Energy News Monitor | Volume XIV; Issue 25

     Wind Turbines, Germany, ENM, Energy Monitor, ONGC, RIL, GST,LED, Coal, Power

    HEAD WINDS SLOW DOWN RE GROWTH

    Non-Fossil Fuels News Commentary: October - November 2017

    India

    Indian power company NHPC Ltd could bid for a $2.5 billion hydropower project in Nepal after Kathmandu cancelled a deal with China Gezhouba Group Corp. China and India jostle for influence over infrastructure projects in Nepal and the deal with China was scrapped after it was criticised for being handed to the company without any competitive bidding. NHPC could look at developing what will be the country's biggest hydropower plant. Among other projects in Nepal, a 750 MW project is to be built on the western part of the country by China's state-owned Three Gorges International Corp, while two Indian companies - GMR Group and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd - are set to build one 900 MW hydropower plant each, mainly to be exported to India.

    Power and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh said India must encourage development of hydro power projects as they help in providing inexpensive power in the long-term and are ideal for meeting peaking load demand. Singh was speaking at the meeting of the Consultative Committee attached to his ministries in Guwahati. The meeting reviewed the functioning of NHPC and implementation of the government’s Solar Rooftop Programme and the Solar Pumps Programme. During the meeting, NHPC gave a presentation on the company’s areas of operation, portfolio of projects, performance on financial parameters, diversification into thermal and renewables and the way forward. NHPC informed the committee that NHPC is commissioning 22 projects of 6,691.2 MW capacity and is engaged in 25 projects of 14,000.5 MW capacity which are under various stages of development involving hydro, solar and thermal projects. Also, 14 projects of 9,167.5 MW are at various stages of clearances. NHPC has expanded its objective of developing renewable source of energy by commissioning 50 MW wind project in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. The committee was also informed that 2,363 MWp solar rooftop systems have been sanctioned and about 810 MWp aggregate capacity projects have been installed in the country so far. The ministry said it is in the process of formulating a new scheme for solar pumps to promote stand-alone solar off-grid pumps with an objective to replace existing diesel pump sets. Similarly, a new scheme for solarisation of grid-connected solar pumps is also being formulated for areas where agriculture power feed is separated.

    Restarting of the second 1,000 MW nuclear power unit at Kudankulam belonging to Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd is expected to happen during November second week.  Some of the equipment for the upcoming third and fourth units at Kudankulam has arrived from Russia. The mega nuclear power plant was shut down on August 4, due to hydrogen concentration in the stator. Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district has two 1,000 MW nuclear power plants, built with Russian equipment. Two more units -- third and fourth -- of similar size are being built at Kudankulam. Construction work is going on for the third and fourth units.

    Reliance Infrastructure is slated to win a ₹ 10 billion order from NPCIL after emerging as the lowest bidder for an engineering and construction contract for the Kudankulam plant. NPCIL 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. Reliance Infra 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 ₹ 500 billion.

    In a bid to push nuclear power development in India, the state-run ONGC has submitted a plan to collaborate with the NPCIL for setting up reactors, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh said. The government has recently amended the Atomic Energy Act 1962 to enable the NPCIL to form joint ventures with public sector undertakings in order to meet the high cost of setting up nuclear plants. Earlier this year, the government approved the construction 10 indigenous pressurised heavy water nuclear reactors with a total capacity of 7,000 MW. Each of the reactors would have a capacity of 700 MW. He also said that the Centre is currently working with various state governments to sensitise about the additional uses of nuclear energy in fields other than electricity like in irradiation of agriculture products, medicine, among others. He also stressed the need for a vast sensitisation programme to remove misconceptions about the health and safety aspects of nuclear power.

    The India is on track to catalyse $200-300 billion of new investment in its renewable energy infrastructure in the next decade with global capital inflows playing an increasingly crucial role, according to the IEEFA. At present, India relies on thermal power generation for 80 percent of its electricity, while hydro supplies a significant 10 percent and renewables just seven percent. However, India has set an ambitious but achievable national target of 275 GW of renewable capacity installed by 2027.

    The tipping point may have been 2016-17, when the net thermal capacity plummeted and renewable installs more than doubled, according to the report "Indian electricity sector transformation" published by the IEEFA. The report examines the rapid transformation in India's electricity market, showing how renewable energy and energy efficiency measures can help the country minimise the growth of coal-fired electric generation. Electricity demand in India is expected to double over the coming decade, and how this electricity will be generated is important for both India and the world. Clearly India can look forward to further renewable energy tariff reductions medium term, the report said. While renewables are expected to surge, IEEFA forecasts that net thermal power capacity additions are likely to remain below five GW annually in the next decade, held in check by increased retirements of highly polluting, end-of-life sub-critical coal-fired power plants.

    The bidding activity for wind and solar energy projects has slowed down in the current calendar year in terms of awarded project capacity, research and ratings agency ICRA said. The solar project capacity awarded in 2017 stood at 3.75 GW by October end as against 7.2 GW in the corresponding period of 2016. ICRA said state utilities are preferring reverse auction for wind projects owing to lower tariffs than feed-in tariffs approved by State Electricity Regulatory Commissions varying from ₹ 3.74/kWh to ₹ 5.76/kWh. Solar power tariffs too have come down to ₹ 2.44/kWh in May 2017 for Bhadla solar park in Rajasthan. The agency also said the recent increase of around 15 percent (or 6-7 cents per watt) in imported PV module prices, if sustained, could have an adverse impact on the viability of projects with tariffs lower than ₹ 3.5/kWh. The slowdown in the bidding activity for solar projects comes on the back of GST roll-out from July 2017, upward pressure on PV module prices, and finalization of new bidding guidelines for award of solar projects. India requires 63 GW of additional renewable energy through 2022. Within this, ICRA estimates the share of wind and solar energy capacity addition requirement to be at least 35 percent and 55 percent, respectively.

    India and the World Bank signed a $100 million loan and grant agreement to help the country increase its solar power generation capacity. The loan for "Shared Infrastructure for Solar Parks Project" would go towards financing solar parks in the country, the finance ministry said. The funding has two components: a $75 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which has a five-year grace period and a maturity of 19 years, and a $23-million loan from the CTF with a 10-year grace period, and a maturity of 40 years. The second component of $2 million is an interest-free CTF grant. According to the World Bank, the first two solar parks are in Rewa and Mandsaur districts of Madhya Pradesh with targeted installed capacities of 750 MW and 250 MW. Other states where potential solar parks could be supported under this project are in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Haryana.

    Solar developers are up in arms over Tamil Nadu’s decision not to pay for power they produce by achieving higher efficiencies, which they claim has already cost them over ₹ 1 billion. In a memorandum to the TANGEDCO, the National Solar Energy Federation of India has protested its decision not to pay for the excess power generated by any solar plant which exceeds a CUF of 19%. CUF is the ratio of the actual output from a solar plant to the maximum possible output from it under ideal conditions. Most solar plants in India achieve an average CUF of 15-19%, depending on the quality of the plant and the strength of the solar radiation, but have on occasions, especially in sunshine-rich states like Rajasthan, crossed 20%. Tamil Nadu began conducting solar auctions only in mid-2016 before which solar tariffs were fixed by TNERC. The first TNERC order, in September 2014, set the tariff at ₹ 7.01/kWh while the second, in March 2016, lowered it to ₹ 5.10/kWh. All the 1600 MW odd of solar projects currently supplying power to TANGEDCO do so at tariffs fixed by TNERC, since the projects won through auctions have yet to be completed. They are paid either ₹ 7.01/kWh ₹ 5.10/kWh depending on whether they were commissioned before March 2016 or after. While passing its orders, TNERC had also set down the parameters it used to arrive at the tariff, and assigned estimated values to each parameter. These included capital cost, operation and maintenance cost, interest on working capital, depreciation and many more, including the CUF expected. In both the orders, it estimated the CUF at 19%. TANGEDCO has interpreted this to mean that power produced in excess of a CUF of 19% will not be paid for.

    MNRE has expressed hope that developed nations would earmark certain proportion of their overseas development assistance for solar energy projects in developing countries. Multilateral Development Banks and other financial institutions provide wholehearted support for solar projects through low cost finance.

    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. 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 power purchase agreements were signed in 2016-17, should be paid ₹ 4.50/kWh and not ₹ 3.74/kWh as KERC had laid down in September.

    India’s massive effort towards renewable energy has resulted in considerable drop in solar price and the country now believes that the solar power is cheaper than coal without subsidy, US lawmakers have been told during the hearing on Energy and International Development. They were told that India’s effort in renewable energy there has been a considerable drop in solar price.

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

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

    SBI announced the sanction of loans worth ₹ 23.17 billion in collaboration with the World Bank to finance grid-connected solar rooftop projects in the country. SBI said that it has availed line of credit facilities worth $625 million from World Bank for onward lending to viable solar rooftop projects. SBI said the loans are intended for developers and end-users for installation of rooftop solar systems on the rooftops of commercial, institutional and industrial buildings. The seven companies sanctioned loans are JSW Energy, Hinduja Renewables, Tata Renewable Energy, Adani Group, Azure Power, Cleantech Solar and Hero Solar Energy. SBI has so far sanctioned 43 projects with aggregate credit facilities of ₹ 27.66 billion under the programme, which would add 695 MW of solar rooftop capacity to the grid. The bank has so far drawn-down over 50 percent of the line credit and the remaining facilities are expected to be used in the next 18 months. So far, the SBI has lent a total of ₹ 120 billion to solar energy projects, while there are hardly any bad loans-related concerns in this sector.

