MonitorsPublished on Dec 03, 2009
Energy News Monitor I Volume VI, Issue 25
Energy Injustice in India: Hiding Behind Poor

Shankar Sharma, Consultant to Electricity Industry




reenpeace India recently released a survey report on the discrimination prevailing in the supply of electricity to rural and urban areas. This report “Still Waiting” demonstrates, on the basis of survey conducted in five states, that the rural India is being neglected even after 62 years of independence as far as electricity supply is concerned, and provides useful recommendations to over come the same. The author was involved in the preparation of that report. This article is based on the main points of that report.


The deleterious impacts of man made Climate Change as a consequence of Global Warming are no more seen as theory; they are already being experienced in many ways. The Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has listed the potential impacts of Global Warming as: famines and droughts; worldwide drop in crops; risk of flooding and scarcity of fresh water supplies;  sea levels rise; huge impact on general health etc.  These impacts are projected to have massive influence on the lives of millions of people living in tropical countries such as India. Such impacts will undoubtedly be very severe on vulnerable sections of the society.

Energy consumption is closely associated with substantial part of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions leading to Global Warming. Of various forms of energy electricity alone is responsible for about 42% of global CO2 emissions and about 24% of all GHG emissions. Fossil fuel burning for generation of electricity is one of the main causes of GHG emissions. Whereas the international community has agreed that there should be concerted efforts to reduce the Global GHG emissions such that the Global average temperature does not exceed 2 degree Celsius from the level of pre-industrial era, protracted negotiations are going on to determine the responsibilities of each country in this regard.  India, along with other developing countries, is arguing for common but differentiated responsibilities for each country to reduce country specific GHG emissions. The basis for such an argument is the fact that the developed countries have been responsible for most of the GHG emissions so far, whereas the developing countries have a lot more to catch up before all of those populations reach an acceptable level of development.

India’s low per capita electricity consumption, as also of other developing countries, is being offered as the main reason for this argument. When we consider the fact that for about 40% of such a large population the commercial energy is out of reach even after 6 decades of independence the gravity of the situation becomes crystal clear. If we aim to provide energy security to our growing population in a business-as-usual scenario, the pollution level in our country will be enormous. As per Greenpeace’s projection India’s contribution to the global CO2 emissions will increase from about 1,126 million tons in 2003 to approximately 4,039 million tons in 2050, increasing its share in global emissions from 4.8% to 8.7% in a business as usual scenario. 

The concept of differentiated responsibilities will require the developed countries to reduce their GHG emissions by a much large proportion as compared to the developing countries in the next few decades to enable the developing countries to have a larger carbon space to develop. India is so confident of continuing at a low per capita consumption that the Prime Minister has assured the international community that it will never be more than that of the developed countries. However, it is critical to recognize that all out efforts are essential at global level to reduce the total GHG emissions whether India’s per capita emission remains below or above the world average.

Table 1: Global Electricity Usage and CO2 Emission (Year 2007)


Per Capita Electricity Consumption (kWH)

Per Capita CO2 Emission (Tons)

United Arab Emirates





















World Average









Source: Key World Energy Statistics, IEA, 2009

Though the government insists that India is not one of the top polluters, it is already considered as one of the largest emitter of CO2, and is projected to become one of the top five emitters of GHGs very soon. With a large population base which is growing rapidly, such a projection is not unrealistic. While it may appear logical that India should argue for common but differentiated responsibilities for each country to reduce country specific GHG emissions, its own record of energy consumption by two broad income categories of citizens should be of grave concern. Energy profligacy by the rich and lack of access to commercial energy for the poor within India should be of a major concern. 

It is well recognised by the international community that the people and countries that have contributed least to climate change are and will be experiencing the most severe impacts of climate change.  Hence India has a primary obligation to its own people, if not to the Global community, to do all that is possible to minimize the impact of climate change. Much of the population, which is in lowest income group, have per capita CO2 emissions of about 335 kg, while a small section of the population with the highest income group have per capita CO2 emissions of about 1,500 kg.  This was the summary of 2007 survey report by Greenpeace under the title “Hiding Behind the Poor”. 

The federal government quotes the low per capita CO2 emission of the country as the basis for their argument to continue on a fossil fuel driven economic development pathway. The large population without electricity is quoted as the main reason to require a number of additional large sized power plants based on conventional technologies i.e. coal based, dam based or nuclear based in an accelerated mode. Hiding Behind the Poor, the successive governments have embarked on a major capacity addition drive since last few decades. The Integrated Energy Policy as developed by the Planning Commission has projected that “to sustain a growth rate of 8% through 2031-32 and to meet the lifeline energy needs of the poor, India needs, at the very least, to increase its primary energy supply by 3 to 4 times and the electricity generation capacity /supply by 5 to 6 times of their 2003-04 levels”. As per this projection “by 2031-32 the power generation capacity must increase to nearly 800,000 MW from the current capacity of about 160,000 MW inclusive of all captive power plants.”  In this context it is important to note that more than 70% of such additional capacity is projected to be coal based and about 10% on dam based.

Such a large scale addition of conventional power capacity in a short period will have profound impact on social, environmental and economic aspects of our society, which unfortunately have not been discussed at all in the Integrated Energy Policy document. The massive amount of coal burning; demand for fresh water and land to support this much of additional power capacity will not only devastate our environment but will also push the vulnerable sections of our society to destitution, because of displacement, lack of water and threat to livelihood. 

The poor argument the union government has been offering in order to continue with large centralized power plants such as Ultra Mega Power Projects and large dams based power projects, despite knowing well the deleterious impacts of such a policy, is the urgent need for large quantity of additional power and the high capital cost of renewable energy sources.  Whereas the successive governments have been adding a huge number of large size power plants based on conventional technology in the guise of accelerating the electricity supply to un-electrified houses during last few decades, various national and international reports indicate that there are nearly 400 million people in India, mostly in rural areas, without electricity even after 62 years of independence.              

At a time when the global community is looking up to find a suitable successor to the Kyoto Protocol, India is faced with twin contradictions. While it is asking for adequate Carbon space for its poor to develop, it is finding it impossible to provide electricity to its poor through the business-as-usual model, even though huge sums of money are being poured in additional conventional technology power stations. These power stations, ironically, are all going to contribute to the Global Warming and cause huge problems directly to its own population and indirectly to the global environment. Whereas the middle and upper classes of its population are rapidly catching up with the high per capita electricity consumption levels of the developed countries, the poor and the vulnerable are yet to get even the life line electrical energy. This anomaly is even more pronounced between urban and rural classes. There is also another dimension to the energy injustice in India. Such Energy Injustice is forcing the construction of many more conventional power stations than those really needed at a time when there is already a growing pressure on India to contain the growth in its GHG emissions.  

A recent Greenpeace study sought to show that the large number of additional conventional power plants have not been beneficial to the rural poor and the vulnerable sections of the society, but only feeding the insatiable demand for electricity of a small section of the urban rich, and at the same time escalating the addition of GHG emissions. The study seeks to expose the electricity injustice within India. Who is behind the low per capita consumption of electricity? Which sections of our society are consuming how much of this electricity?  Is it not the obligation of Indian government which demands larger carbon space for its people in the international arena to provide such a space for the rural poor within India to get adequate electricity? Are there better options for India to bring energy justice to its poor and rural population without being seen by the international community as a big polluter?


to be continued…

Views are those of the author

Author can be contacted at [email protected]

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

Jacques Lesourne and William C. Ramsay*


Continued from Volume VI, Issue No. 24…


Evaluating the potential of non-renewable energy


valuating the potential of renewable energies provides an interesting avenue for reflecting on India’s future energy model. Hydroelectric, solar and wind energies combine for close to 200,000 MW of potential energy, according to available studies.

It appears, for example, that in India solar energy is particularly promising, with average sunshine of 6 kWh/m2/day. The potential seems considerable, notably for domestic use in rural regions that suffer from isolation and thus transmission issues.10 With the commercial efficiency of solar cells at 15%—which is currently the case—it is thus estimated that with 5 million hectares of installations, solar energy could provide, according to some projections, close to 1,200 Mtoe/year. As Table 14 shows, investment costs remain prohibitive, but there is nothing to indicate that innovations and/or hybrid systems will not eventually become commercially and, a fortiori socially, viable.

It is in this way that for 5 years now there has been a proliferation of companies that are on the cutting edge of these sectors, notably in wind energy. But this is not only because the available data shows that the largest number of companies active in the energy sector are involved in energy efficiency. Thanks notably to investments by the state and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), certain companies quickly acquired international stature and capacity. But most are relatively small companies and thus favor mass decentralized operations.

Moreover, the ministry is examining a draft national renewable energy plan that proposes a renewable portfolio standard. The standard would require that between now and 2010 close to 10% of energy comes from renewables. Known for being highly responsive, certain Indian companies immediately saw the “perfect market” that these sectors make up, notably in rural geographic areas that lack access to energy and in cities that experience insufficient supply.

According to a recent study,11 projects involving great sums of money are today on the agenda for companies such as Suzlon, which hopes to triple its wind farm in the next three years at a cost of nearly US$ 1 billion. Tata-BP Solar announced its desire to increase its solar energy production plants to 180 MW, requiring additional investments of 100 million dollars beginning this year. Lastly, the giant Reliance Industries has in its plans a solar module PV project at a capacity of 1 GW in India, with a cost reaching close to US$ 3 billion.

