmission had acquired operational transmission assets of WRSSS Schemes - B and C of RInfra.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Maharashtra power utility cuts 36k power connections in three days

    November 12, 2017. The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd disconnected 36,166 power connections in the past three days as the consumers failed to clear electricity bills. The company said the defaulters were mainly from domestic, commercial and industrial categories in Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and rural areas. The power utility has started a zero arrears drive in Pune zone. Power supply to consumers in Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad, Mulshi, Junnar, Ambegaon, Maval and Khed was disconnected as they had defaulted on payments worth Rs 21.45 crore. Of these, supply to 17,983 consumers was permanently disconnected as they owed a whopping Rs 10.33 crore to the company. In Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad, 33,989 consumers owed Rs 18 crore to the company. The distribution company has urged consumers to clear their pending bills to avoid disconnection.

    Source: The Economic Times

    UP CM assures to make electricity available to citizens at cheaper rates

    November 11, 2017. Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Minister (CM) Yogi Adityanath inspected Anpara Power Plant in UP's Sonbhadra district and said that the state government aims to make electricity available to citizens at cheaper rates. To make UP a prosperous state and make employment available to youngsters as per the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, making electricity available 24 hours is necessary. The state government is making efforts to generate adequate electricity in the state and provide electricity to industries, farmers and citizens at cheaper rates along with better electricity supply, he said. He said that contribution of Anpara Thermal Power Project is the highest in terms of power production in the state. He also took stock of the workings of the A, B, C and D units of the project. His visit comes days after a massive explosion in a boiler at the plant of the state-run power giant killed 26 people and left several injured.

    Source: Business Standard

    Industry calls for judicious policy to tackle power crisis

    November 10, 2017. Industry and chambers have pleaded for judicious policy and administrative steps to mitigate the current energy crisis in Karnataka. Led by Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) they have expressed concern over the continuing power cuts in Karnataka and urged the State government to immediately take steps to mitigate energy crisis faced by the industry. BCIC said that the problems faced by the industry could be mitigated by initiating a mix of strategy of improving power generation efficiency, reducing transmission and distributions losses from a high of 19 percent to single digit and look at procuring additional power from power grids. This year the monsoon has been generous and the State government should look at optimal utilisation of hydel power generation also, BCIC said.

    Source: The Hindu Business Line

    NTPC drops acquisition plans

    November 9, 2017. NTPC Ltd does not want to acquire any stressed assets from private companies. Instead it wants to help banks that take them over for non-repayment of debt, run these stations in lieu of a service charge. NTPC had decided on taking over stressed assets a few years ago. However, it did not end up acquiring any such power units or plants from the private sector although a number of plants were up for grabs. Later the company, decided on taking over assets from state-owned power companies that were not running very well. Latest in NTPC’s list of acquisitions has been the Chhabra Thermal Power Plant from Rajasthan government.

    Source: The Economic Times

    ‘Common power market needed across country’

    November 8, 2017. India must move into a single power market for lowering tariffs and better performance by distribution companies, said Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser to the Union finance ministry, said. In Bihar, there are about 100 power tariff slabs, including separate tariffs for day and night, he said. Given the strength of cooperative federalism, a common market should be created for power sector to make electricity available at the same tariff across the country, he said. Owing to availability of renewable power at lower cost on account of subsidies being given to the installations, discoms (distribution companies) reduce power purchase from thermal units. Though power comes under the concurrent list, states only manage the sector, he said. Centre has powers to prevent discoms from levying cross subsidy. Regulators have to work out ways to introduce a common tariff for the country, he said. Subramanian recommended introduction of direct transfer of benefits to beneficiaries' accounts in the power sector also.

    Source: The Times of India

    Telangana to be power surplus with additional 13.7 GW generation

    November 8, 2017. Telangana is on its way to becoming a power surplus state with the construction of new plants to generate additional 13,752 MW, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao said. The government has fixed a target of increasing the installed generation capacity to 28,000 MW with an investment of Rs 94,000 crore. He said that when Telangana was created the installed capacity was 6,574 MW, a deficit of 2,700 MW. He claimed that during last three-and-half years additional 7,981 MW capacity was commissioned. He recalled that when the state was formed there was severe crisis in power sector with two-to-nine-hour power cuts for domestic sector every day and two-day power holidays in a week for industries. He announced that Telangana has created new record in the country by supplying quality power free of cost for 24 hours to the agricultural sector. He said that 25 percent of the power in the state is being utilised by agriculture pump sets. Recalling that at the time formation of the state the farmers were not getting power even for two-to-three hours, he said daily nine-hour supply was ensured within a few days. He said that with the 24-hour supply to agriculture sector, the total power demand will increase to 11,000 MW and power utilities were ready to meet this demand. He said the new lift irrigation projects also require 8,500 MW of power. The new power plants will meet the demand for lift irrigation projects and new industries being established in the state. The construction of 4,000 MW capacity Yadadri Ultra Mega Power Plant has started while 1,880 MW of power will be available by 2018 through the power plants which are under construction at Manuguru and Kothagudem. Another 1,600 MW power plant is under construction under aegis of NTPC Ltd. The per capita power consumption has increased from 1,200 units at the time of formation of the state to 1,505 units. This is higher than the national average of 1,122 units. He said the government put in a lot of effort to transform Telangana into a resplendent state. The transmission and distribution systems were strengthened with an investment of Rs 12,136 crore.

