- Energy News Monitor
- Dec 21 2017
NATURAL GAS: BRACING FOR OVERCAPACITY
Gas News Commentary: November 2017
The country's biggest private sector oil producer, Cairn India, part of the Vedanta group, is set to considerably increase its gas production to three million standard cubic metres a day (105.9 million standard cubic feet) by June 2019. Production from its RDG field is expected to increase to 100 mscfd by then. The firm's production capacity for the September quarter of FY18 stood at of 33.8 mscfd. Activity on tenders for partnership with leading service providers for integrated delivery of RDG Phase-II is underway. This is expected to increase gas production and condensate production to over 5,000 boepd by the first half of 2019. As on September-end, gas sales, after captive consumption, stood at 18 mscfd. The company would also be undertaking drilling in its Krishna-Godavari block in the first quarter of 2018. The average gross production of Cairn India during the September quarter was 180,955 boepd. Gross production from the Rajasthan block averaged 153,238 boepd. The current investment will cater to five blocks- the RDG project, the EOR programme at Aishwariya fields, the EOR programme at Bhagyam and Barmer Hill, and the Aishwariya Barmer Hill. The company's production sharing contract for Barmer expires in 2020 but higher cess in the extended regime could impact plans.
ONGC officers association has sought Prime Minister’s intervention to stall oil ministry's plan to sell the company's producing O&G fields, saying the move has highly damaging implications for the country. The Association of Scientific & Technical Officers 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. The 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 mt of crude oil, and 333.46 bcm 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. 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. 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 mmscmd has also had a collateral damage to stranded gas-based plants and other struggling industries. ONGC’s view is that even when prices have tipped 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.
ONGC has sought more than doubling of natural gas prices to help bring significant discoveries in 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/mmBtu. The company wants a price of over $6/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 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/mmBtu since the formula was implemented, the government has allowed a higher rate of $6.3/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 mmcsmd 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/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/mmBtu but fell to $4.66/ mmBtu in April 2015 and to $3.82 in October that year. In 2016, the prices further dipped to $3.06/mmBtu in April and to $2.50/mmBtu in October. In April this year, they fell further to $2.48/mmBtu but have from October 2017 risen to $2.89/mmBtu. The cost of production of natural gas in the prolific Krishna Godavari basin is between $4.99 to $7.30/mmBtu. The same for other basins is in the range of $3.80 to $6.59/mmBtu.
ONGC has sought higher gas prices from the government for a block it plans to develop in the KG basin, warning that it will otherwise have to mothball the $600 million-project, the company said. ONGC has recently written to the government asking for a special pricing dispensation for the block, KG-OSN-2004/1, which doesn’t qualify as a ‘difficult field’ under the government policy unveiled last year. India offers higher gas prices to fields located in difficult terrains such as deep water or high pressure, high-temperature areas. Price available to gas from difficult fields is $6.30/mmBtu as against $2.89/mmBtu for ordinary domestic fields. In the absence of higher gas prices, ONGC will not be able to develop the KG project as well as a few other projects, including one in the Kutch region. These projects together can produce about 10 mmscmd of natural gas. ONGC’s KG block has four fields in deep and ultra-shallow waters. Its field is 300 meters deep, less than the 400 meters depth that qualifies as deep water under the government policy. The expected peak production of 5.35 mmscmd of natural gas by 2020 from the KG project will likely get delayed if the company doesn’t begin investing immediately, the executive said. Without higher gas prices, another 4 mmscmd of gas production planned by ONGC will also get delayed, he added. The company is hoping to ready in three months the field development plan for Kutch-GK-28/42 block, which is expected to produce 3 mmscmd at its peak. ONGC has a couple of smaller fields with a total expected peak production of 1.1 mmscmd, which can’t viably produce at the current domestic gas prices. The field development plan for these are not yet ready. India’s domestic gas prices are calculated by a formula that tracks international rates. Prices are revised every six months. Accepting ONGC’s demand can trigger similar demand from other gas producers. Therefore, the government may have to bring about a change in the existing pricing policy so that it applies to all companies. Cabinet’s approval is required for effecting any policy change.
ONGC plans to nearly double natural gas production in four years as it invests billions of dollars to produce from newer discoveries. India's biggest oil and gas producer is investing ₹ 920 billion in 35 major projects which include 14 to bring new finds to production and six to improve recovery from the ageing fields. ONGC is investing over $5 billion in developing oil and gas discoveries in the Krishna Godavari basin block KG-DWN-98/2, which sits next to Reliance Industries' flagging KG-D6 fields. Also, natural gas pricing is a challenge as the current rate of $2.89/mmBtu is way below $4.5 needed to cover for cost and provide a reasonable return. As on October 1, 2016, ONGC had 577 hydrocarbon discoveries. Most of them were either in production or action had been initiated to monetise them. The roadmap for increasing output addresses monetisation plan of all the discoveries of ONGC, barring about 42 finds which are isolated/far from existing infrastructure, or have very low volumes or are located in difficult areas. ONGC's output from the currently producing fields is projected to fall from 18.5 mt in the current fiscal to 12.66 mt in 2021-22. This is to be supplemented by about 5.3 mt expected from fields where investment approval has already been given and another 8.45 mt from the fields that are under conceptualisation or investment approval is under process. For natural gas, the output is projected to drop from 19.73 bcm from current fields to 11.9 bcm in 2021-22. The situation is rescued by fields that are under development or conceptualisation that will give 29.65 bcm in 2021-22.
GAIL (India) Ltd will skip medium-term LNG deals for 2018 as it starts getting supplies from its US portfolio from February. GAIL has signed contracts for sourcing up to 5.8 mt of LNG from the US. The company is also likely to cut its spot purchases once volumes from the United States begin. In 2018, GAIL expects to obtain close to 80 cargoes from the US. The company currently sells close to 35 mcm/d of super-cooled gas, of which close to 17 mcm/d is procured through medium-term and spot purchases. India wants to raise the share of natural gas in its energy mix to 15 percent in the next few years from about 6.5 percent now. But price-sensitive customers in the South Asian nation forced renegotiation of the price of two long-term LNG deals. Pricing of US LNG is linked to a formula but other charges including freight to India add an extra $2-$3/mmBtu leading to GAIL scouting for destination, time and volume swap deals. GAIL has swapped about 30 percent of its US volumes through destination swaps. The company has kept some US volumes for trading, while selling some through time-swap and direct sales in international markets. In March, GAIL signed its first time-swap deal with Swiss trader Gunvor to sell some of its US LNG. It has also sold some of the US volume to Shell. India’s gas demand could rise by about 10 percent in 2018/19 from about 140 mcm/d now as the country expands capacity of power generation and fertiliser production. State-run companies have been asked to boost supply of gas and alternate fuels in the states where use of petcoke and furnace oil is banned to cut emissions.
More than four months after the launch of GST the industry has pitched for inclusion of natural gas in the new indirect tax regime so as to help producers contain cost and aid in moving towards a gas-based economy. Industry body FICCI has said that keeping natural gas out of the GST is causing hardships and having adverse impact on the producers as it is increasing their costs. Currently, crude oil, petrol, diesel, jet fuel or ATF and natural gas are not included in GST, which kicked in from July 1. Hence, while various goods and services procured by the oil and gas industry are subjected to GST, the sale and supply of oil, gas and petroleum products continue to attract earlier taxes like excise duty and VAT. Unlike other industries which can take credit for any tax paid towards furtherance of business, no credits on input GST will be available to the oil and gas industry leading to huge additional indirect tax burden. Currently, gas sales including CNG and piped gas supplies attract lower VAT, ranging from 5 percent to 12 percent and inclusion of natural gas in GST should not result in any large revenue loss, it said. A GST based taxation for the natural gas sector would help the domestic gas producers to contain costs and also help spread use of natural gas which is 40 percent leaner than conventional fuels, it said. The chamber has requested the Centre and states to immediately consider covering natural gas under GST to avoid cascading effect and ensuring that the industries presently operating on natural gas do not get a "raw deal" under GST. Until introduction of GST on natural gas, the producers should get a refund of GST paid on all goods and services used in the exploration and production, it said.