    The government gave a call to start-ups run by the city youth to initiate a clean cooking movement by tapping the huge market potential of solar energy, saying they would get blessings of women from the poor sections of society. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in the last 35 years, governments had spent ₹ 40 billion on renewable energy but within three years of his government assuming office, nearly ₹ 110 billion had been spent. By 2030, India aimed to address 40 percent of its power needs by means of renewable energy. The government's aim is to produce 175 GW power by 2022. LED bulbs which earlier cost more than ₹ 350 were now available for ₹ 40 to ₹ 45 under the Ujala scheme. More than 27 billion LED bulbs had been distributed so far, he said, adding that through this scheme the middle class had been able to save ₹ 70 billion. The government had distributed more than 30 million gas connections to rural women which had not only made a positive difference in their lives, but also contributed to a cleaner environment.

    Rest of the World

    China’s first offshore nuclear reactor is set to be completed soon, engineers involved in the project said, bolstering Beijing’s maritime ambitions and stoking concerns about the potential use of atomic power in disputed island territories. Beijing hopes offshore reactors will not only help win new markets, but also support state ambitions to become a “strong maritime power” by providing reliable electricity to oil and gas rigs as well as remote South China Sea islands. CSIC said the technology was “mature” and the first demonstration project would be deployed soon at drilling platforms in northern China’s Bohai Sea. The demonstration project is being developed by a research team established by CSIC, China National Offshore Oil Corp and two reactor builders, China National Nuclear Corp and China General Nuclear Power. China has urged nuclear firms to develop technologies that will help boost domestic capacity and win projects abroad  Floating reactors also served a wider political goal to strengthen China’s maritime presence.

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

    Pakistan plans to build at least three to four big reactors as it targets nuclear power capacity of 8,800 MW by 2030, Muhammad Naeem, Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, said. Pakistan has five small reactors in operation with combined capacity of just over 1300 MW. The last one in the four-reactor Chashma plant in Punjab province, built by China National Nuclear Corp, went into operation in September this year. It is also building two Chinese Hualong One reactors with a capacity of 1100 MW each near the port city of Karachi. These two new reactors are now 60 percent and 40 percent complete respectively and should become operational in 2020 and 2021. Pakistan is now also in the final stages of awarding contracts for an eighth nuclear reactor with 1100 MW capacity which would take the country’s total nuclear capacity to about 5,000 MW when it is finished. Pakistan’s five operating reactors - including a tiny 125 MW Canadian-built reactor in Karachi in operation since 1972 - generate just five percent of the country’s electricity, with the rest coming from oil, gas and some hydropower. With about one quarter of Pakistan’s population having no access to electricity, the government said late last year that it wants to boost nuclear capacity to 8,800 MW, or about 20 percent of power generation capacity, by 2030. Naeem said Pakistan is looking at building at least three to four more big nuclear reactors before 2030 in order to reach that target.

    China aims to prevent power generated by its renewable energy sector being wasted by 2020, the country’s 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.

    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. 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.

    OPEC 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.

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

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

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

    Korean companies will bid to take part in Saudi Arabia’s project to build nuclear power plants. Saudi Arabia is considering building 17.6 GW of nuclear-powered electricity generation capacity by 2032 and has sent a request for information to international suppliers to build two plants, a first step towards a formal tendering competition. A consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corp is building four nuclear reactors for Saudi neighbour the United Arab Emirates.

    Nine US senators from states that have oil refineries sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging changes to the country’s biofuels policy and asking for a meeting to discuss the issue. The letter reflects growing tensions between refiners that oppose the US Renewable Fuel Standard - a law requiring them to blend increasing amounts of ethanol into the nation’s fuel each year - and the Midwest corn lobby that supports it. The Trump administration bowed to rising pressure from Midwest lawmakers assuring them in letters and phone calls that it would ditch proposals, supported by the refining industry, to overhaul the biofuels policy. The senators said that decision could cost jobs. The Renewable Fuel Standard was implemented by former President George W. Bush in 2005 as a way to support farmers, reduce imports and combat climate change. The oil industry has opposed the regulation, mainly because the increasing biofuels volume mandates cut into their petroleum-based fuel market share. A number of independent refiners, like Valero Energy Corp, CVR Energy and PBF Energy are also vocally opposed to the regulation’s requirement that refiners blend the biofuels or purchase credits from rivals that do - which they say costs them hundreds of millions of dollars each year. The EPA said that it did not believe shifting the blending requirement off refiners was appropriate. The EPA also jettisoned a proposal to cut biofuels volumes mandates, and another to count ethanol exports against those mandates.

    NATIONAL: OIL

    Centre plans mega port to cater to PSU oil majors’ $40 bn petrochem complex

    November 26, 2017. The Centre has flagged off a techno-economic feasibility study to build a mega port to cater to the $40 billion west coast refinery and petrochemicals complex being planned by three state-run oil firms. The proposed port will come up at Vijaydurg in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg district. The proposed port will be developed through a joint venture between Mormugao Port Trust, Mumbai Port Trust and Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) – the state government agency tasked with developing ports in Maharashtra. Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) signed a joint venture in June this year to build one of the world’s largest integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex with a capacity of 60 million tonnes a year. The refinery is expected to start operations in 2022. The proposed refinery is being developed by government oil PSUs (Public Sector Undertakings). So, a government-run refinery with a government port will be more ideal. This port will have guaranteed cargo and require huge investments.

    Source: The Hindu Business Line

    Vedanta oil and gas projects pick up as crude price rises

    November 24, 2017. The recent spurt in global crude oil prices has resulted in Vedanta, the metals and mining major, putting its development and exploration projects on a fast track but issues of cess and higher profit petroleum continue to be a concern. Sudhir Mathur, newly appointed chief executive for the Cairn oil and gas business at Vedanta, said when oil prices started sliding, it was challenging and industry across the world went into despondency. The company now has five projects and each is viable at $40. The company’s production sharing contract for Barmer expires in 2020 but the company would be required to pay a higher 10 percent share of its production to the government, under a Cabinet decision. Mathur said they were still in discussion with the government to continue with the earlier profit petroleum share, arguing this was an extension of the contract period. Vedanta is also seeking permission from the government to export crude oil from its Barmer fields. The company is targeting to take its production to 300,000 barrels. Its five projects include the Raageshwari Deep Gas (RDG) project; the enhanced oil recovery (EOR) programme at Aishwariya fields, the EOR programme at Bhagyam and Barmer Hill and Aishwariya Barmer Hill, which is a tight oil. Besides, the company is undertaking Mangala ASP project. Mathur said the company would be undertaking drilling in its Krishna Godavari block in the first quarter of 2018. The company would also be putting in bids for the oil blocks offered by the government under the open acreage policy. It has bought data for 15 blocks under the new policy. The company has been demanding reduction in the cess rate to 8 percent of the realized price.

    Source: Business Standard

    Indian refiners processed record oil volume in October: Government

    November 23, 2017. Indian refiners processed a record 5.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil in October as the world’s third biggest oil consumer added extra capacity to meet the rising fuel demand, government data showed. The world’s third biggest oil importer sees its diesel and gasoline consumption rising by about two-thirds by 2030, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. The nation, which produces a fraction of its oil consumption, shipped in a record 4.83 million bpd in September ahead of processing to fuel the additional capacities. India is increasing refining capacity to keep pace with the expected growth in fuel demand as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to boost the manufacturing sector. Recently the country added 170,000 bpd of capacity at the Kochi plant of Bharat Petroleum Corp and Bathinda refinery of Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL)-Mittal Energy. Kochi refinery’s oil processing rose by about 23 percent and that of Bathinda by about a quarter, data showed. Crude refining in October also jumped as several refiners resumed operations after extensive maintenance while Indian Oil Corp (IOC) deferred a maintenance shutdown of its 300,000 bpd Paradip refinery to meet the fuel demand during festive seasons. Crude oil processing at IOC’s 300,000 bpd coastal Paradip refinery rose by a third. The refinery, commissioned in 2016, resumed full operation earlier this year. Together state-run refiners processed 6.52 percent more oil in October than a year ago, while private refiners used about 13 percent more crude, the data showed.

    Source: Reuters

    India's annual diesel consumption to rise by two-thirds by 2030

    November 22, 2017. India’s annual diesel consumption could rise to 150 billion litres by 2030 from 90 billion litres now, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. Annual gasoline consumption in the world’s third-biggest oil consuming nation could rise to 50 billion litres by 2030 from 30 billion litres now, he said. India currently imports about 80 percent of its oil needs.

    Source: Reuters

    Refineries in 3 states to supply Euro-VI fuel to Delhi from April

    November 22, 2017. Ultra-clean Euro-VI grade petrol and diesel, sourced from refineries in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, will be supplied in the national capital from next April in a bid to combat alarming levels of air pollution. To meet Delhi's consumption of over 9 lakh tonnes of petrol and 12.6 lakh tonnes of diesel, Mathura refinery in Uttar Pradesh, Bina in Madhya Pradesh and Bhatinda in Punjab will start making Euro-VI grade fuel by mid-January so that supplies to customers start from April 1. Also, storages will have to be separated for BS-VI fuel from the present quality BS-IV fuel. India had in 2015 decided to leapfrog to Euro-VI emission norm compliant petrol and diesel from April 2020, from the Euro-IV grade at present. The deadline for the rest of the country stands. However, for Delhi, which is choking on thick toxic smog, the deadline for introduction of BS-VI - equivalent to Euro-VI grade, was preponed to April 2018. Euro-VI grade fuel contains 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur as against 50 ppm in Euro-IV fuels. Oil firms have been asked to examine the possibility of introduction of BS-VI auto fuels in the entire NCR, which includes adjoining cities of Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad, from April 1, 2019. Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the nation's biggest oil firm, will source the BS-VI fuel to meet Delhi's requirement from its Mathura refinery, while Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) will do so from its joint venture refinery at Bhatinda. Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) supply the fuel from its Bina refinery. The current BS-IV emission norm was introduced across the country from April 1, 2017. Oil refineries will need to invest Rs 28,000 crore in upgrading petrol and diesel quality to meet cleaner fuel specifications by 2020. According to IOC, for petrol engines, one of the most critical specification is Research Octane No. (RON), which has improved from 88 in BS-II to 91. It is at par with regular 91 octane gasoline (petrol) required for Euro VI emission norms.