    Source: Business Standard

    Power outages leave Bengalureans fuming

    November 8, 2017. Load-shedding's back, with sporadic unscheduled power cuts disrupting normal life in several parts of Bengaluru. Power-outage complaints came in from Indiranagar, Chamarajpet, Shantinagar, Rajajinagar, Nagarbhavi, Tatanagar, Malleswaram, Malathahalli, BTM Layout, Madiwala and Mathikere, among other areas. When contacted, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company said the load-shedding is due to the shutdown of two units of the Raichur Thermal Power Station that normally functions on 4-5 units.

    Source: The Times of India

    NATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    Renewable Energy Secretary urges developed nations to earmark aid for solar energy

    November 14, 2017. Renewable Energy Secretary Anand Kumar expressed hope that developed nations would earmark certain proportion of their overseas development assistance (ODA) for solar energy projects in developing countries. He also suggested that Multilateral Development Banks and other financial institutions provide wholehearted support for solar projects through low cost finance. Besides, he urged research and technology institutions worldwide to bring the cost of solar power and storage within the reach of all.

    Source: India Today

    India emerging as a climate performer by cutting down on its emissions

    November 14, 2017. India has been quietly emerging as climate performer cutting down on its emissions. India’s emissions will rise only by 2 percent to 2.5 giga tonnes compared to 6.7 percent in 2016, according to the 2017 Global Carbon Budget report. Aggressive and proactive interventions by government and the rapid progress made by India in installation of solar energy capacity contributed to the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by India. But the economic slowdown, and policies like demonetization and introduction of GST (Goods and Services Tax) too have a role to play. If Indian economy bounces back soon, as the government expects it to, then emission growth in 2018 is expected to be around 5%. Reducing the level of carbon dioxide produced by the economy will require additional interventions. In 2017, global carbon dioxide emissions from all human activities (fossil fuels, industry and land-use change) will reach around 41 billion tonnes, a growth of 2 percent. Fossil fuel burning and industrial use account for nearly 80 percent of carbon dioxide emissions by human activities. The third big contributor comes from changes in land use such as deforestation. This year’s rise in global emissions can be attributed to a 3.5 percent projected increase in the emissions of China, and relatively lower reductions in the United States and the European Union compared to last year. China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, followed by the United States, European Union, and India. In the long term, emissions are unlikely to return to the persistent high growth rates seen during the 2000s of over 3 percent per year. It is more likely that emissions will plateau or have slight positive growth, broadly in line with national emission pledges submitted to the Paris Agreement.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Government awards 250 MW power capacity under second wind auction to Sembcorp Green Infra

    November 13, 2017. The government has awarded a 250 MW wind power project to Singapore-based Sembcorp’s renewable energy arm Sembcorp Green Infra under India’s second nationwide wind power tender. Five companies -- including Green Infra, ReNew Power, Orange Sironj, Inox Wind and Adani – were identified as winners under the bidding for 1,000 MW wind energy auction conducted. The project is expected to be developed in phases and is targeted to be fully commissioned by the first half of 2019. Upon the project’s completion, its entire power output will be sold to SECI (Solar Energy Corp of India) under a 25-year long-term power purchase agreement, Sembcorp said. The project will be connected to India’s Central Transmission Utility (CTU) and will supply power to multiple states. The company has over 4,000 MW of power capacity in operation and under development in the country, comprising both thermal and renewable energy assets. Sembcorp Green Infra’s renewable energy portfolio comprises over 1,400 MW of wind and solar power assets in seven states across the southern, western and central regions of India.

    Source: The Economic Times

    SC seeks response from Centre, four states on plea to curb pollution

    November 13, 2017. The Supreme Court (SC) sought response from the Centre and the governments of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh on a plea for taking immediate steps to curb rising air pollution in the national capital. The petitioner lawyer has sought vacuum cleaning and sprinkling of the roads, fruitful use of the stubble instead of burning them, use of electricity-driven vehicles instead of those using costly fuels -- diesel and petrol -- contributing to pollution and focus on solar energy instead of thermal power plants. The court has given the respondents two weeks' time to respond to the petition by the senior lawyer.

    Source: Business Standard

    GHG emissions in Chandigarh to rise by 200 percent in 2020

    November 13, 2017. Chandigarh, which has the highest vehicle density in the county, is projected to increase climate-damaging greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by almost 200% from 2,486 Gg (Giga grams, the unit of emission) to 4,014 Gg by 2020, according to a recent study published in a reputed international journal — Environmental Science and Pollution Research — was conducted by investigators from PGI, IIT, Roorkee, and Panjab University. It implies that the released gases (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide) from the vehicles would raise the temperature of the city in another three years. The study found that four-wheelers were the main culprit. Also, an additional 173 Gg load of greenhouse gases has been projected if all diesel buses would be transformed to CNG by 2020. This is the first such research to evaluate vehicular pollution in the city in the context of greenhouse gases. The study concluded that increasing private vehicle population because of rising per capita income might be one of the reasons for the rise in GHGs. The study has estimated that GHG emissions from transport sector in Chandigarh are expected to rise by 4,015 Gg by 2020 from almost 61% of 2011 emissions. Higher GHG emissions from four-wheeler diesel vehicles were observed than gasoline-powered vehicles as emission factor for diesel vehicles is 1.5 times than gasoline-powered vehicles in case of CO2. As Chandigarh has mainly diesel vehicles, hence, the GHG load from 3-wheelers is mainly due to diesel-powered 3-wheelers. But, from 2009 onward, the share of the GHG load from LPG-driven 3-wheelers showed a significant rise from 3% in 2009 to 20% in 2011, which is due to increase in number of 3-wheelers. While implementing a change in vehicle technology, CO2 emissions must be considered. Replacing diesel with CNG (compressed natural gas) alone is not a good option for reducing greenhouse gases.