India will save about ₹ 40 billion after it got US energy major Exxon Mobil Corp to lower the price of LNG after the new rates kick-in from January next year. Petronet LNG Ltd in August 2009 signed a 20-year deal to buy 1.44 mt of LNG from Exxon's share in the Gorgon project in Australia. The deliveries under the contract started early this year. At $50/barrel oil price, Gorgon LNG, whose supplies started in January this year, would have cost $7.25/mmBtu at the port of loading. Adding another $1 for transportation would have led to delivered price of $8.25 in the old contract. In the new formula, Gorgon LNG delivered at Indian port will cost $6.9/mmBtu. India had used its status of Asia's third largest LNG buyer to renegotiate in 2015 the LNG pricing formula with Qatar's RasGas to buy the gas at half the original price. Petronet had in late 2015 renegotiated price of the long-term deal to import 7.5 mtpa of LNG from Qatar, helping save ₹ 80 billion. Petronet will buy 1 mt more LNG from Gorgon project as well but the additional volumes would come in after few years. Price renegotiation with RasGas led to saving of $5/mmBtu. Petronet had last year formally sought at least 10 percent cut in price of Gorgon LNG. The 14.5 percent indexation to prevailing oil rates agreed in August 2009 was one of the highest in the world. Petronet said LNG in spot or current market is available at $9.5/mmBtu. State-owned GAIL, IOC, BPCL and ONGC hold 12.5 percent each in Petronet.
Rest of the World
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, Russia said. 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 the country said. Russia is the world’s second-largest producer of natural gas, behind the US.
CNPC plans to reduce natural gas supplies to industrial users as it expects shortages this winter after millions of residential households were switched to gas for heating under a government program to reduce pollution. CNPC, one of China’s top three gas producers, said it will cut supplies to industrial clients by a range of 3 percent to 10 percent. CNPC expects a 12-percent jump in gas consumption from a year ago because of the residential switch. The company will also try to increase imports from Central Asian countries, such as Kazakhstan. Analysts expect Kazakhstan to supply 1 bcm of gas before the end of the year as part of a supply deal through the Central Asia-China pipeline network operated by CNPC and local partners. CNPC said it can only provide about 76.5 bcm of gas even if it runs its gas fields and LNG terminals at full capacity and fully stocks its underground storage. This is below its expected current demand of 81.3 bcm. CNPC is the first natural gas producer to reduce supplies as China faces a potential supply crisis after the central government switched millions of residents to gas heating rather than coal this winter. Spot Asian gas prices have risen above oil-indexed cargoes as energy providers scramble to avoid a looming winter crunch. Under the new rules, residential users will have priority over industrial users in cases of supply curtailments. CNPC has a working volume of 7.4 bcm at its natural gas storage sites, accounting for 5 percent of its annual sales plan. CNPC’s unit PetroChina operates three LNG import terminals with a combined annual capacity of 43.7 million cubic meters at Dalian in Liaoning province, Caofeidian in Hebei province and Rudong in Jiangsu, although on average these terminals operate at 40 percent of capacity.
China’s domestic prices for LNG topped 7,000 yuan ($1,061)/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. China’s state-owned oil firms are maximising production at domestic gas fields and boosting LNG imports at receiving terminals, although that has not kept the surge in demand from Beijing’s aggressive gas push from outpacing supply.
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. Price talks between PDVSA and Colombian state-run energy firm Ecopetrol have taken a long time. 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-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. Venezuela injects most of the natural gas it produces back into oilfields to help maintain pressure and crude output.
Qatar’s Energy Minister said he expects oversupply of LNG in the coming years due to increased production, but the market should tighten after 2025. Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of LNG, is working to increase gas production and LNG exports.
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.
Gas exporting giant Qatar has all but sold out of winter supply after committing its spare output to China and South Korea, a development that could tighten Asia’s gas markets as the peak demand season bites. Doha’s bumper sales will also ring alarm bells for other regions reliant on Qatari LNG such as Europe and may further boost Asian spot prices, which have already surged 55 percent since September, traders said. Despite widespread forecasts of an LNG glut, China’s shift to gas this year as it moved millions of households away from coal to combat smog has lifted its LNG imports by 43 percent and squeezed global gas markets. But some traders are split on the sustainability of the rally, citing weather, crude oil price movements and the degree of residual demand left in China as big unknowns that could potentially dampen prices. Normally Qatar plays the role of swing supplier to global LNG markets, churning out cargoes to cover demand spikes. Qatar’s absence from spot markets may be felt in higher LNG prices which some traders predict may hit three-year highs above $11/mmBtu this winter, from $9.40/mmBtu currently. The shift in sentiment has bulls wondering whether forecasts of global LNG markets re-balancing in the early 2020s may not be wide of the mark given the quickening pace of Chinese consumption growth.
Egypt will stop importing liquefied natural gas in 2018 and may eventually export gas after it starts producing this year at the giant Eni SpA-operated Zohr field off the country’s Mediterranean coast. Zohr’s output will mostly supply the domestic market, and the nation’s two existing gas-liquefaction facilities are large enough to process any available surplus into LNG for international sale in 2019. If Zohr and other gas fields generate enough supplies, Egypt may consider adding a third LNG-exporting terminal. The country expects Zohr to start producing this year at about 350 million cubic feet a day. The government will issue another tender for LNG in early 2018 to cover needs for the second quarter, and it plans to stop importing the fuel by the end of next year.
Egypt exported gas until 2014 but had to forego those sales to meet local demand and because sporadic sabotage attacks on its main pipeline in the Sinai Desert throttled shipments. With Zohr expected to begin producing this year, the North African nation targets re-starting exports in 2019. The field has a potential 850 billion cubic meters of gas in place, according to Eni. The first phase of Zohr’s development is almost finished, with drilling operations of the phase’s wells completed, the oil ministry said. Russia’s state-owned producer Rosneft PJSC closed a deal to acquire 30 percent of the field in October. BP Plc bought a 10 percent stake in Zohr last year. The country has also adopted a flexible gas-pricing formula to encourage investment and boost supply. Egypt previously paid a fixed price of $2.65 per thousand cubic feet. SDX is in talks to price the gas it hopes to start producing at the South Disouq field at $4 per thousand cubic feet.
The governments of Pakistan and Malaysia have signed an intergovernmental agreement on LNG. The LNG supplies will be delivered to Pakistan and will be ensured by the Malaysian company Petronas, which was competing against Gazprom and managed to secure the deal. The Pakistani government has set up Pakistan LNG to secure LNG deals through open competitive biddings as well as through government-to-government arrangements. Pakistan intends to reduce the country's energy dependence and satisfy the increasing energy demand. It plans to gradually substitute oil imports with imported gas, including in the transport sector, and has set up an LNG import target of 60 mcm per day by 2018. A preliminary agreement with China for the development of a massive LNG export project in Alaska will boost its profile, but does not ensure the $43 billion development will go ahead, analysts said. China’s biggest state oil company, Sinopec, one of its top banks and its sovereign wealth fund agreed early to develop the Alaska LNG export terminal and an 800 mile (1,290 kilometre) pipeline to deliver fuel to China. Alaska LNG, backed by the Alaska Gasline Development Corp with input from North Slope energy producers, envisions a lengthy pipeline from the North Slope to an export terminal in south-central Alaska. With planned output of some 20 million tonnes a year, Alaska LNG would need to sign numerous major offtake deals, likely with customers beyond just China, before it can secure financing for construction, analysts said. US natural gas production growth is expected to surge in 2018, after rising more modestly in 2017, the US EIA said. US dry natural gas production was forecast to rise to 73.45 bcfd in 2017 from 72.85 bcfd in 2016, according to the EIA’s Short Term Energy Outlook. The latest November output projection was a little lower than EIA’s 73.63-bcfd forecast in October and falls short of the record high 74.14 bcfd produced on average in 2015. The EIA also projected natural gas production would rise to 78.90 bcfd in 2018, up from a forecast of 78.49 bcfd issued in October. Total gas consumption in the US is likely to fall slightly in 2017 to 73.06 bcfd from 75.1 bcfd a year earlier. Total consumption is expected to rebound in 2018 to 76.83 bcfd. However, natural gas usage in U.S. homes is expected to grow in both years, rising slightly to 11.90 bcfd in 2017 and climbing to 12.89 the following year.
Pakistan is in LNG supply talks with France, Italy and Spain. IGAs could help Pakistan speed up its ambitious plans to bolster LNG imports as it aims to end the country’s chronic energy shortages. Pakistan opened its second LNG import terminal in Karachi and up to five more terminals are in the works. Islamabad aims to source about 3 mt of LNG per year for the new terminal through intergovernmental deals, or about four cargoes per month. Pakistan’s demand is expected to grow to 30 mt in three years, which would make it a major LNG buyer. It is already one of the fastest-growing LNG markets, attracting interest from producers such as Shell and ExxonMobil and from traders such as Trafigura and Gunvor. Pakistan last year agreed a deal with Qatar to supply 3.75 mtpa for its first LNG terminal and this year in an open tender it awarded Eni a 15-year supply contract. Russia, Malaysia, Turkey and Azerbaijan have all signed IGAs with Pakistan and their companies have begun commercial negotiations. Pakistan expects to sign deals with Indonesia and Oman soon.