    Source: Business Standard

    IOC studies renewed Venezuelan crude purchases

    November 22, 2017. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is considering buying Venezuelan crude for the first time in at least six years, in a move that could help the crisis-struck South American nation settle unpaid bills with another state-owned Indian energy firm. The OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries)-member’s economy has collapsed since crude prices plummeted in 2014, forcing it to delay payments for oil services and fuel supplies. Venezuela depends on oil for more than 90 percent of its export revenues. Venezuela’s national oil company PDVSA has missed debt payments to ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the foreign investment arm of Indian explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), for six month and wants to settle $449 million dues using existing and new Indian clients. IOC Chairman Sanjiv Singh confirmed he had received a letter from Venezuela seeking to sell crude. Venezuela has a supply agreement for more than 360,000 barrels per day (bpd) with Indian companies. It is not clear, however, whether Venezuela could supply more oil to overseas customers. To meet its highly subsidized domestic needs, PDVSA is said to have been siphoning off crude from cash-paying joint ventures with foreign firms. Currently, only private refiners Reliance Industries and Essar Oil currently buy Venezuelan oil.

    Source: Reuters

    NATIONAL: GAS

    ONGC officers urge PM Modi to stop oil ministry plan to sell O&G fields

    November 27, 2017. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) officers association has sought Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi's intervention to stall Oil Ministry's plan to sell the company's producing oil and gas (O&G) fields, saying the move has highly damaging implications for the country. The Association of Scientific & Technical Officers (ASTO) cited examples of falling production at the western offshore Panna/Mukta fields that were privatised in the 1990s, and Reliance Industries' flagging KG-D6 fields to state that ONGC has done well with its ageing fields. Most O&G fields of ONGC have been in production for 30 years and output has naturally shown a dip from the peak level but still accounts for the bulk of domestic output, ASTO president Sanjay Goel wrote to Modi on November 23. Oil ministry has identified 15 producing oil and gas fields of ONGC and Oil India Ltd for handing over to private firms on the premise of raising output. The fields have in-place reserve of 791.2 million tonnes of crude oil, and 333.46 billion cubic metres of gas have been identified. Production trajectory at Panna-Mukta field, which was taken away from ONGC and privatised, has been on a continuous decline, Goel wrote. Also, Ratna-R Series fields which were given to Essar Oil could not be brought to production in two decades and have now been reverted to ONGC. He said if stagnant or flagging production is a criterion for identifying underperforming fields of ONGC, the same yardstick must be extended to all domestic fields. The production drop at KG-D6 to 5-6 million standard cubic meters per day has also had a collateral damage to stranded gas-based plants and other struggling industries. Even when prices have tipped, Goel said it is a misnomer that ONGC got everything on a platter by getting the blocks on the nomination. ONGC is investing heavily in new technology and processes to improve recovery from the ageing fields, he said.

    Source: Business Standard

    ONGC wants higher gas price for produce from KG, Gulf of Kutch discoveries

    November 26, 2017. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has sought more than doubling of natural gas prices to help bring significant discoveries in Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin and Gulf of Kutch to production. Gas discoveries in shallow sea off Andhra Pradesh on the east, and off Gujarat on the west are economically unviable to produce at the current government-mandated price of $2.89 per million British thermal unit, the company said. The company wants a price of over $6 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu) to help it produce the gas without suffering any losses. In the absence of a viable gas price, it will have to mothball the $1.5-billion projects, the company said. The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)-led government in October 2014 had evolved a new pricing formula using rates prevalent in gas surplus nations like the United States, Canada and Russia to determine rates in a net importing country. While prices have halved to $2.89 since the formula was implemented, the government has allowed a higher rate of $6.3 per mmBtu for gas fields in difficult areas like deepsea. The company said the KG basin block KG- OWN-2004/1 is in shallow water and does not qualify as a 'difficult field'. On the western side, the block GK-28 in Gulf of Kutch is a nomination block which does not qualify for higher rates, the company said. While the KG block will produce a peak output of 5.35 million metric standard cubic meter per day (mmscmd), the same from Gulf of Kutch block will be around 3 mmscmd. It would take a minimum three years to bring the gas finds to production. The combined output is about 14 percent of the ONGC's current output of 60 mmscmd. ONGC also has a couple of smaller fields with a total expected peak production of 1.1 mmscmd, which cannot viably produce at the current domestic gas prices. For more than a year now, ONGC has been petitioning the oil ministry for setting a floor price of at least $4.2 per mmBtu for domestically produced natural gas. The new formula provides for revising rates every six months -- on April 1 and October 1, based on one-year average gas price in the surplus nations with a lag of one quarter. When the formula was implemented, rates went up from $4.2 to $5.05 per mmBtu but fell to $4.66 per mmBtu in April 2015 and to $3.82 in October that year. In 2016, the prices further dipped to $3.06 per mmBtu in April and to $2.50 per mmBtu in October. In April this year, they fell further to $2.48 but have from October 2017 risen to $2.89. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had said that the cost of production of natural gas in the prolific Krishna Godavari basin is between $4.99 to $7.30 per mmBtu. The same for other basins is in the range of $3.80 to $6.59 per mmBtu, he had said.

    Source: Business Standard

    Maoists hit agency working on Jagdishpur-Haldia gas pipeline

    November 25, 2017. An armed squad of banned naxalite outfit CPI-Maoist attacked the base camp of an agency engaged in the construction of Jagdishpur-Haldia gas pipeline and set their many vehicles on fire in Bihar's Gaya district, police said. The over 2,500 km gas pipeline from Jagdishpur in Allahabad district of Uttar Pradesh to Haldia in West Bengal will pass through Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha as well as the two states.

    Source: Business Standard

    BPCL launches two new LNG tenders for supply

    November 23, 2017. Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) launched a tender seeking a spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo for delivery in January and a separate tender for three cargoes for May, August and October, traders said. BPCL seeks a spot cargo for January 19-21 delivery into the Dahej import terminal, with bids due on or before December 5 and the award due to be made on December 7. In a parallel tender, Bharat requires a cargo in May, August and October. Bids for this tender must be submitted on or before November 28 and the award is due on December 12.

    Source: Reuters

    Delhi HC refuses to stay probe in RIL gas price issue

    November 22, 2017. The Delhi High Court (HC) refrained from granting an interim stay on the probe into an FIR against Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and others, including two former UPA ministers, for alleged irregularities in raising the price of gas from the KG-6 basin. The court said enough of protection has already been granted in the matter following a HC order that no coercive steps should be taken.

    Source: India Today

    NATIONAL: COAL

    CIL to raise executive salaries at a cost of Rs 8 bn

    November 28, 2017. Coal India Ltd (CIL), the world’s largest coal miner, will pay its executives about Rs 8 billion ($124.08 million) in salary rises retroactive from January this year, interim Chairman Gopal Singh said. The pay increase, which was approved by the board, comes over a month after the company approved a rise in the salaries of its workers, costing Rs 56 billion over five years. The company employs more than 300,000 people, about 18,000 of whom are executives.

    Source: Reuters

    Illegal coal mining companies causing fires: CCL

    November 27, 2017. The underground coal fire in Ramgarh which is threatening to damage NH-33 and Koderma-Barkakana rail route in Kuju, may have been caused by illegal coal miners, said Central Coal Fields Ltd (CCL), a subsidiary of Coal India Ltd. Though authorities of the CCL recently got the nod from the state forest and environment department to start digging on a 5-acre plot of forest land to prevent the fire from doing further damage, the root cause of the problem remains unaddressed.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Adani may not receive million dollar-loan from Australian government

    November 27, 2017. Indian energy giant Adani's controversy-hit Carmichael coal mine project in Australia may not receive a A$900 million (900 million Australian dollars) after the Labour party- led Queensland government said it will exercise its veto to not support the financial assistance. The A$16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine project, one of the world's largest, will start construction after being given the green light by the federal and Queensland state governments. The Adani group had applied for Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) loan worth A$900 million for building a train line to connect its mine to the coast. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that her Labor party would veto the NAIF loan if it retains the power in the state.

    Source: The Times of India

    India's North American coal imports may surge on domestic shortage

    November 22, 2017. India’s coal imports from North America are likely to surge as buyers are looking to boost purchases amid a domestic shortage of the fuel and a regional ban on petroleum coke, traders said. Shipping data showed that India’s coal imports from North America tripled to 2.1 million tonnes (mt) in October from a year ago. Other trading sources put this figure lower, at 1.47 mt. Coal imports for November 1-20 have reached 1.14 mt. Indian imports of North American coal, including supplies from Canada, stand at about 1.5 million tonnes from November 1 to 20, data showed, already more than 70 percent of last month’s purchases. A ban on the use of petroleum coke, a dirtier but better-burning alternative to coal, is spurring expectations India will buy even more coal from the United States (US) in coming months. Cement companies account for nearly 75 percent of India’s annual petcoke demand of 27 million tonnes, according to trade data, and small industries such as lime manufacturers are also considering the use of US coal, which is almost as efficient as petcoke. The petcoke ban may deter Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to cut India’s coal imports, which have risen for the first time in the past two months after falling in the past few years.

    Source: Reuters

    Coal-based plants can pass on retrofit cost: Power Secretary

    November 22, 2017. Power ministry is not mulling any amendment in laws for passing on the cost of retrofitting coal based-power plant to consumers, Power Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla said. Power producers can always go to their respective regulators or electricity regulatory commissions to seek approval for increasing power tariff to recover any such expenditure citing new norms issued by environment ministry in December 2015. The power sector expert said since power secretary has made it crystal clear, the generators have no option but to go for retrofitting of their plants. The cost of retrofitting a power plant ranges from Rs 1-2 crore per MW while that for new coal-based plant would be around Rs 5 crore per MW. 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.

