MonitorsPublished on Dec 22, 2009
Energy News Monitor I Volume I, Issue 27
Checklist of Things Undone

Sunjoy Joshi, Observer Research Foundation



obody expected Copenhagen to lead to historic clinchers; so the fact that some headway was made is in hindsight a big deal. A Saturday Special review

The smokescreen around Copenhagen had started going up well before the event concluded in a dust storm of confusion on December 19. As we count the winners and losers, there is no doubt that US President Obama deserves the gold medal. The silver would of course go to China as just recognition of its rightful place as the clear number 2 in the new pecking order. The bronze would in all probability go to the new kids on the block — the least-developed countries and small island states which, from now on, have no need to stand up and be counted among the G-77.

Incidentally, for all its outward peeve and public face of disappointment, even Europe would not be too displeased with the outcome. Hopefully as climate negotiations move beyond Copenhagen, both the US and the EU have skillfully managed to loosen the stranglehold of Kyoto. India, of course, for its part has surprised no one, least of all itself, for not being anywhere in the medals tally. Actually, if pre-Copenhagen announcements and post-Copenhagen pronouncements are deconstructed we appear to have been quite comfortable to be the cheerleaders for the US right from the beginning.

Let’s analyse what had been happening between 1990, the D-Year as far as emission action under the Kyoto protocol was concerned, and 2006. In this period, the US, being non-signatory to that agreement, increased its total carbon dioxide emission by 18 per cent. The problem, however, was Europe where in spite of all the brave and very public posturing, emissions rose (rather than fell) by 1.5 billion tonnes post 1990. The Annex-1 countries, viz. Germany, Sweden and the UK, were the only ones which managed to reduce emissions. Of these, the largest reductions, a high 14.7 per cent, came about in Germany, one of the few countries to meet the UNFCCC 2000 stabilisation targets. However, this superhero of the EU derived its much vaunted reductions primarily through what was for it the inescapable restructuring of the former East German economy and its ("fortuitously") high levels of inefficiency in both generation and manufacturing with the West.

Now let us look at China and India to analyse their comparative positions. China’s fossil fuel-based emissions, which were a mere 2.3 billon tonnes in 1990, had increased to 6 billion tonnes by 2006, an increase of a whopping 162 per cent. Not only this, the increase from 3.1 to 6 billion tonnes happened after 2001 as China industrialised on an unprecedented scale and built its massive infrastructure and manufacturing capacities.

In the five years from 2002 to 2007, China’s coal consumption grew 84 per cent from 713 to 1311 million tonnes. According to EIA data, coal in China accounted for 82 per cent of its entire fossil fuel emissions in 2005. By contrast, only 68 per cent resulted from coal. IEA statistics show that 71 per cent of China’s energy demand is derived from industry as against 49 per cent in the case of India. This is so because so far it was services which accounted for 54 per cent of India’s GDP whereas 48 per cent of China’s GDP comes from industry alone. Even within industry it is China’s heavy industry that consumes 54 per cent of the country’s energy.

The spurt in China’s demand for energy in the last five years has derived from the virtual explosion in the country’s heavy manufacturing capacity. In 2003, China was a net steel importer (35.4 million tonnes) but by 2006 it became the world’s largest exporter. Between 2002 and 2007, steel production grew by over two-and-a-half times from 182 to 489 million tonnes, which was 36.4 per cent of the world’s total steel production. Even as some of this was export-led growth, a significant part of it fed the rising local demand. According to USGS data, China in 2007 produced 1,300 million tonnes of cement, which accounted for half of all the cement produced in the world.

In all, it is evident that China appears to have utilised the slack period of uninhibited growth with no carbon constraints to its maximum advantage. Having expanded its carbon space, China, in the run up to Copenhagen 2009, had no problems declaring that it would reduce its carbon intensity by 40 per cent by 2020. In its scramble to grab as much carbon space as it could, China had accumulated a huge inventory of some of the most inefficient and carbon intensive manufacturing and generating capacities. As the experience of Germany in Europe has shown China’s efforts to reduce its carbon intensity can now almost happen on auto pilot.

Readers would do well to remember that along with this runaway growth in manufacturing, China’s intensity of emissions (per $ 1,000 GDP on purchasing power parity basis) rose from 0.94 in 2001 to as high as 1.13 in 2005 — an increase of 20 per cent. During the same period, India’s carbon intensity fell from 0.64 to 0.55 — a decrease of 14 per cent. At current levels, India’s carbon intensity compares extremely well with the US, which was itself at the same figure (0.55) in 2005. Justifiably, India neither claimed nor received any recognition for this decrease in its carbon intensity as the decline had more to do with the nature of its services-led growth trajectory rather than any conscious policy action by the mandarins in Yojana Bhavan.

The phenomenal growth of heavy industry such as steel, cement, aluminum etc fuelled the surge of infrastructure projects and the construction boom across China which grabbed headlines across the world till 2008. India’s demand for energy, on the other hand, with a high services-led economic growth saw a steadier rate of increase of 3 to 3.5 per cent over the same period compared to China, which grew at anywhere between 7 per cent and 16 per cent in any given year. In spite of this major difference in where we stood on the growth path, in our eagerness to fall in line we followed China and unilaterally declared cuts in carbon intensity of 20-25 per cent. What we may have failed to recognise is that our past pattern of growth may not be sustained indefinitely. Hopefully, (and I am still keeping my fingers crossed on this one) India should also see major growth coming from its manufacturing and infrastructure sectors in the years to follow. These changes in the patterns of growth and consumption could fuel a further steep rise in energy demand as not just infrastructure-led growth takes place, but the need for transportation, heating, cooling and lighting of the huge population base itself expands with growth in earning capacities and a demographic shift to more and more urbanised growth centres.

In short, what has been jettisoned at Copenhagen with the unfortunate but willing acquiescence of India is the simple fact, well recognised by the Kyoto Protocol, which the development trajectories of not just India and China but other parts of the yet undeveloped world need to be factored in. This is essential if climate change goals are aligned with the aspirations of the significant “other”, which actually represents two thirds of the world.


Courtesy: The Pioneer 26 December, 2009





Note: Part IV of the article on Oil & Gas Discovery & Production in India: Historical Milestones, part XIII of the article on Gas in India – Issues, Opportunities and Challenges and part VII of the article on Climate and the Clash between the Diversely Developed will be published in Volume VI, Issue 28


Climate Change – Copenhagen – Future of Kyoto (part –II)


K K Roy Chowdhury, Energy & Environment Expert, Delhi


Continued from Volume VI, Issue No. 26…



Current Scenario and Ongoing Activities:  The current decade has been witnessing some of the worst natural disasters the world had ever seen and some significant changes attributed to climate change that worry all sensible persons across the globe. Let me, in this context, indulge in furnishing some well-known statistics below:

  Fact sheets of Climate Change include  

·       Freaky Weather – Cyclone Nargis in Burma (2008); Flash Floods- Katrina and Rita in USA (2006); Tsunamis in Indonesia, India, Thailand (2005); Prolonged Drought in Australia, Italy; to name a very few.

·       1ºC rise in temperature of the globe [estimated around 2ºC in this century by IPCC].

·       Rise in Sea level and Submergence of Coastal Areas (nearer home – Sunderbans Delta in West Bengal / Bangladesh, and Maldives are already witnessing submergence; our cities- Mumbai, Chennai and now even Kolkata are vulnerable.

·       Loss in Agricultural production [South East Asia’s Greater Mekong Basin running through Tibetan Plateau in China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam are now increasingly threatened with rising sea water and salt water intrusion with fall in rice and pisciculture yields].

·       Loss of Livelihood of weaker and agro-based sections of populace – Livelihood of 165 million people in Mekong Delta alone are facing threats.

·       Melting of Ice in polar regions and high altitudes (receding Arctic and Antarctic ice caps, accelerated  pace of receding Himalayan Glaciers).

The spin-off impact of climate change in the Asian Region have also been much talked  about, written and discussed on TV Channels. As well known by now, they are visualized in terms of Hunger and Malnutrition, Increased threat to Livelihood, Threat of water scarcity, Loss of natural Eco-systems and Threat  to biodiversity, and above all, Risk to human health. The gravity of the situation looms large on us by 2100 as the population increases by 30 per cent. India is said to be the most vulnerable, even some glimpses as below make it clear:

·       India’s 7600 km Coastline with 20 per cent of population will be vulnerable to submergence and loss of habitat due to submergence.

·       It may displace 7.5 million people and suck 5800 sq. km area into sea.

·       Frequency of Cyclone, Tsunami will be 5 – 6 times more.

·       Ingress of saline water may extend beyond 35 to 50 km beyond present limit of 15-20 Km.

·       9000 Glaciers covering 38,000 sq. km in the Himalayas will be receding at faster rate of 50 – 70 km/year than the present 25-30 km/year.

·       Mighty and Lifeline Rivers– Indus, the Ganges and Brhamaputra will shrink and may become seasonal rivers by 2050.