    Source: The Times of India

    Hydro power generation up 23 percent in Punjab in current fiscal

    November 13, 2017. The hydel plants run by the Punjab State Power Corp Ltd (PSPCL) have produced 23% more electricity during the first seven months of this fiscal as compared to the previous year. Total 3282 million units (MU) have been generated by all the five hydel plants of PSPCL from April 1 to October 31, 2017, whereas 2664 MU were produced during same period of 2016. During these seven months, 618 MU more hydel power than previous year was generated thus saving about Rs 250 crore to PSPCL on account of lesser power purchase. Generation of 397 MU during October 2017 is the highest generation recorded in the past five years for this the month. Generation during October was 12% higher than for the same month last year when 354 MU were generated. As present water level at Bhakhra and Pong Dams is higher than previous years so generation is likely to be higher during 2017-18, money to PSPCL as it will have to purchase less power from other sources.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Eighteen firms bid to supply wind power in GUVNL auction

    November 13, 2017. Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL) has received bids from 18 companies for the supply of 500 MW wind power to the state-run power utility. The Gujarat high court in its recent order allowed GUVNL to continue with the bidding process. The technical bids were opened few days back and the financial bids will be opened on November 15. Earlier, technical and financial bids were scheduled to be opened on October 25 and November 1, respectively. But, the bidding was postponed after Gujarat high court stayed the auction acting on a petition filed by Indian Wind Energy Association (IWEA). The associated objected to the competitive bidding process, approved by Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC), on the ground that the central government had only issued draft guidelines for governing such wind energy auction, and it had not finalized any such guidelines.

    Source: The Times of India

    New bio-fuel policy soon to address Delhi smog like situations: Oil Minister

    November 11, 2017. The oil ministry is planning to announce a new bio-fuel policy that will help address the issue of pollution caused by burning of agricultural waste apart from cutting the country’s reliance on costly oil imports, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. Stubble burning by farmers in Punjab and Haryana -- coupled with vehicular pollution, construction activities and low temperature – have turned the country’s national capital and the adjoining regions in a gas chamber in the past week. The level of particulate matter PM2.5 in the air peaked at 743 microgram per meter cube forcing authorities to shut schools and doctors to declare to declare a public health emergency. India’s three state-owned Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) – Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) -- are currently setting up 12 second-generation ethanol plants across the country which will collect agriculture waste from farmers and convert it into bio-ethanol, increasing the farmers’ earning from the same produce and the same land. According to government’s official estimate, the investment required for these bio-refineries stands at around Rs 10,000 crore. These refineries are expected to produce around 350-400 million liter of ethanol annually, contributing towards the ethanol blending programme and also eliminating the need for burning crop stubble. Pradhan said India had remained “dormant” during the first two industrial revolutions and played the role of a service provider in the third. He said that the time has come for the country to take the lead in “industrial revolution 4.0” and become a role model for other economies.

    Source: The Economic Times

    First power plant under PM Ladakh scheme commissioned in Drass

    November 10, 2017. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said the 1.5 MW small hydropower plant in Biaras Drass of Kargil in Jammu & Kashmir has become the first project to be commissioned under the Prime Minister's Ladakh Renewable Energy Initiative. The power project will meet normal power requirement of close to 1,000 families, the MNRE said. According to the MNRE, the Biaras small hydropower project (SHP) of 1.5 MW was commissioned on November 4. The total cost of the project, fully funded by the MNRE, is Rs 17 crore and this is the first project to be commissioned under the Prime Minister's Ladakh Renewable Energy Initiative (LREI). The plant will power the Drass town in Kargil, which is one of the coldest places in India. Power from the Biaras SHP would be sufficient to meet normal power requirement of about 1,000 families, which would make them comfortable in the extreme winter season. The project has been developed by the Kargil Renewable Energy Development Agency (KREDA) under the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council.

    Source: Business Standard

    KERC yet to decide on state order on lower wind energy tariffs

    November 10, 2017. Karnataka government ordered the state’s electricity regulator to call back its September decision to cut wind power tariffs and approve all power purchase agreements with wind developers signed before March 31, 2016, the latter has yet to officially respond. Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) may ignore the said order as it believes it overstepped the government’s jurisdiction. The government order, passed on October 27, had invoked the rarely used Section 108 of the Electricity Act to insist that wind developers whose PPAs (power purchase agreements) were signed in 2016-17, should be paid Rs 4.50 per unit and not Rs 3.74 per unit as KERC had laid down in September.

    Source: The Economic Times

    ISB, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation launch Clean Energy Lab

    November 10, 2017. The Indian School of Business (ISB) and Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation have jointly launched the Clean Energy Lab, an incubation programme to support early stage non-profits working on creating policy impacts in clean energy. Supported by DLabs, the incubation and acceleration arm of ISB, the Clean Energy Lab invites entries from non-profits, working in the areas of renewable energy, climate change and energy efficiency. The Lab aims to identify individuals and thinkers with big, audacious ideas to create research based policy impact in India and build their concepts into scalable institutions. Selected participants will get financial support of up to ₹ 4.8 lakh, mentorship by an expert panel of energy and non-profit experts, access to infrastructure at the ISB and organisational development services.