Turkmenistan may ship natural gas to Eastern Europe through Russia, state energy firm Turkmengas after Moscow stopped buying gas from the Central Asian nation. Russia’s halt on imports of its energy has effectively left Turkmenistan with China as the only buyer of its gas, straining its economy due to a drop in hard currency revenue. Turkmenistan produces about 70 bcm of gas a year and Russia used to buy up to 40 bcm of that. Last year, however, Turkmen exports were just 37.3 bcm, of which 29.4 bcm went to China.
UP sanctions Rs 178.4 mn for LPG connections in over 42k government schools
December 12, 2017. In relief to as many as 42,442 government schools, which had been till now using wood and cow dung to prepare midday meals for students, the state government has sanctioned Rs 17.84 crore to provide LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to these institutes. According to education department data, 1.67 lakh schools in UP (Uttar Pradesh) serve midday meals to children. Out of these, 42,442 schools do not have LPG connections and have to rely on old and polluting fuels to prepare food. The exercise not only contributes to pollution levels, but also has an adverse effect on the health of staff and students. According to government data, all schools in only 14 districts have LPG connections. These districts include Baghpat, Ballia, Bulandshahr, Gautam Budh Nagar, Gorakhpur, Hathras, Etawah, Kanpur Nagar, Kaushambi, Lucknow, Mathura, Shahjahanpur, Unnao and Hapur. In Meerut, 22 schools still depend on wood and cow dung for cooking midday meals. Within two months of receiving the money, a BSA (basic shiksha adhikari) has to procure an LPG connection along with a gas stove. Within a month of the procurement, a report on installation has to be sent to the state government authorities.
Source: The Times of India
After Rs 76.5 per cylinder, oil companies skip LPG price hike ahead of Gujarat polls
December 11, 2017. After hiking cooking gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) price by Rs 76.5 in 19 installments in 17 months, national oil companies skipped the monthly revision in rates this month ahead of elections in Gujarat. State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) have been since July last year raising price of LPG on 1st of every month with a view to eliminating government subsidies on the fuel by 2018. The oil companies however skipped the hike this month. The price of subsidised LPG was last raised by Rs 4.50 per cylinder on November 1 to Rs 495.69, according to a price notification issued by state-owned firms. The government last year had asked state-run oil firms to raise prices every month to eliminate all the subsidies by March 2018. Since the implementation of the policy of monthly increases from July last year, subsidised LPG rates have gone up by Rs 76.51 per cylinder. A 14.2 kg LPG cylinder was priced at Rs 419.18 in June 2016. Every household is entitled to 12 cylinders of 14.2 kg each at subsidised rates in a year. Any requirement beyond that is to be purchased at market price. Initially, the hike in LPG rate was Rs 2 per month which was raised to Rs 3 from May this year. The November 1 hike in the LPG price was the sixth since the May 30 order of the oil ministry to raise rates by Rs 4 per cylinder every month. According to the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the oil ministry, there is a subsidy of Rs 251.31 on every 14.2 kg subsidised LPG cylinder. Incidentally, the non-subsidised or market priced LPG rates were raised by Rs 5 per cylinder to Rs 747 a bottle on December 1. Non-subsidised LPG rates have moved in tandem with their cost since December 2013.
Source: Business Standard
Meghalaya to get its first LPG bottling facility
December 9, 2017. The Centre has sanctioned Rs 75 crore for setting up a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bottling plant in Meghalaya which will help increase the clean fuel's penetration, especially in the rural areas of the state. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was inked between the oil ministry and the state government in the presence of Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma in the city. The investment of Rs 75 crore for the bottling plant will be done by the Government of India, Pradhan said. He said that the Centre has decided to implement the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in the state in full swing while keeping in mind that the LPG penetration in Meghalaya is the lowest in the North East region. Only 27 percent of the households in the state are linked with LPG connectivity which is much below the national average, he said. He said that another 20 LPG distributors have now been added for Meghalaya. Meghalaya is the only state in the region which has no bottling plant. Pradhan said that the new bottling plant will be constructed at an existing site located in Shillong itself.
Source: Business Standard
Government to soon unveil policy on methanol blending in petrol
December 9, 2017. Union Roads Minister Nitin Gadkari said the government will be soon announcing a policy which calls for 15 percent blending of methanol in petrol to make it cheaper and also reduce pollution. He said methanol gets made from coal and costs only Rs 22 per litre as against the prevailing price of about Rs 80 per litre for petrol and added that China is making the coal byproduct for Rs 17 per litre itself. He said Swedish auto major Volvo has got a special engine to the financial capital which runs on methanol and using the locally available methanol, he will be attempting to run 25 buses entirely on the fuel. He said ethanol should also be used more widely and said that he has suggested his cabinet colleague in-charge of the petroleum ministry to look at this rather than building petrol refineries that cost over Rs 70,000 crore. Gadkari said the total investment opportunity on ethanol alone if Rs 1.50 lakh crore.
Source: Business Standard
RIL sets up subsidiary in Uruguay to market petrochemical products
December 9, 2017. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has acquired a stake in a newly incorporated company, Dreketi S.A, in Uruguay to expand marketing of its petroleum and petrochemical products. In a disclosure to the bourses, RIL said that Dreketi SA. is not engaged in any business activity at present. The company had said that its goal is to be a fully integrated producer of refining and petrochemical products serving the Indian and global markets. Its recently commissioned units place it among the top 10 petrochemical producers globally with a unique portfolio and the highest level of integration.
Source: The Economic Times
GAIL to import 5 mt LNG from US in FY'19
December 11, 2017. GAIL (India) Ltd will import about 5 million tonnes (mt) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States (US) next fiscal, replacing the volumes the state-owned utility buys from the spot market. GAIL has contracted 5.8 mt per annum of LNG from the US, some of which it has swapped - either by exchanging the gas with someone having it nearer to India or by time-swapping it. The company sold a "major chunk" of the US LNG via time swaps, destination swaps and shipping optimisation. Under the time-swap deals, the company will buy LNG from international companies this year and sell equivalent amount of Henry Hub-indexed volumes during 2018-19. Besides, to cut shipping costs, it has entered into deals to take deliveries of gas from a nearer location and in exchange given its US volumes to company closer to the origin. Some of the time-swapped volumes have started arriving in India but refused to give details. GAIL has a deal to buy 3.5 mt a year of LNG for 20 years from Cheniere Energy of the US and has also booked capacity for another 2.3 mt at Dominion Energy's Cove Point liquefaction plant.
Source: Business Standard
Gas from new north-eastern fields may fetch higher prices
December 8, 2017. The government plans to extend higher prices to all gas produced from new discoveries in the North East, as is available to deepwater fields in the country. The oil ministry plans to shortly send a proposal to the Cabinet that will allow producers in the North East region to charge a gas price currently available only to fields in difficult terrains such as deep sea and high pressure-high temperature areas. Price available to gas from difficult fields is currently $6.30 per unit, more than double of $2.89 per unit for output from other fields in the country. Difficult terrains, and lack of infrastructure makes exploration difficult in the north-eastern states. Local protests and blockades interrupt production, while higher spares and consumables costs due to less available service provides in the region push up operating cost. The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), the technical arm of the oil ministry, had recently recommended giving marketing and pricing freedom for gas produced in the North East. Higher prices will mostly help Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL), which have discovered and producing fields in the North East. India is slowly moving towards a market-determined pricing regime for natural gas. The government is working on setting up a gas trading hub, which will eventually end all pricing controls and bring about market pricing for domestic gas.
Source: The Economic Times
GAIL announces Rs 60 bn worth of contracts awarded under Urja Ganga
December 7, 2017. GAIL (India) Ltd, the country’s largest gas transmission utility, announced it has awarded contracts for laying 520 kilometre (km) of gas pipeline connectivity from Dobhi in Bihar to Durgapur in West Bengal as part of the 2,655 km “Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga” project. With this, the firm has completed awarding a major part of the contracts under Phase II of the Urja Ganga project. The company said the project will usher industrial development in East India by supplying clean natural gas to fertilizer plants, power plants, refineries, steel projects and other Industries. GAIL is presently executing 4,000 km of Natural Gas pipeline. This will cover Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Kerala and Karnataka. The company is making huge investment in pipeline to fulfil the government’s vision of National Gas Grid. The capex of GAIL for the next financial year is expected over Rs 6,000 crore which will be a jump of more than 50 percent of the current Financial year, the company said. The government is currently working on a plan to develop 14,765 km of additional pipeline infrastructure as part of a larger goal to shift to a gas-based economy and increase the availability of natural gas across the country. The gas grid plan consists of different pipeline sections to be executed by different entities having multiple completion time schedules. The centre had recently decided to provide budgetary support of Rs 5,176 crore, 40 percent of the estimated cost of Rs 12,940 crore, to GAIL for development of Jagdishpur-Haldia and Bokaro-Dharma Gas Pipeline (JHBDPL) project also referred to as Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga project.