It remains clear today in the classic scenarios that even if India succeeds in increasing its new energy capacity by a factor of 40 so as to arrive at a capacity of 100,000 MW (compared with 7,000 MW today), the amount of new energies in the energy mix will be close to 7% (87 Mtoe out of 1350 Mtoe).

However, when looking at renewable energies as a whole (new energies + hydro, for a total of 122 Mtoe), and comparing them with a commercial primary energy need that is brought into perspective using a lower growth rate according to our three scenarios, one instead arrives at a figure of close to 12% (122 out of a total 1000 Mtoe). This percentage thus represents, in comparison with projections for OECD countries, one of the strong characteristics of India’s energy model looking ahead to 2030.

Political outlook and cultural factors

All analyses of India’s energy model to come lastly necessitate taking political, social and cultural factors that are specific to India into account. While attempting to imagine India’s political situation in 2025 is clearly a delicate matter, India’s energy policy will nonetheless be marked, no matter the organization of coalitions proposed by the Congress Party or the BJP, by three structural determinants that are today agreed upon by India’s political class: strategic independence (or self-reliance, which is even stronger feeling); the decentralized character of the Indian Union even beyond the borders of its states, and lastly, a principle of nondualism between Man and the Universe.

1. First, energy policies and strategies will be evaluated first and foremost by the independence criterion. In a country that has only been so for a half-century, this word has an incredibly large psychological importance for India’s ruling class. Its economic strategy, the “swadeshi” movement, translated as “self-rule” and formulated by Gandhi to contend with imported consumption products, still marks state strategies, notably in all areas that deal with sovereignty, such as energy independence. The term independence thus often appears in all of the Planning Commission’s reports and the political discourse tied to energy policy, such as the declaration of President Kalam on the 60th anniversary of the Indian Union.

Table 13. Renewable energy resources

* The availability of land and inputs for getting projected yields is a critical constraint.

** Based on 50 percent plants under use.

Source: Respective line ministries.


Table 14. Capital costs of generated electricity from renewable options

                                               * < 25 MW

In a concrete manner, this is translated into the refusal to be linked to companies from one state or to a sole power, and it explains India’s desire to balance the American, Russian and French powers, as it has done with its armament programs over the last 50 years. In addition, the energy sector’s gradual opening up will probably be carried out in much the same way that all other sectors in India’s economy have for the last 15 years, such as for example the automobile or distribution sectors; namely, it encourages the emergence of national champions that are capable of competing with major multinationals from all over the world. In the nuclear sector, Tata Power or Reliance will not escape this thinking. All other energy sectors will follow the same principle. It is in this context that the importance of renewable energies should be highlighted, which are capable of ensuring a large part of India’s “independence.” In addition to its military component, nuclear energy in India is also endowed with a distinct mystique, as the names of different Indian nuclear missile launches for example reflect, such as Agni, named for the sacrificial fire of the end of times.


2. The need to have a decentralized and local vision for India’s energy model is secondly a key element for understanding the next 20 years. In a country that is highly fragmented (for example, there are close to 200 political parties in India), energy issues will not be the same for Himachal Pradesh (extremely rich in hydroelectric resources) as for Rajasthan or Bengal (poor in energy resources but highly populated). At the local level, the 20 million chulas, which are small energy stations that run on local fuel, attest to a system that is deeply marked for most Indians by rural and local issues. There are today thousands of micro-projects combining traditional, classic and alternative energies, taking into account the specificities of the affected geographic regions.

3. Lastly, it is necessary to highlight a trait related to India’s philosophy and culture, which establishes special connections to nature and methods of consumption, notably energy ones. From Vedic traditions to relations with contemporary political thought, it seems pertinent to state that India appears in this context as particularly receptive to development methods that do not accept negative externalities for the sake of growth. Such a factor should play greatly in the case of renewable energies. The mystique of solar energy notably is based on this equation: “free,” natural (to the limit of the divine) and directly controllable energy. Moreover, the failure of a company as popular as Tata in the controversy surrounding the Bengal factory for constructing Nanos, illustrates not only the strength of Indian democracy at the most decentralized level, but also the sustainability of a rejection of development at any price.

Appendix A

Annex1 Installed capacity of power stations

Table A1. All India Installed capacity of power stations located in the regions of mainland and Islands (in MW)

Annex 2 India’s demand on nature approaching critical limits

Global Footprint Network

10/13/2008 08:55 PM:

India’s Demand on Nature Approaching Critical Limits

As the world grapples with the escalating effects of the financial crisis, Global Footprint Network reported on another mounting—and unsecured—debt: a growing gap in India between the amount of natural resources the country uses and how much it has.

India now demands the biocapacity of two Indias to provide for its consumption and absorb its wastes, according to a report released by Global Footprint Network and CII (Confederation of Indian Industry). The report, India’s Ecological Footprint: A Business Perspective, was presented Monday in New Delhi to a conference that included top Indian environmental officials, leaders of Indian industry, U.S. State Department representatives and other stakeholders.

India’s Ecological Footprint—the amount of productive land and sea area required to produce the resources it consumes and absorb its waste—has doubled since 1961, according to the report. Today, the country’s total demand on biocapacity is exceeded only by the United States and China. “India is depleting its ecological assets in support of its current economic boom and the growth of its population,” says Mr. Jamshyd N. Godrej, Chairman of the CII Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre. “This suggests that business and government intervention are needed to reverse this risky trend, and ensure a sustainable future in which India remains economically competitive and its people can live satisfying lives.”

Footprint Shrinking While GDP Grows

Since 1961, India’s GDP has nearly tripled, going from $177 in constant U.S. dollars to $512. Over that same period, however, the Ecological Footprint of the average individual in India has actually declined by 12 percent. This is a trend that runs counter to that seen in many industrializing Asian nations where Footprint has increased as GDP increases. It suggests that while some citizens are enjoying a higher standard of living, the majority of Indians are not benefiting from this wealth. Rather, poverty is growing as an increasing number of people compete for a limited pool of resources.

India’s growing Ecological Debt (1961-2003)

While India as a whole demands a significant percent of the world’s biocapacity, its per-capita Ecological Footprint, 0.8 global hectares, is smaller than that in many other countries, and well below the world average of 2.2 global hectares. Indeed, the Ecological Footprint of many Indians may need to increase to allow for sufficient food, shelter, electricity, sanitation, medicine and material goods. At the same time, the United Nations projects that India’s population will reach 1.7 billion by 2050. If this is the case, India is likely to face a widening ecological deficit even if current per-capita levels of resource consumption remain the same.

Per Capita percent change 1961 to 2003

Ecological Footprint for selected nations, with population (2003)

India also has the largest total water footprint of any country in the world. This is essentially due to the size of its population, as its water use per capita is less than that in many countries with similar or higher incomes. In addition, 40 years after the Green Revolution, many experts argue that India’s population is growing faster than its ability to produce staples such as wheat and rice. Some attribute the lag to the fact that irrigation and agricultural research has not expanded since the 1980s, but groundwater has also been depleted at an alarming rate. In Punjab, for example, more than 75 percent of districts extract more groundwater than is replenished by nature.

Risks, Rewards for Indian Industry

To maintain a robust economy and good quality of life, the report states, Indian businesses and government must invest in areas such as women’s health and education to reduce family size, resource-efficient cities and infrastructure, and increased food system productivity. Significant efforts in the business sector are already underway in the areas of alternative power, green building, low-emission vehicles and energy-efficient manufacturing. India is poised to play a major role in the large-scale commercialization of renewable energy technologies and can offer technology transfer to other industrializing nations. The country has achieved installation of over 10,000 MGW of renewable-based capacity. It is fourth worldwide in terms of wind power installed capacity. More than 95% of the total investments in renewable energy in India have come from the private sector. Indian industry has also established ambitious targets for low-Footprint construction, with Indian Green Building Council having set a goal of achieving one billion square feet of green building space by 2012. Clearly, India’s current ecological deficit poses a clear challenge to its leaders’ ability to improve the quality of life for vast segments of the population now living in poverty. For India as a society to continue to prosper in an increasingly resource-constrained world, business and government leaders must work actively to protect the natural capital on which India’s economy, and all human life, depends. With policies and business practices that value and protect the country’s natural capital, India can shift from an economy that has grown at the expense of the environment to one that flourishes by preserving it. indias_demand_on_nature_approaching_critical_limits

Annex 3 Power shortages forecast 2008–09

CEA projects 8.8% power shortage in 2008–09

Sanjay Jog

Posted online: Aug 20, 2008 at 2311 hrs IST

Mumbai, Aug 19, 2008 – The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has projected more power shortages in 2008–09. The estimated energy shortage will be about 8.8% and peak shortage of about 18.1% in the country.

Northern, western and southern regions are likely to experience energy shortages of nearly 6.3%, 18.8% and 8.2% respectively, while eastern and north eastern regions are expected to get surplus energy by around 12.7% and 3.3% respectively.

The peak shortages in northern region are expected to be 19.4%, western region (27.4%), southern region (18.8%) and northeastern region (15.1%) while the eastern region would have surplus energy by 1.9% in 2008–09.

Peak shortage will be of the order of 21,701 mw in the current fiscal. The annual energy available would be 7,28,962 million units (mu) against the annual energy requirement of 7,99,578 mu. Thus, the energy shortage would be 70,616 mu. The average energy shortage per day will be 193 mu.

