MonitorsPublished on Apr 27, 2010
Energy News Monitor I Volume VI, Issue 45
Living with Coal Climate policy’s most inconvenient truth

David G. Victor and Richard K. Morse


overnments around the world are now struggling with the question of how to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. The task is bigger than any other environmental challenge humanity has faced. Carbon dioxide, the leading human cause of global warming, is an intrinsic byproduct of burning the fossil fuels that power the world economy and thus difficult to regulate.

All fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide when burned, but the real heart of the warming problem is coal. Emissions from coal are growing faster than from any other fossil fuel. Beyond greenhouse-gas pollution, coal is linked to a host of other environmental troubles such as local air pollution, which is why a powerful coalition of environmentalists in the richest and greenest countries is rallying to stop coal. Mired in opposition, barely any new coal plants are being built anywhere in the industrialized world. Coal, it may seem, is on the precipice.

Yet coal remains indispensable. No other fuel matches its promise of cheap and abundant energy for development. About half the electricity in the United States comes from burning coal. Germany, the anchor of old Europe’s economy, is a coal country. Poland, the heart of new Europe, gets 90 percent of its electricity from coal. The fast-growing economies of Asia, in particular China and India, are all coal-fired. Indeed, while the outlook for coal consumption in the industrialized world is flat, soaring Asian growth is expected nearly to double world consumption by 2030.

The central task of any serious (and politically viable) global-warming policy, then, is to reconcile these diverging patterns. Measured by this standard, the world’s leading governments have barely begun to get serious, as the troubled efforts to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto treaty, which expires in 2012, have revealed. The largest hurdle is reaching agreement on the division of efforts between the highly industrialized and the still-emerging countries. The rich industrialized nations account for most historical emissions and seem to care the most about global warming, yet essentially all growth in emissions now occurs within the emerging countries. China is, by far, the world’s largest coal burner and therefore the world’s largest emitter. A host of new technologies make it possible, in theory, to burn coal while safely burying nearly all the pollution underground; “carbon capture and storage” plants using this technology are the industry darlings. But enthusiastic talk about such technologies notwithstanding, real investment in this very expensive option is a bare whisper.

Coal thus sits at the center of the most inconvenient truth about global-warming policy: the countries that proclaim greatest concern about global warming are barely investing in the new coal plants that could help chart a better path for the world. Meanwhile, the fastest-growing countries have few incentives to invest in new climate-friendly technologies. And simplistic solutions, such as banning coal outright, are politically naïve because the fuel is so easy to use and offers the cheapest way to electrify most of the world.


oal has been the fuel of choice for industrial economies since the early nineteenth century, when fossil fuels began to power growth. Initially, most coal was moved to where it was needed and burned directly in industrial boilers, at steel mills, on railroads, and in homes and offices. But because it was dirty and cumbersome, governments and industries found ways to keep the coal away from the people and move just the useful energy. New industries arose to heat coal, which transformed it into a less polluting gas that could be moved into towns and cities by pipe. The round brick buildings that still stand in the outskirts of towns across New England and Europe are a legacy of these early coal-gas companies.

Electricity proved the best way to move the energy from coal to where it was needed. It is much easier and cleaner to wire power to the customer than to send railcars of lumpy coal. When the National Academy of Engineering in the United States marked the millennium by ranking the most important industrial innovations of the twentieth century, it put electric power on top. Looking to a future where computers and other electric appliances dominate nearly every aspect of economic life, electricity is likely to be even more essential. Even in transportation, where oil has enjoyed a near monopoly, electricity is making tentative inroads with electric cars and better batteries. The future is electric. And, in most of the world, coal offers the cheapest way to make electric power.

Coal does not require lucky geology, like oil and gas do. It is plentiful and sits ready for easy digging.

Coal’s advantages as a fuel derive from basic geology. Oil and gas are relatively scarce because they arise only under special circumstances. Most oil fields, for example, form only when the baking and cooking of ancient plant matter underground creates liquids that persist because an impermeable “cap rock” keeps them in place. The best oil fields in fact require a trifecta of well-cooked plants, large cap rocks, and a lot of subterranean gas to keep the stuff under pressure and easy to extract. As a result, the least expensive oil and gas supplies are concentrated in a handful of countries.

Coal does not require such lucky geology. The world’s coal resources are distributed more liberally across the planet. (That is why few policy planners lose sleep worrying about dependence on foreign or flaky coal suppliers.) To be sure, the distribution of coal is not uniform. Measured by what is in the ground, and assuming today’s technology and levels of consumption, the United States is particularly well-endowed, with about 250 years of coal on hand. But China and India also have considerable resources; so, too, do Australia and Russia. In fact, nearly all the world’s major economies—France and Japan are among the few exceptions—have become powerhouses by tapping prodigious local coal deposits. Aside from being widely dispersed, coal does not move by itself (it needs no cap rock to hold it in place) and is easy to extract (no gas is needed to pressure it to the surface). The fuel is plentiful and sits ready for easy digging.

Nobody is sure just how much is buried around the planet. The World Energy Council estimates “proven reserves”: what is surely on hand and recoverable at a reasonable price. Worldwide, proven reserves give the planet around 120 more years of coal. (The best estimates for proven reserves of oil and gas are 42 and 60 years, respectively.)

But total resources are always much greater than the proven reserves that accountants and bankers allow on the official books. In the coal industry, this gulf is likely to be particularly large because the fuel is so plentiful that there have been few incentives to hunt for more. In Indonesia, where efforts to find coal are still underway and miners often just dig the coal out rather than formally prove its existence, the country’s total resource is destined to be two or three times larger than what accountants recognize as proven. Much of Indonesia’s unproven coal resource is probably on Kalimantan and Sumatra, where the coastal areas are rich in coal and few have bothered to look further inland under the tangled, interior jungle. China, the world’s largest coal user, has only about 40 years left of proven reserves on its books, but that country, too, is barely surveyed and likely to hold much greater reserves.

In addition, official statistics often poorly estimate very low-grade coal, known as lignite or “brown coal.” Historically, brown coal has been a dirty stepchild of black coal—harder to burn and often laden with a nastier array of pollutants. Today, better power plant technology is making brown coal a worthier competitor, and larger amounts of it will likely enter the ranks of proven coal reserves. Eastern Europe is littered with the stuff, and German companies are intensively pursuing efficient ways to burn lignite at competitive costs.


David G. Victor is Professor of International Relations at the University of California, San Diego, where he directs the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation, funded by the nonpartisan Electric Power Research Institute.

Richard K. Morse is Research Associate at Stanford University’s Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, where he leads the group’s research on global coal markets.

to be continued…

Views are those of the author

Courtesy: Boston Review, September/October 2009

Power Sector Inefficiency – Economic & Legal Implications (part III)

Shankar Sharma, Power Policy Analyst, Thirthahally


Continued from Volume VI, Issue No. 44…



he environmental issues caused by the inefficiency in the power sector can be termed as most severe. The ever increasing number of conventional power projects such as dam based, coal based and nuclear power projects are demanding large amounts of natural resources such as land, water, coal etc. and add huge amounts of pollutants to our environment. About 42 % of CO2 and about 24% of all Green House Gases (GHGs) at the global level are known to be associated with electric power generation. In addition the pollution of land, water and air are reaching an unacceptable levels, because of which a large number of industrial zones have been declared as severely polluted and moratorium on additional industrial activity has been applied on these by MoEF. A comprehensive environmental assessment report of industrial clusters released recently by the environment ministry says more than 85% of the industrial zones in India, 75 out of 88, are severely polluted. Many of these sites have large coal power plants.

The coal power plants demand large tracts of land (about 1 acre for 1 MW of capacity) and huge quantities of fresh water (about 80 Cubic meters per 1000 KWH of energy production). They burn enormous quantity of coal (about 0.7 kg per kWH) and generate mountains of ash (about 30 % of coal consumed).  In 2005-06 the state owned coal power stations were estimated to have generated about 113 million tons of fly ash, 1 million tons of particulate matter, 347 million tons of CO2, 19 million tons of Sulphur di-oxide and tons of mercury and NOx & other flue gases.  Such a high level of pollution of the environment invariably leads to serious health problems. Global Warming; pollution of land, water and air; emission of mercury and acid rains are some of the major environmental issues with the coal power plants. A coal based power policy will need opening up of a large number of additional coal mines (in addition to the increased coal import), which are all below thick forests. While coal power plants release large amounts of GHGs, they also reduce the forest & tree cover in order to open up additional coal mines.  While the reduced forest & tree cover will reduce the ability of nature to absorb CO2, additional amount of CO2 release from the coal power plants will add to GHGs in the atmosphere.  Coal power plants, thus, will lead to accelerated Global Warming & Climate Change.