    Source: Business Standard

    NATIONAL: POWER

    Railways to invite tenders for electrifying 8k km every year from next fiscal

    November 24, 2017. The Indian Railways will start tendering 8,000 kilometre (km) of rail lines for electrification every year, starting next financial year, to complete the network electrification target in the next five years. In a first, the contract size that will be awarded on the government-funded engineering-procurement and construction (EPC) model, will be mostly in the range of 1,500-2,000 km to achieve faster completion. The railways, which currently has a fuel bill of Rs 26,500 crore, will save Rs 10,500 crore in fuel bill annually by electrifying its entire route. The cost for electrifying would be around Rs 30,000-35,000 crore. Railways is aiming to cut project cost by at least 20% by offering large contracts. Railways to invite tenders for electrifying 8,000 km every year from next fiscal. To raise the required funds, railways would deploy funds raised from Life Insurance Corp of India (LIC) and Indian Railway Finance Corp (IRFC) towards electrification. The national transporter could also go for borrowings from Rural Electrification Corp (REC).

    Source: The Economic Times

    EESL to procure 10 mn prepaid meters to be deployed in UP

    November 24, 2017. The government plans to procure 10 million pre-paid meters to be deployed in Uttar Pradesh (UP) as part of the Saubhagya scheme, which aims to add more than 40 million households to the power grid by December next year. Leading national and international companies, including L&T, HPL, Landis and Gyr, Secure Meters, China-based Shenzhen Inhemeter, and Genus Power, have expressed their interest in the global competitive-bidding tender for the pre-paid meters. Power Minister R K Singh had said that the government would push pre-paid meters so that even the poorest consumers could be connected to the electricity network. The Saubhagya scheme, launched by the Prime Minister in September, has an outlay of Rs 16,320 crores, with a budgetary allocation of Rs 12,320 crores. The funds for procurement will come from the UP government. It depends whether the state would want to use the Saubhagya budget for this, Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) Managing Director Saurabh Kumar said. These pre-paid meters will be targeted at the population below the poverty line. Households will be provided the electricity connection free of cost and the consumer will only have to pay for the electricity consumption. The expression of interest document issued by EESL for the tender also states that overseas suppliers may be required to manufacture a part of their order in India. The pre-paid meters, which will allow consumers to pay beforehand for their electricity usage, are most likely to be supplied between February and December next year.

    Source: The Economic Times

    PGCIL sees $25 bn up for grabs on PM Modi's power plan

    November 22, 2017. India’s largest transmission utility Power Grid Corp of India Ltd (PGCIL)  is shifting its focus to projects within states, where it expects a government plan to provide electricity to all to generate about Rs1.6 trillion ($25 billion) worth of new orders over the next five years. PGCIL will seek to capture some of the new orders either on its own or through joint ventures. Provinces are increasing investments in their electricity grids and upgrading old transmission systems as they seek to supply round-the-clock electricity to households and industries as part of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s plan to supply every household with electricity.

    Source: Bloomberg

    NATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    KERC approves wind energy PPA at old tariff, to assess other projects

    November 28, 2017. Karnataka’s power regulator has finally started approving old power purchase agreements (PPAs) with wind energy developers, kindling hopes that distribution companies and regulators will stop resisting older PPAs on grounds of steep fall in tariffs in recent auctions for such projects. Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) has endorsed at least one wind energy PPA at the original tariff of Rs 4.50 per unit, ending a month-long dispute with the state government.

    Source: The Economic Times

    'India needs to build solar-electricity storage system'

    November 28, 2017. India needs to build a storage system for electricity from its fast-expanding solar network in a bid to balance cost-effective energy mix, Nitya Nanda, Fellow & Area Convenor at the Centre for Resource Efficiency and Governance in The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). There is a mismatch between peak demand and electricity generation period for solar, Nanda said. While solar is seen as the cheapest form of electricity, as the latest bid shows that it could be available at less than Rs 2.5 per unit and hence one can imagine a situation where solar power price go down to Rs 1-1.5 per unit, it is in a conundrum on supply and demand scenario, Nanda said. However, Nanda expressed concern over the high cost of storage system, mostly to be a battery-based set up. This would raise the solar electricity cost to consumer to Rs 10 per 2.5 kilovolt (kV), from just nominal right now, he said. In such a case, coal-fired power plants will be more competitive with the green-energy, he said. But as the night sets in, it would raise prices to as high as Rs 10, as solar without storage would no longer be in competition, or with storage system be offered at Rs 10 at least. Solar operate at nominal cost as no fuel cost is involved and maintenance cost is the only operational cost. Comparatively, coal-fired plants cost is Rs 2 and above and it faces rising coal prices as well as environmental issues. India's coal fired plants also lacks flexibility of shutting during off peak period. They are old and designed to operate 24/7, which compels the operators to run at full capacity and compete on prices in market place. Building a coal-fired plant with flexibility to shut and restart will take a long time, and it is an option not in line with the Indian governments green energy and enhancing environment programmes. Comparatively, India's slow-paced industrialisation would also not be able to support the 100 GW solar electricity output, he said. Nanda observed that India has made good progress on the ambitious solar development, 100 GW by 2022, but has raised concern about backup of the green electricity. He suggested solar electricity exports to neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, where gas fired plants have the flexibility of shutting down during off peak period and re- starting during peak demand. Bangladesh could take Indian solar electricity at prices much lower than their gas-fired generation cost as it continues to face gas shortage and its volatile prices. Pakistan, also facing a huge shortage of electricity, is another export market. But it is a political play though some talks have been held on exporting electricity with that country. India has already installed 16 GW of solar plants and 40 GW of other green energy network including Wind, of the total 175 GW target by 2022.

    Source: Business Standard

    Goa's first biogas bus trial runs to start in a fortnight

    November 28, 2017. The government will run the bio-gas bus on a pilot basis within a fortnight for three to six months, officials in the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said. The bus, which the officials claimed was the first Euro-VI complaint vehicle in the country, will start running after the gas dispensing unit for it is made ready. The bus will start running after the gas dispensing unit for it is made ready. The biogas bus had its inaugural run on the Independence Day and was brought in along with two other eco-friendly buses that will run on ethanol on a pilot basis. The state transport corporation, KTC, had signed a memorandum of understanding the bus manufacturer, Scania, for three months. The eco-friendly bus project is monitored by the CMO and is an attempt to bring in buses at par with international standards on Goa roads. Currently, the buses are operated by Swedish bus maker Scania with no cost to the government. Initially, the biogas for the bus will be sourced from a Kolhapur firm.

    Source: The Times of India

    Solar power developers flouting domestic content norms may face penal action

    November 27, 2017. India plans to penalize solar power developers which are using foreign equipment in power generation projects awarded on the basis that they would only use locally made solar cells and modules. To curb such malpractices, the government will make it mandatory for developers to publicly disclose the radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag information of the panels used in solar projects. It will also be incumbent on the developers to share the RFID list of rejected panels. These projects, awarded under the so-called domestic content requirement (DCR) route by state-owned firms, are required to use solar cells and modules made in India. Also, under the solar roof-top scheme, the government gives subsidy on the condition that the modules should be made in India wherein solar cells can be imported. Solar modules or panels account for nearly 60% of a solar power project’s cost. For China’s solar panel manufacturing capacity, estimated to be around 70 GW per year, the major markets are the United States, India and China itself. The Indian government introduced stringent quality norms in August for solar equipment to be sold in the country and made the destruction of sub-standard equipment mandatory. Of India’s plan to add 100 GW of solar power capacity by 2022, 40 GW is to come from roof-top projects. With the average efficiency of a solar panel usually just 16-22%, sub-standard quality will impact generation. India has also been conducting an anti-dumping investigation on solar equipment from China, Taiwan and Malaysia.

    Source: Livemint

    Tata Power Solar commissions rooftop solar carport

    November 27, 2017. Tata Power Solar said that it has commissioned India’s first solar carport on the rooftop of mall in the national capital. The company said it has reached a landmark by commissioning an unprecedented rooftop project in India - a solar carport on the rooftop of the sprawling 70,000 square meter Unity One mall in Rohini. It said that the unique rooftop carport is estimated to set off 438 tonne of carbon emission annually. Tata Power Solar won the bid in the open tender process fielded by Delhi Metro Rail Corp (DMRC) for multi-level car parking. The project has been envisaged under net-metering scheme enabling self-reliance in the energy consumption and production cycle. It enables the mall to receive real value of the energy produced by earning on the unused and excess solar electricity produced. It also cuts down the need to install a second meter or an expensive battery storage system as it is directly connected to the local power grid.

    Source: The Hindu Business Line

    Government determined to not let Delhi smog-like situation recur

    November 27, 2017. The Centre is determined to not let the Delhi smog-like situation recur, Environment Secretary C K Mishra said and asserted that no single authority can be held responsible for the menace. If harsh measures are called for, they will be taken, Mishra said at an event hosted by WWF-India where he launched a report on 'Clean Energy Innovation Ecosystem in the SME sector in India'. To address environmental issues, individual efforts need to galvanise into a collective goal for the government and society as a whole, Mishra, who also holds the portfolio of climate change, said. The environment secretary also reached out to the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and urged the business entities to become extremely competitive in devising "innovative and cleaner technology". India has "unique problems" and so it needs "unique solutions". And, 'who comes up with a cleaner technology' has to be the slogan of the industry, he said, adding, climate change is for real, and we need to brace up for it. Mishra said millions of Indians still do not have access to electricity, and the government wants to reach out to all of them soon by creating additional capacity through renewable power worth 175 GW by 2022, particularly with reference to solar technology. The Basil Energetics and Atomberg Technologies were awarded the 'Climate Solver Awards 2017' at the event for contributing to greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction by developing a smart micro-grid and Gorilla energy-efficient ceiling fans, respectively. Climate Solver is a climate innovation platform launched by WWF-Sweden in 2008 to strengthen the development and widespread use of low-carbon technologies. It has now expanded to other countries, including China and India, the WWF said. The awards were started in India in 2012.