CEA recalled that during 2007–08, the total ex-bus energy availability in the country was 6,66,007 mu against a requirement of 7,39,343 mu leading to a shortage of 73,336 mu or 9.9%. The total peak met for the country was 90,793 mw against a peak demand of 108,866 mw, resulting in a peak power shortage of 18,073 mw (16.6%).

All the regions—northern, western, southern, eastern and northeastern—continued to experience energy as well as peak demand shortage for varying degrees on an overall basis, although there were short term surpluses depending on the season or time of day.

The surplus power was sold to deficit states or consumers either through bilateral contracts or through traders. Western regions comprising Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Goa experienced the maximum energy shortage of 38,945 mu or 15.8% and maximum peak shortages of 88,892 mw or 23.2%.

Two new interregional transmission corridors had been added in March 2007, Patna-Balia 400 kV d/c line between the eastern and northern regions, and one circuit of Agra-Gwalior 765 kV between the northern and western regions. In addition, a Biharshariff-Balia 400 kV d/c line was added in 2007–08. This strengthened the interregional connections between the north, west and east and has provided opportunities for sale of power from surplus to deficit areas across these regions, as and when available, through short-term open access.

Considering the capacity addition of 10,178 MW in 2008–09 and the addition of the above-mentioned inter regional lines, deficit states can utilize the opportunity for reduction of their shortages by procuring power from the surplus states. However, the concerned states would have book the transmission corridor under the transmission open access regime and tie-up the commercial arrangements well in time.

Annex 4 Power generation

The overall generation in the country has increased from 264.3 billion units (BUs) during 1990–91 to 551.7 BUs during 2006–07 (up to January 2007).

The overall generation (thermal + nuclear + hydro) in public utilities in the country over the years are as shown in the next table.

Source: Annual Report 2006–07, Ministry of Power.

Power supply position

The energy requirement for the country during 2006–07 (up to January 2007) stood at 572812 MU and energy availability during the same period was 519656 MU resulting in energy shortage of 53156 MU (9.3%). Peak demand for energy in 2006–07 (up to January 2007) was recorded 100403 MW whereas peak demand met during the same period was 86425 MW and hence the peak shortage stood at 13978 MW (13.9%).

The power supply position of the country over the years is shown in as shown below.

Source: Annual Report 2006–07, Ministry of Power.

Peak demand

Source: Annual Report 2006–07, Ministry of Power.

Annex 5 Noncommercial energy

As for the debate over noncommercial energy, the table below presents a comparative analysis of data from the IEA and the Planning Commission on primary energy demand in 2030.

It thus seems likely that in its reports the IEA included noncommercial energy in the strange category of hydrobiomass. This hypothesis, both in volume and in relative terms seems credible after several quick calculations. Indeed, in 1990 (see table below), this type of energy represented close to 30% of total energy demand and in 2030 it will have a volume of close to 200 Mtoe (or a bit more than 14% of the total energy mix), a number relatively close to the 185 Mtoe projected by the Planning Commission for noncommercial energy. In addition, it is evident that in volume as well as in relative terms, the estimated needs for fossil resources (coal, oil, gas) are reasonable close. On the other hand, it is particularly interesting to see that the IEA in its linear projections does not at all take into account the possibility of renewable development, while the Indians are particularly optimistic about their capabilities to produce nuclear energy.


Indian Primary Energy Demand in the Reference Scenario (Mtoe)

              Average annual rate of growth for 2005-2030



10. India has more than 700 million rural inhabitants and their absolute number should not significantly decrease over the period studied.

11. India Renewable Energy Trends, Alexis Ringwald, July 2008, Centre for Social Markets.

* Editors

to be continued…


Note: Part III 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 26






Japan’s Itochu, Mitsui eye stake in ONGC arm

December 8, 2009. OiL and Natural Gas Corporation has received formal bids from two big Japanese firms, Itochu and Mitsui & Co, to purchase a 25% stake in Petro-additions (OPaL), a special purpose vehicle promoted by ONGC and Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC. The Tokyo-headquartered Itochu is among the largest privately-held companies in Japan with over 1,000 subsidiaries and operations in 80 countries, while Mitsui & Co is a diversified business conglomerate.  It is learnt that Itochu Corporation and Mitsui & Co are both interested in acquiring the entire 25% stake on offer in OPaL, but ONGC will look at bringing in 2-3 investors. OPaL is constructing a plant at Dahej in Gujarat with an expected capacity to produce 1.1 million tonnes of ethylene, 340,000 tonnes of propylene, 135,000 tonnes of benzene and 95,000 tonnes of butadiene, annually. These products are used as source materials in the plastics industry.

ONGC keen to grab a share in Ghana's Jubilee oilfield

December 7, 2009. State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) is interested in acquiring a stake in Ghana's giant Jubilee oilfield, but the African nation has exercised its first right of refusal on the stake sale. Closely held US firm Kosmos Energy LLC said it agreed to sell its Ghanaian assets, including its stake in Jubilee, to US oil behemoth ExxonMobil for $4 billion.  Ghana National Petroleum Corp (GNPC) had the first right of refusal in case of exit of any partner in the Jubilee field. GNPC has since exercised the right. GNPC will want to first acquire the stake in Jubilee from Kosmos and then look at selling it to those interested, including ONGC Videsh, the overseas arm of the state-run firm ONGC. Kosmos, which is backed by private equity groups Blackstone Group and Warburg Pincus, has 30.875 per cent stake in Jubilee's West Cape Three Points block and an 18 per cent stake in the deep-water Tano block. 

ONGC puts plans for marginal fields on the back burner

December 6, 2009. ONGC has put on hold its plans to float tenders inviting bids for development of 21 marginal fields, till new fiscal regime for such fields is in place. The current fiscal regime makes it unattractive for the service contractors, who have to bear all the development cost, and sell the crude from the fields at a capped price to ONGC. The company had identified 21 marginal fields, mainly onshore, for development by service contractors during the last calendar year.

RIL in deal with Colombian firm for deep water blocks

December 5, 2009. Reliance Industries said its wholly-owned subsidiary Reliance Exploration and Production DMCC has signed a deal with Colombian state oil firm Ecopetrol for two deepwater blocks in Colombia. Under the agreement, the foreign company acquires a 20% stake in Borojo North Block 42 and the Borojo South Block 43 in Colombia, which cover a combined 8,000 sq km in water depths ranging from 60-1,500 metres. Reliance Exploration holds 80% ownership in the blocks and will be their operator, Reliance said in a statement.

ONGC to develop gas fields in Iran

December 2, 2009. The state-run oil explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and its partners have signed two agreements with Iranian authorities to develop gas fields in that country.  The agreements were signed during Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Seifollah Jashnsaz's India visit Dec 1. As per the first agreement, ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of ONGC, and the Hinduja group firm Ashok Leyland Projects Services will have an aggregate 40 percent stake in the South Pars 12 gas field. The second deal was between ONGC and its partners and Iran LNG. According to the deal, ONGC, OVL, Ashok Leyland Projects and Petronet LNG will jointly take 20 percent stake in the liquification facilities of Iran LNG.  This can later be enhanced up to 40 percent.


CPCL sees low refining margins, to cut operational cost

December 7, 2009. South India’s biggest refinery CPCL, a group company of Indian Oil, is seeing low refining margins in the current quarter as the demand for its products is still sluggish in major markets such as the US and UK.  In an effort to increase profitability, the company is also aiming to cut operational costs by 15-20%, by doing away with non-plan and non-revenue yielding expenditure. With the US and UK markets showing slow signs of recovery, CPCL is banking on the domestic market to steer growth.

IOC suffers loss of Rs 940 mn a day on fuel sale

December 7, 2009. State-run Indian Oil Corporation said that it is losing Rs 94o mn per day on sale of petrol, diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene below the cost. The company and other public sector fuel retailers Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum are currently selling petrol at Rs 3.68 a litre below cost and diesel at Rs 2.90 per litre lower than cost. They make a loss of Rs 18.13 a litre on kerosene and Rs 250.67 per 14.2-kg domestic LPG cylinder.

Transportation / Trade

IBS ties up with Oman petro co

December 7, 2009. Travel, transportation and logistics solutions and consultancy major IBS, based at the Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram, has tied up with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) to automate and manage the movement of personnel to and from off shore oil rigs using IBS' iLogistics solution suite.  IBS' solution would streamline and centralize transportation management processes across PDO operations, to achieve increased productivity, reduced costs, higher return on both assets and investments and improved transportation safety management.

NTPC in gas-supply deal with GAIL, IOC, BPCL

December 4, 2009. Leading Indian power producer state-run NTPC said it had signed gas-sale agreements with government-run firms GAIL, Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum. The agreements are for the supply of about 1.2 million tonnes per annum of re-gassified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) for 20 years for its power project in the southern Indian state of Kerala, NTPC said.  NTPC currently operates nearly 5,000 megawatts capacity through gas based stations. The company has total installed capacity of 30,644 MW through 26 power stations including joint ventures. The company is currently working for an additional capacity of about 18,000 MW.  

Kanara Chamber seeks gas pipeline connectivity to Mangalore

December 2, 2009. Considering the demand for natural gas in Mangalore region, the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has urged the Union Government to provide gas pipeline connectivity to the region.  In a letter to the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, KCCI has said that gas pipeline connectivity should be provided to Mangalore by drawing a spur line from Davangere to Mangalorefrom the proposed Dabhol-Bangalore gas pipeline sanctioned by the Union Government.