There is also another dimension of inefficiency in case of coal power plants. The technical efficiency of converting coal energy to electrical energy in Indian power stations is about 30% only. The world’s best technology claims that this can be increased to a maximum of about 40%. About 8 – 9% of such generated electrical energy gets consumed by the processes within the coal power station itself. With Transmission and Distribution loss level of about 30%, and end use loss of about 15% prevailing in the country, the overall efficiency in coal energy to electrical energy put into productive / economic use can be only of the order of about 10%.

The issues associated with other thermal power sources, such as diesel or natural gas, are similar in nature.

Large dam based hydro power plants drown large tracts of agricultural and forest lands; produce Methane which is a much more potent GHG than CO2, reduce forest and tree cover, lead to loss of bio-diversity. They also deprive the benefits of flowing water and sediment to the organisms immediate downstream of dams. Displacement of people is another major issue.

Nuclear power plants have their own share of concerns. Even after 6 decades of massive investment in the nuclear power industry the technology has not won the confidence of the public as far as its safety is concerned. The nuclear power capacity contribution to the total installed capacity is only about 4%, and the capital cost, excluding the hidden costs to the society, itself is much higher than the other conventional sources.  The inadequate reserve of Uranium as a fuel within the country, the massive damage to our environment from nuclear mining, the radiation safety issues, and the huge cost to the society of safeguarding the spent nuclear fuel for generations have all become major concern to the society.

Keeping all these issues in correct perspective, it is impossible to accept these large centralised conventional energy sources as sustainable energy options. But the state and union governments are continuing to build more and more of these power projects at huge and unbearable cost to the society.  Although the official reasons being given for the massive addition to these conventional energy capacity is that there is a severe shortage of power, and the fact that about 40% of the households in the country is deprived of electricity connection, the serious issues of huge inefficiency in the sector and the lack of clarity on the demand side management are conveniently being ignored.

As per Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change - IV Assessment Report “Emissions from deforestation are very significant – they are estimated to represent more than 18% of global emissions”; “Curbing deforestation is a highly cost-effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”  Large conventional power projects are all major contributors for deforestation either through dams, buildings, transmission lines and pollutants like coal dust, coal ash and acid rains. 

What our society is doing at present is to supply inefficiently derived electrical energy from limited conventional sources at subsidized rates for highly inefficient and /wasteful end uses, for which the real subsidy cost will be debited to the account of future generations.

3. Extent of Inefficiency - a huge drain on the society

India’s power sector is a leaking bucket; the holes deliberately crafted and the leaks carefully collected as economic rents by various stake holders that control the system. The logical thing to do would be to fix the bucket rather than to persistently emphasise shortages of power and forever make exaggerated estimates of future demand for power. Most initiatives in the power sector (IPPs and mega power projects) are nothing but ways of pouring more water into the bucket so that consistency and quantity of leaks are assured ….”

Deepak S Parekh, Chairman, Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation, September 2004.

India has been known to be exhibiting one of the lowest levels of efficiency in the overall management of a vital resource like electricity.  The average Plant Load Factor (PLF) of the coal power stations is reported to be about 63% as compared to about 90% in case of NTPC plants. With a total coal power capacity of about 80,000 MW, improved PLF of 85% national average would have provided additionally about 17,600 MW for usage with the same installed generating capacity. This is in stark comparison of about 18,000 MW peak deficit recorded between 1996 and 2009. There have not been serious efforts to improve the efficiency levels to the international best practice levels, which alone would have eliminated the deficits completely.

PLF is a measure of utilisation of the installed capacity. The inability to optimize the installed capacity is not much different in nuclear power plants where the average PLF is not much above 50% in most of the years, whereas the figure has been as high as 80% in few plants in some years. 


to be continued…


Views are those of the author

Author can be contacted at [email protected]


Technology Transfer, Policy and Climate Change: Goal 2020 for India

A roundtable was held on April 20, 2010, Tuesday, on “Goal 2020: Identifying issues, options, opportunities and frameworks towards demand side mainstreaming of climate friendly technologies through Technology Diffusion Centers”, at the ORF New Delhi campus. The roundtable saw participation from trade commissions, multilateral investors and corporates.

This roundtable was convened by the ORF in association with the India Carbon Outlook,  an independent information marketplace tracking actions related to the carbon economy as well as their impact, and the cKinetics, a venture accelerator catalyzing rapid adoption of low carbon sustainable growth practices in emerging economies through technology transfer, capital access and adaptation interventions.

The roundtable was held to identify steps that can be taken in the coming years so as to be able to achieve the impact of technology/application available to be transferred for mitigation and adaptation in India by 2020. The roundtable had the four sessions. The first and the second session were based on the discussion on climate friendly prototypes and discussion on global experiences. The third session was divided into two parallel working group discussions- Technology Transfer framework, Designing Technology Diffusion and Innovation Hub Ecosystem and Prototype Rollouts and Mass Adoption.

In his opening remarks Mr. Sunjoy Joshi, ORF Distinguished Fellow, said that pace of adoption & innovation was critical for mainstreaming climate friendly technologies and identified solar thermal technology as the most promising one for mass adoption.

The first session started with Mr. Upendra Bhatt, Managing Director, cKinetics, laying out the goals for the roundtable: facilitate technology diffusion and technology transfer; document best practices; identify prototype technology for next two years; come up with concrete suggestions. He also presented highlights from the pre-meeting questionnaire which essentially represented contrarian views on clean technology transfer.

In the second session, Mr. V. Raghuraman, Principal Advisor, Jaguar Overseas Ltd., stressed upon the need to adopt Electric Power Research Institute model in diffusing renewable technology for India. He was of the view that LED lighting technology is one of the means to provide lighting to 400 million inhabitants having no electricity. He also said that for mass adoption the technology should be user friendly. Mr. Samir Saran, ORF Vice President, said that energy efficiency is “the low hanging fruit” in achieving carbon intensity targets. Mr. Poul Jensen, Head, European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC) in India, said that India had the potential to make clean technologies mature. He also shared the EBTC experience of being a facilitator for EU clean technology. Mr. Takeshi Yoshida, chief representatives, NEDO, shared Japanese experiences in the field of energy efficiency and mentioned the “Top Runner Programme” mandated by the Japanese government through which all equipment manufacturers in Japan have to attain benchmark efficiency of the most energy efficient manufacturer. Ms. Lydia Powell, Senior Fellow, ORF, identified property rights and persistence of unorganized sector as some of the problems for mass adoption of technologies. Dr. Ramesh Jalan, Head, Solution Exchange stressed upon the necessity to improve the service support system for mass adoption renewable technologies. Mr. Kunal Upadhyay from IIM Ahemdabad conveyed the view that levelised cost of electricity was critical in determining economic viability of distributed generation. Dr. J. V. Rao, Director, NITRA, said that there was no representative baseline data at the SMEs level which was required for implementing carbon intensity reduction programmes. Prof. Rakesh Basant, IIM Ahemdabad, was of the view that choice of prototype technology was not independent choice and that inventory of prototype technologies must be created to meet diverse needs. Mr. Vishal Thapa, Director, ICF India, said that as India was extremely segmented, we should not pick winners in technology and that we must create a portfolio of solutions.

The key point that emerged from the deliberations of the parallel working groups in the afternoon session was that cost, user friendliness and durability were critical for both technology transfer from developed countries and for mass adoption of those technologies in India.

The report was prepared by Akhilesh Sati, Junior Fellow at the ORF.

Managing Volatility & Growth: A New Energy Paradigm (part II)

 (Selection of Observations from presentations made at the conclave)


Continued from Volume VI, Issue No. 44…



he factors outlined suggest that the price of energy is going to be high and the sooner we recognize this fact the better off we would be. Unfortunately in India there is still reluctance to accept that the energy prices are going to be high. This may not be a catastrophe.  In some sense it is good for this country because we are ‘labour abundant’ and therefore we can substitute labour for energy. In other words, we can substitute human capital for energy; we can substitute our innovative capability for energy. But in a world where competitive edge matters, the price of energy will reduce the edge that human capital gives. 

The question now is whether there are areas where we can take some initiatives. First we have to learn to pass through the price movements to final consumer. This does not mean that we have to opt for hard landing.  We can have a soft landing where the price pass through may not be 100 percent initially so as to ensure that consumers do not get shocks.  Shocks could potentially destabilize the economy. The second corollary of this is that instead of protecting poor consumers through prices, we need to protect them through income transfers so that we can continue to allow prices to play the role of promoting efficiency. Low prices lead to inefficient use. Therefore we must allow prices to move while protecting the vulnerable sections of our society through direct cash transfers.  Once the Universal Identity Number project is completed, direct cash transfers would become possible. Under this we can identify and protect our poor, protect our industry, protect our manufacturing sector and protect our agriculture by allowing prices to move.   Once prices are allowed to move consumers will get used to it.  But this flexibility in prices is only one way of attacking volatility. 