    Source: The Hindu Business Line

    RInfra set to bag Rs 10 bn Nuclear Power Corp of India order

    November 9, 2017. Reliance Infrastructure is slated to win a Rs 1,000 crore order from Nuclear Power Corp of India (NPCI) after emerging as the lowest bidder for an engineering and construction contract for the Kudankulam plant. NPCI opened bids for the engineering, procurement and construction tenders related to the third and fourth units of 1,000 MW each of the Kudankulam nuclear power project. RInfra was the lowest bidder, beating Larsen & Toubro and Tata Projects. The projects are scheduled to be completed in 56 months. They entail design, engineering, procurement, manufacture, supply, erection and construction, testing, commissioning, handing over and performance guarantee of common services, systems, structures and components for the plant in Tamil Nadu. India and the former Soviet Union agreed in 1998 to set up the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project with six units of 1,000 MW each. So far, two units have been commissioned, one in 2013 and the other in 2016. India is building the third and fourth units. India and Russia signed a pact in June for two nuclear reactors for the fifth and sixth phase of the Kudankulam plant, which is estimated to cost Rs 50,000 crore.

    Source: The Economic Times

    INTERNATIONAL: OIL

    Japanese oil refiner profits rise as they max out runs to cash in on high margins

    November 14, 2017. Profits for Japanese oil refiners rose for the latest reporting period as they pushed their plants at the highest rates in 46 years amid high margins and after a government mandated industry consolidation. Japan’s biggest refiner, JXTG Holdings, and other processors also raised their full-year profit forecasts because of the increase in margins from converting crude oil to gasoline, diesel and aircraft fuel. JXTG, which meets about half of Japan’s domestic oil demand, also projected full-year operating profit of 400 billion yen, achieving the goals for the new firm one year ahead of plan.

    Source: Reuters

    Four Gulf of Mexico oil platforms shut after Enchilada fire: Shell

    November 14, 2017. Royal Dutch Shell said that production at four oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut in the wake of a November 8 fire at its Enchilada platform. Production from Auger flows back to Enchilada for transport to shore. There was still no timeline for the resumption of normal operations, Shell said.

    Source: Reuters

    OPEC points to larger 2018 oil supply deficit as market tightens

    November 13, 2017. OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) raised its forecast for demand for its oil in 2018 and said its deal with other producers to cut output was reducing excess oil in storage, potentially pushing the global market into a larger deficit next year. OPEC said in a monthly report it had cut its estimate of 2018 supply from non-OPEC producers and said oil use would grow faster than previously thought due to a stronger-than-expected world economy. OPEC said the world would need 33.42 million barrels per day (bpd) of OPEC crude next year, up 360,000 bpd from its previous forecast and marking the fourth consecutive monthly increase in the projection from its first estimate made in July. The report is OPEC’s last before a November 30 meeting in which the group and its allies are expected to extend their supply-cutting deal further into next year. The projections pointing to a growing 2018 supply deficit could influence debate on how long to maintain the curbs.

    Source: Reuters

    Iraq aims to increase Kirkuk oilfield output to 1 mn bpd

    November 13, 2017. Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said Iraq plans to increase production from oilfields in Kirkuk to one million barrels per day and has visited the Bai Hasan and Avana fields to order work be accelerated to restore operations soon, the ministry said. Exports from oilfields in Kirkuk have been on hold since Iraqi forces took back control of them from the Kurds last month. Iraq needs at least three months to repair an old pipeline which was shipping Kirkuk crude to Ceyhan port in Turkey. The main 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline had been offline since March 2014 following insurgent attacks.

    Source: Reuters

    Gambia to market oil blocks disputed by African Petroleum

    November 10, 2017. Gambia plans to market two offshore oil blocks that African Petroleum said it still legally holds, the country’s Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said. Norwegian-listed African Petroleum said in October it had launched arbitration proceedings against the Gambian government to defend its exploration rights. Licenses for the two blocks expired in September 2016 but the oil company had been in talks with the government until earlier this year to extend the exploration period. African Petroleum has previously said the terms of its licenses stated they remained active until the state enacted a termination procedure, which it said had not been done. It held blocks A1 and A4 that are thought to contain up to 3 billion barrels of oil and are next to licenses in neighbouring Senegal. Gambian Oil Minister Fafa Sanyang said the terms would be negotiable but that the state oil firm would keep a minimum 10 percent stake in the blocks.

    Source: Reuters

    Iraq's Kurdistan makes $100 mn monthly payment to oil producers despite crisis

    November 9, 2017. Iraq’s Kurdistan has made its full monthly payment of around $100 million to oil producers working on its territory, despite a big drop in oil exports amid a political crisis roiling the semi-autonomous region. The Kurdistan regional government said that full monthly payments had been made to companies such as Genel, DNO, Gulf Keystone, Gazprom and Taqa. Kurdistan has presold a large part of its future oil output to trading houses such as Vitol, Glencore, Petraco and Trafigura as well as Russian state oil major Rosneft in exchange for $4 billion in loans guaranteed by exports. The export-backed loans allowed the region to cover some old debts and avoid a budget crisis. But flows of Kurdish oil towards the Turkish port of Ceyhan have dropped to just around 220,000 barrels per day (bpd) this month from the usual 600,000 bpd after some major fields have been taken over by Iraqi forces.

    Source: Reuters

    Saudi Arabia to cut crude exports by 120k bpd in December

    November 9, 2017. Saudi Arabia plans to cut crude exports by 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) in December from November, reducing allocations to all regions, the energy ministry said. Crude exports to the United States will be more than 10 percent lower than November levels, the energy ministry said. The world’s top oil exporter said it planned to ship slightly more than 7 million bpd this month, up from low levels during summer when domestic demand was at its peak. Seasonal drops in domestic crude demand free up more oil for export during the winter months. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), along with other non-member oil producers led by Russia, agreed to cut output by around 1.8 million bpd from January 1 this year until March 2018.