Domestic fuel sales up 17.3 pc in October

December 2, 2009. The domestic sales of petroleum products in October rose 17.3 per cent, while crude oil imports slipped by five per cent and oil product imports fell 48 per cent.  Export of petroleum products in October dipped by 7.6 per cent.  The domestic petroleum products sales in October rose to 11.47 million tonne against 9.78 million tonne in the corresponding month last year.  According to the Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC) October recorded the second highest growth year-on-year in the current year.

Policy / Performance

RNRL was aware that gas price needed govt nod

December 8, 2009. The oil ministry has told the Supreme Court that Anil Ambani’s Reliance Natural Resources (RNRL) was fully aware that the Production Sharing Contract between Reliance Industries and the government for KG basin gas required the prices to be approved by the government.  The government said in its affidavit that the core issue which arises for consideration in its Special Leave Petition relates to whether RNRL by means of the private agreement, which it entered into with RIL, can get supply of 28 million cubic meters of gas per day for 17 years at the price of $2.34 per million British Thermal units (mmBtu).

ONGC to use Iran LNG facility for Farsi gas

December 8, 2009. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation plans to use the facility, that Iran LNG is creating on southern Iranian coast, to liquefy the gas it will produce from the Farsi fields in the Persian Gulf. ONGC and its overseas subsidiary ONGC Videsh Ltd along with Hinduja Group and Petronet LNG agreed to take 20 per cent stake in the USD 4.35 billion liquefied natural gas export facility Iran LNG is building at Tombak Port.   OVL is the operator of the Farsi block with 40 per cent interest, where it along with Indian Oil (40 per cent) and Oil India (20 per cent) has submitted a USD 5.5 billion plan to bring to production the Farzad-B gas find. OVL and Hinduja firm Ashok Leyland Projects Services (ALPS) signed agreements to take 40 per cent stake in SP-12. Phase 12 is the largest of the 28 Phases in which the South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf has been divided and will cost USD 7.5 billion.  So far, Iran has agreed to give India up to 6 million tonnes per annum of LNG for its efforts in SP-12 and Farsi gas field.

OVL plans to set up refinery in Nigeria

December 8, 2009. ONGC Videsh (OVL), the overseas investment arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), plans to set up a greenfield refinery in Nigeria as part of the government’s efforts to broadbase the activities of Indian companies in the African country. Speaking at the second India-Africa Hydrocarbon Conference, petroleum minister Murli Deora said India and Africa enjoy strong potential to work together for strengthening energy security. OVL is said to be interested in setting up a 1,80,000-barrels per day refinery in collaboration with Lakshmi Mittal. The proposed investment is part of a deal being worked out where Indian companies would also be given oil blocks in Nigeria. ONGC-Mittal Energy (OMEL), the joint venture between OVL and Mittal Investment, landed two Nigerian oil blocks in 2006 in return for downstream commitments either in power, rail or refining.

OilMin seeks Rs 208.71 bn oil bonds for fuel retailers

December 7, 2009. Petroleum Ministry has sought oil bonds worth Rs 208.71 bn for state-run fuel retailers to make up for the losses incurred on selling domestic LPG and kerosene below cost during the first three quarters of this fiscal. Three fuel retailers Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL) lost about Rs 266.18 bn in revenues on selling petrol, diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene below cost during the first half of the current fiscal. 

Krishna-Godavari gas not for Dadri alone: RNRL

December 3, 2009. Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) told the Supreme Court that the Krishna-Godavari gas from Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) was not meant for the Dadri power project alone, seeking to correct a common misconception.  "The gas supplied to the Anil Ambani Group by the Mukesh Ambani group shall not be used for trading other than trading with the Anil Ambani group," RNRL counsel Mukul Rohatgi told the three-member bench of the apex court, quoting from their family pact. The counsel said a clause of the family pact allowed internal trading or swapping of gas from the Mukesh Ambani-led RIL by the group controlled by younger brother Anil Ambani, of which RNRL is a part.

Natural gas prices revision on cards: Govt

December 3, 2009. In view of mounting losses because of selling gas at subsidised rates, the government said it is considering a proposal to revise prices of gas produced by ONGC.  The government had asked the Tariff Commission to suggest revision in natural gas prices. The Commission has given its recommendations based on which the Cabinet would be approached for revising prices.  Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) was selling 97 per cent of its gas at a price of $2 per unit which is equivalent to just USD 12 per barrel of crude whereas the prevailing price was about $80.   Due to this huge difference the two PSUs -- ONGC and Oil India Limited -- were incurring losses, the minister said adding that in 2006 ONGC's losses were over Rs 25 bn. Similarly in the fertiliser sector, the government would save over Rs 40 bn due to supply of natural gas for producing urea, he added. 



Kinnaur hydel project draws ire

December 8, 2009. Construction of a 100 MW Tidong hydropower project in Kinnaur has been affecting local forests and rare species of Chilgoza (Neoza) trees, botanically known as Pinus Gerardiana. The Hyderabad-based Niji Vidu Seeds Limited that has been allotted the project has started construction even as the process for transfer of land to the company through government lease has not been completed. Villagers of Rispa Panchayat have complained to the district authorities against the approach road to the project site being constructed by the company even before the land transfer.

NTPC case: CBI team to go UK

December 7, 200. A CBI team will soon go to the UK to get details about the bank account of an Indian firm alleged to have received about Rs 1.2 bn as kickback from a Russian company for providing “consultancy” in bagging the Rs 86 bn  super thermal power contract project of NTPC in Barh in Bihar. Official sources said the team would soon leave for London for holding consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) officials and Scotland Yard sleuths to understand the complete chain of money transactions and the associates of the firm M/S Ravina Associates Pvt Ltd.   

JSW Energy to bid for upcoming UMPPs

December 4, 2009. JSW Energy said it would bid for upcoming 4,000 MW ultra mega power projects in Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Chhatisgarh and is scouting for a global partner to join in.  The company, which has a power generation capacity of about 800 MW, plans to take the figure to 11,500 MW in the next six years.  It also plans to construct a 3,200-MW power plant at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra using supercritical technology which aims at providing more efficiency.  The government plans to invite qualifying bids for setting up UMPPs in Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Chhatisgarh by the end of the current financial year. It has so far awarded four such projects in Madhya Pradesh (Sasan), Andhra Pradesh (Krishnapatnam), Gujarat (Mundra) and Jharkhand (Tilaiya). 

BPL in pact with Chhattisgarh to set up power plant

December 2, 2009. BPL Ltd said that it has entered into a pact with Chhattisgarh government to set up a 300 MW coal-based power plant in the eastern state. Bharat Energy Ventures Ltd, a unit of BPL, will implement the project after obtaining requisite approvals, coal allotment, land, clearances and licenses from authorities, BPL said in a statement. 

L&T plans to generate 7 GW power

December 2, 2009. Larsen and Toubro (L&T) has planned to increase its power generation capacity to 7000 MW in the near future. The company will embark on power generation projects to reach a capacity of 5000 MW thermal power and 2000 MW hydro power within five years.  At present, its thermal power plant in Punjab generates 1320 MW and hydro power plant in North East produces 300 MW power.

Transmission / Distribution / Trade

US nuclear equipment cos in talks to set up JVs here

December 8, 2009. US-based nuclear power equipment makers have begun extensive discussions with Indian companies to set up joint venture manufacturing facilities to bag equipment supply contracts. GE Hitachi and Westinghouse, two major industrial engineering companies from the US, said that they have begun talks with Indian companies to roll out their nuclear power offering in the country. Westinghouse, on the other hand, is more interested in supplying nuclear power equipment. L&T has already signed an agreement with NPCIL for manufacturing nuclear power equipment. US companies were yet to get authorisation from the US administration to export American nuclear technology to India. 

Policy / Performance

Power cos see red as CIL seeks fresh supply terms

December 8, 2009. Triggering a dispute that could affect several thermal power producers, Coal India has sought revised terms for fuel supply to projects. Coal India subsidiaries are demanding fresh fuel supply agreements (FSAs) with terms & conditions that are different from the model pact finalised by the Central Electricity Authority in consultation with Coal India. Thermal power producers are so concerned that the power ministry has taken up the issue with the coal ministry on a priority basis. The demands of coal companies include FSA for five years instead of the current practice of signing pacts for 20 years. Coal companies also want guaranteed supplies to be reduced to 50% instead of 90% now. They also want to have the option to supply shortfall arising out of lower coal imports.

Use of Chinese power equipment increasing in the country

December 7, 2009. Government conceded in the Rajya Sabha that there was increased import of power equipment from China in the 21,519 MW projects coming up under thermal and hydro projects in the country.  Minister of State for Power Bharat Singh Solanki in written replies said orders had been placed on Chinese manufacturer/ supplier on Boiler Turbine Generator (BTG) / Engineering Procurement and Construction and Electro-mechnical Packages generally through competitive biddings.  Of the 21,519 MW ongoing projects, 4,594 MW was being implemented in the Government sector including 1200 MW in the Central sector while the rest 16,725 MW in private sector. However, the target capacity addition was high and capacity of domestic equipment manufacturers was less and hence the plants were imported, he reasoned.