The second important initiative is to provide a much larger role for natural gas in our economy which will also help to both reduce costs and also manage volatility and also enhance energy security. India could potentially increase its natural gas supply volumes over the next 20 years because India has large gas reserves and new technology makes it possible to reach difficult prospects. Shale gas, once thought to be unviable is now meeting 30 percent of United States’ natural gas demand.  It is likely that even better technology will unleash gas hydrates which would meet our needs for the next 100 years. Using natural gas in a much more aggressive manner is a major measure that India can adopt to overcome the shock of volatility in energy prices and to ensure high growth of its economy.  Natural gas markets tend to be long term and therefore they reduce exposure to oil price volatility and enhance energy security.

Third is the standard element of developing much larger gas and oil storage.  As per available information India does not have any natural gas storage facility.  But natural gas storage is going to be a very important intervention that is needed to improve energy security.   Natural gas sources must be diversified by securing imports through pipelines even if they have to be laid under deep waters to reduce the threat of sabotage. 

In the longer term, India needs to make a transition to solar and nuclear energy. Fortunately, the national mission on solar energy has given an ambitious target of 20,000MW of solar power. We have the necessary resources and the management capability and technology can be purchased if necessary. The management talent from the oil industry could look at solar energy as the next frontier to challenge their management skills.  

Mr MK Venu, Editor, Financial Express

We witnessed the destructive bursting of an asset price bubble and a commodity bubble in October 2009. The perception that built up before the bubble burst when oil prices crossed $ 120/bbl was that the world was probably running out of oil and that the world may have to enhance research in alternative energy sources.  Now that the bubble has burst, the opinion is that the situation may not be so grave and that we may not be running out of hydrocarbons. Before the crisis, when the oil price bubble was building, the actual price of oil was about 16 times the underlying real demand.  Normally prior to the boom period, oil prices would be about 4 to 5 times the price underlying the real demand.  So what is interesting to note is again the speculative prices are again back to about 15 times what the underlying demand would justify.  Speculative volumes are nearly back to the levels that existed pre-Lehman collapse. The only conclusion that we can draw from this is that global excess liquidity is driving up oil prices as well as other commodity and asset prices.  If we agree that this is a liquidity driven price bubble the question arises as to whether we have a rational policy response to this recurring development.  The G20 group had undertaken to study these bubbles under the Basel framework but unfortunately the bubble formation has overtaken the evolution of an understanding in the G 20 group.   

The other concern is that if India and China are going to be among the biggest consumers of hydrocarbons over the next 20-30 years, then the price discovery mechanism of hydrocarbons should also shift to this part of the world.  It cannot be Wall Street dominated where liquidity drives up oil prices and through those prices all other global energy policy conclusions including those on whether we are running out of oil and on whether we need to invest in alternative energy sources is reached. There is yet another western construction that is thrust upon us.  It is the message that we have to shift from high carbon emitting energy sources to greener sources which are very expensive and based on speculative technology and that research will evolve enough to make these green energy sources viable. Today solar energy is priced at Rs.20 per unit when coal fired power is available at Rs.3-5 rupees per unit.

Mr Al Gore has argued for a moratorium on coal fired power as part of larger plan to combat climate change.  It is difficult to see how countries like India and China would put a moratorium on coal fired power.  As per the Planning Commission of India 800,000 MW of power capacity will come up in India by 2030 and most of this will be coal based.   India and China, in spite of their tensions on various counts, are thrown together on energy security and climate change which is probably the best way to counter the strong western consensus.

The G20 is also trying to integrate climate change issues into the new financial architecture. They discussed how international financing of coal based power projects should become more restrictive and expensive. They also discussed how India and other developing economies should submit themselves to global consensus on energy subsidies. This means that our sovereign right to cross-subsidize energy (the way it is disbursed in India now) will now be the subject of G 20 scrutiny. Though subsidies need to be corrected internally, pressure from G 20 will have an impact on India’s economic growth path and its development path. If the intention of the developed world is genuine, a trade off where developing countries like India and China are given enough carbon space and they are allowed to develop their energy resources through either local or imported resources at the right prices can be accommodated. 


The remarks are compiled from the recorded transcript of the presentations by the respective speakers. The remarks are strictly not to be reproduced or quoted. 

to be continued…

Courtesy: 8th Petro India Conference on ‘Managing Volatility & Growth: A New Energy Paradigm’ organized by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and the India Energy Forum (IEF) on November 24-25, 2009, New Delhi.


Note: Part V of the article on Oil & Gas Discovery & Production in India: Historical Milestones will be published in Volume VI, Issue 46








ONGC adds 83 mn tons of oil and gas reserves in FY'10

April 26, 2010. State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) said it has added 83 million tonnes of oil and gas reserves in the 2009-10 fiscal, the highest in two decades, even as production was lower than the target. "The ultimate reserve accretion of ONGC including its joint ventures (with firms like Cairn India) in domestic fields in 2009-10 has been 87.37 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas against the target of 76.28 million tonnes," ONGC said in a press statement. ONGC on a standalone basis added 82.98 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas reserves, "the highest ultimate reserve accretion in the last 20 years," it said.

Cairn starts second oil processing plant at Rajasthan fields

April 25, 2010. Cairn India has started a second crude oil processing plant at its giant Mangala oilfield in Thar desserts of Rajasthan, which will help the company ramp up output for the nation's most prolific oilfield. Mangala currently produces about 30,000 barrels of oil per day (1.5 million tons a year) which is processed at Train -1 near Barmer before being sold to refiners.  

Cairn will stabilize operations at Train-2 and after commissioning it will help Mangala field production to ramp up to 80,000 bpd (4 million tons a year). Peak output from Mangala is envisaged at minimum 1,25,000 bpd, expected in second half of this year. Cairn output would help offset the decline in crude oil production at ONGC that could not meet its targeted output in 2009-10 fiscal.

OIL evinces interest to take up equity in BVFCL's new plant

April 23, 2010. Oil and gas producer Oil India Ltd (OIL) has evinced interest in picking up an equity stake in Brahmaputra Valley Fertiliser Corporation's proposed urea ammonia complex at Namrup in Assam.

BVFCL is in the process of engaging a process licensor to conduct a health study of its existing plants with the aim of increasing capacity. Based on the outcome of the study, it would be decided whether to modernise the company's existing plants or install a new plant of appropriate capacity. BVFCL has a contract with OIL for supplying 1.72 million standard cubic metres a day (MMSCMD) of natural gas on a firm basis. The contracted quantity of 1.72 MMSCMD is supplied at concessional price of Rs 1,920 per 1,000 SM3.

RIL says examining JV proposals for exploration abroad

April 23, 2010. Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries said it is examining proposals to set up joint ventures for oil exploration abroad. Reliance Industries announced a JV and acquired a 40 per cent interest in Atlas' core Marcellus Shale acreage position in Pennsylvania in North America.  The company expects to see revenues from Marcellus Shale acreage quickly.

Reliance and Atlas are expected to start drilling this year and would drill 15 wells in the first year and 80-90 wells in the second. The company will get some revenues this year and may see plateau level in 4-5 years period.

Reliance had earlier this month bought 40 per cent stake in about 300,000 acres Marcellus shale gas project of Atlas for $1.7 billion. After the new acquisition, the two now have 343,000 acres that could hold enough natural gas to satisfy US demand for a decade.

NTPC to buy 1.5 mmscmd gas from RIL

April 23, 2010. India's top power utility NTPC Ltd will shortly sign an agreement to buy 1.5 million metric standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd) of gas from Reliance Industries.


Hindustan Petroleum seeks to triple capacity by 2017

April 27, 2010. State-run Hindustan Petroleum aims to nearly triple its refining capacity by March 2017 to feed its growing network of fuel retailing outlets with its own products.

HPCL is targeting to increase its capacity to 800,000 barrels a day, or 40 million metric tons a year, from 280,000 barrels a day, or 14 million tons a year. The company is raising refining capacity as oil product sales at its outlets are more than output, causing it to buy products from other refiners. HPCL sold 25.39 million tons of oil products in the fiscal year through March 2010. It had 8,539 retail outlets at the end of March 2009.

Transportation / Trade

GSPC receives year's first spot LNG cargo

April 22, 2010. The Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Ltd (GSPC) has received its first spot LNG cargo this year on Indian shores.

The cargo was received at the RLNG terminal of Petronet LNG Ltd (PLL) at Dahej in Bharuch district. The arrival of the LNG carrier “Catalunya Spirit” marks the first cargo of the short-term deal signed by GSPC with Gas Natural. The vessel contains over 50,000 metric tonnes of LNG from Trinidad and Tobago.

Policy / Performance

Govt plans to hike ONGC gas price to $4.20/mmBtu

April 26, 2010. The government plans to more than double the price of natural gas produced by Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) to USD 4.20 per mmBtu, in a move that will help the state-run firm break even in gas business.

The oil ministry is likely to move a Cabinet note next month for raising price of the gas, produced by ONGC and Oil India Ltd from fields given to them on nomination basis (called APM gas), to rates equivalent to that produced from Reliance Industries' KG-D6 fields.