    Source: Business Standard

    Modi government to step beyond renewable goal with China-scale tenders

    November 27, 2017. In a bid to exceed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s climate pledges, India announced that it will tender enough renewable energy projects over the next three years to surpass 200 GW of green capacity build by 2022. India declared a three-year programme towards tenders for renewable energy projects that will meet its original target of 175 GW of clean-energy capacity within five years, in addition to plans to spur local solar equipment manufacturing that will help push past the goal. It’s also looking at ways to export more wind turbines, a measure that may benefit Suzlon Energy Ltd. With renewable energy targets second only to those set by the government of China, India has a long way to go from a current base of 60 GW to reach its ambition of 175 GW in five years. The South Asian nation needs to expand its current solar capacity sevenfold to reach the 100 GW by 2022. It would have to double wind installations to touch 60 GW over the same period. The plan to exceed these targets will see tenders of more than 80 gigawatts of solar projects and 30 gigawatts for wind by the 2020 financial year, Ministry of New and Renewables Energy (MNRE) Secretary Anand Kumar said. India is also considering getting export-import bank support to help wind turbine makers increase exports, Kumar said.

    Source: Business Standard

    Gujarat, Tamil Nadu powerlooms reaped max benefits of solar energy scheme

    November 27, 2017. Textile Commissioner Kavita Gupta said maximum benefits of government's promotional schemes for powerloom textile industry have been taken by entrepreneurs from Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. The textile ministry has recently announced Solar Energy Scheme for small powerloom units, on-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) plant (without battery back up) and off-grid solar PV plant (with battery back up), where government will provide Rs 2.50 lakh subsidy per unit. She said this scheme will help the unit to pay back bank loans within 3-4 years, after which the unit shall get practically free electricity. Currently, there are 25 lakh powerlooms in the country out of which 50 percent are in Maharashtra. Also, there are 108 powerloom clusters in the country and 72 textile parks.

    Source: The Economic Times

    India to auction 100 GW of green energy contracts by March 2020

    November 25, 2017. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) announced a clean energy rollout trajectory that will require awarding a mammoth 100 GW of solar and wind contracts by March 2020. Besides, the government is also working on a plan targeted at farmers to generate 20 GW of solar power. This involves setting up small solar projects of 1-2 MW size on fallow land and solarizing water pumps. Of the 100 GW to be awarded, 77 GW will be solar power contracts. Given India’s ambitious target of 175 GW of clean energy capacity by March 2022, the government’s strategy is to complete the bid process by March 2020 so that developers have the time need to construct these projects, MNRE Secretary Anand Kumar said. India’s wind power tariff also fell to a record low of Rs 2.64 per unit in an auction conducted by state-run Solar Energy Corp of India in October. It will be a busy time ahead for green energy developers, given the frequency of auctions planned. By announcing the road map, the government wants to encourage domestic manufacture of equipment. Of the targeted 175 GW of clean energy capacity by 2022, 100 GW is to come from solar projects. Of this, 60 GW will be from ground-mounted, grid-connected projects, and 40 GW is to come from solar rooftop projects. Wind power projects are to contribute 60 GW.

    Source: Livemint

    SBI looking at renewables, roads sectors to boost loan growth: Chairman

    November 25, 2017. State Bank of India (SBI) is exploring ways to expand loan growth to sectors such as railways, roads and renewable energy, which are attracting higher public spending, Chairman Rajnish Kumar said. India’s largest lender is also looking at investment opportunities in financial technology, or fintech, start-ups, Kumar said. Economists said that although there is overcapacity in certain sectors and that the downturn in the investment cycle is still persisting, the policy measures taken will certainly help as the investment cycle changes for the better. SBI will continue to invest in adopting technology that will give it an edge in operations as well as access to new markets, although it may render some jobs redundant.

    Source: Livemint

    Nagpur Metro to get solar power at less than Rs 4.50 a unit

    November 24, 2017. Nagpur Metro has decided to go in for captive solar power generation and will get it at Rs 4.50 a unit. It will use costly conventional power in evening. Maharashtra Metro Rail Corp Ltd (MAHA-METRO) Managing Director Brijesh Dixit said that the earlier state power generation company MAHAGENCO (Maharashtra State Power Generation Company) was to generate solar power for Nagpur Metro. MAHA-METRO will tie up with Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI), a central government undertaking, for solar generation. Nagpur Metro needs 14 MW solar power to meet 65% of its energy needs. Earlier, Mahametro had decided to float a tender for entire 14 MW. Now, it will install of solar panels in stages. The advantage of open access captive mode is that no permission is required from Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC). MAHA-METRO plans to install solar panels atop its stations and along the boundary wall of the at grade section. Nagpur Metro is the first one in the country to go for solar power right from inception. Other Metros installed solar panels atop their stations much after commence of commercial operation. MAHA-METRO's green initiative has been lauded by foreign lending agencies.

    Source: The Times of India

    India to conduct auction for awarding wind power projects of 2 GW capacity

    November 24, 2017. The government announced it will conduct auction for awarding wind power projects with a total capacity of 2,000 MW in the upcoming third phase of the bidding plan. The scheme is for setting up 2,000 MW wind power projects connected to Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS). A bidder can bid for a minimum capacity of 50 MW and maximum of up to 400 MW. The projects under this scheme are expected to be commissioned by end 2019. The state informed State-owned Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI) signed Power Sale Agreements (PSA) for purchase of wind power under second wind auction with state utilities of UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Punjab, Goa and Odisha. Renewable Energy Minister RK Singh announced the blueprint for achieving the target of commissioning 175 GW of renewable energy including 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind power by 2022. The renewable ministry said that in order to achieve the 100 GW solar power target by 2022, the government would lay out bids for ground-mounted solar parks for 20 GW in the current financial year. Of this, 3.6 GW have already been bid out, 3 GW will be bid out in December, 3 GW will be bid out in January 2018, 5 GW in February and 6 GW in March 2018. Also, 30 GW capacity will be bid out in 2018-19 and 30 GW in 2019-20. India has so far commissioned 32 GW of the 60 GW capacity target for wind power projects. A total of 10 GW capacity of wind projects will be bid out in the current fiscal and 10 GW in 2019.

    Source: The Economic Times

    'Bio-fuel would boost agriculture, create jobs, cut pollution'

    November 24, 2017. Calling bio-CNG, ethanol and methanol cost-effective, pollution-free and import substitute alternatives, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said the use of these alternative fuels will boost the agriculture sector and create new jobs. Promotion of alternative fuels like electric batteries, ethanol, methanol, bio-CNG will also reduce the import bill and pollution, Gadkari noted. Farmers in states such as Haryana and Punjab burn wheat straw, which causes pollution, and its use for producing alternative fuels will curb this pollution, he said. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the government will soon bring a bio-fuel policy.

    Source: Business Standard

    Oil Minister launches CNG-run bikes

    November 24, 2017. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched retro-fitted compressed natural gas (CNG) two-wheelers. He launched the vehicles at an event organised by the Maharashtra Natural Gas Ltd at Savitribai Phule Pune University. Setting an initial target of 5,000 such two-wheelers to hit the roads soon, Pradhan said the cost of retrofitting them will be borne by the Bank of Maharashtra. Each cylinder costs Rs 15,500 over the cost of the vehicle. Of that, BoM will finance Rs 12,000 interest-free. Pune has a total of over 23 lakh two-wheelers and compared to that, 5,000 still seems like a small number. The city is also lagging in infrastructure, with only 50 CNG refuelling stations - although the number has doubled in the last eight years. Typically, typically it takes longer to fill CNG than it does to fill petrol and diesel. Pradhan had said the central government will soon formulate a green-fuel policy, with a focus on increasing the production of ethanol from alternative sources.

    Source: The Times of India

    Andhra Pradesh to start buying solar power from Kadapa plant

    November 23, 2017. Andhra Pradesh has agreed to buy electricity from Kadapa Solar Park, where a subsidiary of France’s Engie won a 250 MW solar auction held by NTPC Ltd seven months ago without any buyer for the output. SolaireDirect, the subsidiary of Engie, won the auction in April with a bid of Rs 3.15 per unit, which was a record low at the time. NTPC expected discoms of Andhra Pradesh, the state in which the auction had been held, to buy the power as a matter of course. However, the tariff fell to Rs 2.63 and thereafter to Rs 2.44 per unit in auctions at Rajasthan’s Bhadla Solar Park conducted by the Solar Corp of India in the following month. The development spurred Andhra Pradesh to reject the Kadapa power at the offered price. The New & Renewable Energy Development Corp of Andhra Pradesh agreed in July to waive transmission charges from Kadapa if NTPC found a buyer. Engie has about 360 MW of commissioned solar projects in India and 100 MW under construction.

    Source: The Economic Times

    India plans to fast-track hydro projects in Kashmir region

    November 22, 2017. India plans to as much as quintuple development of hydroelectric power in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), a northern state that has one of the world’s most militarized borders and faces water disputes. The local government is planning to add more than 5,000 MW of power using the flow of its rivers within the next five to six years, according to Nirmal Kumar Singh, the state’s deputy chief minister and minister for the power-development department. While neighbouring Pakistan has expressed concerns about potential water shortages that might result, Singh said he doesn’t expect the hydro plans to create friction between the two nuclear-armed powers. Pakistan has already raised objections to some of the plans, citing water treaties between the two countries. It has plans to build more than 12 hydropower dams of its own in the part of the Kashmir region that it controls. J&K had a 20 percent shortage in electricity supplies in the seven months ended October 31, compared with a national average of 0.7 percent, according to data from the power ministry. The shortages could be eased by hydro projects, which have the potential to generate as much as 20,000 MW and can be set up on rivers running through the region’s mountainous terrain, Singh said. An additional 7,000 MW could be generated through solar projects in the desert of the Ladakh region, he said. The state’s government has put several hydro projects on a fast track after some had been stalled for years, according to Singh. J&K already generates about 1,200 MW of hydro power, he said.