·       This will trigger Migration of 1.5 billion people in Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar, Pakistan etc.

Without dwelling much on the causes that result in Global Warming and Climate Change, that are already well-known, the findings of the IPCC Report (2007) can briefly be recalled below in this context:

·       Atmospheric CO2 concentration is up from 280 ppm (Pre-industrial era) to 384 ppm (2005), rising at the rate of 2 ppm per year. The boundary line for sustainability of the Habitat is 450 ppm and is fast approaching.  At the present rate, we shall reach the boundary line by 2033.

·       GHG emission up by 70 per cent between 1970 to 2004, due mainly to human activities.

There are indications coming now that the causes could be much more intense.  A report by the scientific committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) on December 01, 2009 stated that melting ice in West Antarctica could add tens of centimeters to rising sea levels over the next century. Global Sea levels are estimated to rise by a total of 1.4 metres (4 feet 7 inches) by 2100. The IPCC report of 2007 forecast a sea level rise of 18 –59 cm (7 –24 inches) by 2100 but did not take into account the possible increasing melt of Greenland and Antarctica.      

      Other statistics [ Causes of Global Warming and Climate Change & the Polluter Countries ]


Per capita CO2 emissions in metric tonnes

Percentage contribution to global CO2 emissions



















World Average




Despite the inherent strength of the Kyoto Protocol, it has been observed by the Bonn-based U N Climate Change Secretariat that GHG emissions by the industrialized nations with reporting obligations under the UNFCCC are rising. On the other hand, developing countries like India have been finding themselves handicapped to catalyse the process of GHG mitigation due to high costs and absence of appropriate technologies, and therefore could do little in achieving the mitigation targets for the Annex I (industrialized countries) through the sale of Carbon credits under CDM.

The recently released data from the UNFCCC shows that most developed countries have increased GHG emissions in the course of 1990 to 2007 (instead of the mandate in the Kyoto Protocol). The level of increase in GHG emissions as shown below is highest for Turkey and lowest for UK.

   GHG Emission Mitigation Performance in Developed Countries

 Developed Country (Annex I- Industrialised)

Increase in GHG Emission: 1990 – 2007 ( % )














While on one hand, the threats arising out of climate change are fast approaching alarming proportions, the debate on the issue has truly intensified (and it should be so) on the other hand, as how best to tackle the menace of climate change. A plethora of events took place in the public domain all over the world engaging the Policy Makers, Economists, Civil societies, Scientists, Technologists and Experts to deliberate upon the issue and recommend the best course of action to save the Earth and the Mankind. Topmost experts including Nobel Laureates have wandered from corner to corner of the Globe to enlighten people with their thoughts and find solutions. So did several country Heads and key officials.

Hitherto unseen, this decade has been marked with such high degree of preparations, efforts and excercises to send a strong message to the Copenhagen Summit on Climate taking place now, to enable the world leaders reach a more comprehensive and effective globally binding Climate Change Agreement post-Kyoto, by building on the foundation the Kyoto Protocol Regime has offered.

to be continued…

The article, updated till Day 1 (December 07, 2009) of the Copenhagen Summit, is based on personal views of the Author. Comments may be mailed to [email protected]


Energy in India’s Future: Insights (part –XII)

Jacques Lesourne and William C. Ramsay*


Continued from Volume VI, Issue No. 26…



ut a further fall in elasticities will be extremely difficult to achieve. While on the one hand there may be some potential to reduce energy intensity in existing industrial processes, three factors play in the other direction. First, the reform of the small scale sector is slow. Second, the current industrialization of the country will see the share of industry rising in the GDP. Third, the rising income levels will foster lifestyle changes that are more energy intensive (for some estimates, see Planning Commission, Government of India (GoI 2006, p. 19).

India’s GDP has grown impressively since the mid 1980s and more so since 2003–04. It has not just meant homothetic growth but rather a rapid transformation of the share of different sectors in their contribution to the economy. It is interesting to examine the evolution in the sectoral breakdown of economic growth (Table 17).

Table 17. Sectoral growth rates of real GDP (1999-2000 prices) (%)

Source: Economic Survey 2007–08, Government of India, and Economic outlook for 2008/09, Economic advisory council to Prime Minister of India,

It is well known that services have grown rapidly in India. However, these do not only concern information technology but the whole range of services. With nearly half of measured economic output made up of services, India is in a unique position among low income/emerging economies, and is midway between China, which has a strong industrial structure, and Brazil, which has more the structure of a developed economy in terms of sectoral contributions to the GDP. This strong sectoral bias toward services explains one aspect of India’s energy demand structure. However, one fourth of the economy (27%) is composed of industrial activity. India also aims at sharing the role of the “factory of the world” with China. This sector has indeed shown steep growth since the economic reforms, accelerating further since 2003–04. From an average of 5.5–6.5% since the 1980s it went into 8–10% since 2003–04. It is important to note that since the 2000s many efforts have been directed toward modernization/rationalization of productive processes, and contributed to the improvement in India’s energy intensity per unit of output. The stagnation of agriculture is bad news in an economy where nearly 72% of the population lives in rural areas, where 30% derive from agriculture and the remaining 42% is basically subsistence. It is also bad news, as this trend reflects the neglect in investment in agriculture since the early 1990s. As a result, many opportunities for energy efficiency improvement remain untapped, as in irrigation or in the use of fertilizers.

Given this disequilibrium in sectoral evolution, the challenges are even greater for the public administration in India. While it is usually believed that the development of a service economy lowers the energy content of GDP, that is only true insofar as direct energy use is concerned. However, the absence of good urban governance in the cities where services development occurs (in particular the “IT boom”) can lead to inefficient urban sprawl and disarray in urban transportation systems. This has been seen in many cities where an IT boom happened, e.g., massive growth in private vehicles. The number of vehicles in the car, jeep and taxi categories has increased eightfold—from a level of 1.16 million in 1981 to 9.5 million by the end of March 2004. The corresponding increase in two-wheel vehicles is 19 times—from a level of 2.16 million to 52 million. Consumer durables like refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines and so on will clearly boost the overall energy intensity of the urban economy.

On trends in demand and economic growth viz. societal change and sustainability

Macroeconomic extrapolations based on current energy structure and expected economic growth suggest that India’s energy requirement is expected to increase further by three to four times (GoI 2006) within a span of 25 to 30 years. Thus, the predominance of coal as a fuel to India’s economic growth is often said to pose environmental challenges both in terms of local pollution and global emissions (see Menon-Choudhary and Shukla, 2007, pp. 33-34 for projection of CO2 and SO2 emissions). The dependence on imported oil has reached 75% of the total requirement because of stagnant supply at home. In recent times coal imports have increased despite sufficient reserves, due to lack of domestic production, congestion of infrastructure, and low quality of domestic coal. Looked at like this, these trends are worrisome.

Yet this growth of energy demand is linked to a “total” social transformation now in progress in India. Given India’s demographic profile, it has a window of opportunity of about 20 years, but not more, to transform its socioeconomic structure. This means the generalization of education and professional training, building a social safety net, integration of this human capital into systems where mobilities and logistics contribute to total factor productivity and allow the rationalization, temporary secondarization and final tertiarization of the economy. These processes will greatly modify the energy profile of the Indian economy, possibly leaving behind poverty traps that will require developmental and trickle-down measures to address. These will have to rely on the local adoption of energy resources in an efficient manner in backward and rural areas. In these terms, the claim is that growing energy demand and qualitative change in energy structure are aimed not only at sustaining current economic growth (between 8 and 10%), but also at eradicating poverty and meeting India’s human development goals. This aim is thus not just political (GoI 2006). It is shared by the international development community (World Bank 2007, p.2). Successful public administration will also lead to lower noncommercial energy use. The current pressure on the local and global environment is significant, based on the fact that the massive use of non-commercial energy sources in India is inefficient. This offers substantial opportunities for sustainability.

Looking at the details of this pivotal and often neglected segment of the population, one finds that nearly 782 million people in India lack efficient energy resources for cooking, such as kerosene and gas (NSSO 2007). Alternatively, they must depend on locally available biomass, sometimes causing deforestation to meet their energy requirements (Table 18). These resources are becoming increasingly scarce as the population increases. The efficiency of biomass varies from 8 to 16% (see Appendix, Table B1).

Table 18. Fuel for residential sector 2005 (Mtoe)

Source: Energy Balances of Non-OECD Countries, 2004–2005, International Energy Agency, Paris.

Reducing the need for noncommercial energy service implies a shift toward more sophisticated energies. In particular, this implies a sixfold increase in electricity generation capacity from 157 GW in 2006–07. Electricity’s share will increase with modern economic activity, as electricity is one of the most effective poverty alleviators.

Renewable energy accounts for only 6% of today’s total installed capacity. To augment energy supplies while targeting reduced emissions, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has launched an active program for tapping the large potential of renewable energy in the country (see Table 21).