R-Power to kick off Rosa unit by year-end

December 7, 2009. Reliance Power is planning to commission the first phase of its 1,200-MW Rosa Power project in Uttar Pradesh before the end of December 2009, nearly three months ahead of schedule. The Rs 50 bn project is divided into two phases of 600 MW each. The company has also fast tracked completion of 600 MW capacity of the second phase. This phase is also expected to become fully-operational in the 11th Plan by March 2012, against earlier envisaged in the XIIth Plan. The fuel for the coal fired plant would come from Jharkhand for which a long-term supply linkage has been given. A coal transportation agreement has also been signed with the Railways. For equipment, the company has selected Shanghai Electric (Group) Corporation, as EPC contractor for both the phases.

Bengal seeks spl treatment in allocation of coal blocks

December 6, 2009. West Bengal Government has appealed to the Union Coal Ministry to grant special consideration to the State in the matter of allocation of coal blocks.  The new coal policy of the Union Government offering coal blocks through open auction would hit the State Government's industrialisation programme as many industries, particularly those with proposals for setting up steel plants, might be hit. Videocon, Adhunik Group and Kalynai Ispat whose bid to get coal linkage was facing road block. Eastern Coalfields Ltd did not mine several coal blocks, encouraging illegal mining in areas under it and forcing many industries in need of coal to depend on these illegal miners. At the same time, Coal India Ltd was insisting on “sanitisation of surface” of the land having coal seams under it but identified as suitable for setting up projects.

DAE powers up nuclear generation target by 10 GW           

December 5, 2009. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has raised civil nuclear power generation to 30,000 MW by 2020 against the earlier target of 20,000 MW, said Dr S. Banerjee, Secretary, DAE, and Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission.  As of now, the indigenous programme would total up to 15,000 MW, though it was not 100 per cent domestic as it included the two foreign reactors for Koodangulam ( 2 X 1000 MW). Plans are also on to import more reactors before 2022. It could be a composition of 13 indigenous reactors and imported ones to total 30,000 MW-plus.  Negotiations were on with several countries such as France, the US and Russia and the growth would come through light-water reactors. In addition, there were reactors that work on the boiling water concept, which the department was also interested in.

HC quashes ‘emergency’ land buy by Rel Power

December 5, 2009. Reliance Power, which raised $3 billion via an initial share sale last year promising a record number of power plants, saw its woes in building them compounding after the Allahabad High Court quashed an order of the Uttar Pradesh government to acquire 2,250 acres for the firm’s Dadri power project without hearing landowners’ grievances.  Part of the land acquired for the proposed 7,480 mw Dadri power project by Reliance Power may have to be renegotiated, according to the ruling. Aggrieved landowners must return the money received from the company for their land before being heard by the district collector, who will take a final call.

SMC wins Enertia Award for power generation

December 4, 2009. Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has been awarded Enertia Award 2009 for power generation. The SMC won this award for producing electricity through bio-gas that is produced during the process in sewerage treatment plant. The corporation has four sewerage treatment plants at Anjana, Bhatar, Karanj and Singanpore where bio-gas based 3.5 mega watt capacity power plants produce green energy and electricity. Till date, these four power plants have produced 1,97,00,000 units of electricity and saved Rs 8,50,00,000 by way of electricity bills.

Coal India yet to implement import linked prices

December 4, 2009. Coal India Ltd is adopting a conservative approach in pricing despite being allowed to charge import-linked price for the country's minuscule reserve of 12-13 million tonnes of A- and B-grade high quality coal. The company was allowed to charge import-linked price for superior grade coal in October. Eastern Coalfields Ltd, which has the country's largest reserve of 11 million tonnes of superior coal having highest energy value and low sulphur content, recently entered into MoUs with four West Bengal-based power producers to sell the underground production of 5 million tonnes of A- and B-grade coal at an import-linked price of Rs 3,500-3,700 a tonne. The four power producers are CESC Ltd, West Bengal Power Development Corporation Ltd, Durgapur Projects Ltd and Damodar Valley Corporation.

Bharat Forge, Alstom ink JV deal; to invest Rs 24 bn

December 4, 2009. French power company Alstom and Kalyani Group flagship company Bharat Forge has formed a joint venture and would invest Rs 24 bn in setting up a facility in Gujarat for manufacturing power equipment.  The foundation would manufacture 300 -800 MW subcritical and supercritical equipment with an annual capacity of 5,000 MW, Bharat Forge said in a statement. Mundra SEZ of Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone has been selected by Alstom-Bharat Forge to set up the facility, Alstom, the global leader in equipment and services for power, said in a separate statement.  This Rs 24 bn Alstom-Bharat Forge Project will utilise Mundra Port extensively for moving the project equipment manufactured at the site to prospective customers.

Punjab plans Rs 360 bn funding for 5 power projects

December 3, 2009. Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal said his government would invest Rs 360 bn to set up five power projects - four thermal power projects in Amritsar, Rajpura, Gidderbaha and Mansa, and a hydel project at Sahapur Khadi - during the next four years to generate over 6,400 mw electricity. The current installed power capacity of the state is 6,400 mw and the state plans to more than double this by 2013.

Orissa hopes to generate 9820 MW by 2014

December 3, 2009. The Orissa government hopes to generate about 9820 Mw power in the state by 2014.This includes 2400 Mw to be generated by Sterlite Energy Ltd, 1050 Mw by GMR Kamalanga Energy Ltd, 1050 Mw by Nava Bharat Energy and 600 Mw to be generated by KVK Nilachal Power.  Besides, Jindal India Thermal Power Ltd (JITPL) is expected to generate 1200 Mw, Monnet Power Company Ltd (1000 Mw), Lanco Babandh Power (1320 Mw), Ind Barath Energy (Utkal) 700 Mw and Arati Steels (500 Mw.

Sterlite Energy ties up Rs 100 bn for Talwandi Sabo project

December 3, 2009. Vedanta Group company Sterlite Energy has arranged Rs 100 bn for setting up the Talwandi Sabo thermal power plant in Punjab that is expected to be commissioned by 2012. The company (Sterlite) has completed its formalities with regard to the financial closure of 1,980 MW Talwandi Sabo power plant as it has tied up with funds.

Nalco looks at hydel power to cut costs

December 2, 2009. The Central-sector National Aluminium Company (NALCO) is keen to develop hydel power stations down Hirakud dam as running smelter with coal-fired power plants become costly.  The Orissa government has identified three sites -– Sindol-I (100 MW) at Deogaon, Sindol II (100 MW) at Kapasira and Sindol III (120 MW) at Godhaneswar -– down the Hirakud dam on the river Mahanadi. The three projects have been approved by the government of India.

SERC rejects Kerala Electricity Board plea for tariff revision

December 2, 2009. Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission (KSERC) has rejected a petition filed by Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) in July this year, seeking to rationalise power tariff in the State to mop up an additional revenue of around Rs 1.5 bn annually.  KSERC, in its order issued after public hearings and other mandated procedures, rejected the long list of tariff adjustments proposed in the petition on the ground that the Electricity Act of 2003 did not favour widening the cross-subsidy element in the tariff structure.

CESC likely to generate power from Budge Budge third unit soon

December 2, 2009. CESC Ltd is expecting to put its third 250 MW unit at Budge Budge in full generation mode beginning end December. Considering the low power demand in the State during the winter months, the additional capacity may help CESC earn extra money through spot sales of (excess) power to the States in the northern region during the January-March quarter.  Demand for power remains relatively high during the night in North for heating purposes as well as for agricultural use.  Though it came on stream in September, the third unit at the Budge Budge thermal power station unit could never produce consistently at full load due to delay in setting up the requisite transmission and evacuation facility.




PetroChina to double production at domestic ventures

December 8, 2009. PetroChina Co., the nation’s largest oil company, aims to more than double the output at domestic oil and gas fields that it operates with foreign companies to help meet rising energy demand in the country. The Beijing-based company plans to increase the output to the equivalent of at least 15 million metric tons a year by 2015, or 109.5 million barrels annually, compared with 6.57 million tons in 2008, parent China National Petroleum Corp. said. 

Northern petroleum fires up gas production at Grolloo field

December 8, 2009. Northern and its partners have started gas production from the Grolloo gas field, the first of four gas and two oil fields planned for development onshore The Netherlands. The Grolloo facilities have been commissioned and first gas sales commenced on December 4, 2009 at a daily rate of 200,000 normal cubic meters a day (7.4mmscfd).

Repsol, Galp join natural gas liquefaction project in Brazil's pre-salt

December 8, 2009. Repsol and Galp Energia have joined the joint venture, formed initially by Petrobras and BG Group, to develop a FEEDs (Front Engineering and Design) aiming to build an onboard natural gas liquefaction unit (ONGU) to operate in blocks BM-S-9 and BM-S-11 in the Santos Basin's Pre-Salt Pole, located 300 kilometers off the Brazilian coast. The ONGU, an unprecedented project in the world, is one of the technological transportation solutions that can be used to outflow the natural gas produced in the pre-salt layers.

NZ's Tui field pumps 25 million barrels of oil

December 7, 2009. Tui operator AWE said that after the end of the period the 25 million barrel mark had been reached. This was substantially ahead of initial projections, and a significant milestone for the business. Oil production continued from the Tui fields during the quarter, with average daily production of 15,359 bopd.  Gross oil production reached 1.41 million barrels (with AWE share 0.60 million barrels) in the latest quarter.