Source: The Economic Times
GAIL hires drones to secure 15k km gas pipelines
December 6, 2017. GAIL (India) Ltd, the country's biggest gas transporter, has deployed drones on pilot basis on its main trunk pipeline as it uses technology to secure its vast network, its director (pipelines) Ashutosh Karnatak said. In the aftermath of the June 2014 accident at its pipeline in Andhra Pradesh that killed at least 18 people, the state-owned firm has taken a number of initiatives to raise safety standards including replacing old pipelines and using advanced technology. Based on the results, the company may decide to buy or hire more drones to monitor its 15,000 kilometre (km) pipeline network, he said. The drones will be used to patrol the pipeline to detect physical abnormal activity like encroachment or intrusion on the pipeline. For using drones, GAIL had to secure permissions from multiple agencies. Previously, the government had given permission to Indian Railways and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for similar purposes. A government probe into the June 2014 accident had highlighted safety lapses at the firm and prompted sector regulator Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) to slap a penalty. Also, natural gas is being dehydrated and corrosion causing water, sulphur and carbon-di-oxide removed to prevent damage to pipelines and avert any repeat of the 2014 accident, he said. In the pilot, a drone will fly over the pipeline, capturing pictures and other data using smart technology. GAIL, at present, uses foot patrolling to spot encroachments and seeks local administration's help in getting them cleared. Drones will however not be able to detect any leakage, for which the company will continue to reply on sensors and patrolling, he said. GAIL is using live satellite monitoring of the pipelines and is now integrating advance Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV) with this system.
Source: Business Standard
BHEL commissions 54 MW coal-fired power plant in Indonesia
December 12, 2017. BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd) announced commissioning of a 54 MW coal-fired captive power project in Indonesia. The 3x18 MW power project located at Sangatta, East Kalimantan, Indonesia has been set up by BHEL for PT Citra Kusuma Perdana for their coal-mining operations, BHEL said. BHEL has executed several projects in the region including projects in Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. In Indonesia, the company has earlier successfully executed a 2x30 MW boiler project for PT Makmur Sejahtera Wisesa and 2x11 MW and 1x15 MW captive power projects for PT Indo Bharat Rayon.
Source: Business Standard
Talaipalli coal block likely to start commercial production in 2019
December 11, 2017. Infra major NCC Ltd expects to start development and operation of Talaipalli coal block from 2019-20 onwards and contribute about Rs 190 crore to topline during the first year of its commercial operation. The Talaipalli coal block is located in Chhattisgarh.
Source: The Economic Times
CIL to leverage mining expertise for diversification: Centre
December 10, 2017. Making a case for Coal India Ltd (CIL)'s foray into metal and mineral mining, the government has said the state-owned firm being the biggest miner in the world would like to leverage the expertise for diversification. CIL had said that the modalities for diversification into new mineral mining was expected to be ready in the next few months. According to CIL, the foray into new metals and minerals will not hinder or cause any conflict with coal production targets. CIL, which accounts for over 80 percent of the domestic coal production, is eyeing 1 billion tonnes output by 2019-20.
Source: Business Standard
Trade unions to make case for CIL contract workers' 20 percent wage hike
December 10, 2017. After an average wage revision of 20 percent for around 2.98 lakh permanent employees of Coal India Ltd (CIL), trade unions are now readying to pitch for a similar wage agreement for contractual workers of the miner. The company had said it has signed a wage agreement with workers' unions, proposing a 20 percent hike in salaries for a period of five years. The 10th wage agreement effected in October would have an estimated impact of Rs 5,667 crore per year on the world's largest coal miner. Trade unions expect the average wage hike for the contract workers - whose number is estimated to be anywhere between two to three lakh - in the range of 15-20 percent.
Source: Business Standard
Tuticorin port sets new record in coal handling
December 8, 2017. V O Chidambaranar (VOC) Port at Tuticorin created a new record by handling 36,526 metric tonnes of thermal coal at NCB-I from the vessel MV Asian Champion, surpassing the previous single day record of 35,656 metric tonnes of thermal coal handled at the same berth from the vessel MV Tentenc on October 30, 2016. The coal consignment was for the thermal power plant of NTPL at Tuticorin and the NCB is captive berth of the power plant. Entire coal will be sent to the power plant through conveyor belts from port.
Source: The Times of India
Goa pollution board seeks prosecution of Mormugao port for excess coal handling
December 8, 2017. The Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has moved court seeking criminal prosecution against Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) and South West Port Ltd (SWPL) for handling excess coal. GSPCB said that the board pleaded before the first class judicial magistrate in Vasco that MPT and SWPL should be prosecuted for violating the conditions of the consent to operate issued to it under the Air and Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act. The MPT, which is located at Vasco, has been accused of handling excess coal at berth Nos. 10 and 11 for 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 in violation of the consent orders issued by the GSPCB. The SWPL, the GSPCB said, handled excess coal at Berth Nos. 5A and 6A at MPT for 2012-13, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.
Source: The Economic Times
Rajasthan to issue monthly electricity bill to consumers
December 12, 2017. The Rajasthan government has decided to issue electricity bills to consumers on a monthly basis instead of once in two months. State's Energy Minister Pushpendra Singh said the new billing arrangement will be put in place from April 1, 2018. This will give an ease to the customers, Singh said. Singh said the power generation capacity increased and the losses of power companies were reduced during the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule. Singh informed that 6,561 MW was added to the power generation capacity in the state in four years and the state government approved 6 solar parks of 5430 MW capacity to push solar power generation in the state. Singh said that losses of power companies which were Rs 15,545 crore earlier came down to Rs 1,981 crore in four years.
Source: Business Standard
Tamil Nadu electricity utility employee unions to go on strike
December 10, 2017. Tamil Nadu electricity utility TANGEDCO (Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corp) employee unions are planning to go on strike as the management is yet to announce pay commission for the employees, despite doing so for state government employees. It has been several years since TANGEDCO employees received a salary hike. Unions are planning a protest outside the TNEB headquarters and later if the management is not reacting to their demands, the unions will go on strike. The unions state that the work load on them had been increasing each day and at least 5 are electrocuted every month.
Source: The Economic Times
Power transmission lines may help quell a 70-year-old conflict in Kashmir
December 8, 2017. In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to supply electricity to every Indian household, connecting homes in the state of Jammu & Kashmir might be the toughest. Along India’s violence-prone northern border, engineers and construction workers are hauling tons of high-tension wires and steel frames on pack mules across barren deserts and mountain ravines to electrify one of the country’s most inhospitable states. Still, the effort, budgeted to cost Rs 48 billion ($740 million), may turn out to be Modi’s most rewarding. In some villages, winter outages persist for 20 hours a day even as temperatures dip to minus 35 degrees Celsius (minus 31 degrees Fahrenheit). Modi is counting on 24x7 power to both warm homes and hearts in the Muslim-majority state, where as many as 70,000 terrorists, security forces and civilians have died in independence-fueled clashes in the past three decades. Construction of key infrastructure in the Kashmir Valley may be helping. Electricity shortages have long been a bane in the Kashmir Valley, and providing reliable, affordable, constant power could go some way in quelling unrest, according to Noor Ahmad Baba, dean of the school of social sciences at the Central University of Kashmir. Baba traces a connection between lack of electricity and militancy, drawing from his observations as a youth in the late 1980s, when insurgency escalated in Kashmir. Modi pledged to bring power to 18,452 unelectrified villages within 1,000 days in his August 2015 Independence Day national address. As of October 31, electricity had reached 15,218 or 82 percent of those villages. In Jammu and Kashmir, 100 out of 134 villages, encompassing 270,000 households, lacking electricity were still waiting to be connected. The government is trying to speed up progress with two transmission-line projects. The Sterlite project will bring power from Jalandhar, in northern Punjab state, to Amargarh, near Srinagar, along a 441-kilometer line running parallel to the so-called Line of Control that marks part of India’s de facto northern border with Pakistan. A second project managed by Power Grid Corp will run electricity 350 kilometers from Srinagar to the Ladakh region in the state’s northeast, bordering China.