Microeconomic solutions may thus be pursued in order to find macroeconomic and environmental sustainability. But then what are the implications for the evolution of world energy prices? Added to China’s surge in energy requirement, will this projected increase in India’s energy requirement have a significant impact on international prices of energy and green house gas emissions?

The increasing role of India and China in global energy balances encouraged the International Energy Agency (IEA) to focus its World Energy Outlook for 2007 on China and India. The increased demand from these countries should not be looked at in isolation of their size of population. These two countries together constitute more than 40% of the world’s population including 48.2% of the total poor living in the developing world (1.4 billion) earning less than US$1.25 a day3. India alone housed 33.12% (456 million—42% of India’s population) of the world’s poor in 2005 (Chen and Ravallion 2008). Initiatives like the “lighting a billion lives,” originating in India, not only aim at solving India’s energy poverty issues, but also at capitalizing on the experience to reach a larger share of the global poor.

Table 19. GDP per capita for year 2005 (US$)

Source: UN Statistics Division.

Table 20. Number of persons undernourished (in millions)

Figures in parenthesis share in total population (%)

Source: State of Food Insecurity in the World 2008, UNFAO,

Table 21. Potential and installed capacity of renewable sources

Source: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE),

By contrast, and to put Malthusian projections for India into some perspective, it is important to note that India’s total primary energy consumption was only 3.9% of world consumption4 for the year 2006. China, the United States and the European Union (EU-25) consumed 15%, 21% and 15.8%, respectively, for the same year.

India’s GDP has indeed grown impressively since the mid 1980s and more so in last 5 years. But even after such growth in GDP, India’s per capita GDP is abysmally low compared to its peers like Brazil, China and Russia. India’s per capita GDP is less the half that of China (Table 19)5.

This question of high energy consumption in India can be addressed rationally by asking whether Indians are consuming more energy per unit of output or per person and if India’s growth is really leading to reduction in poverty (social efficiency in energy intensity rise) in which case it contributes to the human and social global capital. This question assumes importance because if growth of the economy is not leading to improving performance in poverty reduction then increased energy needs for this growth would be a matter for increased concern. This would not only concern local efficiency, but because one of the sources for reducing global emissions is through trading quotas and improving efficiency faster in emerging and presumably developing economies.

Figure 9. Energy use per $ 1,000 of GDP (in PPP)

Source: Millennium Development Indicators,

Winding up on macro trends and micro shifts

Absolute energy needs for India’s economic growth are undeniably high but we see a declining energy intensity of GDP over time. If we compare the energy intensity of India with other countries representing different regions of the World, India is well within comparable standards and has been successful in reducing it even further (Figure 9).

Energy intensity of the Russian federation is quite high but declining, and China’s energy intensity, also quite high initially, has declined dramatically to the point that China now joins the club of low-energy-intensity countries like Brazil, Japan and Germany. In China this followed a gradual closing down of the very energy-intensive production facilities of Mao’s regime, even though delayed for a while (see Fei et al., 2007). The decline of India’s energy intensity can be attributed to two reasons: either by the increase in the relative contribution of less energy intensive economic activities like services, or by an increase in the overall efficiency of industry. The services sector has maintained a high growth, contributing 55% to overall GDP, but this must be coupled with the right investment in urban infrastructure.

Further, with such a large percentage of the population still living in a poorly productive informal labor pool, this will be a determining factor—as of today difficult to assess—of the amount India’s industrial integration into the world economy will lead to “formalizing the informal sector” (see the works of Amitabh Kundu)6.

Despite these uncertainties, India’s per capita energy consumption is quite low compared to the countries considered in Figure 10. Therefore, India is characterized by low per capita income, low per capita energy consumption and low energy use per unit of output. Therefore, the question of high emissions is primarily related to its high population size, even before its inefficiencies in the production structure. The latter may on the contrary constitute reserves of progress to be tapped in the future.

While energy consumption in the organized industrial sector and in the urban domestic sector are increasingly a subject of concern, the role of noncommercial energies in the rural sector and of inefficiencies in the unorganized sector still play a major role in sustainability.

Figure 10. Commercial energy consumption per capita

Source: UN Statistics Division.

As a consequence, the technological and environmental performance of India’s industrial sector give its energy evolution strategic or even geostrategic dimensions. The other major players (the United States, Russia, China and France, to name a few) have a major role to play in this evolution which has implications for Indian national political dynamics. This role must be understood within the current political/economic context of Indian reform.

Appendix B

Table B1. Conversion efficiency of fuels used for cooking




3. $1.25 is the recently revised poverty line for international comparision. In India $1.25 translates into 21.6 rupees a day in urban areas and 14.3 rupees in rural areas for the year 2005 (for further details see Chen and Ravallion (2008)).

4. BP Statistical Review 2008, 9017892&contentId=7033503

5. In addition to this, growth is highly skewed region-wise. The poorest of the states like Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh are growing slower than the national average (we discuss the political economy implications of this elsewhere in this chapter).

6. “Formalising the Informal Sector? Indian Labour Market in a Globalizing World.” Inaugural address, Amitabh Kundu, Chair on Indian Economy, Sciences-Po Paris, 27 March 2008, unpublished.


* Editors



to be continued…







Reliance Ind discovers gas in KG basin

December 22, 2009. Energy major Reliance Industries said it had made a gas discovery in one of its exploration blocks in the Krishna Godavari basin off the country's east coast. The potential commerciality of the discovery was being evaluated through more data gathering and analysis, Reliance Industries said in a statement. Reliance Industries holds a 90 percent interest in the block, which covers an area of 3,288 square kilometres, and Hardy Exploration and Production India holds the rest. 

Reliance's Lyondell buy seen unlikely in 2009

December 22, 2009. Reliance Industries' bid to buy bankrupt petrochemicals firm LyondellBasell is unlikely to result in a deal in 2009 as the target evaluates its options, analysts and bankers say. Luxembourg-based LyondellBasell filed an amended reorganisation plan with a U.S. court, proposing a $2.8 billion rights issue, to simplify its corporate structure and exit bankruptcy protection with significantly less debt. In the amended plan, LyondellBasell said it continues to evaluate the Reliance proposal, which sources say may be worth as much as $12 billion. If debtors choose to pursue a deal with Reliance, payment of any break-up fee to the rights offering sponsors will not be required, LyondellBasell said.

ONGC operations hit in Assam

December 21, 2009. ONGC operations in upper Assam were affected on in the 96-hour ONGC bandh called by All Assam Students Union (AASU) protesting the alleged move to demote ONGC-Assam Assets into a subsidiary of the oil major. Official sources said oil drilling operations and production at Rudrasagar, Geleky, Lakwa and other oil fields in Sibsagar district almost came to a standstill during the day.

Functioning of the public sector oil exploration company's headquarters at Nazira was also affected. A halt in oil flow during winter would cause loss in terms of both money and natural resources as there was danger of wax formation in the oil wells, which would negatively affect oil exploration.

ONGC to invest Rs 23.8 bn in upgrading equipment in Assam

December 16, 2009. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation is investing Rs 23.8 bn in refurbishment of equipment at its facilities in Assam.

The investment is part of the Rs 46.08 bn Assam Renewal Project involving comprehensive replacement and expansion of equipment and facilities, drilling of hi-tech wells and revamping of drilling rigs.

Hyderabad-based Sairama Engineering Enterprises, Megha Engineering, in consortium with Russian company Volgo bagged the contract for the Assam Renewal Project. The prime objective of the project is to revamp, upgrade, modernize, install real time process equipment at the company's units at Lakwa, Lakhmani, Rudrasagar, Geleki and Moran in Sibsagar District in the state. 


Refiners' cash woes may derail clean fuel plan

December 22, 2009. India's clean fuel programme, scheduled to be implemented from April 1, could now be derailed if cash-strapped public sector oil refiners are not compensated for losses incurred on selling cooking gas and kerosene at subsidised prices. Sources say that IndianOil, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation would have to spend at least Rs 7.5 bn on their refineries to make available cleaner petrol and diesel.

This is based on a “conservative calculation” of Rs 500 mn per refinery, which means that IOC alone (with its network of 10 refineries in the north, south, east and north-east) would need to fork out Rs 5 bn or more. 

HPCL has two refineries in Mumbai and Visakhapatnam while the BPCL portfolio comprises Mumbai, Kochi Refineries and the three million-tonne Numaligarh Refinery in Assam.

Transportation / Trade

Aegis Logistics acquires Shell Gas (LPG) India

December 21, 2009. Aegis Logistics said it has acquired Shell Gas (LPG) India and expects the whole acquisition process to be completed in the next 90 days, marking its entry in the cylinder market. Post acquisition, Shell Gas (LPG) India will become a 100 per cent subsidiary of Aegis Logistics.  Shell Gas has been primarily active in Gujarat and Maharashtra and in a smaller way in other regions. 