Goldman expects crude oil to average $110 in 2011

December 3, 2009. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. expects crude oil to average $110 a barrel in New York in 2011 as demand from developing markets exhausts spare capacity, the bank said.  West Texas Intermediate oil will average $90 a barrel next year with prices rising toward the end of 2010, the New York- based bank said. Goldman slashed its 2010 U.S. natural-gas price forecast to $6 per million British thermal units from $7.30 as production of unconventional gas rises. Goldman said it expects the global gas glut to persist for the “next few years,” driven by LNG supplies.

Suncor reports on oil sands production for Nov

December 3, 2009. Suncor's oil sands production during November averaged approximately 314,000 barrels per day (bpd). Year-to-date oil sands production at the end of November averaged approximately 297,000 bpd. Suncor is targeting average oil sands production of 290,000 to 305,000 bpd in 2009. Production numbers include upgraded sweet and sour synthetic crude oil and diesel, as well as non-upgraded bitumen sold directly to the market, from all Suncor-operated facilities.

ConocoPhillips turns on taps at North Belut gas field

December 3, 2009. ConocoPhillips announced that gas production commenced on November 16 at the North Belut field, located in Indonesia's South Natuna Block B.  The North Belut field is anticipated to reach production of 200 million standard cubic feet per day by 2010, with 20,000 barrels per day of condensate and liquefied petroleum gas, the report said. Initial production was slated to begin in September, but the startup was delayed by the operator over concerns about the field's production stability. 

Tatneft gets go-ahead to develop South Kishma oil field

December 2, 2009. Tatneft has received a letter from the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Syria on November 22, 2009 with approval of coordinates of the development area (South Kishma field). South Kishma is the first field to be developed on the basis of a contract for exploration and development on PSA terms within Block number 27, which was signed in March 2005.

Marathon makes small gas discovery in greater Alvheim area

December 2, 2009. Marathon Petroleum Norge AS has concluded the drilling of wildcat well 25/4-10 A. The well, which encountered gas, was drilled on the South Kneler prospect about six kilometers south of the production vessel on the Alvheim field in the North Sea. The first branch of the dual branched exploration well was an oil discovery, Viper, which will most likely be developed as a tie-back to the Alvheim FPSO.


PetroChina starts work on Ningxia refinery

December 7, 2009. PetroChina, China's largest oil and gas producer, has started construction of a refinery project with a capacity of 5 million metric tons (tonnes) per year in China's northwestern Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.  The refinery project will be completed at the end of 2012.  Once it is in full operation, the project should produce 1.73 million tonnes/year of gasoline and 2.38 million tonnes/year of diesel. It will also produce 210,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and 100,000 tons of polypropylene annually.

Sinopec to speed up ethylene project in Central China

December 7, 2009. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., the nation’s biggest refiner, will speed up the construction of an 800,000 metric-ton-a-year ethylene plant in central China as local demand for chemicals improves. Beijing-based Sinopec, as China Petroleum is known, and the government of Wuhan city, where the plant will be built, signed an agreement to expedite the project, parent China Petrochemical Corp. said. 

Kenya plans to double refinery capacity to 3.2 million tons

December 7, 2009. Kenya plans to double refinery capacity to 3.2 million metric tons annually over the next three years, Mohamed Mahamud, assistant energy minister said at a conference in New Delhi.

Vietnam's first oil refinery reaches sales milestone

December 7, 2009. Vietnam's first oil refinery, Dung Quat, reported that it has sold its one millionth tonne of products, all meeting design quality standards, during its ongoing trial operation period which began in February of this year. By December 2, the refinery, located in the central province of Quang Ngai, had produced 1.14 million tonnes of various products.

Utah refinery updates to reduce emissions

December 4, 2009. The Woods Cross refinery of the Holly Refining and Marketing Company recently announced improvements to the flares at the refinery and the replacement of an older compressor with a new one, which results in a reduction in emissions.

Tohoku to import LNG from Tangguh

December 4, 2009. Tohoku Electric Power Co.  of Japan has signed a contract to import 125,000 tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) a year from Tangguh, Indonesia. Tohoku signed the 15-year contract effective as from next year with state oil and gas company PT Pertamina and BP Tangguh, the operator of the Tangguh LNG plant in Papua. The Japanese buyer will pay the LNG with a price to follow the prices in international market, Basuki Trikora Putra, a vice president of Pertamina as the lead seller.  The contract was only an initial agreement and needs the approval of the energy and mineral resources minister.

Brazil Abreu Lima refinery to cost more, open later

December 4, 2009. The Abreu Lima refinery in Brazil, a joint venture between state-run oil companies Petrobras and Venezuela's PDVSA, will cost roughly 23 billion reais ($13.3 bln), more than triple its previous estimate said. The expected start-up date for the refinery had been pushed back to April, 2012, from March, 2011, previously, while the capacity has been raised 30,000 barrels per day to 230,000 bpd. 

Transportation / Trade

Tokyo Electric signs on for Chevron's Wheatstone LNG

December 7, 2009. Chevron has signed a Heads of Agreement (HOA) with the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to deliver 4.1 million tons per annum (MTPA) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for up to 20 years from the Wheatstone Project in northwestern Australia.   Under the agreement, TEPCO also intends to acquire 15 percent of Chevron's equity share in the Wheatstone field licenses and an 11.25 percent interest in the Wheatstone natural gas processing facilities to be developed onshore near Onslow in northwestern Australia.  The initial phase of the Wheatstone project will have the capacity to process 8.6 MTPA of LNG and will include a domestic gas plant. A final investment decision is expected in 2011.

Mitsui O.S.K. may boost LNG, oil shipping amid slump

December 7, 2009. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., operator of the world’s largest merchant fleet, is considering a greater focus on shipping liquefied-natural-gas and oil as overcapacity damps rates for hauling cargo boxes. Mitsui O.S.K., the only one of Japan’s big three shipping lines to predict a profit this year, has already cut its container fleet 15 percent as rates tumble on lower U.S. and European consumer spending and a growing global supply of vessels. LNG and oil may be more stable markets as tankers are more expensive to build.

Q-Max sets sail for Sabine Pass

December 7, 2009. Qatargas saw the departure of the first Q-Max vessel with a liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo onboard to the United States of America. The vessel Umm Slal, which set sail from Ras Laffan Port with 240,000 cubic meters of LNG, is expected to reach the Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Louisiana on New Year's eve. The Q-Max has 80 percent more capacity than conventional LNG carriers, with about 40 percent lower energy requirements due to the economies of scale created by their size, and the efficiency of the engines. Q-Max LNG carriers are unique to Qatar and are purpose built to allow for more efficient transport of Qatar's natural gas to markets throughout the world.

Barnett pipeline operators investigate emissions concerns

December 3, 2009. The Texas Pipeline Association (TPA) reported that it has a substantial interest in ongoing discussion regarding natural gas compression activities in DISH, Texas, which is located north of Fort Worth. TPA consists of 33 pipeline company members who collectively engage in the gathering, processing, and transportation of natural gas through pipelines in the State of Texas. A number of TPA members including Crosstex Energy, Atmos Energy, Chesapeake Energy, Enbridge, and Energy Transfer operate facilities in or around DISH.

Policy / Performance

ExxonMobil charges ahead with PNG LNG project

December 8, 2009. ExxonMobil announced that the co-venturers have agreed to proceed with the development of the Papua New Guinea (PNG) liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, pending completion of sales and purchase agreements with LNG buyers and finalization of financing arrangements with lenders.  Pending completion of these sales and financing arrangements, significant project activity will commence in 2010. Esso Highlands is the operator of the project. The PNG LNG Project is an integrated development that includes gas production and processing facilities, onshore and offshore pipelines and liquefaction facilities with capacity of 6.6 million tons per year.

New Zealand grants permit between Maari, Maui fields to Octanex

December 7, 2009. Octanex NL subsidiary Octanex NZ Ltd has been awarded its first New Zealand exploration permit between three offshore Taranaki commercial fields: Tui, Maui, and Maari. Octanex says it believes there is real potential in a deeper part of the Kea feature about 15 km north of the Maari oil field. In addition to the Kea Deep, the Kakapo, Toke and Matuku features will be examined.

Planning concludes for China's third West-to-East pipeline route

December 7, 2009. The third West-to-East natural gas pipeline has completed its planning route, though the plan is still subject to government approval, reported C1 Energy.  C1 Energy cited a source from the China Petroleum Planning and Engineering Institute as saying that the third West-to-East pipeline's route will originate in Xinjiang, just as the second West-to-East pipeline, but that its end destination may lie in Sichuan, Guangdong, or Fujian provinces. The source said that PetroChina would prefer Fujian to be selected as the destination.  The third West-to-East pipeline's route partly overlaps with the second West-to-East pipeline, allowing the former's construction to have already begun, said C1 Energy.  The third pipeline, with its capacity equal to the second's of 30 billion cubic meters, will start operation in 2012 as planned. Given that Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan all intend to supply China with gas, the third pipeline will likely draw gas from their resources.