This follows the finance ministry's insistence that any hike in APM gas price should be in one stage and not in phases as was previously proposed by the oil ministry.



ETA plans thermal power plant in Tamil Nadu

April 27, 2010. ETA Power Generation Ltd, part of $6.5 billion ETA Ascon Star Group, is planning to invest around Rs 52 bn for setting up a 2X660 Mega watt (Mw) power plant in Tamil Nadu.

The company is in the process of acquiring 500 acres in Nagapattinam district for the project. This would mark the group’s entry into the power generation business in India.  ETA Power is currently in talks with Power Trading Corporation to sell its produce.

Evonik in Rs 14 bn O&M deal with Vedanta Resources

April 26, 2010. Germany-based Evonik Energy said it has entered into a Rs 14 bn deal with Vedanta Resources for operating and maintaining the latter's 2,400-MW plant in Orissa.

As per the agreement signed, Sterlite would pay Rs 2 bn every year to Evonik for a period of seven years. Ambitious on its India plans, the fifth largest German power producer aims to take equity partnership in upcoming power projects in the region.

Sterlite Energy is in process of commissioning the first unit of 600 MW by May, 2010, as it aims to open up other three utilities for commercial use within one year. 

NTPC may set up thermal power plants in Kazakhstan

April 23, 2010. State-run power producer NTPC said it may set up two thermal power plants in Kazakhstan.  

Transmission / Distribution / Trade

Barge movement of coal from Haldia to Farakka hits snag

April 22, 2010. The much-discussed proposal for barge movement of imported coal from Haldia to Farakka (West Bengal) and Kahalgaon (Bihar) is believed to have run into rough weather as the importer (NTPC) and the facilitator of the movement (Inland Waterways Authority of India) do not see eye to eye on several issues.

A memorandum of understanding was signed in September 2008, but with little progress so far. NTPC had indicated it would annually transport 1.2 million tonnes (mt) of coal from Haldia for its Farakka super thermal power plant and 1.6 mt for its Kahalgaon plant.

TPC plans to sell power outside Mumbai for huge profit: R-Infra

April 21, 2010. Anil Ambani Group firm Reliance Infrastructure hit out at TPC saying the Tata group power utility plans to sell a high quantity of electricity outside Mumbai to rake in a huge profit. Reliance Infra supplies power to Mumbai suburbs.

Tata Power Company (TPC) used to sell 500 MW to Reliance Infra but had threatened to stop doing so from April 1 on the ground that the latter had refused to sign a power purchasing agreement (PPA) with it.

The Maharashtra government then intervened and asked both firms to maintain status quo till this month-end. With this status quo deadline nearing, the two companies have once again resorted to blaming each other for not arriving at a PPA.

Short-term power purchase contracts turn expensive

April 21, 2010. With rising power deficit in the country, merchant power, or short-term purchase contracts, are getting expensive each month. Power tariffs in the spot market have already risen by more than five times to over Rs 10 in April from around Rs 2 per unit in December last year. While the rise in merchant power tariff could be beneficial for private power generators and energy trading companies, it could mean further rise in electricity rates for retail consumers in states that buy power to meet mismatch in supplies, said people connected with the development.

Policy / Performance

Punjab launching various energy generation projects: CM

April 27, 2010. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the country is facing a serious energy crisis and shortage of electricity is badly affecting all the sectors, especially industry, trade and agriculture.

He said there was a need to work on emergency basis for energy generation for the development of the country and the Punjab government was launching various projects for power generation.

New power tariff in Delhi likely from May

April 26, 2010. The proposed electricity tariff hike that were supposed to be implemented from this month, may now be effective from May 1.

According to sources, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission is likely to announce the new tariff structure after a series of delays. It all depends on DERC whether it will allow a hike in power tariff.

The power regulator was keen on announcing the new tariff in March end but there were several delays in announcing it. According to sources, some discoms kept submitting new information to DERC regarding their financial positions even after the public hearing was concluded.

While the regulator refused to take any new information into consideration while deciding tariff revision, the move by the discoms has led to delay in making the announcement.

NTPC to start work on Rs 10 bn Assam project

April 25, 2010. State-owned NTPC will start the Rs 10 bn expansion project of its Bongaigaon power plant in Assam for meeting the growing power requirement of the region.  Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde will lay the foundation stone for the expansion project at Kumguri village in the Kokrajhar district.

Minister of Mines and Department of Development of North Eastern Region B K Handique has been invited to take part in the ceremony.  

NTPC plans to raise its power generation capacity to 50,000 MW by 2012, from the current 31,000 MW. It further plans to augment this capacity to 75,000 MW by the end of fiscal 2017.

Current installed power capacity of the country stands at over 157,000 MW and the government plans to add another 78,000 MW by the end of the 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-12). 

NTPC FY10 net up 5.6 pc to Rs 86.57 bn

April 24, 2010. India’s largest power producer NTPC said its provisional net profit for the full year ended March rose 5.6% to Rs 86.57 bn.

The company’s profits declined due to redemption of bonds and lower realisation from interest income and income-tax (I-T) refunds. NTPC’s income reduced by Rs 1.4 bn due to redemption of bonds and Rs 3.5 bn due to lower realisation from I-T refunds and interest income.  

The company plans to raise $500 million through external commercial borrowing (ECB) in 2010-11. ECB is conditional to favourable rates between 5.5% and 6%.

NTPC is focusing on growing its renewable energy portfolio to become a green company. By 2017, the company plans to have at least 1,000 MW through renewable energy resources such as wind, hydro, solar, biomass and geo-thermal.

KSEB argues case for Athirappilly

April 23, 2010. The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has presented before the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests a case for setting up a hydro-electric project at Athirappilly in Thrissur district.

While doing so, it sought to debunk objections raised by various parties against the project coming up at ‘an environmentally sensitive' location.

The Union Ministry had asked the KSEB to show reasons why the environment clearance given for the proposed 163-MW project across the Chalakudy River in 2007 should not be revoked in the context of opposition from various quarters.

N-power projects: 3 more sites under evaluation

April 23, 2010. The Centre is evaluating three more sites for setting up nuclear power projects in the future. The sites under consideration are Mahi-Banswara in Rajasthan, Mannur in Karnataka and Rajauli in Bihar. These are over and above the seven sites in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal that were accorded an “in principle” approval in October 2009.

The evaluation of new sites comes at a time when the Centre plans to scale up India's nuclear capacity nearly ten-fold over the next decade. “In principle” approval to over 38,000 MWe (mega watt electrical) of new reactor capacity has already been accorded by the Centre, with Imported Light Water Reactor units ranging from 1,000 MWe to 1,650 MWe from Russia, France and the US set to make for over 80 per cent of the envisaged capacity.

Chhattisgarh UMPP bids may run into environment ministry hurdles

April 22, 2010. Bidders for the ultra mega power project at Chhattisgarh, that are set to put in their pre-qualification bids, could be in for a major jolt as coal blocks linked to the 4000 mw project is unlikely to get the nod from the environment ministry. In a clear case of where one arm of the government works at cross purposes against the other, the power ministry has called for bids even as the environment and coal ministries have jointly declared the Hasdeo Arand coal belt region as a “no go” area for mining. The environment ministry, which has been carrying out special audits on the encroachments and violations in the forest areas, has come down heavily over some ambitious mining projects like that of the Vedanta group in Orissa and also rejected a highway project in Madhya Pradesh that transgresses through Pench Tiger reserve.

UPPCL, Bajaj Hindustan sign MoU for power project in UP

April 22, 2010. Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bajaj Hindustan Limited to set up a 1,980-MW thermal power project in Lalitpur district of Bundelkhand region. The MoU was signed between UPPCL Chairman and Managing Director Navneet Sehgal and Bajaj Joint Managing Director Kushagra Bajaj in the presence of Energy Minister Ramveer Upadhyaya and Chief Secretary Atul Gupta. The proposed power project would be set up on 1,500 acres of land at Mirchawar village, some 60 km from the Rajghat dam in Lalitpur. Uttar Pradesh will get 90 per cent of the electricity generated by the plant.

Govt expects $300 bn investment in power sector in XII Plan

April 22, 2010. India will award three inter-state private transmission power projects with investments worth 60 billion rupees by September-end, Planning Commission Member B K Chaturvedi said. Out of 6 transmission projects undertaken, three have been already awarded and the government has initiated pre-bidding work for three other projects. 

The government is expecting an investment of $300 billion to come in the XII Five-Year Plan in the power sector he said. The Planning Commission is also expecting an investment of Rs 500 bn to come in distribution through the Accelerated Power Development Reforms Programme, he said.

Hike in power charges for AP industries mooted

April 21, 2010. Industrial power users in the State will have to pay more from August 1 if the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission approves certain proposals. According to the proposals made by distribution companies (discoms) in their annual returns for 2010-2011 submitted to the regulator, the discoms expect to garner additional revenue of about Rs 22.78 bn by bringing about tariff hikes.