Source: The Economic Times
Load-shedding will be a crime, discoms can't bill you for losses from 2019
December 8, 2017. In a bid to end the bane of power outages even at a time of surplus production, the government will bring in a law to penalise distribution companies (discoms) in the event of their indulging in "gratuitous load-shedding", Power Minister R K Singh said. Briefing reporters during a break in the meeting with state Power Ministers, Singh said such penalties are part of a road map being prepared by the government to fulfil its vision of providing uninterrupted electricity for all. Singh said that the ethical obligation of the discom as the sole license holder to provide uninterrupted power would now be made into an enforceable service obligation by introducing in the Electricity Act, 2003, such a penalty for outages without good reason. To gear up to meet the demand of uninterrupted power for all, the system needs to be strengthened on all sides, he said. Singh said that changes were being proposed to the Act to remove human interface in billing, metering and collections by introducing prepaid systems that would help poor consumers and smart metering, as well as cap the permissible limit for factoring in discom losses in the tariff policy.
Source: The Economic Times
State Power Minsters resolve to cut cross subsidies
December 8, 2017. State Power Minsters have resolved to prepare a plan to reduce cross-subsidies by March 2018 as per the guidelines in the tariff policy, which would reduce the power rates for commercial and industrial consumers. The resolution to adopt an action plan to realise the changes made last year to the Electricity Act providing for a lower cross subsidy level of 20 percent was one among other reforms agreed on at the states' Power Ministers meeting with Union Power Minister R K Singh. Cross subsidy, which currently can be as high as 200 percent in some cases, is the mechanism by which industrial and commercial consumers pay higher tariffs that subsidise the lower charges paid by domestic, agricultural and other users. The Union Power Minister advocated standardising electricity tariffs across the country and said the states have agreed to reduce the number of slabs for selling power. He had said cross subsidies in the tariff policy will be phased out to bring it down to 20 percent in the first phase, adding that power must be made available to industry at a reasonable cost to ensure the success of the 'Make in India' programme. The states resolved to clear all government dues of discoms (distribution companies) for the current year along with 25 percent of arrears so that all previous dues are paid off by March 2019. The power sector accounts for a major chunk of the non-performing assets, or bad loans, in the Indian banking system that have crossed a staggering Rs 8 lakh crore.
Source: Business Standard
Government sets up panel to address NPAs in the power sector
December 6, 2017. The government has set up a high-level committee headed by NITI Aayog CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Amitabh Kant to address the problem of stressed assets in India's power sector. Non-performing assets (NPAs) in power generation accounted for around 5.9% of the banking sector’s total outstanding advances of Rs 4.73 trillion, according to the second volume of the Economic Survey 2016-17 released in August. Tackling the issues that afflict the so-called stranded power assets will provide much-needed relief for Indian banks weighed down by bad loans. A total of 34 coal-fuelled power projects, with an estimated debt of Rs 1.77 trillion, have been reviewed by the government after being identified by the department of financial services. Issues faced by these projects include paucity of funds, lack of power-purchase agreements (PPAs), and absence of fuel security. Experts said that PPAs hold the key to solving the problem of 60 GW of stressed assets across fuel sources. Of India’s installed power generation capacity of 331,118 MW, 58%, or around 193,426 MW, is fuelled by coal. Gas-based and hydropower projects account for 25,150 MW and 44,765 MW, respectively. Power Minister R K Singh has said there will be a rise in electricity demand. His rationale is that the recently launched Saubhagya programme, which aims to provide electricity connections to more than 40 million families by December 2018, will boost underutilized power plants.
Bihar power discoms file tariff petition for next financial year
December 6, 2017. North Bihar Power Distribution Company (NBPDC) and South Bihar Power Distribution Company (SBPDC) filed the electricity tariff petition for the next fiscal (2018-19) with Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC). The BERC would now take three months to take a final call on the tariff petition filed by the power distribution companies (discoms), during which it would hold public hearings at its headquarters at Patna as well as different commissionaires across the state. The new tariff structure would be in effect from April 1, next year. Besides, a number of reforms including a rebate of 2.5% on online bill payment and interest at the rate of 6% against advance bill payment would continue in the next fiscal as well. Moreover, the two discoms have also done away with the “minimal monthly charges” in all categories of consumers from the ongoing fiscal. The power sale on the other hand is expected to increase from 15,666 million units (mu) from fiscal 2016-17 to 19,429 mu by the end of this fiscal to 22,599 mu in the next fiscal.
Source: The Economic Times
NATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS
Wind energy auction guidelines set minimum plant size at 25 MW
December 12, 2017. A wind energy project secured through auctions should have a minimum size of 25 MW if it supplies power to one state and 50 MW if it supplies to more than one state, say the guidelines for wind auctions. Wind energy projects should have a minimum capacity utilisation factor (CUF) of 22% and will be penalised if they fall below that mark. If the CUF is higher than specified in the bid document, the excess power will be paid for by the buyer at 75% of the tariff decided, according to the guidelines issued by the power ministry. Wind developers must indicate the location of their projects in their applications and show evidence within seven months of the signing of the power purchase agreements that they have actually acquired full rights for 25 years to all the land they will need to set up their projects, the guidelines said. Three wind auctions — two by Solar Corp of India, an arm of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, and one by the Tamil Nadu power utility Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corp — have already been held this year despite the absence of guidelines. A 500 MW auction by Gujarat’s distribution company Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd is currently held up because Indian Wind Energy Association moved the Supreme Court to oppose holding it without the guidelines.
Source: The Economic Times
DGAD hears parties on solar cells' anti-dumping duty petition
December 12, 2017. The Directorate General of Anti- Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) heard the views of all the affected parties in the matter of the anti-dumping duty petition on solar cells and modules. Representatives from the petitioner Indian Solar Manufacturers Association were present in the oral hearing, apart from representatives from the embassies of China, Taiwan and Malaysia. The issue relates to import of "Solar cells whether or not assembled in modules or Panels" originating in, or exported from, China, Chinese Taipei, and Malaysia. The DGAD had initiated an investigation, with the petitioner ISMA (Indian Solar Manufacturers Association) claiming that the cheap imports were hurting the domestic industry. The representatives of the embassies of the China, Taiwan, Malaysia and other stakeholders also got the opportunity to make their case and the case was registered orally in front of the designated judicial representative, ISMA said. The affected parties will present their submissions in written by Dec 19, 2017 and thereafter the petitioners (ISMA) will give a response to these submissions by January 2, 2018.
Source: The Times of India
Government issues guidelines for tariff-based wind power auction
December 12, 2017. The power ministry said it has issued guidelines for transparent procurement of wind power through tariff-based competitive bidding in a bid to boost the clean source of energy. The government has already auctioned 2 GW wind capacity so for in the first and second round this year. In the third round, it has floated tender for another 2 GW capacity. The norms are significant because the government had decided to put for bidding 10 GW wind capacities each in 2018 -19 and 2019-20 to meet the target of 60 GW by 2022. At present, wind power installed capacity is 32 GW. The government has issued guidelines under Section 63 of the Electricity Act, 2003, providing a framework for procurement of wind power through a transparent process of bidding including standardisation of the process and defining of roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders, the ministry said. According to the ministry, these guidelines aim to enable the distribution licensees to procure wind power at competitive rates in a cost-effective manner. The ministry said the guidelines are applicable for procurement of wind power from grid-connected wind power projects (WPP) having individual size of 5 MW and above at one site with minimum bid capacity of 25 MW for intra-state projects. Besides, it will also cover individual size of 50 MW and above at one site with minimum bid capacity of 50 MW for inter-state projects. The ministry said these guidelines will give boost to the wind power sector as it would facilitate the windy states to go for bidding process for procurement of wind power themselves. After transition of tariff regime from feed in tariffs to bidding route, it was mainly the central government bids through SECI (Solar Energy Corp of India), which were helping the sector. State bids from Tamil Nadu and Gujarat had objections from the wind sector in absence of guidelines, the ministry said.
Source: The Financial Express
Patanjali to manufacture solar energy equipment
December 11, 2017. Baba Ramdev-led Patanjali Ayurved, known for its swadeshi FMCG products, is now venturing into solar equipment manufacturing, the company said. The Haridwar-based firm is investing around Rs 100 crore in its Greater Noida facility, near here, for this and the plant would be inaugurated next month. The company has also acquired one Advance Navigation and Solar Technologies earlier this year. Initially, the company would source the components from other domestic producers but later would manufacturer itself. It is installing required machineries from Germany and China. Initially, the company would consume all the solar panel internally by installing on rooftops of all its manufacturing units and centres.