Policy / Performance

Govt may pay cash to state oil firms

December 22, 2009. The government is likely to offer cash instead of bonds to state-run oil firms for compensating them for selling fuel at lower than market price. The oil ministry had sought 200 billion rupees of bonds for state-run firms as compensation during the full fiscal year ending March 2010. 

OVL joins hands with Raspol, Petronas for Venezuelan fields

December 22, 2009. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation has replaced Reliance Industries with Repsol YPF SA, Spain's biggest oil company, and Malaysia's Petronas to bid for Venezuelan oil blocks next month. ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas investment arm of state-run explorer, is likely to bid for the massive Carabobo project in Venezuela's Orinoco heavy oil belt with Repsol, Petronas, Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Oil India Ltd. The Latin American nation is offering a maximum of 40 per cent stake in the development of oil fields in the Orinoco Belt and the rest would be held by Venezuela's state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PdVSA.  Repsol and Petronas will hold 25 per cent interest while OVL would hold 10.1 per cent. IOC and OIL would have 2.45 per cent apiece. Originally, OVL-IOC-OIL were to bid for one of the three giant blocks being offered with Reliance but the Mukesh Ambani-run firm in August walked out of the consortium possibly because of delays in the bidding. Venezuela is likely to announce winners of the three blocks on January 28 - the same day it opens bids.

Gas regulator to invite bids for 5 pipeline projects

December 22, 2009. The Chairman of Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board, Mr L. Mansingh, has said that the board was in the process of inviting bids and expression of interest for five more pipeline projects to expand the grid and facilitate city gas distribution, both domestic and commercial.  The lines include Mehsana-Bhatinda, Bhatinda Srinagar, Mallavaram-Bhilwara, Surat-Paradip and another line from Vijayawada. 

The board has also identified 330 geographical areas (GAs) around cities and towns across the country along the natural gas pipeline network for development of city gas supply network. In addition to cross-country lines, the Government has identified 250 cities to be covered by the city gas distribution networks with an investment of nearly Rs 500 bn. 

Parts of AP to get piped gas supply by July

December 22, 2009. The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr K. Rosaiah said that gas supply through a pipeline grid from the Krishna Godavari basin to first set of users is likely to commence by July 2010 in some parts of the State.  The first online CNG based depot will be commissioned in April 2010.  Mr Rosaiah said approximately 1,000 connections would be initially supplied by July next and gradually ramped up.  The Chief Minister appealed to the Centre to help revive the ailing Fertiliser Corporation of India (FCI) plant at Ramagundam and also clear the setting up of a 26-lakh-million-tonnes-per-annum (mpta) ammonia-urea plant at Nellore.  The Nellore project of Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd (IFFCO), the world's largest fertiliser cooperative, had come up with a proposal again and requires gas supplies. So is the case with the Ramagundam unit, which apart from supply of natural gas, needs to be technologically upgraded.

Sugar mills asked to meet ethanol supply obligation

December 22, 2009. The Union Food and Agriculture Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar, has asked sugar mills not to default on their ethanol supply commitments to oil marketing companies (OMC) for the sake of “short term gains”. The Minister said that he had been given to understand by the OMCs “that some sugar factories have not supplied ethanol according to contracts entered into by them (under the 5 per cent ethanol blended petrol programme)”.  In their original three-year contract with the OMCs (which ended on October 31), the mills were required to supply ethanol at a fixed ex-distillery price of Rs 21.50 a litre.  Many of them, however, defaulted, preferring to supply to potable liquor makers and alcohol-based chemical units, who were offering higher rates.

SC reserves verdict on RIL-RNRL gas dispute

December 19, 2009. The Supreme Court reserved its verdict on the gas supply dispute between Reliance Natural Resources (RNRL) and Reliance Industries (RIL) after the conclusion of arguments in the case. The hearing on the case was spread over 26 days since its commencement on October 20. In the last day of the arguments, the government again staked its claim over the title or ownership of the KG basin gas fields.  

The bench has been hearing the dispute over the supply of 28 million units of gas for 17 years at $2.34 per unit to RNRL from the gas fields of Krishna-Godavari basin, which had been awarded to Mukesh Ambani’s RIL as part of the New Exploration or Licensing Policy (NELP) which allowed the private sector to produce and distribute oil and natural gas. The price, tenure and quantity were based on a pact between the Ambani family entered into in 2005. But RIL later said it will only sell gas for $4.20 per unit to RNRL, claiming this was the consideration fixed by the government.

ONGC declares gas finds

December 18, 2009. State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) said it has made two gas discoveries while declaring Rs 18 per share interim dividend for this fiscal.  The company found gas in the well GK-28-1 drilled in the Kutch offshore block-1 in western offshore, an ONGC statement said. The well drilled to the depth of 1,550 metres floated 1.2 lakh cubic metres a day of gas during test.  ONGC said well Kammapalem-1 in KG onland block flowed gas with condensate at the rate of 1.01 lakh cubic metres per day and 2.4 cubic metres a day, respectively.

India against raising price for Iran LNG

December 17, 2009. India is not willing to pay a higher price than that agreed upon in June 2005 to buy five million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) annually from Iran.  

In June 2005, India and Iran had signed a sales and purchase agreement for five million tonnes per annum of LNG supply over a 25-year-period starting late-2009. Iran wanted to re-negotiate the price as international crude oil prices have hardened since then. 

ONGC was examining the viability of investment in Iranian gas projects. Investment would depend on the viability of the projects as established through a detailed due diligence exercise, which would also cover the aspect of LNG pricing. 

On the Farsi Block the ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL)-led consortia comprising Indian Oil Corporation and Oil India Ltd had submitted to National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) on November 26, 2008, a feasibility report for oil discovery in the Block.

Gas row: RNRL wants 'comprehensive end'

December 17, 2009. Reliance Natural Resources (RNRL) has told the Supreme Court that it wants a “comprehensive end” to the gas dispute between the Ambani brothers in the national interest. The company pleaded before the court not to send the dispute to any other forum for further adjudication.

RNRL has always advocated that the dispute can be resolved by mutual discussion but the other side has stated that only the Supreme Court can decide the issue.

Government has every right to regulate gas price: RIL

December 17, 2009. Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) told the Supreme Court that the government can even undo a judicial verdict, if it is held that it has no powers to regulate gas prices based on production sharing contracts. RIL counsel Harish Salve made this assertion before the three-member bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, in his counter-arguments in the legal battle with Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) over gas supplies from the Krishna-Godavari basin.

ONGC lost Rs 47.45 bn on gas sales in 2008-09

December 16, 2009. State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) lost a whooping Rs 47.45 bn in revenues on selling natural gas at a rate below production cost in 2008-09.  ONGC and state explorer Oil India Ltd (OIL) sell gas at government-controlled rates, called APM (Administered Price Mechanism) price. The APM price for ONGC currently is Rs 3,200 per thousand cubic meters (or Rs 3.2 per unit). ONGC's total revenue loss on the 17.71 billion cubic meters gas it sold at APM rates last fiscal came to Rs 47.45 bn. The Oil Ministry has circulated a draft Cabinet note for raising price of gas under APM to Rs 4,142 per thousand cubic meters ($2.32 per mmBtu). APM rates were last revised in June 2005 and the hike proposed is based on Tariff Commission's recommendation that subsequently went into the issue.



Adani Power says Rajasthan utility to buy 1,200 MW

December 22, 2009. Adani Power Ltd said its unit, Adani Power Rajasthan Ltd, has won an letter of intent from the Rajasthan utility for purchase upto 1,200 mega watt of power on a long-term basis.  With this the company's total long-term power selling agreement comes to 5,900 mega watt, it said in a statement to the exchange. 

BHEL bags Rs 6.4 bn order from Adhunik Power

December 21, 2009. State-run BHEL said it has bagged another Rs 6.4 bn order from Adhunik Power and Natural Resources for supplying equipment for the company's thermal power project in Jharkhand.  BHEL has bagged a repeat order from Adhunik Power and Natural Resources for supplying boilers, turbines and generators for 270 MW unit of the company's Jharkhand power project.  The order for the first 270 MW unit of the same project has also earlier been placed on BHEL.

Maoists target hydel power unit in Orissa

December 20, 2009. Armed Maoists attacked a hydel power unit at Ballimela in Malkangiri district, paralysing energy generation at the plant.  Over 20 heavily armed ultras attacked the unit run by Orissa Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC) some portions of the plant and overpowered those on duty.

NEEPCO gets go ahead for 500 MW thermal project

December 16, 2009. The Meghalaya government has okayed the execution of the 500 mw thermal power project by the state-run North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO). The power company has selected Narengri in East Garo Hills district as the site and the coal would be brought in from the neighbouring mines of South and East Garo Hills. NEEPCO had identified the project area and had carried out preliminary survey works, before the MoU signed with the government was kept in suspension for more than a year along with four other deals in the wake of a controversy over allotment of projects to private companies.  The preparation of DPR would take about a year, while the project is expected to be completed in about four years’ time.