    Source: Bloomberg

    KSERC sounds warning on renewable power purchase obligations

    November 22, 2017. Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission (KSERC) has warned the power distribution entities against non-compliance of their respective renewable purchase obligations and said their failure to do so would lead to additional tariff burden on consumers in the future. The KSERC issued the order in view of the central government decision to strictly monitor and ensure that all licensees in the country attain their renewable power purchase obligation without fail. As per the purchase obligation, Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and other power distribution agencies such as Technopark, Kinfra, Thrissur municipality should ensure that at least 7.5 percent of their total purchase of energy should be from renewable energy sources for the year 2017-18. Hydel sources with capacity above 25 MW doesn't come under the renewable energy category and the actual mix of wind, solar and small hydro energy is fixed for each and every licensee. The renewable energy purchase obligation target for 2018-19 is 9.75 percent of the total purchase. As per the central electricity Act, the licensees, if they fail to meet the renewable energy purchase obligation, would have to buy the renewable energy bonds to meet their obligation gap. These bonds can be purchased from energy exchanges and is introduced as a means to incentivise the renewable energy generators. According to the KSERC, the licensees that fail to meet the obligation will have to purchase the renewable energy bonds and the purchase cost of the same should be included in the cost statement they submit to the commission for approval, every year. The additional money thus spend by the licensees would for the first time be considered when calculating their energy purchase cost. As a result, the failure on the part of the licensees in adhering to the renewable energy purchase obligation would lead to additional spending for bonds, resulting to increase in the overall power tariff being passed on to consumers.

    Source: The Times of India

    Dhoni's home turf to adopt clean energy for its daily power need

    November 22, 2017. The JSCA International Stadium in Ranchi will switch over to solar energy to meet a portion of its daily power needs next year. The Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a German development agency to set up a solar power plant on the cricket stadium's premise. The MoU, which was signed between JSCA and Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) at the stadium, will pave the way for commissioning of a 400 KW solar power plant by July next year. Joerg Gaebler, principal advisor to the Indo-German Energy Programme of the GIZ, said the project will be carried out under its 'Green Wicket' initiative. The solar plant will produce enough power to meet 36% of the stadium's daily power requirement once operational, JSCA secretary Debashish Chakraborty said. The JSCA International Stadium has followed the footsteps of the Karnataka State Cricket Association, which operationalized a 400 KW solar plant at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in 2015. Besides the JSCA stadium, the Eden Gardens in Kolkata is also expected to have its own solar power plant by next year. The JSCA was among 10 state cricket associations affiliated under the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which were invited to Germany by the GIZ on an exposure trip on solar power including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Vadodara, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and others. The Indian and German governments had recently agreed to jointly work in developing clean energy sources in India. Amitabh Choudhary, the former JSCA president and current acting BCCI joint secretary, said they will try to convince local boy Mahendra Singh Dhoni to promote use of clean energy in the state.

    Source: The Times of India

    India, Sweden to work closely in promoting clean technologies

    November 22, 2017. India and Sweden expect to work closely in adopting and promoting green technologies where small and medium enterprises would play critical role. Addressing the India–Sweden Innovations’ Accelerator Programme, Niklas Eriksson, First Secretary, Section for Trade, Economic and Cultural Affairs, Embassy of Sweden said India has strong presence of large Swedish companies which are very old and offering direct and indirect employment opportunities to about 1 million persons. He highlighted the need for small and medium companies of Sweden to invest in India and engage in new clean technologies. India–Sweden Innovations’ Accelerator Programme aims to facilitate transfer of innovative clean technologies and solutions from Sweden to India and provide a bridge for commercial Swedish–Indian innovation cooperation.

    Source: The Hindu Business Line

    Over 330k new jobs to be on offer in India’s renewable energy sector

    November 22, 2017. India’s growing renewable energy sector is likely to generate more than 330,000 new jobs over the next five years through 2022 creating opportunities to support mainly the country’s rural poor by offering an alternative to subsistence farming, according to US-based global research organisation World Resources Institute (WRI). The Indian government is implementing a plan to set up 160,000 MW of fresh renewable energy generation capacity in the five years between 2017 and 2022 in a bid to improve energy security, enhance energy access and help mitigate climate change. The clean energy initiative can also help address poverty in rural communities by providing steady incomes, healthcare benefits and skill-building opportunities to unskilled and semi-skilled workers, WRI said.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Indian bio-fuel market to grow to Rs 1k bn: Oil Minister

    November 22, 2017. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the country's nascent bio-fuel industry has the potential to develop into a flourishing Rs 1 lakh crore market in the coming years. Pradhan said 1-G and 2-G ethanol, bio-diesel, MSW (municipal solid waste) to fuel and bio-CNG together with methanol (DME) have huge potential in augmenting economic growth, generating employment and doubling farmers' income.

    Source: Business Standard

    Hearing on anti-dumping probe into solar imports on December 12

    November 22, 2017. Indian solar energy industry remains divided even as the government has moved closer to a decision on whether or not to impose anti-dumping duty on imports of solar cells and modules from China, Malaysia and Taipei. The Directorate General of Antidumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) has called a hearing for its antidumping investigation into solar equipment from these countries on December 12. Solar project developers, however, are concerned that their costs will rise if the government imposed antidumping duty on imported solar equipment, and make recently signed projects unviable as prices of imported cells and modules may shoot up.

    Source: The Economic Times

    INTERNATIONAL: OIL

    Poland to expand oil pipelines as it diversifies supplies

    November 28, 2017. Poland’s government approved a plan to build more pipelines to help Warsaw take more oil deliveries from sources other than its biggest supplier Russia. Poland imports most of the oil it refines from Russia through the eastern part of a pipeline known as “Friendship”, running from the border with Belarus to a refinery in Plock, central Poland. The western part of the Friendship pipeline connects Plock with the German town Schwedt. Plock is also connected to the port of Gdansk on the Baltic Sea, where Poland has its second refinery and which is also taking increasing volumes of oil from oversees as it strives to reduce reliance on Russian supplies. State-run refiners PKN Orlen, the owner of the Plock refinery and Gdansk-based Lotos, are buying more oil from sources including the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Iran. As a result, Poland is planning to build a second pipeline connecting Plock to Gdansk. Currently the capacity of the Gdansk-Plock pipeline is around 30 million tonnes a year. Poland also wants to expand the pipeline south to Trzebinia, saying southern Poland is a significant fuel consumer.

    Source: Reuters

    Statoil to drill five-six wells in Arctic Barents Sea in 2018

    November 28, 2017. Norway’s Statoil will continue to drill for oil in the Arctic Barents Sea next year even though its 2017 campaign was mostly disappointing, the company said. Statoil plans to drill between 25 and 30 wells in Norwegian waters in 2018, of which five or six are expected in the Barents and the rest will be split between the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea, which are both located further south. Even though the company failed to make any large Barents Sea discoveries from the five wells drilled in the current year, it did make a small oil find, known as Kayak, and the exploration campaign had a positive overall value for the company, the company said. Statoil’s plans for 2018 also include at least three wells off Brazil, one off Tanzania, one or two onshore wells in Argentina and one onshore in Russia, the company said.

    Source: Reuters

    IEA chief sees oil markets tightening toward second half of 2018

    November 28, 2017. The global oil market could tighten towards the second half of 2018 if demand remains robust and key producers continue their current policies, International Energy Agency (IEA) chief Fatih Birol said. Birol was speaking ahead of the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries)’s meeting amid concern that its efforts to rebalance the oil market might overshoot by creating a global deficit and spurring a further price rally.

    Source: Reuters

    ExxonMobil's Canada offshore project produces first oil

    November 28, 2017. The Hebron oil project off the coast of eastern Canada has produced its first oil, operator Exxon Mobil said, in a boost to Atlantic Canada’s output after years of weak crude prices. At its peak Hebron will produce up to 150,000 barrels per day (bpd), Exxon said. It will help Atlantic Canada offshore production climb 44 percent to 307,000 bpd by 2024, according to estimates from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. The platform is located 200 miles (350 kilometers) off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador in depths of 300 feet (92 meters) and the oil field, first discovered in 1980, is estimated to contain more than 700 million barrels of recoverable resources.

    Source: Reuters

    CNPC interested in Iraq's Majnoon oilfield

    November 27, 2017. China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) has expressed interest in developing Iraq’s giant Majnoon oilfield which Royal Dutch Shell wants to exit. The oil ministry in Baghdad is waiting for Shell to officially exit the field located in southern Iraq before engaging in talks with other companies about developing it. Shell plans to exit Majnoon and hand over its operation to the state-run Basra Oil Co. by the end of June 2018.

    Source: Reuters

    First oil flows from Brazil's giant Libra field

    November 27, 2017. First oil has flowed from Brazil’s giant Libra field operated by Petrobras and a consortium that includes Total, Shell and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), the companies said. Libra, which has recoverable volumes estimated by oil regulator ANP at between 8 billion and 12 billion barrels, is located in the high-yield region off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. Production began and the floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel Pioneer of Libra has daily capacity to process up to 50,000 barrels of oil and 4 million cubic metres of gas, Petrobras said. French oil and gas major Total said that the production start-up will generate revenue while collecting data for subsequent development phases of the field. Total estimates the technical cost of production for the field at about $20 (£14.98) a barrel. A final investment decision on another FPSO with a capacity of 150,000 barrels per day would be made soon, Total said. A third FPSO with the same capacity would follow soon after.