Source: Business Standard
Chinese solar panels cloud prospects of $2 bn investment in domestic units
December 11, 2017. Indian solar module makers are struggling to stay in business as the price differential with imports has widened to 10-12%, prompting developers to opt for overseas supplies and stunting government's 'Make in India' campaign. Nearly all major domestic players such as Indosolar, Tata Power Solar, Adani Group, Jupiter Solar and BHEL are struggling to remain viable in the face of undercutting by cheaper supplies from modules manufactured by Chinese-owned companies located in the mainland and outside. Developers opted for cheaper equipment from China to offer low tariffs, which nearly pushed domestic manufacturers to the brink till the government levelled the field with quality and other norms. Ironically, the government is faced with the same question as it targets to set up 100 GW solar power capacity by 2022. India is expected to place orders for about 80,000 MW of solar power installations worth nearly Rs 2.44 lakh crore at current prices. India's utility-scale solar power capacity stands at 16 GW, while 11.5 GW is in the pipeline and 5.6 GW is being readied for bidding.
Source: The Times of India
India’s ultra-mega solar project to be discussed at France Summit: World Bank
December 10, 2017. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has set a very ambitious target for India to reduce its carbon intensity, is committed to moving the country to a lower carbon renewable energy future, World bank President Jim Yong Kim has said. In an interaction with reporters on bank’s continuing work on climate change mitigation and its efforts at helping developing countries implement the Paris Agreement, Kim said he and the World Bank has worked very closely with Modi.
Source: The Hindu Business Line
Vikas Bhavan produces solar power, supplies to grid
December 10, 2017. Vikas Bhavan has become the second building housing government offices after Varanasi in the state that has started generating electricity from solar energy and transferring the surplus to the power grid besides reducing power consumption by half. The Uttar Pradesh New & Renewable Energy Development Agency (UPNEDA) had taken the initiative of installing rooftop solar power plants with 70 KW capacity at four government offices — Vikas Bhavan, collectorate, commissioner’s office and circuit house. The plant has a capacity to produce 1 lakh units of electricity a year. Before the plant was operational, our electricity bill was around Rs 1.75 lakh a month which has been reduced to Rs 62,000.
Source: The Times of India
In Chandigarh, install solar rooftop plant at your house or face the heat
December 8, 2017. With the two-year deadline for installing rooftop solar power plants at residential properties set to expire in three months, notices will be issued to owners who fail to comply. The Chandigarh administration, in a notification issued on May 18, 2016, had made installation of rooftop solar power plants mandatory in residential houses measuring 500 square yard and above and group housing societies. The Central government had selected Chandigarh to be developed as a 'model solar city' and set an ambitious target of installation of 50 MW solar plants, both at residential and government buildings, by 2022. So far, Chandigarh has reached 13.5 MW-mark. Being a land locked city, residential buildings hold key to achieving the target. Unhappy with the public's cold response, Chandigarh Renewal Energy, Science and Technology Promotion Society (CREST) has written to the estate office to initiate action against the erring owners.
Source: The Economic Times
Kirloskar Solar plans to strengthen presence in Kerala, set up 200 MW capacity
December 8, 2017. Kirloskar Solar Pvt Ltd, part of Kirloskar group is planning to tap the potential in Kerala as part of strengthening its presence in the country. It has partnered with GSL Energy Solutions to achieve 200 MW of solar power in the state by 2020. The company plans to cover a broad spectrum of market covering domestic, educational, hospitality, healthcare, commercial and industrial uses. Kirloskar Solar said the solar industry in the country has been growing 20 to 30% rate and is set for consolidation in the coming years. GSL Energy Solutions said compared with other states Kerala is yet to realise the potential of solar power. The company has launched a scheme to encourage domestic users to convert their invertors to solar ones.
Source: The Economic Times
Goa unveils solar power policy
December 6, 2017. The Goa Cabinet approved the much-awaited Solar Power Policy, under which the State expects to generate 150 MW of solar power by 2021, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said. Parrikar said the policy would come into force by the end of current financial year. The policy also speaks about providing 50 percent of the project costs as interest-free loans to the units, which can be repaid in the form of supply of power to the state, six months after the unit is functional. Parrikar said that the housing colonies can have their roof-top solar power generation by employing one contractor if all the owners come together. State Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar said the Centre has given a target that by 2021, Goa will have to produce 150 MW of power.
Source: The Hindu Business Line
India invites Norway to invest in green transportation
December 6, 2017. India invited Norwegian collaboration in transforming India's logistics sector and help develop the massive infrastructure to green the Indian transportation system. The Norwegian Ambassador to India, Nils Ragnar Kamsvag, said that over one third of all new cars sold in Norway were electric vehicles. Norway's National Transportation Programme envisages that all new vehicles after 2025 will be electricity-driven. India's National Electric Mobility Mission Plan launched in 2013 aims at gradually ensuring a vehicle population of about 6-7 million electric and hybrid vehicles in India by 2020. The vision enunciated two years ago is for India to have 100 percent electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030.
Source: Business Standard
HDFC ERGO launches insurance policy to cover solar energy shortfall risks
December 6, 2017. Non-life insurance provider HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company announced the launch of the solar energy shortfall insurance policy to account for non-traditional and non-physical damage related risks that solar projects regularly face. The policy will cover utility-scale solar farms, green fields across India, portfolios of rooftop installations for commercial and residential builds, among others, the company said in a statement. Under the policy, the company will cover risks related to non-physical damage, such as insufficient amount of sunshine and its impact on the performance of the project. The cover also protects against a system being installed incorrectly in a way that was not intended in the design phase and the impact that has on the revenue models. A multi-year policy, the solar energy shortfall insurance would be issued up to a period of five years.
Source: Business Standard
UP government targets Rs 500 bn private investment in solar energy
December 6, 2017. The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh (UP) is targetting to attract investment of almost Rs 50,000 crore in the solar energy sector over the next five years till 2022. Besides, the government is targeting total solar energy generation of about 10,700 MW during the same period vis-à-vis tentative target of 500 MW set by the previous Akhilesh Yadav regime, which was voted out of power in March 2017. The Yogi Cabinet put its seal of approval on the new UP solar energy policy, which aims at thrusting the state at the forefront of clean energy domain in the next five years. Under the new policy, the state is drafting an action plan to develop an exclusive Green Energy Corridor in the arid Bundelkhand region at an investment of about Rs 4,000 crore with part funding by the Narendra Modi government at the Centre. The new industries being set up in Bundelkhand would also get comparatively cheaper power from the solar energy plants in the region to further industrialisation. Similarly, the state is looking at promoting the solar energy industry in the impoverished Purvanchal region (Eastern UP) to boost economic activities and generate jobs. Another incentive in the new solar energy policy is that it allows investors the facility of 'open access' and thus to sell power to individual or institutional consumers within and outside the state. This was restricted in the previous policy framework and they were supposed to feed the entire energy generated to UP Power Corp Ltd (UPPCL) grid.
Source: Business Standard
Brazil likely to limit cuts to local content requirements in oil contracts
December 12, 2017. Brazil will likely limit planned cuts in local content requirements for future oil exploration and production contracts in a move aimed at appeasing local suppliers and to pave the way for an extension of customs breaks for oil companies. The measures would be a concession to some opponents of “Repetro,” a preferential customs regime for oil and gas companies, who were angered by steep cuts in local content requirements for oil contracts, according to Abimaq, a group which represents local suppliers. Famously tough requirements in Brazil have stymied investment by oil firms which had complained that complying made oil development in the country unprofitable.
US EIA cuts 2018 world oil demand growth forecast
December 12, 2017. The United States (US) Energy Information Administration (EIA) cut its 2018 world oil demand growth forecast by 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.62 million bpd. The EIA raised its oil demand growth estimate for 2017 by 80,000 bpd to 1.39 million bpd.
UAE's ADNOC proposes change to oil price mechanism
December 11, 2017. UAE (United Arab Emirates)'s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) sought feedback from Asian buyers on whether it should change its monthly pricing mechanism as part of an ongoing price review. ADNOC currently publishes the monthly prices for all three of its crude grades -- Murban, Das and Upper Zakum -- nearly three months after cargoes are traded. A change to forward pricing would align Abu Dhabi crude prices with other Middle East producers, such as Saudi Arabia, and make it easier for buyers to calculate refining costs and profits, trade sources in Asia said. The proposal came as a surprise to term buyers who have already signed up for 2018 supplies. ADNOC also held discussions with customers two to three years ago on possibly changing its pricing mechanism.