The hikes on industrial consumers range from 50 paise a unit to Rs 1.50 a unit depending on the time of usage. According to aggregate revenue requirement for 2010-2011, the tariff proposal means higher charge – from Rs 4.14 to Rs 4.64 a unit – for industrial consumers. For low-tension commercial users, the cost will be up from Rs 6.20 to Rs 6.70 a unit.

Govt to step up investments in coal infrastructure

April 21, 2010. The Government proposes to increase investments in developing infrastructure at the coal fields, said the Coal Minister, Mr Sriprakash Jaiswal. Investments will be enhanced to Rs 4 bn in 2010-11, from Rs 2.6 bn in 2009-10, for regional exploration, detailed drilling, environmental measure and development of transportation infrastructure in coal fields, the Coal Minister told Parliament in a written statement. However, Coal India Ltd and Singareni Collieries Company Ltd, from their internal resources, propose to invest Rs 38 bn and Rs 13.35 bn in 2010-11 against provision of Rs 31 bn and Rs 6.34 bn during 2009-10 respectively for increasing production.

PFC plans to raise Rs 300 bn by FY11

April 21, 2010. Power Finance Corporation (PFC), a Government of India Undertaking under Ministry of Power is planning to raise Rs 300 bn by FY11. The priorities of the company and the sector are closely aligned. The first priority of the sector is to add large capacities to bridge the power deficits. Thus, PFC wants to make faster clearances of funds within 16-18 months which will bring pace to setting up power projects. Besides, the Government has embarked on an ambitious plan of Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs) with each project adding 4,000 MW. PFC is the nodal agency for UMPPs. It has awarded four such UMPPs and is in the process of awarding three more in FY 2010-11.




Total sells stakes in Valhall, Hod fields for $991 mn

April 27, 2010. Total signed an agreement for the sale of its interests in the Valhall (15.72%) and Hod (25%) fields, in the Norwegian North Sea, to BP. This transaction, amounting to $991 million, is subject to partners' consent and approval by relevant authorities. Located 285 kilometers off the Norwegian coast in a water depth of 70 metres, Valhall was discovered in 1975 and started producing in 1982. This field reached an average equity production of approximately 8,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) in 2009.

Oil contango soars as Oklahoma brims with crude

April 26, 2010.  Oil storage costs are soaring to the highest level in four months as tanks in Oklahoma brim with near-record crude inventories. Crude for delivery in June cost $1.95 a barrel less than for July on April 21, the biggest gap since Dec. 15 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The discount, or contango, which mirrors the expense of stockpiling, emerged after inventories jumped 5.8 percent in the week ended April 16 to 34.1 million barrels in Cushing, Oklahoma, where traders make deliveries for futures contracts, government data show.  Inventories are near the record 35.7 million barrels on Jan. 1 because of rising Canadian imports and a seasonal decline in demand as refineries shut for maintenance.

Oil Search Q1 output up, construction for PNG LNG starts

April 26, 2010. Papua New Guinea (PNG) oil and gas producer Oil Search Ltd posted a 5 percent gain in first-quarter output. The Australian-listed firm said output for the quarter ended March was 2.00 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe), compared with 1.90 million boe a year ago.  Oil Search, a key partner in the ExxonMobil led liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project in Papua New Guinea, which is also known as PNG LNG, said the project has begun early construction activities. The firm earlier forecast its 2010 production to fall 10 percent from last year to be between 7.2-7.4 million boe.

Shell, Total step up Reliance on gas as access to oil declines

April 26, 2010. Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA are among energy producers shifting the balance of their production toward natural gas as oil-rich countries clamp down on access and deposits become easier to tap.

BP Plc is also moving more resources to gas even after purchasing $7 billion of mainly oil assets from Devon Energy Corp. last month. Exxon Mobil Corp. blazed the trail into gas with its $30 billion acquisition of XTO Energy Inc. in December.

Coast Guard says remote operated vehicles to stop oil leak

April 25, 2010.  The use of robots to plug the 1,000-barrel-a-day oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico has been approved by BP Plc and the U.S. Coast Guard.  The remotely operated vehicles will be used to switch on the blowout preventer located on the sea floor at the well site, the Coast Guard said.

Statoil takes steps to improve oil sands production

April 23, 2010. Statoil has launched a new technology plan to help reduce carbon emissions from oil sands. The stated ambition is to reduce emissions by more than 40% by 2025. Statoil is planning to develop its oil sands activities step-by-step.

The initial five-year phase will be the start-up and operation of a demonstration pilot facility A 5-year technology plan will provide the basis for initial reductions of up to 25%, with further reductions of more than 40 % by 2025. This means that Statoil, in addition to regulatory reporting, will publicize carbon emission data from its operations.

Petrobras Touts increase in Brazilian oil production

April 23, 2010. Petrobras' average oil and natural gas production in Brazil and abroad topped-out at 2,556,002 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) last March, 0.7% more than a year ago (2,537,873 boed) and at the same level as the total volume lifted last February (2,560,490 boed). Only figuring-in the fields located in Brazil, Petrobras' average oil and natural gas production reached 2,309,095 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed), at the same level as the production of March 2009 and February 2010.

Eni initiates Kitan oil field development

April 23, 2010. Eni has started the development of the Kitan oil field, located in the permit 06-105 of the Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA) between Timor-Leste and Australia, approximately 250km south of the Timor-Leste capital of Dili and 500km north of Darwin, Australia.  Eni is the operator (40%) in the permit JPDA 06-105, with INPEX Timor Sea, Ltd. (35%) and Talisman Resources (JPDA 06-105) Pty Limited (25%) as joint venture partners.

Drillers risk deadly blowouts to tap deeper oil, gas riches

April 22, 2010. Oil and natural-gas explorers drilling deeper than the height of Mt. Everest are risking pressure surges like the one that may have triggered the deadliest U.S. rig accident in 23 years.

Energy companies are delving 10 times deeper than a decade ago in the search for untapped reservoirs of oil and gas. The threat of pressure surges, or blowouts, that can smash steel equipment and create gushing columns of fire increases as drillers probe ever-deeper into layers of rock. The Transocean Ltd. oil-drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico that sank after burning for more than a day, killing lives and creating the risk of a major oil spill is a case in point. 

Exxon studies oil find in Australian venture with BHP

April 22, 2010. Exxon Mobil Corp., operator of the Gippsland Basin oil and gas venture in southeastern Australia with BHP Billiton Ltd., said it’s evaluating a discovery in the Bass Strait. 

Drilling encountered oil and gas at the South East Remora-1 well, 35 kilometers (22 miles) off the coast of Victoria state, Exxon’s Australian unit said.

The Gippsland Basin venture, which includes 21 offshore platforms in the Bass Strait, has produced nearly 63 percent of Australia’s cumulative oil output since 1969.

Iraq oil bases sprout as Halliburton, Schlumberger seek profit

April 21, 2010. The world’s biggest oilfield contractors are building bases in the deserts of Iraq in a bet they’ll profit as the country strives to boost crude oil output to rival Saudi Arabia. Schlumberger Ltd., Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes Inc. are among companies that said they are expanding operations in Iraq. Weatherford International Ltd., the fourth-largest oilfield-services provider by market value, will increase staff in Iraq to more than 1,000 workers by July. 

The prize is a share of the billions of dollars to be spent as the war-torn country seeks within seven years to increase crude oil production capacity to 12 million barrels a day, on a par with the world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia. Iraq’s current capacity is 2.4 million. 

KazMunaiGas posts 1Q production

April 21, 2010. KazakhstanKazMunaiGas announced that according to preliminary data in the first three months of 2010 it produced 3,183 thousand tons of crude oil (262 kbopd) including the Company's stakes in Kazgermunai (KGM), CCEL and PetroKazakhstan (PKI), which is 440 thousand tonnes or 16% more than in 2009.

The increase in production results from the acquisition of 33% stake in PKI, which accounts for 487 thousand tons. In the first quarter, 2,085 thousand tons of oil (171 kbopd) were produced at production facilities of Uzenmunaigas and Embamunaigas, which is 41 thousand tonnes or 1.9% less than for the same period last year.

Asian firms aim for first offshore LNG output

April 21, 2010. Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. is looking to help fire up the world's first offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) production platform in 2014 for PTT PCL, Thailand's state-owned oil and gas company. 

The Japanese shipping company will operate the offshore facility, located at a gas field in northwest Australian waters, through Flex LNG Ltd., which is based in the British Virgin Islands. Kawasaki Kisen holds a 15% stake in Flex LNG. An official agreement is soon expected to be reached to produce LNG for PTT at the gas field, to which the Thai firm holds concession rights.


Diesel Margin Expands on GDP Growth, Planting

April 27, 2010. Profits from making diesel are rising as railway shipments increase and U.S. farmers plant spring corn at the fastest pace on record, increasing demand for fuel.