CNOOC to dip toes in deepwater South China Sea next year

December 7, 2009. Cnooc Ltd. plans to start drilling deepwater wells in the South China Sea next year, marking the company's initial foray into deepwater oil and gas exploration. Company officials made a series of overseas visits to Australia, Brazil and Nigeria to share experience in deepwater oil exploration technologies. Cnooc's current exploration partners in the South China Sea include independent oil and gas producer Devon Energy Corp., Canada's Husky Energy Inc. and BG Group PLC. The South China Sea is one of Cnooc's most important natural gas and oil producing areas, with typical water depths ranging from 40 to 120 meters. Cnooc's deepwater drilling plan underscores the blue-chip company's drive to make the South China Sea a key production base in the coming years, with the area estimated to contain 22 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Unified vision eludes energy corridor panel

December 4, 2009. Tensions between Maine and Canada over proposed LNG facilities in Passamaquoddy Bay once again have spilled over into efforts to develop regulations for potentially lucrative lease agreements between the state and energy companies. A 13-member commission reached agreement on most major issues surrounding so-called "energy corridors" but deadlocked Wednesday over whether to extend a moratorium on such projects in response to Canadian opposition to LNG tankers in the bay.

Eni, Gazprom welcome France's entry into South Stream project

December 4, 2009. Gazprom Chairman Alexey Miller and Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni signed, in the presence of the President of the Russian Federation Dimitrij Medvedev and Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the agreement allowing the entry of France's EdF in the South Stream project, the gas pipeline system, currently under study, which will link Russia to the European Union across the Black Sea and will significantly contribute to improving the security of energy supply for Europe. The agreement, in principle, welcomes EdF to participate in the South Stream project under conditions to be defined in the next months.

Kuwait eyes 4th refinery; to boost LNG imports

December 3, 2009. State-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp., or KPC, may again invite bids for a $15 billion refinery project after the government cancelled contracts earlier this year due to objections from lawmakers. KPC will refer the project to the Supreme Petroleum Council, the country's top oil decision making body, once it is formed.  The Supreme Petroleum Council's term ended in October and the new formation has yet to be announced.

ExxonMobil targets 165,000 bpd at Banyuurip field starting 2013

December 2, 2009. ExxonMobil Oil Indonesia aims to produce 165,000 barrels of oil per day from its Banyuurip field starting in 2013.  ExxonMobil was waiting for approval from the Upstream Oil and Gas Executive Agency (BP Migas) to call a tender for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of production facilities. Exxon is currently hiring production facilities from a third party for three years to produce 20,000 bpd.



Brazil's petrobras to test ethanol-fuelled power generation 

December 8, 2009. Brazil's state-owned oil and gas giant Petrobras will begin testing ethanol-fueled generation of electric power in the next 21 days. The project, developed in partnership with the multinational General Electric (GE), will be carried out in a thermoelectric plant in the city of Juiz de Fora in the southeastern Minas Geraisstate, said Petrobras's Gas and Energy Director Maria das Gracas Foster.  If the results are positive, the experience may be useful for other countries such as Japan, which have similar turbines, said the official.

US power plant agrees to pay $300,000 fine

December 7, 2009. Connecticut environmental regulators say the operators of a Bridgeport power plant have agreed to pay a nearly $300,000 penalty for allegedly exceeding pollution limits and underreporting emissions.The Department of Environmental Protection announced a consent agreement with Bridgeport Energy LLC, which operates two electricity generating turbines in the state's largest city.

Indonesian says coal sale rule no bar to exports

December 7, 2009. Indonesia will let coal producers keep exporting, despite missing domestic sales requirements as smaller firms undercut them in an apparent delay to a 2008 rule. In the metal mining sector, the government would not push miners to set up their own smelters to process minerals locally, particularly if production was low. The policy change is likely to be welcomed by mining firms, many of which had complained that the requirement to process all mining products into metals locally, either by setting up their own smelters or using another smelter for processing, could inflate costs or deter investment.

Japan 2010 coal imports seen flat, India's robust -industry

December 3, 2009. Thermal coal imports by Japan, the world's largest steam coal buyer, may be flat in 2010 on doubts over a recovery while India's imports are expected to be robust, buyers and analysts said. Japan's thermal coal imports in 2010 would be unchanged from this year's figure, at about 110 million tonnes, compared with about 124 million tonnes in 2008. Japanese electricity wholesaler J-Power or Electric Power Development Co is Japan's biggest coal user.

U.S miner seeks to boost Asian coal sales

December 3, 2009. U.S. coal miner, Global Coal Sales Group, expects to sell up to 4 million tonnes a year of coal to Asia within the next 3-4 years helped by growing demand in the region for high quality coal. Global Coal Sales said in September it expected to send several trial cargoes of coal to Asia by the end of the year and hopes that will lead to more.  Last year's economic downturn hit both steel and electricity demand in the United States and miners were forced to cut back on production as coal prices slumped. But now there are signs that coal demand is picking up. 

Policy / Performance

Saudi awards power transmission deals to NCC

December 8, 2009. The Electricity & Water Ministry has awarded Saudi Arabia’s National Contracting Company KWD 3.2 million power transmission contract in Kuwait. As per report, NCC will study, design, install, operate and maintain 11 kV overhead lines on Subiya road. In March, NCC won a contract to build transformers at the Saad al Abdullah substation. The engineering, procurement and construction contract covers the installation of five 132/11 kV transformers at the site.

Raila pursues nuclear power in Vienna

December 8, 2009. The International Atomic Energy Agency has agreed to partner with Kenya in the country´s quest to develop nuclear energy as an alternative source of power. Reliance on hydro-electric power has however failed Kenya as it fluctuates, making the country's economy unable to compete with big and competing African economies like South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria.

SN Power to build Cheves plant, Peru

December 8, 2009. SN Power of Norway has won a contract to build the US$300M Cheves hydroelectric project in Peru’s Lima region.

Construction work on the 168.2MW plant is expected to start early next year, with completion scheduled for July 2014. As part of its contract, SN Power will also build a 220kW transmission line for the project.

Nigeria: TUC Faults FG over allocation to power sector

December 7, 2009. The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has faulted the Federal government over the N156 billion (S1.4 billion) allocated to the power sector in the proposed 2010 budget. The interest group said it considered the money as paltry and incapable of ensuring the achievement of 10000MW of electricity by 2010.   

$350 mn for a plant near Odessa

December 7, 2009. The federal Department of Energy has awarded a $350 million grant to a company that plans to build a more environmentally friendly coal-fired plant near Odessa.  Summit Texas Clean Energy LLC of Bainbridge Island, Wash., is pitching a $1.7 billion plant capable of producing 400 megawatts, enough to power 400,000 homes. The department announced its decision two years after the Midland-Odessa area lost out on a similar project called FutureGen. Officials used the legwork from that proposal to boost their latest bid.

Australia to have nuclear power in 20 years, state leader says 

December 4, 2009. Australia, the world’s second-largest uranium producer, will have its own nuclear power plants within 20 years, Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett said. While Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s government is opposed to building reactors, new opposition leader Tony Abbott said there should be a debate about using nuclear power to counter climate change. Barnett lifted Western Australia’s ban on mining uranium, which is processed into nuclear fuel, after winning power in September 2008. The state has as much as 10 percent of the world’s known uranium reserves, worth about A$40 billion ($37 billion), according to a government estimate.

Renewable Energy / Climate Change Trends


India not acting under pressure on climate change issue: Saran

December 8, 2009. With nations engaged in tough negotiations for a new climate treaty, India has said its decision on voluntary reduction of carbon emission intensity was not announced under pressure but was made to "facilitate and promote a successful outcome at Copenhagen". India decided to cut down its carbon emission intensity by 20-25 per cent by 2020 in the run up to the Copenhagen summit, shortly after a similar declaration by China.  Shyam Saran said India would stick to the fundamental elements of the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and that legally binding quantitative emission reduction targets obligations should be on developed countries not on developing countries.

Kolkata mass rally prays for success of Copenhagen climate summit

December 8, 2009. Thousands of enthusiasts of green nature from different walks of life participated in a huge procession here for the success of the International Climate Change conference that commenced in Copenhagen. As part of the rally, which was mooted by the Sundarbans Affairs Department, West Bengal Green Energy Development Corporation (WBGEDC) and several other voluntary fora, a giant balloon with the message 'Save Sundarbans' inscribed on it, was released.

REpower bags Rs 8.6 bn US order

December 7, 2009. Suzlon Energy subsidiary REpower Systems, Germany, has signed a Rs 8.6 bn contract with enXco, a California-based renewable energy company for supplying 70 wind turbines. REpower will supply the MM92 turbine (2.05 MW rated power) by mid-2011 for a wind farm project on the West Coast. Since 2006, REpower and enXco, a part of EDF Energies Nouvelles Group of France, have implemented a series of wind farm projects in California, Indiana and Washington. To date, REpower has installed/sold 390 wind turbines in the US, said a company press statement.

Rationale for implementing blended petrol programme questioned

December 7, 2009. Alcohol-based chemical manufacturers have questioned the rationale for implementing the five per cent ethanol blended petrol (EPB) programme during the current sugar season in view of the restricted availability of molasses/alcohol. According to the industry, sugar mills have in the past never honoured their supply commitments to oil marketing companies. In their original three-year contract with oil companies (which expired on October 31), the mills were required to supply ethanol at a fixed ex-distillery price of Rs 21.50 a litre. In many cases, though, they merrily defaulted and paid the penalty on the undelivered quantities.