Iraq boosts output capacity at Kirkuk oil refinery: Oil ministry
December 11, 2017. Iraq’s oil ministry has added a new processing unit to the Kirkuk oil refinery, increasing the plant’s capacity to 56,000 barrels per day, the ministry said. The new production unit can process 13,000 barrels per day of crude, the statement said, Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said. Iraq is working to divert most future output from Kirkuk oilfield to local refineries due to an ongoing conflict with Kurdish regional authorities over the use of an export pipeline to Turkey. Production from Kirkuk stopped in mid-October after Iraqi forces dislodged Kurdish fighters and took over the northern region’s oilfields.
TransCanada sets new committed rates on Marketlink oil pipeline
December 9, 2017. TransCanada Corp has set new committed rates for shippers on its Marketlink crude oil pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma, to Texas, effective January 1, according to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. New committed short-term rates for oil moving from Cushing to Houston are $2.50 a barrel for light crude and $3 a barrel for heavy crude. Short-term service is between six and 35 months. New committed long-term rates are $1.95 and $2.05 a barrel for light crude and $2.34 and $2.46 a barrel for heavy crude. Long-term service is between three to 15 years.
Venezuela's oil sales to US fell in November to lowest level since 2003
December 9, 2017. Venezuela’s crude oil exports to the United States (US) fell in November to their lowest level since January 2003, when a strike knocked down the country’s output, due to sanctions and a steep production decline. State-run oil company PDVSA and its joint ventures sent 475,165 barrels per day (bpd) to its customers in the US last month, down 36 percent from a year earlier and 12 percent from October. PDVSA is taking growing volumes of the valuable Hamaca crude from its Petropiar joint venture with US oil company Chevron Corp and using it for domestic refining. As a result, the volume of Hamaca crude exported to the US fell to less than 33,000 bpd in November from an average of 106,000 bpd last year, according to trade flows data. PDVSA’s refining unit in the US, Citgo Petroleum, received 65,000 bpd of Venezuelan crude last month versus supply contracts that allow up to 220,000 bpd. But US-based Valero Energy Corp’s imports of Venezuelan crude rose to 194,000 bpd in November.
Vietnam signs crude oil supply deals with SOCAR, Glencore
December 8, 2017. Vietnam’s state-run Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical Co (BSR) and state oil marketer PV Oil have signed non-binding term agreements with two western trading companies to buy crude, BSR said. SOCAR Trading will provide 3 million barrels a month of Azeri Light crude and 2 million barrels a month of other types of crude to BSR’s Dung Quat refinery between 2018 and 2021, BSR said. Glencore Singapore will supply 2 million barrels of crude per month to Dung Quat between 2017 and 2021. The supply could increase to 3 million barrels per month in 2021-2025. Vietnam is becoming a net crude oil importer as its output falls and as the country increases its domestic refinery capacity. Vietnam’s crude production fell 10.6 percent in the first 11 months this year to about 273,000 barrels per day (bpd). The country had targeted production of more than 290,000 bpd.
Eni plans to restart Arctic Goliat oilfield within days
December 8, 2017. Italian oil firm Eni said it planned to restart production at its Goliat oilfield in the Arctic Barents Sea within a few days, following a green light from Norway’s safety watchdog. The Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) said the company could bring back on stream the 100,000 barrels per day field which has been shut since October 6 due to safety issues. The oilfield had experienced a series of safety incidents and production shutdowns since its startup in 2016 prompting the PSA to initiate closer scrutiny of its operations.
Mexico oil regulator cancels deepwater Pemex tie-up auction
December 8, 2017. Mexico’s oil regulator canceled a tender for a joint venture with state oil firm Pemex in the deepwater Maximino-Nobilis area, as no company expressed interest in the auction. The National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) said the auction to find a partner for Pemex to tap super light crude in the Maximino-Nobilis area, which lies in the Gulf of Mexico near the US border, had been canceled as there had been no interest. The auction had been scheduled to take place on January 31. The CNH said that Pemex’s stake in the potentially lucrative tie-up would be cut to 40 percent from 49 percent. Mexico’s oil regulator has previously said it expects the first commercial barrels from Nobilis-Maximino to come by 2024, with peak output of 174,000 barrels of oil equivalent and 265 million cubic feet of natural gas per day coming online in 2026.
Brunei oil production to grow over next 5 yrs
December 7, 2017. Brunei’s oil production will grow over the next five years, supported by output maintenance works at mature assets, according to a new report from BMI research. The country’s crude oil output contracted by more than seven percent over 2015-2016 and is set to fall by a further four percent this year, BMI said in its report. The research firm expects production to return to a gentle ‘uptrend’ from 2018 though, as stronger prices and risk appetite ‘revive interest in costly enhanced oil recovery programs at mature assets’. BMI said that longer-term growth will depend on whether Brunei is able to attract oil majors to invest in exploration.
Iraq and Iran negotiating start date for Kirkuk oil exports: Iraqi Oil Minister
December 6, 2017. The head of Iraq’s state oil marketer SOMO is currently holding talks in Iran to determine a start date for oil exports from Iraq’s Kirkuk oilfields, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said. Some Kirkuk crude would be shipped “in the near future” by trucks to Iran’s Kermanshah refinery, at a rate of 30,000 barrels per day.
After Europe's gas market disasters, LNG may come to the rescue
December 12, 2017. After all the craziness in Europe’s gas markets, some relief supplies may already be on their way from deep in the Russian Arctic. Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is said to send the first tanker from Russia’s $27 billion Yamal LNG (liquefied natural gas) project to a UK port outside London. The highest prices in four years after a pipeline defect shut a North Sea oil and gas network and an explosion crippled a key connection point in Austria made northwest Europe much more attractive as a destination for tankers carrying the super-chilled fuel.
Russia aims to win 15-20 percent of global LNG market: Novatek CEO
December 12, 2017. Russia’s government has set a target of winning between 15 and 20 percent of the global market for liquefied natural gas (LNG), Leonid Mikhelson, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Russian gas major Novatek, said. Novatek, Russia’s biggest private gas producer, meanwhile plans to maintain its own domestic market share, Mikhelson said.
EU 'closely monitoring' situation at Austria's main gas hub after blast
December 12, 2017. The European Commission said it was closely monitoring the situation at Austria’s main gas pipeline hub after an explosion that prompted Italy to declare a state of emergency as flows from the strategic site were cut off. The Commission is in contact with all Member States via the EU (European Union)’s Gas Coordination Group and continues to closely monitor the situation, the Commission said.
China's November natural gas imports hit record
December 8, 2017. China’s natural gas imports in November rose to a record as domestic demand surged while crude imports were the second-highest ever, as refiners ramped up output to cash in on strong profits as fuel prices soar, data from the General Administration of Customs showed. November gas arrivals, including pipeline imports and liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments, hit 6.55 million tonnes, breaking a previous record of 6.1 million tonnes last December, data showed. Year-to-date gas shipments were 60.7 million tonnes, on track to hit a record. An aggressive government campaign to heat millions of homes and fuel industrial boilers with gas has pushed domestic LNG prices to record highs, with some industrial and commercial users facing shortages or unable to afford the high cost.
China's CNOOC spends big on floating LNG emergency stash
December 6, 2017. China’s CNOOC is spending $10 million to lease two tankers to store an emergency stash of liquefied natural gas (LNG) amid growing concerns that China is facing a winter fuel crisis. LNG tankers are not only among the most expensive merchant vessels to hire, but keeping the fuel super-chilled is energy intensive and costly, much more expensive than putting crude on an oil tanker for later sale. Also, market conditions mean the value of the LNG stores are likely to have fallen from their purchase price by the time CNOOC starts selling off the supplies. The move highlights the unusual methods being employed by the state major to plug shortages as China’s campaign to convert millions of homes to gas heating from coal and force factories to use gas boilers for the first time boosts demand.
China coal imports rise in November despite push against pollution
December 11, 2017. Chinese coal imports rose in November from the month before on firm demand during the winter heating season, even as Beijing encourages a shift to cleaner fuels in its battle against pollution. Shipments into the world’s top coal importer reached 22.05 million tonnes in November, up 3.6 percent from October, but down from 26.97 million tonnes a year ago, data from the General Administration of Customs showed. Coal prices in China have risen steadily this year, touching their highest since at least 2015 at 688.8 yuan ($104.07) a ton on December 4.