The crack spread, the difference between the price of crude and heating oil, almost doubled on the New York Mercantile Exchange to $10.88 a barrel from a 2010 low of $5.58 on Feb. 25. Supplies of distillate fuel, which includes heating oil and diesel, rose 4.6 percent from a year ago as of April 16, the Energy Department reported. Freight shipments by rail, most of which are powered by diesel, have risen 16 percent from a year ago, according to the Association of American Railroads.

API unveils new refinery safety standards

April 23, 2010. The American Petroleum Institute issued two new refinery safety standards. The first will help companies identify and use process safety indicators to reduce risks; the second will provide guidance on reducing fatigue risks.

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) recommended that API and other stakeholders develop the standards following the CSB’s investigation of the 2005 Texas City refinery incident.

Caltex Australia is ‘cautious’ on outlook for refining margins

April 22, 2010.  Caltex Australia Ltd., the country’s biggest oil refiner, said it has a “cautious” outlook for the margins it expects to earn in the second half of the year from turning crude into fuels.

Caltex also said it aims to make an announcement ‘shortly’ on how it will respond to the competition regulator’s decision to block the proposed A$300 million ($278 million) purchase of Exxon Mobil Corp. filling stations. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said the transaction may push prices higher. 

Conoco opts out of joint Yanbu refinery with Aramco

April 21, 2010.  ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company, said it won’t take part in the proposed Yanbu joint-venture refinery project with Saudi Aramco as its focus turns to exploring for petroleum. Aramco, based in Dhahran, said it is evaluating options to progress the Yanbu project.

The planned refinery would produce 265,000 barrels of diesel and 90,000 barrels of gasoline a day from Arabian heavy crude. ConocoPhillips agreed in 2006 to help build the plant as a way to expand its global refining portfolio.

Transportation / Trade

Molopo signs gas sales agreement in South Africa

April 27, 2010. Molopo announced that its South African subsidiary, Highland E&P has signed a gas sales agreement with Novo Energy. The GSA is initially for Molopo to supply, on an as available basis, approximately 600,000 cubic feet per day from four existing wells in Molopo's Virginia gas field.

NiSource, MarkWest plan to expand in W.Va. Marcellus

April 27, 2010. NiSource Gas Transmission & Storage (NGT&S) and MarkWest Liberty Midstream & Resources announced continued joint development of new natural gas gathering, processing, and transmission projects to support increased Marcellus production volumes in the northern West Virginia area of the Appalachian Basin. 

Germany expands gas storage

April 27, 2010. Germany is to almost double its underground storage capacity for natural gas, most of which is imported by pipeline from Russia, Lower Saxony state's mines and energy agency LBEG.

The storage, in porous rock deep underground, will soon be able to hold 37 billion cubic meters of gas. Current capacity in Germany is 21 billion cubic meters. Most of Germany's gas dumps are in the wide plains of Lower Saxony.  

Shell, BP, oil companies said to face U.S. FTC probe

April 25, 2010.  Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp. and other oil companies are being investigated by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over employee compensation practices.

The investigation of whether the companies colluded to stifle employee wages has been open for several years and includes as many as 12 oil companies. It is believed that the FTC may never file a lawsuit.

Nabucco consortium starts pipe delivery tender

April 23, 2010. The consortium that plans to build the Nabucco natural gas pipeline said it has started a tender process for the procurement of materials needed to build the pipeline.

The pipeline, slated to transport gas from the Caspian region to central Europe via Turkey and Austria, is considered crucial to secure Europe's growing demand for natural gas as domestic supply is steadily falling.

The pipeline, with a planned capacity of up to 31 billion cubic meters of gas a year, would further diversify Europe's supply sources, bypassing traditional pipeline routes for Russian gas. 

E.ON halts Italy gas network sale

April 22, 2010. German energy giant E.ON dropped plans to sell its gas pipelines in Italy after failing to receive any suitable bids and said it would continue to operate the network itself.

E.ON affirmed its intention to raise at least 10 billion euros (US $13 billion) by the end of this year through sales of assets. Last year its asset sales raised 6 billion euros.  

Iraq’s Northern oil pipeline explodes; exports halted

April 22, 2010. An explosion blew a hole in an Iraqi pipeline, stopping crude oil exports via Turkey. Oil exports should resume, once repairs are completed on the pipeline, an artery through which Iraq pumps one-fourth of its crude shipments.

Unknown saboteurs detonated the explosive charge on the pipeline that runs from Iraq’s Kirkuk oil fields to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. 

Shell shuts GOM oil pipeline near Transocean fire

April 22, 2010.  Shell Oil Co said it temporarily shut down a 75,000 barrel-per-day crude oil pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico as a precautionary measure due to its proximity to the Transocean rig fire.

The pipeline known as Nakika supplies the larger Delta pipeline system and Motiva's Norco, Louisiana, refinery.  The pipeline was closed because it is located about a mile away from the now-submerged Transocean Horizon rig, which suffered an explosion.

The incident at the Transocean rig also forced the temporary shut-in of oil production at a Shell-operated Nakika platform nearby.  Shell does not expect the pipeline to be shut for long and the outage would have no material impact on the Norco refinery's operations.

Dominion invests in natural-gas infrastructure

April 21, 2010. Dominion Resources Inc. is investing more than $1 billion in improvements, with more planned, to its natural-gas transmission infrastructure in the Appalachian basin to take advantage of the Marcellus gas-shale boom.  Yesterday, Dominion, one of the nation's largest energy businesses, announced an agreement with Exterran Holdings Inc. to provide increased natural-gas processing in the Appalachian basin. Houston-based Exterran will design, build and operate two natural-gas processing plants under a 12-year services agreement with Dominion. Construction is expected to begin immediately.  

Policy / Performance

Court orders new environmental review for Calif. refinery

April 27, 2010. A California appeals court ruled that Chevron and the city of Richmond, Calif., will have to complete a new environmental review before the company can proceed with planned construction at its San Francisco-area oil refinery.

In its decision, the California Court of Appeal in San Francisco upheld a decision by a lower court that found that the environmental review completed by Chevron and approved by the city of Richmond was inadequate.

Brazil's ANP hits paydirt in presalt oil patch

April 27, 2010. Brazil's main oil regulator said that it had discovered crude that could be part of the government's plan to seed federal oil company Petroleo Brasileiro with enough cash to fund development of the country's presalt oil patch.

The National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, said the 2-ANP-1-RJS well tested positive for light oil rated at 28 degrees on the American Petroleum Institute's grading scale. The find was made northeast of Petrobras' Iara discovery.

OMV, Gazprom ink deal on Austrian section of South Stream

April 26, 2010. OMV and Gazprom are looking to work together to construct the Austrian section of the South Stream gas pipeline between the Austrian-Hungarian border and Baumgarten.

Feasibility study scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010. South Stream together with Nabucco will further strengthen Baumgarten's position as a natural gas turntable and increase the security of Europe's supply.

OMV and Gazprom signed a Cooperation Agreement to construct the Austrian section of the South Stream gas pipeline between the Austrian-Hungarian border and the Baumgarten natural gas distribution node.

Statoil aims to reduce oil sands emissions

April 23, 2010. Statoil has launched a new technology plan to help reduce carbon emissions from oil sands. The stated ambition is to reduce emissions by more than 40% by 2025.  Statoil is planning to develop its oil sands activities step-by-step. The initial five-year phase will be the start-up and operation of a demonstration pilot facility. A 5-year technology plan will provide the basis for initial reductions of up to 25%, with further reductions of more than 40 % by 2025. This means that Statoil, in addition to regulatory reporting, will publicize carbon emission data from its operations.

Idemitsu to cut oil refining capacity 16 pc by 2013

April 23, 2010. Japan's Idemitsu Kosan Co. plans to lower its daily oil refining capacity by roughly 16 percent, or around 100,000 barrels, by fiscal 2013, down from 640,000 barrels at present, in response to declining demand. The move is part of the major oil wholesaler's medium-term business plan, which it released that day.  

By restructuring its sluggish domestic oil business and channeling more resources into growth areas, the company aims to boost its group operating profit to 120 billion yen (US $1.285 billion) by fiscal 2012, up 160 percent from estimates for fiscal 2009, which ended last month.

Ukraine, Russia reach deal on naval base, natural gas

April 22, 2010. Ukraine's new president signed a deal that allows Russia's Black Sea Fleet to stay in the country another 25 years, moving to ease a long-standing source of tension and giving Moscow its second foreign policy victory in the former Soviet Union this month.

Viktor Yanukovych and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, announced the breakthrough after a hastily scheduled summit in Kharkiv, Ukraine, saying that Ukraine will extend the lease on the Russian naval base in Sevastopol to 2042 in exchange for a steep discount on purchases of Russian natural gas.