    Source: Reuters

    Mexican oil regulator approves first withdrawal of contract

    November 8, 2017. Mexico’s oil regulator voted to begin the process of withdrawing an onshore contract, the first time such an action has been taken since landmark measures to open up the country’s energy sector came into effect. The contract was won at auction in late 2015 by Mexican company Canamex Energy Holdings in association with two other firms and covered the Moloacan block in eastern Veracruz state. The block previously belonged to oil company Pemex, which was forced to give up a large share of its acreage after the 2013 energy reform ended its longstanding monopoly, paving the way for first-ever competitive oil auctions.

    Source: Reuters

    US gasoline inventories hit lowest level since November 2014: EIA

    November 8, 2017. US (United States) gasoline inventories fell to 209.5 million barrels, the lowest weekly level since November 2014, according to US Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. US East Coast gasoline inventories fell to 52.4 million barrels in the week to November 3, the lowest weekly figure since December 2014, EIA data showed. US Midwest gasoline inventories fell to 44.5 million barrels, the lowest weekly figure since November 2014, data showed. US distillate inventories fell to 125.6 million barrels, the lowest weekly figure since February 2015, data showed. US Midwest distillate inventories fell to 24.7 million barrels, the lowest weekly figure since November 2014, data showed.

    Source: Reuters

    China sets 2018 non-state crude oil import quota 55 percent higher than 2017

    November 8, 2017. China has raised its 2018 crude oil import quota for “non-state trade,” generally meaning independent refiners, by 55 percent over 2017, raising the clout of the independents in the global market after a setback this year. The move took market participants by surprise after Beijing cut the quotas to independents for 2017. The annual quota setting, announced earlier than usual, is a sign the government is relaxing its policies towards the independent refiners after the cuts and after banning them from exporting fuel this year. The commerce ministry said companies can start applying for quotas for 2018 totaling 142.42 million tonnes, or about 2.85 million barrels per day (bpd), up from 91.73 million tonnes for 2017. The new quotas are equal to about one-third of China’s imports during the first nine months of the year. The ministry said the quotas will be issued in batches, with the first lot based on companies’ actual purchases during the January to October period this year. Companies without any import record will be banned from new quotas for 2018 and those which under-use quotas are required to return the unfinished permits.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: GAS

    Incremental starts gas recompletion program at Silvertip field in US

    November 14, 2017. Incremental Oil and Gas said that it has commenced the gas recompletion program at its Silvertip Field located in the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming, US (United States). Incremental strategically times its shallow gas recompletions, targeting gas reserves, to capitalise on rising winter natural gas demand which leads to higher prices. The Company will perform its first Lance Formation recompletion and an additional recompletion in the Meeteetse Formation. The Lance Formation is a gas-filled sandstone that lies above the prolific Meeteetse formation at around 2,000 feet. As the Lance Formation is above the original target formations in the multi-stacked field, there is potential for access to additional behindpipe gas reserves if this recompletion is successful.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    Eni's giant gas field prompts Egypt to end imports in 2018

    November 14, 2017. Egypt will stop importing liquefied natural gas in 2018 and may eventually export gas after it starts producing this year at the giant Eni SpA-operated Zohr field off the country’s Mediterranean coast, Oil Minister Tarek El-Molla said. Zohr’s output will mostly supply the domestic market, and the nation’s two existing gas-liquefaction facilities are large enough to process any available surplus into liquefied natural gas (LNG) for international sale in 2019, El-Molla said. If Zohr and other gas fields generate enough supplies, Egypt may consider adding a third LNG-exporting terminal, he said. The country expects Zohr to start producing this year at about 350 million cubic feet a day, he said.

    Source: Bloomberg

    Japan's JERA imports first LNG cargo shipped from Chevron's Wheatstone site

    November 13, 2017. Japan’s JERA Co, the fuel-buying joint venture of Tokyo Electric Power and Chubu Electric Power, said it received the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo shipped from Chevron’s Wheatstone project in Australia. The tanker “Asia Venture,” carrying about 70,000 tonnes of LNG, arrived at Tokyo Electric Power’s Futtsu LNG terminal in Chiba prefecture on Tokyo Bay, JERA said. Chevron said that the Wheatstone LNG project, which started production in early October, shipped its first cargo to JERA. JERA has contracts to buy 5.2 million tonnes per year of LNG from the Wheatstone project. Wheatstone has two units, which at full capacity will supply 8.9 million metric tonnes of LNG a year to customers in Asia. After the second train starts up in 2018, JERA will receive around six LNG cargoes per month from the project.

    Source: Reuters

    Pakistan and Malaysia sign a LNG supply agreement

    November 13, 2017. The governments of Pakistan and Malaysia have signed an intergovernmental agreement on liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply. The LNG supplies will be delivered to Pakistan and will be ensured by the Malaysian company Petronas, which was competing against Gazprom and managed to secure the deal. The Pakistani government has set up Pakistan LNG to secure LNG deals through open competitive biddings as well as through government-to-government arrangements. Pakistan intends to reduce the country's energy dependence and satisfy the increasing energy demand. It plans to gradually substitute oil imports with imported gas, including in the transport sector, and has set up an LNG import target of 60 million cubic meters (mcm) per day by 2018.