Transmission / Distribution / Trade

Powering an India wide market

December 18, 2009. In India, while there is a huge section of consumers, who are power deprived, several Captive Power Plants (CPPs) are underutilized and a big merchant capacity is also expected to be added in the near future.  The Electricity Act, 2003, mandated development of power markets by appropriate commissions through enabling regulations. This paved the way for the new trends to emerge like Open Access and in February, 2007, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) issued guidelines for grant of permission for setting up operation of power exchanges within an overall regulatory framework.  The emerging trends have helped to regulate the proper flow of power from surplus regions to deficit regions and thus try to bring about a balance in the power sector. Promoters were required to develop their model power exchange and seek permission from CERC before start of operation.

Govt offers 3.8 billion rupees in subsidy for wind power

December 17, 2009. The government would offer 3.8 billion rupees in generation-based subsidies to wind power projects feeding power into the national grid, its ministry of new and renewable energy said. The subsidies are earmarked for developers till 2012, the ministry said in a statement.  Wind power projects will be given 0.5 rupees per unit of power fed into the power grid with a ceiling of 6.2 million rupees per mega watt for a minimum 4 years and maximum 10 years, the ministry added. The subsidies will be applicable to projects of up to 4,000 MW and detailed guidelines will be issued later, it added. 

Policy / Performance

Pact with Bhutan for 4 hydel projects

December 22, 2009. India and Bhutan stepped up their engagement in the power sector by signing new pacts, including a memorandum of understanding for four new hydel projects and for initiating consultancy services aimed at the preparation of a transmission grid master plan in the Himalayan nation. The MoUs on initiating the detailed project report (DPR) work cover the Amochu Reservoir (620 MW), Kuri-Gongri (1800 MW), Kholongchu (486 MW) and Chamkharchu-I (670 MW) projects in Bhutan. These pacts will be inked under the 60-year umbrella agreement signed in 2006.  Currently, three projects — Chukha (336 MW), Karichu (60 MW) and Tala (1,020 MW), which were constructed through Indian assistance — are already under operation in Bhutan, while the 1,200 MW Punatsangchu project (Stage-I) is under construction.

Meghalaya revives power projects

December 22, 2009. The Meghalaya Government has revived two giant hydro-electric projects, giving its nod to two private companies to develop them on build-own-operate-transfer basis.   The Hyderabad-based Athena Power will develop the 450-MW Kynshi Stage One Project, while Jai Prakash Power Ventures Ltd will execute the 450 MW Kynshi Stage Two project — both over Kynshi river in West Khasi Hills district.  The projects, along with three others, were kept in suspension for two years after several protests from organisations.  The protesting groups had alleged that the Government had violated the State’s power policy by not going for international competitive bidding to optimise benefits.

Gas supply from KG-D6 basin has improved power supply: Govt

December 22, 2009. The government has said gas from RIL's offshore block KG-D6 basin to power plants has resulted in improved electricity supply situation in the country.  It said power supply improved during April to November this year compared to the same period in 2008-09 after the allocation of KG basin gas to power plants on a priority basis. Gas based generation during April to November period this year increased to 62,036 million units compared to 59,430 million units during the same period last year, representing a growth of about 31.4 per cent.

Parental identity crisis may cost Deep CH4 CBM blocks

December 21, 2009. The government is set to deny the natural gas blocks it awarded to Deep CH4 for failing to establish the credentials of parent company Coal Gas Mart, a move that will mire the bidding process in legal dispute and delay the development of a key source of energy.

Ahmedabad-based Deep CH4 had emerged as the biggest winner of the fourth round of coal-bed methane (CBM) bidding in October, securing as many as seven of the eight blocks that got companies like Australia’s Arrow Energy. Kinley Exploration of the US as well as India’s Essar Oil—which won one—and ONGC interested. Of the seven CBM blocks, Deep CH4 won two by joining hands with private energy firm Lanco Infratech. The government is likely to transfer Deep’s blocks to the second-highest bidders. That means Essar Oil stands to gain three blocks while one each may go to the Arrow Energy-Tata Power consortium, Great Eastern Energy Corporation and Arrow Energy-Oil India combine.

Himachal incentives for expediting hydel projects

December 18, 2009. The Himachal Pradesh government has decided to give incentives to hydro electricity projects in the state, which are completed ahead of the schedule period. The incentive system has been introduced to motivate the party to complete the project on time.  Under the incentive system, if the project is completed a year before stipulated five-year deadline, the power firms will have to provide only 11% free power to the state instead of the mandatory 12%. Similarly for every year delayed after the completion date the power plants will have to supply 1% additional free power above the mandatory 12%. Besides, the state government is also planning to take strict action against defaulters.

REC to fund majority of power projects, says Shinde

December 18, 2009. The Union Power Minister, Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde, said that the opportunities for financing power infrastructure projects in the coming years are colossal and the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) will have a sizable share in funding them.  Informing the Consultative Committee of the Members of Parliament for Power, the Minister said that as a nodal agency for monitoring and channelising funds under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY), REC would continue to take up the socio-economic responsibility of village electrification and contribute to the mission of ‘Power for all by 2012'. The Government estimates for investments in the power sector, in order to meet the targets for the Eleventh Plan, stand at Rs 10,316 bn. This includes funds for adding power generation capacity, repair & maintenance of existing power plants, expansion and upgrading of transmission and distribution infrastructure.

NEEPCO to implement Narengre thermal project

December 18, 2009. The 500 mw Narengre thermal project in Meghalaya will be implemented by North Eastern Electric Power Corp Ltd (Neepco). The decision was taken by the state cabinet recently. The project which was initiated in 2007 was held in abeyance after it generated much political heat.  State circles said coal from the neighbouring mines of South and East Garo Hills would be used for the project.

NPCIL plans to raise Rs 850 bn to fund projects

December 18, 2009. Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) has raised around Rs 28 bn through a mix of bond and debt, and plans to raise foreign currency funds for part-financing its forthcoming atomic reactors. NPCIL plans to raise around Rs 850 bn to finance its projects including, power generation, mining and forging through joint ventures with foreign and local companies.

Power ministry, planning panel spar over transmission bidding

December 17, 2009. The creation of power transmission infrastructure could get caught in a turf battle between the power ministry and the Planning Commission. The power ministry has rejected the standard bidding procedure suggested by the Planning Commission for public-private partnership in transmission projects arguing the new procedure would create confusion among investors.

The commission has shot back saying the model transmission agreement (MTA) has been drafted after inter-ministerial discussions and stakeholder consultations, and is based on the model issued by the finance ministry for PPP projects. The ministry has argued that the bidding process in the power sector is governed by procedures laid down in the Electricity Act and cannot be replaced by the procedure followed for other PPP projects in the infrastructure sector.  The ministry’s objection comes after the Planning Commission circulated a MTA for PPP in intra-state transmission projects where private investment is invited.

NTPC not to suffer Rs 300 bn loss: Govt

December 17, 2009. State-run NTPC will not suffer Rs 300 bn loss if it was to get natural gas at prices higher than those committed by Reliance Industries five years ago, Power Ministry has told Parliament.  NTPC had taken RIL to court seeking implementation of the firm's 2004 bid to supply 12 mmscmd of gas at $2.34 per mmBtu for 17 years.

Public hearing on TNEB's plan for ‘reliability charge'

December 16, 2009. The Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) will hold a public hearing on the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board's proposal to levy a reliability charge on HT consumers seeking exemption from the evening peak-hour power cut. According to a press release from the TNERC, the public hearing will give the industries and the public a chance to give their inputs on the TNEB's proposal to levy a reliability charge of up to Rs 7 a unit between December 2009 and May 2010. This will be applicable for HT consumers who want to be exempted from the evening peak-hour power cut.




Greymouth wins mining permit for NZ's Moturoa oil field

December 22, 2009. A mining permit for the historic Moturoa oil field in and around the port area of New Plymouth city has been awarded to the joint venture between Greymouth Petroleum and Ngati Te Whiti Hapu joint venture.  The 53 sq km PMP 50509 is about one third onshore and two thirds offshore. Greymouth said that increasing subsurface pressures in recent years has re-activated petroleum production in the Moturoa field area.

PTTEP, CNOOC win Hassi Bir Rekaiz Block in Algeria

December 21, 2009. Algeria, Africa PTTEP Algeria Company Limited (PTTEP AG), a subsidiary of PTTEP, together with CNOOC International Limited, have been selected as the successful bidders of block Hassi Bir Rekaiz in Algeria 2009 Bid Round. The consortium consists of PTTEP AG (the Operator) and CNOOC International Limited with the participating interests of 50% and 50% respectively. Block Hassi Bir Rekaiz is located in the Southeast Zone of Algeria with the approximate area of 5,670 square kilometers. It is approximately 115 kilometers east of the Bir Seba oil field, which is being jointly developed by Sonatrach (Algeria’s national oil company), PTTEP, and PetroVietnam Exploration and Production Corporation (PVEP).