Ecuador's Pinto, OPEC President, resigns as Correa works on legislation

April 21, 2010. Ecuador’s finance and energy ministers resigned, clearing the way for President Rafael Correa to announce cabinet changes that may boost support for proposals to grab a bigger share of mining and oil profits.

Non-Renewable Natural Resources Minister Germanico Pinto, who is the current president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries also resigned.

Correa, faced with falling oil production and exports, is seeking to improve relations with members of his ruling party and hasten the approval of new oil and mining contracts. Ecuador has defaulted on $3.2 billion in international bonds since Viteri took office in September 2008. 



China begins construction of new N-power plant

April 26, 2010. China has begun constructing a large nuclear power plant in southern Hainan province. The construction of the plant started in Changjiang County of Hainan province with an estimated investment of CNY 19 billion (USD 2.78 billion.

The new plant will consist of two water reactors, with a capacity of 650,000 kw each. The first reactor will be completed and connected to the grid by the end of 2014, the provincial government said.  

China's nuclear power giants, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and China Huaneng Group (CHG), will jointly finance and develop the project.

Saudi Electric to award plant deals after govt loan

April 26, 2010. State-controlled Saudi Electricity Co will soon award contracts to build a 2,400 megawatt power plant after it obtained a 15 billion riyal ($4 billion) soft loan from the government.

The cash-strapped firm has been struggling to meet pent up power demand -- which grew by about 8 percent in 2009 -- in the desert kingdom prompting King Abdullah to order in 2006 that government financial assistance be extended for the Gulf's biggest utility by market value.

The bulk of the loan will finance the construction of a new power plant in Rabigh, on the western coast of Saudi Arabia, where the giant King Abdullah Economic City is under construction. 

Three international firms have made bids of between $3.94 and $4.34 billion to build the Rabigh plant, with South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction being the lowest bidder. Other bidders include Hyundai Heavy Industries and France's Alstom.

TransAlta, eyes moving U.S. power plant from coal

April 26, 2010. TransAlta Corp said it began talks with the state of Washington on moving the Centralia coal-fired power plant to cleaner fuel to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

TransAlta, which runs coal- and gas-fired, as well as renewable power facilities in Canada and the United States, said it signed a memorandum of understanding with the state to work toward reducing emissions and providing replacement capacity by 2025.

The agreement for the 1,375 megawatt generating station sets objectives and timelines for moving to cleaner energy sources while protecting jobs.

Enel may become first foreign nuclear plant owner in Russia

April 26, 2010. Enel SpA may become the first foreign owner of shares in a Russian nuclear power plant after Italy’s biggest utility signed an accord on the Baltic Power Plant project. 

Enel will decide on joining the project, run by OAO Inter RAO UES, Russia’s power export and import monopoly, by July next year, Russia’s government said. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin oversaw the signing outside Milan. 

PEPCO manages to reduce power shortfall by 1.5 GW

April 25, 2010. Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) managed to bring down the power shortfall from 5010 megawatts to 3543 megawatts.

The PEPCO sources told on Friday that hectic efforts were made to put an end to prevailing electricity shortage in the country, adding, the Prime Minister’s initiatives for energy conservation have started yielding tangible results.

Sources said if PEPCO is given full volume of gas, it would not only help ensure reduction in power tariff due to decline in input cost, but also increase 1000 to 1200 megawatts generation because the thermal power plants in Pakistan are actually gas-operated.

Mountaintop coal rules may send more U.S. miners underground

April 23, 2010.  A U.S. crackdown on mountaintop mining in Appalachia may force coal producers to rely increasingly on underground sites such as the Massey Energy Co. mine where 29 workers were killed this month in West Virginia.

Four days before the April 5 accident, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued water-pollution guidelines making it difficult for operators to secure permits for new above-ground mining in the region.

Explosions used in surface mining produce millions of tons of crushed shale and sandstone that is dumped into nearby valleys and streams. 

Transmission / Distribution / Trade

PG&E details smart-meter problems in Senate probe

April 26, 2010.  PG&E Corp., owner of California’s largest utility, told a state Senate committee that eight of its digital utility meters had “accuracy issues” and were replaced. 

PG&E, facing its first hearing in front of the committee as part of an investigation into the accuracy of the devices, said the problem is a small one, considering it has installed 5.5 million so-called smart meters. 

PG&E is spending $2.2 billion to install 10 million of the meters, which allow utilities to remotely read energy use. Hundreds of customer allegations about higher bills and inaccurate readings tied to the devices arose in Bakersfield, California, last summer and have since surfaced in Texas. 

Policy / Performance

Bangladesh awards $500 mn in deals for power plants

April 26, 2010. Chinese, Korean and local firms on Monday won separate deals in Bangladesh worth $496.61 million to set up five power plants to generate 420 megawatts of electricity by August next year, officials said. Chinese firm Guangdong Power Engineering Corporation won a $271.35 million deal to set up two power plants for generating 200 megawatts.

A local consortium of Energypac Engineering Ltd and Energypac Power Generation Ltd won a $155.38 million deal to set up two plants to generate 150-MW of electricity.  Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea also won another $69.89 mln deal to build a 70-MW plant power plant, also by August 2011.

E.ON shortlists 3 bidders for U.S. business-sources

April 25, 2010. Germany's E.ON, the world's largest utility by sales, has shortlisted three bidders for the multi-billion euro sale of its U.S. business. U.S. utilities Duke and PPL are among the bidders, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

A financial consortium including Australian investor MacQuarie is the third bidder.  The sale, part of a slew of divestments by European utilities to cut debt after a takeover spree, is part of E.ON's efforts to shed more than 10 billion euros worth of assets by the end of the year. 

Finnish govt taps TVO, Fennovoima for nuke reactors

April 21, 2010. Finland's government said it had chosen Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) and the Fennovoima consortium to build new nuclear reactors in the Nordic country. The decision, which still needs to be approved by parliament in the coming months, leaves the third applicant to build a reactor, utility Fortum empty-handed. The reactors will be Finland's sixth and seventh. The fifth, currently being built by TVO on the western coast at Olkiluoto, is badly behind schedule and only set to come online in the second half of 2012.

Renewable Energy / Climate Change Trends


Green nod for Kashang hydropower project

April 27, 2010. The Union Ministry of Forests and Environment has granted environment clearance to the proposed 243-Mw Kashang hydropower project in the tribal district of Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh. The project is being executed by the state-owned HP Power Corporation Ltd. Himachal Pradesh has already posed the first stage of 65-Mw for funding before the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and has succeeded in obtaining Rs 2.97 bn.

The green clearance in now expected to speed up work on the project. The government has requested for the execution of the second and third stage integrated project of the remaining 130 Mw. A detailed project report has already been prepared and submitted to the ADB for sanction of Rs 4.53 bn to execute the entire project.

India's wind power draws global majors

April 26, 2010. It’s the latest and among the fastest growing sectors within global energy today, and has already made its presence felt in India.

A long coastline, low installation costs and ready local availability of key raw materials have all made India a favourite destination for offshore wind power, with global majors such as Areva, Siemens and GE queuing up to explore opportunities in the country.  

High-profile investors such as Vinod Sethi, private equity major Blackstone and new clean technology funds have already invested in offshore wind energy companies planning for India, as this sector is expected to offer electricity tariffs at 40% less cost than that from traditional sources.

Cabinet panel approves Rs 4.73 bn Ladakh green energy project

April 24, 2010. The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure approved a project to promote use of renewable energy in the Ladakh region at a total cost of Rs 4.73 bn. The project “Ladakh Renewable Energy Initiative” envisages setting up 30 small/micro hydel projects aggregating 23.5 MW capacity, about 300 solar photovoltaic (SPV) power plants of 5-100 KW capacity, 2,000 SPV home lighting systems and about 40,000 solar thermal systems such as water heating, solar cookers, solar passive buildings, and solar green house. The implementation of the plan will start in June and will be completed by December 2013, according to an official statement.

State Bank of India plans to generate 100 MW through wind energy

April 24, 2010. State Bank of India in the next few years will generate 100 MW through wind energy as part of its go-green initiative. The bank was in the process of installing 15 MW now. It would add another 20 MW by next year. The Bank had been thinking of going green for quite sometime and as part of the process was training and sensitising employees.

It had conducted several workshops for the purpose including ones on using energy-efficient lighting and water-saving technologies. The Bank had also gone to the extent of offering loan at concessional rate for those industries and commercial establishments that implemented cleaner, greener technology and adopted clean development mechanism.

Suzlon to expand business activity in India

April 23, 2010. Suzlon, the country's largest wind turbine manufacturers, would expand its business activity rapidly in India in the coming years.

The company, for the last 11 consecutive years, has captured around 50 per cent market share, by offering the concept to commissioning business model to wind energy investors in India.

Out of the potential 45,000 MW generation in the country, Suzlon wanted to capture majority business in the near future. With over 40 sites across eight states at present, the company would enter more states.  