    Source: Enerdata

    Shell sells out of Woodside Petroleum for $2.7 bn

    November 13, 2017. Royal Dutch Shell sold its entire stake in Australia’s largest independent oil and gas company Woodside Petroleum Ltd for $2.7 billion as it pushes ahead with its vast disposal program. Shell will remain joint venture partner in two liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Australia, according to Woodside.

    Source: Reuters

    China deal seen as no guarantee for Alaska LNG export project

    November 10, 2017. A preliminary agreement with China for the development of a massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project in Alaska will boost its profile, but does not ensure the $43 billion development will go ahead, analysts said. China’s biggest state oil company, Sinopec, one of its top banks and its sovereign wealth fund agreed early to develop the Alaska LNG export terminal and an 800 mile (1,290 kilometre) pipeline to deliver fuel to China. Alaska LNG, backed by the Alaska Gasline Development Corp (AGDC) with input from North Slope energy producers, envisions a lengthy pipeline from the North Slope to an export terminal in south-central Alaska. With planned output of some 20 million tonnes a year, Alaska LNG would need to sign numerous major offtake deals, likely with customers beyond just China, before it can secure financing for construction, analysts said.

    Source: Reuters

    Williams Partners cleared to resume work on $3 bn gas pipeline

    November 9, 2017. Williams Partners LP was cleared by a federal court to resume construction on a $3 billion pipeline that will help shuttle shale gas across the eastern US (United States). The brief disruption in construction sent US gas driller Cabot Oil & Gas Corp plunging as it’s a major would-be shipper on the line. The company has already pressed President Donald Trump’s administration for help getting another controversial pipeline built in New York by stressing the jobs it would create. Both Cabot and Williams have been projecting a mid-2018 startup of the Atlantic Sunrise project.

    Source: Bloomberg

    INTERNATIONAL: COAL

    Quick German coal exit would endanger power supply security: RWE

    November 14, 2017. German coal-biased utility RWE warned of a quick exit from coal power to further reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which the Green Party is demanding in talks to form a new coalition government. Chief financial officer Markus Krebber said such a unilateral move by Germany, which had just contributed to making a pan-European CO2 trading mechanisms much stricter, would harm the economy and undermine the security of supply. He also said that while some strengthening of gas-to-power generation assets was necessary as part of the overall supply strategy, investing heavily in gas rather than coal did not make sense, as it would burden consumers with higher prices when a focus on renewables remained the long-term strategy for Germany.

    Source: Reuters

    Australia's Aurizon in preliminary talks to acquire coal export terminal in Queensland

    November 13, 2017. Australian coal rail operator Aurizon has confirmed it is in preliminary discussions with undisclosed parties for potential acquisition and restructuring of the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) in Queensland. The export terminal, which is owned by a consortium of coal producers Aquila Resources, Glencore, New Hope Group, Wesfarmers Curragh and Yancoal, is equipped to export 27 million tons of coal annually, including about 16 million tons under long-term agreements. The Australian coal rail operator noted that it also plans to secure long-term volume commitments for the WICET.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    INTERNATIONAL: POWER

    Doosan to proceed with Muara Tawar power plant conversion project in Indonesia

    November 14, 2017. Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction has received a notice to proceed (NTP) from the Indonesia’s PT. Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) for the Muara Tawar Power Plant upgrade project in Indonesia. In March 2017, a consortium of Doosan and Indonesian construction company PT Hutama Karya has secured a KRW470 bn ($419 mn) contract from state-owned electric power corporation PLN for expanding the capacity and converting the 1,150 MW gas-fueled generator to a 1,800 MW combined cycle power plant. PLN, the owner of the project, had recently completed the project financing arrangement following which it has issued NTP for the project construction. The Muara Tawar Power Plant Extension Project is expected to help meet increasing power demand in the country. Indonesian government has set a goal to have 35 GW of installed generation capacity in the country by 2019.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    United Kingdom power market ripe for more mergers after SSE deal

    November 9, 2017. A deal to merge the British retail power businesses owned by SSE and Germany’s Innogy could pave the way for more industry consolidation as pressures mount on the big suppliers in an increasingly crowded market. SSE and Innogy said they planned to join forces in Britain to create a company with $14 billion (£10.7 billion) in sales, which would reduce the country’s “Big Six” energy providers to five if the deal is approved by competition authorities. The new company would be the second largest player in Britain’s retail power market with a 23 percent market share, behind Centrica’s British Gas which has 27 percent.

    Source: Reuters

    Con Edison Transmission gets regulatory approval for Maine Power Express

    November 8, 2017. Con Edison Transmission has bagged an approval from ISO New England for its proposed Maine Power Express project, which is a 1,040 MW transmission line. In its approval, the regulator said that the transmission line can reliably interconnect with the regional power grid in Boston, Massachusetts. Created by the United States (US) Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), ISO New England monitors the functioning of bulk electric power system and transmission lines of its member utilities in the New England region. ISO New England, by approving the application of the transmission line project, has indicated that Maine Power Express will not have a major, adverse impact on the regional grid’s reliability or operating characteristics and also on its participants. An approval from the institution is a must to seek a connection to the New England grid. The Maine Power Express project is planned to transmit 1.04 GW of power underground and undersea from Northern Maine to Boston, Con Edision said.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    CNPC launches nationwide power trading unit to source cheaper electricity