    Source: Reuters

    Iraq to divert most Kirkuk oilfield output to Iraqi refineries

    November 27, 2017. Iraq is preparing to divert most future output from Kirkuk oilfield to local refineries as a conflict with Kurdish regional authorities over the use of an export pipeline to Turkey continues. Kirkuk’s production stopped in mid-October after Iraqi forces dislodged Kurdish fighters from Kirkuk and took over the northern region’s oilfields. Diverting Kirkuk’s crude to Dora, a refinery near Baghdad, and to another one in Baiji, north of the capital, would help free up more oil for exports from the southern region. Some Kirkuk crude would also be shipped “in the near future” by trucks to Iran’s Kermanshah refinery, at a rate of 30,000 barrels per day.

    Source: Reuters

    Taiwan's CPC buys US crude for January-February delivery, skips African oil

    November 24, 2017. Taiwanese refiner CPC Corp has bought 4 million barrels of US (United States) crude via tender for January-February delivery, skipping African oil. Occidental and Unipec sold 2 million barrels each of the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Midland crude to CPC. This would be CPC’s second purchase of US crude in two months and replaces Angolan crude which the refiner typically buys.

    Source: Reuters

    China diesel in rare rally as smog war

    November 23, 2017. A rally in China’s diesel prices has pushed the fuel to a rare premium over gasoline as dealers scramble to scoop up supplies amid fears of shortages due to Beijing’s war on smog and possible tax changes. Led by a spike in benchmark crude prices, wholesale diesel prices have jumped 11 percent since October to 6,700 yuan ($1,011) per tonne in eastern Shandong province, a 320 yuan premium to gasoline, according to consultancy Longzhong Information Group. Diesel, which normally trades at a discount to gasoline, touched a 500 yuan premium, the widest premium in at least two years, even though the market remains well supplied.

    Source: Reuters

    OPEC agenda points to short meeting to set oil policy

    November 23, 2017. A draft agenda for OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries)’s meeting on November 30 in Vienna pencils in three hours for the group’s Oil Ministers to decide whether to extend their oil supply curbs, indicating that decision-making is expected to run smoothly. The members of OPEC, Russia and nine other producers are curbing oil output by about 1.8 million barrels per day until March 2018. They are expected to extend the deal at the Vienna meeting. OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said the group was seeking to achieve consensus before the meeting on how long to extend the pact on curbing production.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: GAS

    China's LNG prices highest since 2011 as winter demand soars

    November 27, 2017. China’s domestic prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) topped 7,000 yuan ($1,061) a tonne, highest since at least 2011, as demand soared with millions of homes burning gas for the winter instead of coal. Wholesale LNG prices have gained more than half their value from mid-November, meaning the jump in prices has come less than two weeks into northern China’s heating season. Two LNG dealers in the northern province of Hebei said the price could possibly be a record high as China’s LNG market is much less developed than other commodities, with significant imports of the fuel appearing only over the last five years. Xinkun Gas hauls the liquid fuel in hulking trailers to steel mills and porcelain makers in Tangshan, China’s steel capital east of Beijing.

    Source: Reuters

    Kazakhstan hopes for Karachaganak gas field deal by year-end

    November 27, 2017. Kazakhstan hopes to settle a dispute with global energy companies developing the Karachaganak gas condensate field in the coming weeks, Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev said. Kazakhstan filed a $1.6 billion claim against foreign firms developing the Karachaganak gas condensate field in 2015. Bozumbayev said the former Soviet republic had received an offer from the consortium, but considered it insufficient. Eni and Shell each own 29.25 percent of the Karachaganak project in northwest Kazakhstan, which they jointly operate.

    Source: Reuters

    CNPC completes fourth Shaanxi-Beijing gas pipeline

    November 27, 2017. China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) has completed the fourth Shaanxi-Beijing gas pipeline. The 1,098 kilometre long pipeline will boost gas supplies to Beijing by around 70 million cubic meters per day. The annual capacity of the fourth project is 25 billion cubic meters, while the existing three pipelines have a total capacity of 35 billion cubic meters.

    Source: Reuters

    Russia warns global gas oversupply could trigger price 'crisis'

    November 24, 2017. Global gas supplies currently exceed demand, a situation that could lead to a “crisis” drop in prices similar to what occurred in the crude oil market, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said. Novak said the threats to global gas prices underscore the importance of long-term supply contracts, in which producers can be assured a stable price over the course of years instead of being subject to the ups and downs of the market. Russia is the world’s second-largest producer of natural gas, behind the United States.

    Source: Reuters

    Gazprom in talks to sell gas to Bolivia's neighbours: Russian Energy Minister

    November 24, 2017. Russian gas giant Gazprom is in talks with Bolivia’s YPFB to possibly sell Bolivian gas to neighbouring countries in Latin America, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak said. The move would be a boon for state-run YPFB, which could benefit from more customers, and is seeking to draw further investment into the flagging gas industry as proven reserves have plunged over the last decade. Bolivian Energy Minister Luis Sanchez said so far 29 companies have expressed interest in 80 gas blocks offered by the country. Production at the Incahuasi gas field - which is being developed by Gazprom, France’s Total, YPFB and Tecpetrol - should reach 11 million cubic meters per day soon, Sanchez said.

    Source: Reuters

    Ukraine's gas imports up 51 percent this year

    November 24, 2017. Ukraine’s natural gas imports so far this year are up 51 percent at 11.8 billion cubic meters (bcm), Ukrainian energy firm Naftogaz said. Naftogaz itself has bought 7.5 bcm of gas in the first 10 months of the year, up 5.8 bcm on the same period last year. Ukraine, which previously met its gas needs from Russia, has been buying gas from European states since halting Russian imports in November 2015, following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea the previous year. Naftogaz said most of the imported gas came from Slovakia.

    Source: Reuters

    Venezuela's PDVSA in talks to supply gas to neighbours

    November 23, 2017. Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA is in contract talks to export natural gas to neighbours Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Aruba. Gas sales could provide a welcome boost to energy revenues for a country suffering acute cash problems and in talks to restructure its debt. Venezuela, which is almost entirely dependent on crude exports, has seen income decline since oil prices crashed in 2014. Colombia used to export gas to Venezuela through a pipeline. That flow would be reversed if an agreement with Colombia is reached on price, PDVSA’s vice president of gas, Cesar Triana, said. Price talks between PDVSA and Colombian state-run energy firm Ecopetrol have taken a long time, Triana confirmed. The Venezuelan firm modified the pipeline in preparation to pump gas to Colombia. Venezuela has vast offshore gas reserves, but they are mostly underdeveloped as the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries)-member country has focused its investment on oil projects. PDVSA does not currently export natural gas. Exports to Trinidad and Tobago and Aruba could not yet start as there is no infrastructure to get the gas to those countries. If all the contracts are agreed, PDVSA could export more than 610 million cubic feet per day, about 10 percent of Venezuela’s gas output, Triana said. Venezuela injects most of the natural gas it produces back into oilfields to help maintain pressure and crude output.

    Source: Reuters

    Qatari Energy Minister sees oversupply of LNG in coming years

    November 22, 2017. Qatar’s Energy Minister, Mohammed al-Sada, said he expects oversupply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the coming years due to increased production, but the market should tighten after 2025. Al-Sada, speaking at the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, said the country, the world’s largest exporter of LNG, is working to increase gas production and LNG exports.

    Source: Reuters

    Petronas LNG inks services agreements in Malaysia

    November 22, 2017. Petronas LNG Ltd (PLL) has signed a two-year service agreement with Argo Engineering Sdn Bhd and Eastport Marine Sdn Bhd to provide liquefied natural gas (LNG) ship-to-ship transfer services in Labuan, Malaysia. PLL said the partnership will enable the company to respond to new market requirements in the changing LNG industry landscape. In addition to the ship-to-ship services deal, PLL announced that it had also signed an agreement with Bintulu Port Sdn Bhd (BPSB) for the provision of marine services to support PLL’s Gassing Up and Cooling Down (GUCD) operations at the site for a period of three years. The services at the Bintulu Port will commence in 2018.

    Source: Rigzone

    Iraq looks to Kuwait gas pipeline to pay off reparations

    November 22, 2017. Iraq has hired Japan’s Toyo Engineering to help build a gas pipeline to Kuwait and a related petrochemical plant as Baghdad looks to reduce flaring and finish paying reparations owed for its 1990 invasion of its neighbour. The project, details of which have not been reported before, would allow Kuwait to diversify its gas imports in the wake a political crisis between Gulf states and major supplier Qatar. It would also deal a blow to Royal Dutch Shell, which aimed to be the dominant gas player in Iraq before relations with Baghdad soured following Shell’s exit from large oil projects. The World Bank, which has repeatedly made reducing gas flaring a condition of lending to Baghdad, did not respond to a request for immediate comment. Toyo is proposing to construct a gas pipeline and start deliveries after 2019. Iraq’s gas reserves of 3.7 trillion cubic meters rank as 12th largest in the world but represent only a tenth of those of Iran, the world’s largest. It extracts large quantities of gas together with oil, however, and that gas is currently being flared.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: COAL

    China explosives maker to buy coal miner for $3.1 bn

    November 27, 2017. Chinese explosives maker Anhui Leimingkehua Co Ltd said it would acquire a coal miner in a $3.1 billion deal as part of the Chinese government’s push to boost efficiency at state-owned enterprises. Anhui Leimingkehua said it and a subsidiary plan to buy Huaikuang Co Ltd, a coal miner based in eastern China’s Anhui province, for 20.3 billion yuan ($3.08 billion) in cash and newly-issued shares. The coal miner, which is also the largest producer of coke in eastern China, reported an unaudited revenue between January and July this year of 31.96 billion yuan, according to Leimingkehua. The miner had coal reserves of about 3.7 billion tonnes at the end of 2016.