Petrobras' oil production up nearly 8 pc in November

December 18, 2009. Petrobras' average oil and natural gas production in Brazil topped-out at 2,309,567 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) in November. This mark is 6.6% more than the previous month's (2,167,236 boe/day). Only considering oil production, the rise was 7.9% in 12 months. The Company's exclusive natural gas production in Brazil (50.7 million cubic meters per day), meanwhile, remained at the same level as that of November 2008 and October 2009.  In November, there was a slight 0.5% decrease (9,800 barrels per day) in the oil production compared to the volume lifted in October.

VOG drills ahead at Logbaba project in Cameroon

December 18, 2009. Victoria Oil & Gas has reported on its Logbaba gas and condensate project in Douala, Cameroon. At Well La-105, following sidetracking of the 12-¼ inch hole section, 9-5/8 inch casing has been set to a depth of 5,965 feet measured depth and drilling has reached a depth of 6,330 feet measured depth. A top-drive and third mud pump have been fitted to the rig to increase drilling efficiency and the equipment for mud-cooling is being constructed on-site. Total depth of 10,300 feet is expected to be reached before the end of the year.

Changqing oilfield records highest annual natural gas output

December 17, 2009. Changqing oilfield's natural gas output reached 18.1 billion cubic meters by December 10, and the annual output will hit 19.54 billion cubic meters, well exceeding its annual target of 18 billion cubic meters and posting a net increase of five billion cubic meters over last year. According the China Petroleum Daily reports, Changqing oilfield's newly added natural gas production capacity has reached 3.8 billion cubic meters in 2009. It also put Sulige gas field into operation in 2009, adding natural gas production capacity of 10 billion cubic meters per year.

Devon adds Itaipu pre-salt find to Anadarko's Wahoo success

December 17, 2009. Devon has announced a pre-salt oil discovery on block BM-C-32 in the Campos Basin, offshore Brazil. The 1-DEV-15-ESS exploratory well on the Itaipu prospect was drilled to a total depth of 16,240 feet and encountered approximately 240 feet of oil column, at least 90 feet of net oil pay and no oil/water contact. The Itaipu well was drilled to a total depth of approximately 16,300 feet in 4,400 feet of water.


Black & Veatch, Chemtex to build LNG plant in China

December 22, 2009. Nearly 4.6 million people living in Guang'an City, P.R. China will soon have greater access to natural gas, resulting in new jobs and cleaner air. 

China Natural Gas Co. Ltd, (CNGC) selected Black & Veatch and Chemtex to design and build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility that will provide area residents with a cleaner and more economical fuel source for transportation, as well as industry and home use. 

The facility will provide natural gas supplies to China's West to East gas pipeline during peak usage times or when demand for natural gas is at its highest, usually during cold winter months. LNG from the facility also will be transferred by truck to areas where there is limited or no natural gas infrastructure, reducing the need for diesel and coal.

CNPC forms refining JV in Costa Rica

December 18, 2009. China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), China's largest oil and gas producer set up a joint venture (JV) with Costa Rica counterpart RECOPE in San Jose.  The JV, SORESCO, will upgrade and expand Costa Rica's Moin refinery. It is also planning to build a 10-million-tonne/year refinery in the country.

Graham Corp. wins refinery orders

December 18, 2009. Graham Corp., a manufacturer of critical equipment for energy, petrochemical and other process industries, announced that it has been awarded three orders in excess of $9 million.  The orders are for custom-engineered ejector systems to be installed at new refineries in the Middle East and China and equipment for an existing refinery in the United States.

The new Middle East and Chinese refineries will have capacities of 400,000 and 200,000 barrels per day, respectively, while the U.S. refinery is being revamped to improve operating costs and reduce environmental impact.

The equipment for the U.S. refinery and a portion of the international orders are expected to be engineered and manufactured in Graham's Batavia, New York, facility.

Refiners reshape ops with real-time monitoring

December 18, 2009. Though often written off as industrial dinosaurs, the oil-refining industry is reshaping how it does business by creating virtual war rooms where executives and managers can keep a real-time grip on refinery operations. Valero Energy Corp and Royal Dutch Shell PLC among other refinery owners, have been spending millions of dollars in the past two years to link up thousands of pieces of equipment into company-wide Internet-based networks to more effectively monitor operations, supply, energy consumption and environmental issues. The aim for these companies is to prevent operational snags and to fix problems before they result in major accidents, such as the 2005 explosion at BP PLC's Texas City plant. Moreover, some industry officials say the efficiency gains from these actions can save millions of dollars--and are equivalent to adding 2% to 5% to refining capacity.

Oil Search: Funding secured for PNG LNG

December 16, 2009. Australian company Oil Search Ltd says lenders to the Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas (PNG LNG) joint venture signed documents providing $US14 billion ($A15.46 billion) in funding for the project.

Oil Search said in a statement that up to $US14 billion of commitments from lenders had been secured, more than enough to meet the estimated $US13 billion of debt required for the Project, at an agreed 70 percent gearing.  Oil Search, which has a 29 percent stake in the project, said $US8.3 billion would come from export credit agencies, $US1.95 billion from a banking syndicate and $US3.75 billion of co-lending from ExxonMobil.

The PNG LNG project is a joint venture led by Esso Highlands Ltd, a subsidiary of energy giant ExxonMobil. The massive project is tipped to generate 6.6 million tonnes of LNG per annum for about 30 years.  Australian listed companies Oil Search and Santos Ltd both have stakes in PNG LNG, as does Japan's Nippon Oil, and PNG government groups.

Transportation / Trade

Turkmen gas exports to Russia to resume in Jan

December 22, 2009. Russia and Turkmenistan have reached an agreement on the joint implementation of projects for construction of the Caspian gas pipeline [western Turkmenistan, running to Russia and also on the East-West pipeline [connecting Turkmenistan's gas deposits with export routes], the information department at Gazprom has said.  Apart from this, in the presence of the presidents of the Russian Federation and Turkmenistan, Dmitriy Medvedev and Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow [in Asgabat], the sides signed amendments to the long- term gas sale and purchase accord between the two countries.  Under the document, Turkmen gas supplies [to Russia] will be resumed from 1 January 2010 in volumes of up to 30bn cu.m. annually. In accordance with the document, the price of the gas will completely correspond to conditions in European gas markets.

Louisiana pipelines change hands

December 16, 2009. Enterprise Products Partners has purchased three intrastate natural gas pipelines that originate in Louisiana from a Chevron subsidiary. The combined 212 miles of pipeline extend from the Henry Hub in southwest Louisiana to Lake Charles, Breaux Bridge and Napoleonville.

Policy / Performance

CNPC gets exclusive operating rights for China-Burma oil pipeline

December 22, 2009. China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) has signed an agreement with Myanmar's Energy Ministry to receive exclusive rights to build and operate the China-Myanmar crude oil pipeline.  The deal has granted operating concession of the pipeline to the CNPC controlled South-East Asia Crude Oil Pipeline Ltd., said CNPC.

The pipeline company will also enjoy tax concessions and customs clearance rights, said a report on the CNPC. The agreement stipulates the Myanmar government should guarantee the company's ownership and exclusive operating rights, as well as the safety of the pipeline.  In June, CNPC and the Myanmar government signed a memorandum of understanding, agreeing that CNPC would be responsible for the design, construction, and operation of the pipeline, the statement said.

NZ methane hydrates may soon be developed

December 22, 2009. A gas industry using frozen gas hydrates below the seabed off the East Coast could be developed in the near future thanks to rapid global technical developments.  'Sweet spots' containing high concentrations (about 4-10%) of methane hydrate found in sheets under the seabed off the East Coast may contain about 8.5 - 21 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of recoverable gas.  New Zealand's methane hydrates endowment is very likely the largest in the world on a per capita basis and potentially one of the largest resources in the world.  Inferred resources of hydrates in New Zealand are 813 TCF with 40 TCF identified as potentially economically recoverable. Inferred world resources of hydrates are 20,000 TCF.

Economic downturn delays Angola refinery project

December 22, 2009. Angola's oil minister said the global economic downturn will slow the completion of Angola's planned Lobito refinery. The Lobito refinery proposal was approved in 1997 by the Angolan government. State-owned oil company Sonangol announced in January 1998 that it would build a new 200,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Lobito, a coastal city in central Angola, to promote economic development in the region and to reduce the need to import refined products.  Lobito is about 400 kilometers south of the Angolan capital, Luanda.  In late 2008, Angola's oil company Sonangol awarded the U.S. firm Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) contracts to design and develop the Lobito refinery site, according to KBR.