    November 8, 2017. China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) has launched a national power company to buy and sell electricity at lower prices, taking advantage of Beijing’s push to liberalize the country’s power markets. China Petroleum Electric Energy Company Ltd (CPEEC) will primarily source electricity from the wholesale market for CNPC and will also eventually sell power to external customers. CNPC consumes as much as 60 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) each year. That is equivalent to the amount of power that Qatar and Denmark consumed combined in 2014. CPEEC unifies different regional units that CNPC set up to market power in some provinces that have launched power trading platforms. The National Development and Reform Commission has approved the platforms in 13 provinces and the city of Beijing during the past year. In October, CPEEC’s Guangxi branch signed a contract to buy power in the long-term and monthly power markets for CNPC’s Guangxi subsidiary in 2018, CNPC said.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    China aims to stop renewable energy being wasted by 2020

    November 13, 2017. China aims to prevent power generated by its renewable energy sector being wasted by 2020, the country’s National Energy Administration (NEA) said. Power from wind, solar and hydro plants is often wasted as there is not enough transmission capacity to absorb it, leading to high curtailment rates, especially in north-western China. The NEA said that the utilization rate of hydro-power plants in the south-western provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan should reach around 90 percent by 2017. It expects the wind power curtailment rate to drop to about 30 percent in the north-western provinces of Gansu and Xinjiang and to around 20 percent in the north-eastern region of Jilin, Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia in 2017. Solar power waste in Gansu and Xinjiang provinces should be controlled below around 20 percent and in Shaanxi and Qinghai to below 10 percent this year, it said. Power generated from wind and solar power plants in other regions across the country will have to meet the 2017 targets set by the NEA last year, it said. China has vowed to raise the portion of its renewable and non-fossil fuel power consumption to 15 percent of total energy mix by 2020 and 20 percent by 2030. It also said that it will promote the power trade market and improve its cross-region power transmission capacity to boost renewable energy consumption and cut its coal dependence.

    Source: Reuters

    Iberdrola seeks approval to close two thermal power plants in Spain

    November 13, 2017. Iberdrola has revealed its intentions to shutter two Spanish coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 874 MW as part of its mission to phase out its global thermal power generation capacity. In this regard, the Spanish electric utility Iberdrola has submitted a permit application with the Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Strategy to shut down the 358 MW Lada (Asturias) and 516 MW Velilla (Palencia) coal-fired power plants. Iberdrola said that with the closure of the two assets, it advances its commitment to cut its carbon emissions intensity by 50% in 2030 and move towards being carbon neutral in 2050. Currently, 1.8% of Iberdrola’s 48 GW of power generation is from coal-fired plants. The company has 28.7 GW of renewable power generation across the world, primarily from 15.9 GW of onshore and offshore wind power and 12.8 GW of hydroelectric power.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    Jordan switches on world's largest solar plant in refugee camp

    November 13, 2017. Jordan has switched on the world’s largest solar plant inside a refugee camp, providing renewable energy to nearly 80,000 Syrians, the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said. The 12.9 MW solar plant at Zaatari refugee camp, on the border of Jordan and Syria, will allow families to run a fridge, TV, fans and lights in their shelters, and recharge their phones to maintain contact with others abroad, UNHCR, said. The UNHCR said the 40,000 solar panels will not only reduce carbon emissions by over 13,000 tons a year, it will also save the agency $5.5 million each year in running costs, which can then be re-invested into refugee support. From nearby Azraq camp in Jordan, to Dadaab in Kenya, solar power is being deployed to provide affordable and sustainable energy solutions for tens of thousands of displaced people. In semi-arid eastern Kenya, Africa’s largest solar-powered borehole - equipped with 278 solar panels - is providing 16,000 refugees in Dadaab camp with a daily average of about 280,000 litres of water, which they use for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene, according to the European Commission. In Azraq, a 2 MW solar farm that started operating in May - the world’s first in a refugee camp - has enabled the UNHCR to provide free, clean electricity to 20,000 Syrian refugees, covering the energy needs of two villages connected to the national grid.

    Source: Reuters

    Greens hold out on climate in German coalition talks

    November 13, 2017. Environmental policy dominated negotiations on forming a new German coalition, as the Greens pushed their would-be partners for a quicker exit from coal power. Chancellor Angela Merkel urged party leaders at the weekend to show more willingness to compromise after three weeks of exploratory talks also failed to paper over differences on transport, immigration and euro zone governance. Earlier, a discussion paper showed that the two more pro-business partners wanted to cut coal power by 3-5 GW by 2020. The ecologists wanted an 8-10 GW cut. Greens chairwoman Simone Peter said that the Greens disagreed on the size of cuts in carbon dioxide emissions that were needed by 2020. The conservatives and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) believed cuts of up to 66 million tonnes were needed by 2020, while the Greens believed cuts of up to 120 million could be needed.

    Source: Reuters

    Global carbon pollution rises after 3 straight flat years

    November 13, 2017. Global carbon pollution rose this year after three straight years when levels of the heat-trapping gas didn’t go up at all, scientists reported. Preliminary figures project that worldwide carbon dioxide emissions are up about 2 percent this year, according to an international team of scientists. Most of the increase came from China. The report by the Global Carbon Project team dashed hopes that emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas had peaked. Carbon dioxide emissions rose steadily and slowly starting in the late 1880s with the Industrial Revolution, then took off dramatically in the 1950s. In the last three years, levels had stabilized at about 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide (36.2 billion metric tons). Estimates for 2017 put it at about 40.8 billion tons (37 billion metric tons). Sixty years ago , the world spewed only 9.2 billion tons (8.3 billion metric tons). Man-made carbon dioxide is causing more than 90 percent of global warming since 1950, US scientists reported. This year’s increase was mostly spurred by a 3.5 percent jump in Chinese carbon pollution, said study co-author Glen Peters, a Norwegian scientist. Declines in the United States (0.4 percent) and Europe (0.2 percent) were smaller than previous years. India, the No. 3 carbon polluting nation, went up 2 percent.