Auto, oil sectors worried as clean fuel deadline looms large

December 6, 2009. India’s automobile and oil sectors are getting ready to face an explosive situation on the clean fuel deadline that comes into effect from April 1, 2010. This date will see 14 cities graduate to Bharat Stage IV emission norms (from the present BS III) while the rest of the country transits to BS III from BS II levels. Simply put, it means that cars, utility-vehicles and trucks in the top rung cities will, from April 1, be supplied cleaner BS IV petrol and diesel while other vehicles will get a leg up with BS III fuel.

Karnataka villagers reduce carbon emissions by using biogas

December 5, 2009. At a time when the world pressure is on India to rein in its 'carbon intensity', a non-descript village in Karnataka has set an example by choosing biogas over the conventional firewood hence, unknowingly pitching in its bit towards reducing carbon emissions. The lives of the residents of Doddapalli village located in Bagepalli sub-division of Kolar district in the state have changed drastically after opting for biogas. At present around 80 biogas plants are operating successfully in the village and more are being set up.

Climate change lessons for J&K: 17 GWs of power to be generated by 2029

December 2, 2009. Before rivers in J&K run dry owing to the climate change, the state wants to tap every drop of water to enrich itself in the clean energy. Trillons of cusecs of water has been wasted every year in the past 62 years.  Currently the state is generating only 2318 MWs of power - 1560 MW in the Central sector - Salal (690), Dul Hasti (390) and Uri (480) and rest 758 MW in state sector, of which 450 MW is generated by Baglihar. Earlier, there were limited options of only National Hydro-electric Projects Corporation (NHPC) offering to construct the projects, and it took 17 to 25 years to execute the projects. Now the state has options, mostly from the private sector and international companies. The Jammu and Kashmir government has identified 310 power projects - right from the Indus basin to Chnab basin  in Jammu and Jhelum  and Sindh basins in the Valley, with an estimated power generating capacity  of 17,000 MWs.


International Research Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change

December 8, 2009. Four Canadian organizations have launched a research initiative to explore how people in Canada and in developing countries can deal with the impacts of climate change. The International Research Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change is a $12.5-million collaboration between the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Volvo plans to manufacture vehicle fuel from landfill gas

December 8, 2009. Volvo Technology Transfer's subsidiary Terracastus Technologies has signed a Letter of Intent with Nordvastra Skanes Renhallningsbolag (NSR) to establish a joint company for upgrading biogas to a liquefied biogas (LBG). This upgrading venture will enable NSR's plant in Helsingborg to reduce its annual carbon emissions by 40,000 tons, compared with using diesel fuel.  Following its completion in the third quarter of 2011, the plant is expected to produce fuel replacing 15 million liters of diesel per year, making it one of the largest plants for biogas upgrading in the world. Biogas is a climate-neutral fuel whereby fuel produced in a plant can contribute to reducing carbon emissions by 40,000 tons per year compared to using diesel fuel.

China's solar power capacity will reach 20 mln kWh in 2020

December 7, 2009. China plans to achieve the goal of 20 million kWh of installed solar power capacity in 2020. The goal is over 10 times the target set by the government two years ago.  In the wind power sector, the government set a goal close to market estimation. China would establish 7 wind power bases which would have over 10 million kWh of power capacity each. By 2020, China's wind power capacity will reach 150 million kWh.

Africa seeking $40 bn a year in climate aid

December 7, 2009. Rich nations at the Copenhagen climate summit should commit $40 billion a year in new money to help Africa tackle the consequences of global warming, the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB) said.

UK mulling tax cut on company electric cars

December 7, 2009. Britain is considering cutting the tax on company-owned electric cars to 0 percent in a bid to stimulate the market for greener vehicles. Businesses currently pay National Insurance contributions and employees pay income tax, based on the cost of company cars and its CO2 emissions. The range varies from 9 percent for electric cars to 10-35 percent for fossil fuel cars.

Obama pressed by companies to back 10-year C02 peak

December 7, 2009. Now that U.S. President Barack Obama has given fresh impetus to climate-change negotiations in Copenhagen, corporate leaders supporting an agreement to control greenhouse-gas emissions are pressing anew for action. The International Energy Agency, a trade group for the U.S. and 27 more oil-consuming nations, and companies from Allianz SE to Coca-Cola Co. say envoys can agree to halt the growth of emissions within 10 years and keep global temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Feds award $600 mn for biorefinery projects

December 7, 2009. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) on Friday applauded the announcement of over $600 million in grants and loan guarantees to help build 19 new biorefinery projects to produce advanced biofuels and biobased chemicals from renewable feedstocks. The funding represents the largest single federal investment in advanced biorefineries to date.  

Carbon will be biggest commodity market

December 7, 2009. Carbon dioxide will become the largest commodity traded in the world as governments curtail emissions of greenhouse gases that scientists say accelerates global warming, according to Richard Sandor, chairman of Climate Exchange Plc, owner of emissions markets in London and Chicago. Point Carbon, an Oslo-based firm that analyzes environmental markets, estimates that by 2020, the U.S. carbon market could surge to more than $300 billion. That’s based on an assumption that the allowances, each representing a ton of carbon dioxide taken out of the atmosphere, would trade for $15.

ADB pitches for $2 bn clean energy funding

December 7, 2009. The Asian Development Bank, a lender to developing countries in Asia, plans to help raise more than $2 billion in private equity and venture capital to boost clean-energy spending in the region, an official said.  The bank is evaluating a program to invest as much as $100 million in venture capital funds to raise $1 billion and is investing $100 million in five private equity funds, which plan to finish raising $1 billion by next year. 

Harper says global recovery must precede environment

December 7, 2009. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he will use Canada’s co-chairmanship of next year’s Group of 20 countries meeting to urge members to put economic recovery before efforts to protect the environment. Harper is in Seoul, his last stop on an Asian tour, to discuss with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak how the G20 conference they’re co-chairing in Canada will advance efforts to coordinate a global recovery.

EU signals may back away from greenhouse-gas proposal

December 7, 2009. The European Union signalled it may back away from its proposal to reduce greenhouse gases by 30 percent in the bloc, the biggest group of industrialized countries negotiating at United Nations climate talks. The 27-nation bloc blamed China and the U.S. on the opening day of climate talks in Copenhagen, saying they must do more than they’ve pledged to persuade the EU to raise its own emissions-reduction commitment to help contain global warming.  The U.S. and China, which emit 40 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, made offers less than two weeks ago on steps they’ll take to curb climate change. Their pledges aren’t enough to convince the EU to bump up its reduction goal to 30 percent from 20 percent in the three decades through 2020.

Renewables to supply one-third of China's energy by 2050

December 6, 2009. China's renewable energy strategy through 2050 envisions renewable energy making up one-third of its energy consumption by then, the China Daily said, as the upcoming Copenhagen conference on climate change highlights the world's dependence on fossil fuels. Coal-dependent China, the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter, last month said it would cut the amount of carbon dioxide produced for each yuan of national income by 40-45 percent by 2020, compared to 2005 levels.  By 2020, renewable energy should account for 15 percent of national primary energy consumption, supplying the equivalent of 600 million metric tons of coal, the China Daily said this weekend.

U.S. officials see bright future for new Toledo biofuel plant

December 5, 2009. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics, said the technology being developed in Toledo to convert biomatter as simple as yard waste into a clean alternative to traditional diesel fuel is likely to have broad-reaching effects on communities across the world.  The grant will fund a pilot expansion of Red Lion's small biomass diesel refinery near the University of Toledo's Health Science Campus in South Toledo.

Brazil ethanol group, Amyris form JV

December 3, 2009. Brazilian sugar and ethanol group Sao Martinho SA and U.S. company Amyris Biotechnologies formed a joint venture to develop chemical and biofuel products from sugarcane. As part of the agreement, Sao Martinho, one of the largest sugar and ethanol producers in Brazil, sold a 40% stake in its ethanol mill Boa Vista to Amyris for BRL140 million Brazilian reais ($82 million).  

Copenhagen failure defied by $200 bn in green investments

December 3, 2009. Renewable-energy investment may climb to a record $200 billion worldwide next year as companies from Hong Kong’s CLP Holdings Ltd. to American Electric Power Co. start projects that don’t depend on a new climate-change treaty.  Private and public spending on technology such as solar panels and wind turbines will rise about 50 percent from $130 billion this year and top the previous high of $155 billion in 2008, according to New Energy Finance, a consulting firm whose data is used by the United Nations and Deutsche Bank AG.

UN CO2 board has not suspended Chinese wind projects

December 3, 2009. The United Nations Clean Development Mechanism, the world’s second-biggest greenhouse gas market, has not suspended Chinese wind farms from receiving carbon credits, said Lex de Jonge, chairman of the mechanism’s executive board. The board will this week make a final decision on the approval of 10 wind farms, he said.

Climate talk collapse better for planet: NASA's Hansen

December 3, 2009. The planet would be better off if the forthcoming Copenhagen climate change talks ended in collapse, according to a leading U.S. scientist who helped alert the world to dangers of global warming. Any agreement likely to emerge from the negotiations would be so deeply flawed, said James Hansen, that it would be better for future generations if we were to start again from scratch. Hansen is strongly opposed to carbon market schemes, in which permits to pollute are bought and sold, seen by the European Union and other governments as the most efficient way to cut emissions and move to a new clean energy economy. Hansen opposes U.S. President Barack Obama's plans for a cap and trade system for carbon emissions in the United States, preferring a tax on energy use.

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