Petrobras awards FEED contract for floating LNG unit

December 21, 2009.  Petrobras, BG Group, Repsol and Galp Energia, partners in the joint venture aimed to build an onboard natural gas liquefaction unit (ONGU) to use the gas from the pre-salt area, signed the agreements with the best bidders in the tender to develop the FEED (Front End Engineering and design) for the liquefaction unit. The winners were Saipem (Italy) and the SBM (Switzerland)/Chiyoda (Japan) and Technip (France)/JGC (Japan)/Modec (Japan) consortia. The tender, carried out in the international invitation mode, was launched last August, and the offers delivered in October. With acknowledged experience in building FPSOs (floating production, storage and offloading units for oil and gas) and LNG plants, the hired groups have up to December 16, 2010 to develop the FEEDs, and the projects will be carried out parallelly. The purpose is to drive competition among the suppliers and, thus, help reduce unit deployment costs.

Indonesian gas pipeline to be submerged prior to May 2010

December 21, 2009. The gas pipeline of PT Kodeco Energy Co. Ltd, in Surabaya's western shipping lane, will be submerged before May 2010 as it has been posing an obstruction to economic development in the eastern parts of Indonesia.  As a short-term solution, the gas pipeline will be submerged to a position minus 16 Low Water Spring (LWS). To this end, a survey is still underway to find out about the exact depth between the seabed and the pipeline.

Japanese-Malaysian partnership to develop Iraqi oil field

December 21, 2009. Malaysia's state-owned oil company Petronas and the Japan Petroleum Exploration Company (Japex) signed a deal to develop southern Iraq's Gharraf oil field. The companies plan to raise production at the field, thought to contain reserves of 900 million barrels of oil, to 230,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) for 20 years in exchange for $1.49 per barrel.  

Iraq's state oil company will hold a minority share in the partnership. Iraq, which depends heavily on oil exports for revenue, hopes to raise its production to 12 million bpd within seven years, up from current production of 2.5 million bpd.

Africa oil gets go-ahead to drill first Puntland well

December 21, 2009. As announced by Range Resources, the Cabinet of the Puntland Government approved the amended agreements modifying the terms of the existing Production Sharing Agreements ("PSAs") made in respect of the Dharoor and Nugaal Valley Exploration Areas which was still subject to ratification by the Parliament of the Puntland State of Somalia. 

The Company is pleased to announce that the Parliament has formally approved and ratified these amended agreements paving the way for Africa Oil to now commence operations and drilling of the first exploration well in Puntland in more than 16 years.

Oregon gas pipeline, LNG project gets FERC clearance

December 18, 2009. Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, LP announced that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a certificate order approving an application to construct and operate the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, a 234-mile, 36-inch diameter natural gas pipeline. The FERC has also authorized the Jordan Cove Energy Project, LP to site, construct and operate the Jordan Cove Energy LNG terminal.

Bolivia to receive extra money for NGL sold to Brazil

December 17, 2009. Bolivia will start receiving the first additional payments within 30 days from sales of natural gas liquids to Brazil.  The payments are included in an addendum to the gas contract scheduled to be signed shortly in Rio de Janeiro by Bolivian state-owned oil company YPFB CEO Carlos Villegas and Petrobras chief Jose Sergio Gabrielli. Under the terms of the contract, Bolivia will get an additional $1.2 billion to $2.16 billion by 2019. YPFB, which has not confirmed the figures, said in a statement that it planned to consolidate the payments for gas liquids that Bolivia exports to Brazil, implementing the valuation for liquefied gas agreed to by the countries in 2007 and approved by Bolivian President Evo Morales and his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva.

Development plan for Feixianguan gas reservoir approved

December 17, 2009.The overall development plan (ODP) for developing Feixianguan gas reservoir in the Luojiazhai gas field in the southwestern region has recently received approval from the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner. The NDRC has approved CNPC and US-based Unocal East China Sea Limited to jointly develop the Luojiazhai gas field, which covers Dazhou city in Sichuan province and Kai County in Chongqing, with investment of 9.564 billion yuan.  It also approved the ODP made by Unocal to develop 59.66 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves in the Feixianguan block, including upgrading and building 14 additional production wells, and a purification plant with a capacity of 9 million cubic meters per day.  It is estimated that the project will be able to supply natural gas of 9 million cubic meters daily for 20 years.

Federal judge lifts ANF drilling ban

December 16, 2009. Private oil and gas drilling on the Allegheny National Forest may resume, ruled a federal judge, saying the U.S. Forest Service was wrong to institute a ban and insist an environmental impact statement be completed before drilling could continue.

U.S. District Judge issued a 53-page memorandum opinion and order which prohibits the Forest Service from requiring an environmental assessment before drillers can access their mineral rights below the service in the ANF; ends the drilling ban; reinstates the previous rules; dismisses the actions brought by Warren County and the Allegheny Forest Alliance; and prohibits further implementation of a settlement agreement with several environmental groups.



Kenya Electricity seeks company to build 90 MW power plant

December 21, 2009. Kenya Electricity Generating Co., the biggest electricity producer in the East African country, is seeking a company to build a 90 megawatt power plant in the capital, Nairobi. Interested companies have until Jan. 13 to submit their bids, Kengen, as the company is known, said in a statement. Kenya is planning to build power plants to generate 1,500 megawatts by 2019 after drought in recent years cut production from the country’s hydropower plants.

Work starts on expanded H-Power plant

December 21, 2009. The city broke ground on the long-awaited expansion plans for Honolulu’s H-Power plant.  The $302 million project will expand the waste-to-energy plant’s capacity by 50 percent to handle an added 300,000 tons of garbage a year at the Campbell Industrial Park facility. 

Processing capacity will increase to 900,000 tons at the 28-acre plant, which is owned by the City and County of Honolulu. That volume will be able to generate 84 megawatts of power, which represents about 6 percent of Oahu’s electricity needs.

Saudi Electricity gets 3 Rabigh plant bids-source

December 17, 2009. Three international firms have made bids ranging between $3.94-$4.34 billion to build a 2,400 megawatt power (MW) power plant for state-run Saudi Electricity Co. South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction is the lowest bidder with 14.8 billion riyals ($3.94 billion). 

Hyundai Heavy Industries' bid came at 14.9 billion riyals and that of France's Alstom amounted to 16.3 billion riyals.  The power plant would have capacity of 2,400 to 2,800 MW, some 12-14 percent of the 20,000 MW the SEC plans to add through 2018, at an estimated total cost of $80 billion.

Transmission / Distribution / Trade

Zambia’s Copperbelt Energy spends $70 mn to supply mines

December 22, 2009. Zambia’s Copperbelt Energy Corp. spent $70 million this year in boosting electricity transmission to the country’s mining industry. Half the money was spent on providing power connections to Konkola Copper Mines, owned by Vedanta resources Plc, and the Konkola Deep-Mining Project in Chililabombwe.

Power pathway coming to Millsboro

December 22, 2009. As part of Pepco Holdings' $1.2 billion Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway project, a 640-kilovolt transmission line and conversion station will be coming to the town by 2014.  Although the town will have little input on the plan it will ensure more reliable electricity.  Customers can expect a 30 cent per month increase to compensate for the new pathway. Electricity producers increase their charges during peak usage periods because the transmission lines must compensate for the increasing demand.

Policy / Performance

Power cuts to go up in Nepal

December 22, 2009. Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) informed that it is coming out with a new load-shedding schedule.  According to NEA the weekly load-shedding hours is slated to rise to 42 hours per week from the existing 28 hours. With the new schedule citizens will be reeling under a six-hour power cut daily. NEA has said that it was compelled to come up with a new schedule as the water level in the major hydro projects has decreased.

Kyrgyzstan starts new hydro plant, neighbours worry

December 22, 2009. Kyrgyzstan began to dam a key Central Asian river to build a new hydroelectric power plant, a project criticised by neighbouring nations who fear it will disrupt water supplies.  Water sharing is a contentious issue in Central Asia, an arid, mainly Muslim region where water-thirsty crops like cotton are the main livelihood for most of its 60 million people.  Kyrgyzstan, a mountainous but impoverished nation at the heart of the region, says building new hydro plants on the main Naryn river is the only way to solve its energy shortages and secure stable supplies for its 5 million people.

EU to negotiate nuclear agreement with Russia 

December 22, 2009. The Council of the European Union mandated the European Commission to negotiate a broad nuclear partnership agreement with Russia. The European Atomic Energy Community and the Russian Federation will negotiate an agreement for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, according to an official press release.

The negotiations for a broad nuclear agreement are necessary because of recent developments, such as the latest EU enlargements and the renewed interest in nuclear energy as an alternative to reduce CO2 emissions from energy generation, the press release said.  Russia is one of the main global suppliers of nuclear materials and equipment. It is also a key supplier of nuclear fuel and related nuclear fuel cycle services to nuclear power plant operators in the EU.

Renewable Energy / Climate Change Trends


Researchers map 'dinosaur tree' genome

December 22, 2009. Researchers have sequenced the chloroplast DNA of the ancient Wollemi Pine, known as the 'dinosaur' of the tree kingdom, which survived 200 million years of shifting continents and changing climates. 

Using next-generation sequencing machines in the Ramaciotti Centre for Gene Function Analysis, University of New South Wales (UNSW) students produced a draft sequence of the approximately 180,000 nucleotides of the DNA code of the Wollemi's chloroplast genome.