    Source: Financial Express

    Nepal scraps $2.5 bn hydropower plant deal with Chinese company

    November 13, 2017. Nepal has scrapped a $2.5 billion deal with China Gezhouba Group Corp to build the country’s biggest hydropower plant, citing lapses in the award process, Energy Minister Kamal Thapa said. Nepal’s rivers, cascading from the snow-capped Himalayas, have vast, untapped potential for hydropower generation, but a lack of funds and technology has made Nepal lean on neighbour India to meet annual demand of 1,400 MW. Kathmandu has cleared a 750 MW project to be built on the West Seti River in the western part of the country by China’s Three Gorges International Corp. It has also permitted two Indian companies - GMR Group and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd - to build one hydropower plant each, both capable of generating 900 MW of power each, mainly to be exported to India.

    Source: Reuters

    Rich nations shirking on climate pledges: Developing world

    November 11, 2017. The failure of wealthy nations to deliver on short-term climate commitments could hinder the rollout of a landmark treaty, a bloc of 134 developing countries, including India and China, warned at UN (United Nations) negotiations in Bonn. The diplomatic spat has underscored the difficulty of reaching a consensus at the 196-nation talks. The treaty, inked outside the French capital in 2015, calls on the world to cap global warming at “well below” 2˚C (3.6˚ Fahrenheit), and even 1.5˚C if possible. With one degree of warming so far, the planet has already seen an increase in drought, deadly heatwaves and super-storms engorged by rising seas. The pact rests on voluntary carbon-cutting pledges from virtually every country in the world. But those pledges are not enough to keep Earth in the safe zone, and would still see global temperatures rise a devastating 3˚C (5.6˚F) by century’s end. Moreover, they don’t kick in until 2020, and developing nations say that’s too long to wait to ramp up action. Under the terms of the UN’s core climate convention, the burden for action before 2020 falls mainly on wealthy countries historically responsible for the rapid rise of greenhouse gases. China is the world’s top carbon polluter, followed by the United States (US), the European Union, India and Russia. Developing countries sought to have a “pre-2020 agenda” formally added to the negotiating process, but the move was shelved at the start of the 12-day talks. Efforts to resolve the issue have so far been fruitless.

    Source: Arab News

    US sets final anti-subsidy duties on Argentine, Indonesian biodiesel

    November 9, 2017. The United States (US) Commerce Department said it set final anti-subsidy duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia, pushing soyoil futures to a two-month high even though the decision was expected. The final duties for soy-based Argentine biodiesel were even higher than preliminary countervailing rates set in August, when imports ground to a virtual halt as Argentine exporters said the tariffs priced them out of the US market. Argentina’s foreign ministry said that unless the decision is reversed, it might take the dispute to the World Trade Organization - echoing a promise by Argentine President Mauricio Macri. Argentine biofuel industry group Carbio said the decision confirmed the US market was closed to Argentine producers and would complicate recent economic reforms in the South American nation.

    Source: Reuters

    France scraps 2025 target to cut nuclear share to 50 percent of its power mix

    November 8, 2017. The French government has backed down its commitments to sharply reduce nuclear power production and has abandoned the target of reducing the share of nuclear in the power mix to 50% by 2025 from the current 75%, estimating that this objective was no longer realistic. According to new scenarios by French electricity transmission system operator RTE released just before this announcement, reducing the share of nuclear to 50% of the power mix in 2025 would mean shutting down 22 GW of nuclear capacity. France would then have to postpone the closure of coal-fired power plants and would have to build 11 GW of new gas-fired capacity, boosting CO2 emissions. Under one of the four scenarios, France may cut nuclear capacity by 14.5 GW and reach 50% of nuclear in the power mix by 2030, i.e. five years later than planned. The government has reaffirmed it remains committed to reducing nuclear energy but no new deadline has been set so far.

    Source: Enerdata

    Fossil fuels will be the main energy source for decades: OPEC

    November 8, 2017. OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) said growth in global oil demand will steadily lessen from an annual average of 1.3 million barrels a day between 2016 and 2020, to 300,000 barrels a day by 2035-2040. But it said fossil fuels will remain the main energy source decades from now. The report by the 14-nation OPEC said that the use of fossil fuels - 81 percent of the global energy mix in 2015 - will decline by 2040.

    Source: The Economic Times

    DATA INSIGHT

    State-wise Production of Coal in India

    (Million Tonnes)

    State2015-162016-17% Increase / Decrease
    w.r.to 2015-16
    West Bengal25.75127.9988.7
    Jharkhand121.067126.5114.5
    Chhattisgarh130.605138.2325.8
    Odisha138.461139.2030.5
    Madhya Pradesh107.714108.5490.8
    Maharashtra38.35137.06-3.4
    Uttar Pradesh12.68916.05726.5
    Assam0.4870.623.2
    Meghalaya3.7123.7120.0
    Jammu & Kashmir0.0130.012-7.7
    Telangana60.3861.3361.6
    Total639.23659.273.1

    Coal Production for the Current Year-2017-18 (April to June)

    Source: Lok Sabha, Unstarred Question No. 1983

     


    Publisher: Baljit Kapoor

    Editorial Adviser: Lydia Powell

    Editor: Akhilesh Sati

    Content Development: Vinod Kumar Tomar

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