    Source: Reuters

    Australia's South32 looks to reduce interest in South African coal business

    November 27, 2017. Australian miner South32 Ltd said its South Africa Energy Coal (SAEC) business would be run as a stand-alone unit, with the goal of widening its ownership and possibly listing it on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The South African government made changes to the country’s Mining Charter in June, raising the threshold for black ownership of mining firms to 30 percent, from 26 percent, despite protests from the Chamber of Mines, an industry body. The company said that it would invest 4.3 billion rand ($305.14 million) in SAEC’s Klipspruit Life Extension project (KPSX). The investment is intended to extend the project’s life by about 20 years.

    Source: Reuters

    EU regulators to investigate Spanish scheme for coal power plants

    November 27, 2017. EU (European Union) state aid regulators opened an investigation into Spain’s environmental incentives for coal power plants, concerned that the scheme may give the facilities an unfair advantage. Fourteen coal power plants have received more than €440 million ($525 million) for installing new sulphur oxide filters since the scheme was introduced in 2007, with the payments due to continue until 2020. The European Commission said such incentives to reduce harmful sulphur oxide emissions may not have been justified as coal power plants were already required by EU environmental laws to do so.

    Source: Reuters

    South Africa's NUM union signs three-year wage deal in coal sector

    November 23, 2017. South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has agreed a three-year wage agreement with coal producers, averting a sector-wide strike that could have impacted power supply, the company said. A strike in the coal sector could affect the nation’s power supply, as most of the country’s power is generated from the fuel. The Chamber of Mines represents companies in the negotiations including Anglo American Coal, Exxaro and Glencore. For the sixth company, Delmas Coal, the agreement will see a 7.5 percent increase in 2017, an increase of consumer inflation plus 1 percent for 2018 and a 7.5 percent increase in 2019 for its lowest paid workers. The agreement will be effective from June 1 for officials and July 1 for lowest paid workers at all companies with the exception of Koornfontein Mines, which will implement on July 1, and Delmas Coal, which will implement on July 1 for all employees.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: POWER

    Brazil raises public financing for new power projects

    November 28, 2017. Brazil’s development bank BNDES will increase financing for new power projects that are expected to obtain construction licenses at auctions next month to boost electricity generation in the country, the bank said. BNDES said it will finance up to 80 percent of the new power generation projects, regardless of their type.

    Source: Reuters

    Ofgem selects preferred bidder for transmission link to 402 MW Dudgeon wind farm

    November 27, 2017. Transmission Capital Partners has been selected as the preferred bidder by the United Kingdom (UK) energy regulator Ofgem to own and operate the transmission link to the 402 MW Dudgeon offshore wind farm. Ofgem selected the firm following a tender round for offshore transmission owner of the high-voltage transmission line. Transmission Capital Partners will own and operate the transmission link to the Dudgeon Offshore wind farm for the next 20 years. According to Ofgem, the reserved bidder for the project is Diamond Transmission Capital, a consortium of Mitsubishi and HICL Infrastructure for the Dudgeon transmission line. The Dudgeon transmission assets would cost £377.2 mn ($502 mn), based on the developer's estimate, the regulator said. The link is currently owned by Statkraft, Masdar and Statoil. The Dudgeon project is part of fifth tender round launched by Ofgem for offshore transmission links.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    GE signs $400 mn contract to build electric substations in Iraq

    November 23, 2017. GE has received a $400 mn contract from the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity (MoE) to build 14 electric substations to help address power shortages in the country. Under the terms of the deal, GE will build the substations on a turnkey basis and also supply critical equipment such as transformers, circuit breakers and other outdoor equipment to rehabilitate existing substations. The new substations will be built and connected to power plants located in the governorates of Ninawa, Salah Al Din, Al Anbar, Karbala, Baghdad, Qadisiyyah and Basra. GE said it will also support the Iraqi MoE to secure funding for the project through financial institutions, including export credit agencies and commercial banks. GE said that the agreement also includes supplying equipment for four substations, which are said to be critical to distributing power from the power plant.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    Elia commissions Stevin transmission line in Belgium

    November 23, 2017. Belgian transmission operator Elia has commissioned the 380 kilovolt (kV) Stevin transmission project, which connects new offshore wind farms off Belgium to the mainland grid. The Elia–built MOG offshore platform, which is located 40 kilometre (km) off the Belgian coast, is designed to bundle together the cables of future offshore installations in Belgium. The €340 mn ($399.2 mn) Stevin power line project includes a double 380 kV connection between the two towns, running 37 km above and 10 km below the ground as well as three new high-voltage substations in Zeebrugge, Gezelle in Bruges and Van Maerlant in Vivenkapelle. The new line is expected to transport up to 3,000 MW of power, which is equal to that of three major nuclear power plants. Elia said that the Stevin transmission line can also act as an interconnector with other European countries such as the United Kingdom through the Nemo subsea cable.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    INTERNATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    China signs deal to build new nuclear reactor in Pakistan

    November 24, 2017. China has signed a deal to build a third large nuclear reactor in Pakistan, which wants to get a fifth of its electricity from nuclear by 2030. China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) have signed a cooperation agreement for the construction of a 1,000 MW HPR1000 “Hualong One” reactor at the Chashma nuclear power plant in Punjab. Pakistan generates five percent of its electricity from four small 300 MW Chinese reactors at the Chashma plant and wants to boost nuclear capacity to 8,800 MW, or about 20 percent of power generation capacity, by 2030. China is already building two Hualong One reactors with a capacity of 1100 MW each near the port city of Karachi, which are expected to become operational in 2020 and 2021 respectively. PAEC chairman Muhammad Naeem said PAEC was in the final stages of awarding contracts for Chasmah, which would take Pakistan’s nuclear capacity to about 5,000 MW when it is finished. He said Pakistan wanted to build at least 3-4 more big nuclear reactors by 2030. Imported oil is the main fuel for power generation in Pakistan, where one quarter of the population has no access to electricity. Four Hualong reactors - a new so-called third-generation model with added safety features - are under construction in China, with the first expected to go online in 2021. China General Nuclear Corp (CGN) - China’s other big reactor vendor and French EDF’s partner in the Hinkley Point nuclear project - has an agreement with the British government to build a Hualong reactor in Bradwell in south east England. Britain’s nuclear regulator is conducting a Generic Design Assessment, which is expected to take about five years.

    Source: Reuters

    Engie wins rights to develop 687 MW renewable portfolio in Mexico

    November 23, 2017. France-based independent power producer Engie has bagged rights to develop four renewable projects in Mexico with a combined capacity of 687.8 MW. Engie will develop the projects with an investment of $580 mn. The projects were awarded to the French company by Mexico’s National Center for Energy Control during the third Long Term Electricity Auction. Engie will be developing a wind project named as Tres Mesas 4 which will have a capacity of 100.8 MW. It will come up in the state of Tamaulipas. The three other projects it had won during the auction are all solar plants. In the Chihuahua state, it will develop a 199 MW solar project named as Villa Ahumada. The French firm will develop a 134 MW solar plant in Sonora state which is named as Abril. The fourth project is the biggest of all, a 254 MW solar project named as Calpulalpan which will be developed in Tlaxcala state. Mexico’s third Long Term Electricity Auction had placed 15 new renewable energy plants located across eight states for auction.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    Exxon joins European oil firms in initiative to limit emissions

    November 22, 2017. Exxon Mobil joined European peers including Royal Dutch Shell and Total in a new initiative to find ways to reduce potent emissions in their rapidly growing natural gas operations. BP, Italy’s Eni, Exxon, Spain’s Repsol, Shell, Norway’s Statoil, Total and Wintershall “committed to further reduce methane emissions from the natural gas assets,” they said. Methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, is released during the extraction, processing and transporting of natural gas. For example, around 10 percent of gas transformed into liquefied natural gas (LNG) is released into the atmosphere between production and consumption, according to Shell. The new initiative is the latest step by the world’s leading oil and gas companies to reduce carbon emissions from their operations to help meet UN (United Nations)-backed goals to limit global warming.

    Source: Reuters

    DATA INSIGHT

    Rural India: Households & Electrification Scenario

    States/ UTs NameTotal Households% of Rural HouseholdsStates/ UTs NameTotal Households% of Rural Households
    All India24,49,21,40673.41%Uttar Pradesh3,24,75,78480.11%
    Jammu & Kashmir20,94,08176.48%Chhattisgarh57,14,79879.46%
    Himachal Pradesh14,27,36588.54%Madhya Pradesh1,47,23,86476.67%
    Punjab50,32,19964.97%Sikkim1,20,01473.93%
    Haryana46,30,95964.12%Arunachal Pradesh2,60,21777.57%
    Bihar2,00,74,24288.82%Nagaland3,79,16474.98%
    West Bengal2,03,67,14477.36%Manipur5,78,93977.41%
    Jharkhand60,41,93183.49%Mizoram2,26,14749.36%
    Odisha99,42,10187.28%Tripura8,75,62179.61%
    Rajasthan1,31,36,59177.82%Meghalaya5,54,13187.69%
    Gujarat1,16,29,40959.51%Assam64,27,61489.36%
    Maharashtra2,29,62,60060.28%Chandigarh2,14,2337.31%
    Goa3,02,95072.86%NCT of Delhi33,91,31330.99%
    Andhra Pradesh1,22,70,16476.15%Daman & Diu44,96870.71%
    Karnataka1,31,39,06361.26%Dadra & Nagar Haveli66,57168.13%
    Kerala76,98,55682.08%Lakshadweep10,929100.00%
    Tamil Nadu1,75,21,95657.57%Puducherry2,79,85741.18%
    Telangana82,44,44168.46%Andaman & Nicobar Islands92,71773.86%

    Rural Electrification Status as on October/November 2017

    Source: SECC 2011 & Saubhagaya Dashboard


    Publisher: Baljit Kapoor

    Editorial Adviser: Lydia Powell

    Editor: Akhilesh Sati

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    North Korean nuclear and missile programmes