The Wollemi (Wollemia nobilis) was known to science from fossil records but was thought to be extinct until 1994 when David Noble discovered it in a remote rainforest canyon in Wollemi National Park, 150 km north-west of Sydney. Fewer than a hundred trees are known to be growing wild, in three localities not far apart. These trees show an extremely low level of genetic diversity and are threatened by introduced fungal diseases and climate change.

India 'pleased' with climate summit 

December 22, 2009. India says it is pleased at the outcome of the recently concluded climate change talks in Copenhagen.  Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told MPs that India had been able to resist pressure from the developed world to sign up to binding emission targets.  Critics say the country was forced to give up its sovereignty and agree to international checking of its efforts to lower its greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr Ramesh said all of India's concerns had been safeguarded which included resisting signing up to legally binding emission targets and identifying a peak year for carbon emissions.

In fact, he added, the BASIC group of countries which includes Brazil, South Africa, India and China had emerged as a powerful force in climate change negotiations, especially in the face of relentless pressure from richer countries.

Commercial airline flights responsible for 4-8 pc of surface global warming

December 22, 2009. The first analysis of emissions from commercial airline flights shows that they are responsible for 4-8 percent of surface global warming since surface air temperature records began in 1850, which is equivalent to a temperature increase of 0.03-0.06 degree Celsius overall.  According to a report in Nature News, the analysis was done by atmospheric scientists at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. 

The results of the analysis also show that in the Arctic, aircraft vapour trails produced 15-20 percent of warming.  For the latest study, Jacobson and his team developed a model for aircraft emissions that accounts for atmospheric composition, cloudiness and the physical properties of emissions, particularly of black carbon - a major part of soot.

50-paise sop will boost wind power capacity, say turbine makers

December 22, 2009. Wind turbine manufacturers anticipate a growth in wind power capacity addition, thanks to the recent 50 paise a kWh generation incentive announced by the Centre. They feel that nearly half the new capacity will come through projects that avail themselves of the benefit, named Generation-Based Incentive (GBI), with large multi-national independent producers of wind energy contributing a major share.

The Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers' Association, a representative body of turbine manufacturers, said that the GBI made wind power more attractive for investors, with the pay-back period coming down and the internal rate of return increasing. 

Under the scheme, wind power projects will be eligible for either the accelerated depreciation method, already available, or the GBI. The GBI will be given for a period not less than four years and up to a maximum of 10 years, with a cap of Rs 62 lakh a MW. The total disbursement in a year will not exceed Rs 15.50 lakh a MW, or a fourth of the limit, during the first four years.

Pune to soon get a Rs 150 mn solar thermal power plant

December 21, 2009. A solar thermal power plant producing 250 KW for 10 hours of the day using solar power and bio waste to run the plant will be set up here on a pilot basis. The residents of village of Shive, about 50 kms from Pune, behind the Talegaon MIDC, which houses international giants like General Motors, JCB, Posco, L&T, INA Bearings, etc, expect the Rs 150 mn plant to be operational in the next 18 months.The Department of Science and Technology of the Central government has put in Rs 130 mn for this project and the balance Rs 20 mn will be used for Thermax’s share.

US can challenge India on Copenhagen goals

December 21, 2009. A top White House adviser has described the limited, non-binding Copenhagen accord as "a great step forward" saying the US could challenge India and China if they don't meet their stated goals. As part of the agreement between the US and four other countries, China and India have set goals for combating climate change, noted Obama adviser David Axelrod. The agreement with India, China, Brazil and South Africa calls on countries to identify their own voluntary commitments to reducing climate change so that compliance can be internationally monitored. The administration does not want to put the United States at a competitive disadvantage relative to the world's other large economies, he said.

Nuclear Power Corpn's uranium demand likely to go up 10-fold

December 21, 2009. Nuclear Power Corporation of India's need for uranium will increase ten-fold in a decade.  By 2020 the public sector undertaking would require 8,000 tonnes from 800 tonnes annually. NPCIL was considering picking up stake in uranium mining companies overseas. It had received positive feelers from South Africa and Namibia. The uranium would primarily be used in domestic reactors but there was an option of using it in the imported reactors. When foreign vendors sell reactors they also guarantee fuel for the reactor's lifetime, but NPCIL can also opt for fuel from other sources.

Incentive scheme likely to draw more FDI in wind power

December 20, 2009. The Ministry for New and Renewable Energy expects a sharp increase in the foreign direct investment (FDI) in wind energy as a result of the generation-based incentive scheme for grid connected wind power projects. According to the Ministry, wind power potential has been estimated at 48,500 MW taking sites having wind power density greater than 200W/sq. The FDI inflow in wind energy has seen a quantum increase from $1.43 million in 2006-07 to $31.56 million in 2007-08. The number though declined in 2008-09 to $27.89 million. With the launch of the generation based incentives scheme on December 17 for grid connected wind power projects, the Ministry is looking at broadening investors' base by attracting more FDI and independent power producers (IPPs).

Suzlon repays $780 mn loan, lowers debt by 15 pc

December 19, 2009. Suzlon Energy, India’s largest wind turbine maker said it has repaid debt of $780 million (about Rs 36.54 bn as per current exchange rates) that it had taken to increase its shareholding in RE Power. Suzlon said the amount was raised partly by selling its stake in Hansen Transmissions and partly through a borrowing of $465 million (Rs 2,180 crore) from State Bank of India. Last month, Suzlon had sold 35% of its stake in Hansen for around $360 million. The company expects an increase in businesses even as the government announced generation-based incentive of 50 paise/unit of electricity to promote wind power producers. The subsidy is likely to benefit wind power generation by the addition of another 4,000 megawatts by the end of the 11th Five Year Plan. This is estimated to cost Rs 3.8 bn. 

The promise of an alternative fuel

December 18, 2009. While it still seems very expensive to set up a mega solar plant, the charm of endless, almost free fuel is difficult to ignore.  The Copenhagen Summit has highlighted that the main chunk of CO2 is created by our electricity needs. Almost 50% of the pollution of the world comes from here and this if anything, is a reminder for a country like India that has high coal fuel dependency, to look at the viability of alternative fuels. The US based Azure Power set up a two MW solar plant in Amritsar.  While several states in India have biomass power plants, the solar engagement has been limited essentially to photovoltic cells, and India has not really been able to implement solar power plants given the cost factor. While it still seems very expensive to set up a solar plant, the charm of endless, almost free fuel is difficult to ignore for the entrepreneur.


China blasts claim it 'hijacked' climate talks

December 22, 2009. China dismissed a British editorial accusing it of "hijacking" the UN-sponsored climate talks in Copenhagen as baseless and politically motivated.  British climate change minister Edward Miliband's editorial singled out Beijing as the culprit behind the talks' near collapse. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the piece seemed designed to sow discord among developing nations.  Miliband wrote in The Guardian newspaper that most countries - developed and developing - supported binding cuts in emissions, but that "some leading developing countries currently refuse to countenance this.

Australia to do 'no more and no less' than others on climate

December 22, 2009. Australia will do "no more and no less" than other nations to fight climate change, the government said, as it prepared to set its greenhouse gas pollution targets after talks in Copenhagen. The centre-left Labor government wants to introduce a carbon trading emissions scheme which could reduce the pollution responsible for global warming by up to 25 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020.  But following the global summit on climate change in Copenhagen, it will consider the efforts of other countries before setting the level at which carbon emissions will be capped.

China, U.S. praise nonbinding climate agreement

December 21, 2009. China, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, lauded the outcome of the U.N. climate conference, which produced a nonbinding agreement that urges major polluters to make deeper emissions cuts, but does not require it. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said the climate talks that brought together more than 110 world leaders in Copenhagen delivered "significant and positive" results. Disputes between rich and poor countries and between the world's biggest carbon polluters - China and the United States - dominated the two-week conference.

Making the alternative fuels push

December 21, 2009. As world leaders huddled in Copenhagen to address global warming concerns, oil and gas industry leaders, academics and investors met in Houston to discuss a topic that could be part of the solution. The summit focused on the challenges of ramping up advanced biofuels and coal gasification technologies for large-scale production of eco-friendly transportation fuels or energy for refineries, chemical plants, pulp mills and other industries. The Houston event paid special attention to the prospects of using refining leftovers like petroleum coke or coal in alternative fuel applications.

Standard Bank in carbon emission reductions deal  

December 17, 2009. Standard Bank and China's Guodian Power have signed a carbon emission reductions purchase agreement, the parties said. 

In terms of the agreement, Standard Bank will purchase the carbon dioxide (CO2) emission reductions generated by Guodian Power's three newly-built hydropower plants located in north-eastern China.

After the three hydropower plants are built and successfully registered with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, four million tons of CO2 emission reductions were expected to be generated during the 21-year crediting period.  Some 320 000 tons of CO2 emission reductions would be realised before 2013.

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