Glencore signs labor pacts at most of its Australian coal mines
December 8, 2017. Global miner Glencore said it had reached new labor agreements with workers at 13 of its coal mines in Australia, ending months of negotiations over wages and benefits. The agreements are in the process of being finalised and include each of Glencore’s Hunter Valley collieries in New South Wales state, representing one of the world’s single biggest sources of thermal coal sold into export markets. However, 190 workers remain locked out of Glencore’s Oaky North metallurgical coal mine in neighbouring Queensland state, with operations being run at close to maximum capacity by management and outside contractors, according to the company. Coal from the Oaky North mine is used in steelmaking and is shipped to buyers in Asia, North Africa Europe and South America.
Coking coal prices to stay above $200 a ton through end-March: Japan’s Nippon Steel
December 6, 2017. Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp, Japan’s biggest steelmaker, expects coking coal to stay above $200 a ton through the January-March quarter amid lower supplies from Australia, which may drag on its earnings. Australian premium coking coal futures in Singapore have surged nearly 30 percent from a November low of $174 to above $220 a ton in the first few days of December.
Siemens to deliver transformers for 2 GW England-France HVDC link
December 8, 2017. Siemens has bagged a contract to supply four transformers, each with a capacity of 400 kilovolt (kV) and 315 megavolt amperes (MVA), for the 2,000 MW high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cross-channel transmission link between England and France. The delivery from the German engineering firm will be on behalf of the United Kingdom (UK) grid operator National Grid which will replace the aging transformers in the HVDC cross-channel link with the new transformers. As per its order, Siemens will supply, install and commission the transformers for the Sellindge converter station in England. The order is expected to be fulfilled by the company by mid-2019.
Source: Energy Business Review
Winsupply acquires electrical distributor Tacoma Electric Supply
December 6, 2017. Winsupply has acquired Tacoma Electric Supply, a Washington-based distributor of electrical equipment and supplies. Tacoma Electric Supply has locations in Tacoma and Puyallup. Tacoma Electric Supply is consistently listed among the top 200 electrical distributors in the US and is a recognized brand in the greater Puget Sound market. Silva, a 31-year veteran of the electrical industry, will continue in his leadership role as president as well as invest equity in Tacoma Electric Supply.
Source: Energy Business Review
INTERNATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS
EDF Renewable commissions 179 MW solar plants in Nevada
December 12, 2017. EDF Renewable Energy (EDF RE) has commissioned the Switch Station 1 and Switch Station 2 solar power plants with a combined capacity of 179 MW in Apex, Nevada. The power produced by the solar plants will be delivered to global technology company Switch’s data centers in Nevada under power purchase agreements with subsidiaries of NV Energy. Located in Clark County, the two plants at full capacity can generate enough electricity that can meet the consumption of around 46,000 Nevada homes. They will also offset about 265,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) that would have been emitted annually which is equivalent of taking almost 52,000 cars off the road. EDF RE acquired the two Switch solar plants in July from First Solar. The acquisition by EDF RE was done to complement its current portfolio of renewable projects in the US, Canada and Mexico. Construction of the solar plants, which was carried out by 1,3000 workers, took around 12 months to get completed.
Source: Energy Business Review
British Columbia decides to complete construction of $10.7 bn Site C hydro project
December 12, 2017. The British Columbia government has decided to complete the construction of the controversial 1,100 MW Site C dam and hydroelectric generating station in Canada. Planned to be owned and operated by British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority, the project has potential to generate 5,100 GWh of clean and renewable electricity annually. The project, if scrapped, would result in $3.9 bn in debt, including up of $2.1 bn already spent and another $1.8 bn in remediation costs. However, the cost to complete the project is now estimated to reach $10.7 bn, an increase from initial estimate of C$7.9 bn ($7.907 bn). Once operational, the project would generate clean energy required to power around 450,000 homes in British Columbia annually. It is expected to have an operational life of more than 100 years.
Source: Energy Business Review
Exxon to provide details on climate-change impact to its business
December 12, 2017. Exxon Mobil Corp said it would publish new details about how climate change could affect its business in a move aimed at appeasing critics and forestalling another proxy fight next year. Scientists have warned that world temperatures are likely to rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius (35.6°F) this century, surpassing a “tipping point” that a global climate deal aims to avert. The company’s board originally opposed providing shareholders with a report outlining the potential impact of global warming on Exxon’s long-term outlook. Some 50 shareholder and climate activists demanded the company produce an annual report on the risks to its business from extreme climate and government policies seeking to reduce carbon emissions.
China looks to nuclear option to ease winter heating woes
December 10, 2017. With its smog-prone north desperate to slash coal consumption, China is looking to deploy nuclear power to provide reliable winter heating, raising public safety concerns - though developers said, the risks are minimal. China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) recently conducted a successful 168-hour trial run in Beijing for a small, dedicated “district heating reactor” (DHR) it has named the “Yanlong”. With the north facing natural gas shortages as cities switch away from coal, CNNC presented the “DHR-400” as an alternative heat supplier for the region, with each 400 MW unit capable of warming 200,000 urban households. With northern China still relying on “centralised” heating systems, a DHR in every city could be an ideal solution, CNNC said. The government is keen on the technology, but cautious about deploying it too quickly, especially amid widespread public anxiety about the risks of nuclear power.
Egypt to sign contracts for nuclear power plant during Putin's visit
December 10, 2017. Egypt will sign contracts with Moscow during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Cairo for the country’s first nuclear power plant. The construction of the 4,800 MW capacity plant, which is supposed to be built at Dabaa in the north of the country, is expected to be completed within seven years. Moscow and Cairo signed an agreement in 2015 for Russia to build a nuclear power plant in Egypt, with Russia extending a loan to Egypt to cover the cost of construction. The trial operation of the first nuclear reactor is expected to take place in 2022.
China starts generating power from floating solar plant
December 10, 2017. China’s Three Gorges Group started producing power from a 150 MW floating solar plant in east China, the largest of its kind in the world. The solar power project in Huainan in Anhui province, developed by the new energy unit of state-run Three Gorges Group, is expected to be in full operation in May next year. The one-billion-yuan Huainan project is a new experiment aimed at cutting the cost of constructing and operating solar power plants, Three Gorges Group said.
Funding nuclear project could hit Polish utilities' ratings: Fitch
December 8, 2017. Poland’s state-run utilities could put their credit ratings under pressure if they decide to finance the country’s first nuclear power station on their own, Fitch Rating analysts said. Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski wants to build a nuclear power plant to reduce carbon emissions in the coal-dependant country, although he still needs government approval for the project to get off the ground. The project, announced in 2009, has been hit by several delays, with financing posing one of the main obstacles. PGE, Poland’s biggest power firm, is responsible for the project and in 2015 agreed to sell a third of its stake to three other state-run companies - KGHM, Enea and Tauron. Tchorzewski has said Poland wants to finance the project on its own, and plans to have the first 1 GW unit of the plant ready by 2029. Fitch currently rates PGE at BBB+, while Enea and Tauron are rated at BBB, all with stable outlooks.
Malawi hit by blackout as falling dam levels drain hydropower
December 7, 2017. Many parts of Malawi remained without electricity after water levels at the country’s two main dams sunk to critical levels and affected hydro power plants, the power utility said. Malawi lost around 200 MW of hydro generated electricity supply, leaving the southern African country in near total darkness for about two hours, Electricity Supply Corp of Malawi (ESCOM) said. The country’s total installed capacity stands at 351 MW. ESCOM said recent rains were not enough to allow hydro power plants to adequately generate power at full capacity, meaning blackouts would be prolonged in the mostly agriculture economy.
Britain to provide funding for mini-nuclear plant research
December 7, 2017. The British government will provide up to 56 million pounds ($75 million) of funding for research and development in mini-nuclear plants. The funding will be available over the next three years and will be used to assess the potential of designs of advanced and small modular reactors (SMRs) and accelerating their development, the government said. SMRs use existing or new nuclear technology scaled down to a fraction of the size of larger plants and would be able to produce around a tenth of the electricity created by large-scale projects, such as EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C.
Import & Consumption Scenario of Coal Based Power Plants
Total Imports by Country
Import by domestic coal based power plants
|Reduction in imports (in %)|
|for Col (1)||for Col (2)|
@for 2017-18 (April-September); *reduction over the same period of 2016-17
Consumption of coal by domestic coal based power plants: Actual & Projected
Source: Compiled from various questions from Rajya Sabha
Publisher: Baljit Kapoor
Editorial Adviser: Lydia Powell
Editor: Akhilesh Sati
Content Development: Vinod Kumar Tomar