Suzlon had supplied ten 1.5 MW wind turbine generators to State Bank of India, which launched its wind project today, as part of its 'green banking' initiative. 

Govt to set up council for electric vehicles

April 23, 2010. To promote eco-friendly electric vehicles in the country, the Government plans to create a ‘Governing Council for Electric Vehicles (EVs)' by end of May. According to official sources, the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) has approved the project report and it will go to the Prime Minister's Special Group on Technology for final clearance before implementation. The council, which will operate directly under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, will deal with all issues related to the sector and its promotion. It will look at setting up of the infrastructure for electric mobility such as charging stations.


Taiwan to develop offshore wind power generation

April 27, 2010. The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) announced that it will push a policy of establishing offshore wind power plants and propose incentives in July to encourage local firms to invest in offshore wind power generation. The capacity of a wind power generation station located within 20 meters off the coast could reach 1,200 megawatts (MW) , which is larger than the capacity of a similar wind power plant on land.  If the plant is set up around 20 meters to 50 meters off the coast, its capacity could increase to 5,000 MW -- almost equal to the combined capacity of two nuclear power plants.

U.K. small-scale wind turbine sales increase by 25 pc in 2009

April 27, 2010. The U.K. market for small-scale wind power plants grew by a quarter last year as turbine exports jumped, according to RenewableUK, an industry group.

Domestic sales of wind generators for homes and small businesses increased to 17 million pounds ($26 million) from 2008, the U.K. wind and marine energy association said in a statement. More than 20 manufacturers exported 8 million pounds of equipment, 45 percent more than the year earlier.

Australia pursues clean energy as climate bill doomed

April 27, 2010. Australia’s Labor government remains committed to putting a price on carbon and developing clean energy even as its emissions-trading legislation heads for failure. The plan to cut carbon output by 5 percent was twice blocked in Australia’s upper house Senate, creating a possible trigger for an early election. It also split the opposition, leading to the resignation of Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull, who staked his position on a deal struck with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to support the climate-change bill. 

In land of the rising sun, solar firms eye China threat

April 26, 2010.  Squeezed by aggressive Chinese and U.S. rivals globally, Japanese makers of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems need to boost their technological edge if they are to stay ahead in their near-$1 billion home market. 

Asia's biggest economy is the world's third-largest market for solar energy, and state support for the sector has attracted investments from among the region's biggest solar firms. China's Suntech Power is the fourth-largest supplier of solar PV systems in Japan -- a market that is forecast to more than double in two years.  Home-grown electronics firms such as Kyocera and Sharp Corp are under pressure to come up with the most efficient solar PV systems, while cutting costs to defend market share.

Climate debate gets ugly as world moves to curb CO2

April 26, 2010. Climate scientists, used to dealing with skeptics, are under siege like never before, targeted by hate emails brimming with abuse and accusations of fabricating global warming data. Some emails contain thinly veiled death threats. Across the Internet, climate blogs are no less venomous, underscoring the surge in abuse over the past six months triggered by purported evidence that global warming is either a hoax or the threat from a warmer world is grossly overstated. A major source of the anger is from companies with a vested interest in fighting green legislation that might curtail their activities or make their operations more costly. Greenpeace and other groups say that some energy companies are giving millions to groups that oppose climate change science because of concerns about the multi-billion dollar costs associated with carbon trading schemes and clean energy policies.

EU's Oettinger skeptical about German CCS projects

April 26, 2010. European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said he doubted that carbon capture technology (CCS) will take off in Germany, where Vattenfall Europe is the biggest local stakeholder. Oettinger on a visit to Germany's capital said the country's federal structure could make it financially and politically impossible for individual states to get others to receive and store piped carbon dioxide from coal-burning power stations.  But still fledgling CCS, a technology viewed as an important tool in combating climate change, might play a vital role in other country's coal-to-power sectors such as China, he added.  CCS involves separating CO2 from the coal burning process and storing it underground, thus stopping it from harming the climate. 

Scientists refute carbon capture doubts

April 26, 2010. Geologists refuted a report which in January had cast doubt on a technology to bury greenhouse gases underground, and on which some policymakers have pinned hopes to fight climate change.  British geologists and engineers rejected the doubts.  Some academics say that the world's efforts to limit dangerous climate change depends on CCS, which can in theory almost eliminate carbon emissions from burning coal and so give the world time to develop cheap fossil fuel alternatives. The trouble is that the full chain of CCS processes from trapping and piping to burying underground carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by power plants is untested at a commercial scale.

Spain may cut renewable energy premiums by 40 pc

April 25, 2010. Spain may cut premiums paid for renewable energy 40 percent from this year until 2013 to help cut the government’s electricity bill by as much as 12 billion euros ($16 billion).  All renewable energies would be affected by the proposed decrease. The government is studying whether to cut premiums paid retroactively.

Windmill boom curbs electric power prices for RWE, Iberdrola

April 23, 2010. On windy nights in northern Germany, consumers are paid to keep the lights on. Twice this year the nation’s 21,000 wind turbines pumped out so much power that utilities lowered customer bills for using the surplus electricity. Since the first rebate came with little fanfare at 5 a.m. one October day in 2008, payments have risen as high as 500.02 euros ($665) a megawatt-hour, about as much as a small factory or 1,000 homes uses in 60 minutes. The wind-energy boom in Europe and parts of Texas has begun to reduce bills for consumers. After years of getting government incentives to install windmills, operators in Europe may have become their own worst enemy, reducing the total price paid for electricity in Germany, Europe’s biggest power market, by as much as 5 billion euros some years, according to a study.  

GE to debut gearless offshore wind turbine to rival Siemens

April 22, 2010. General Electric Co., the world’s second-biggest maker of wind turbines, plans to introduce a 4 megawatt gearless wind turbine for offshore use in 2012 in a challenge to market leader Siemens AG of Germany. Government incentives and pricing pressure for onshore models amid the economic slowdown make the offshore market more attractive. GE is using technology acquired in its August takeover of the ScanWind unit of Morphic Technologies AB in Sweden to take on Siemens and Vestas Wind Systems A/S of Denmark. The purchase marked a change in tack for the U.S. company, which has mostly focused on the onshore market. 

Air like split-pea soup spurred first Earth Day, organizer says

April 22, 2010. Earth Day spurred a movement that grew from street protests to a sea change in corporate behavior, said Denis Hayes, national coordinator of the first such event 40 years ago. It also helped redirect trillions of dollars in U.S. spending toward cleaner air and water, species preservation and steps to slow global warming, Hayes said. The environmental movement, characterized in the 1970s by people working out of their garages to “save the world,” has become dominated by profit-driven companies, Hayes said. 

Spain, Portugal lead in European Union wind farm permit delays

April 22, 2010. Spain, which has the second-largest number of wind turbines in Europe, and Portugal lead the rest of the nations in the region in delaying permits for the construction of wind parks, an industry group said. It takes about 58 months in both countries to win approval to build a wind farm, the European Wind Energy Association said at a conference in Warsaw.

In Finland, getting a permit requires about eight months.  Countries in Europe need to reduce the amount of time it takes to award permits for wind farms if the European Union wants to meet its target of 20 percent of energy coming from renewable sources by 2020. Cutting down the time it takes to do environmental impact assessments is one possibility.

Grass-roots warming summit calls for greenhouse cuts

April 22, 2010. Big polluting countries must aggressively cut greenhouse gases and listen to ideas from small nations to reverse global warming, activists and left-wing leaders concluded at a meeting billed as an alternative to the failed Copenhagen summit. The gathering in Bolivia's Cochabamba region was meant to give voice to countries and environmental groups that said they were excluded from an active role at the Copenhagen summit in December, when world leaders negotiated behind closed doors. Activists say the big industrial powers sabotaged the Copenhagen summit by not agreeing to major cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and insist the next big climate change meeting in Mexico in December must include other voices.

The Cochabamba summit called for leading industrial nations to cut emissions by 50 percent, a much more ambitious goal than the pledges of cuts from 7 percent to 16 percent in the Copenhagen Accord. 

Greenpeace won't fight U.S. climate bill

April 22, 2010. Greenpeace considers the climate change bill being drafted in the U.S. Senate a "baby step" that will not deliver needed change, but it will not campaign against it.  U.S. senators led by Democrat John Kerry are expected to unveil a compromise bill to fight global warming that tries to bridge divides between industry and environmentalists after a previous effort failed.

Environmentalists are grappling with whether to back a bill they see as a compromise or to risk upsetting the fragile momentum of the U.S. climate change agenda by opposing it.  Passage of a bill may be difficult this year, with many senators expressing opposition to provisions that might be included.

Derivatives bill calls for U.S. carbon market study

April 22, 2010. A tough new proposal to regulate U.S. markets calls for top regulators and government officials to conduct a study on transparency in emerging U.S. carbon markets as part of the financial reform package.

The heads of the Treasury Department, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and other U.S. agencies would be required to study oversight of existing and prospective carbon markets, according to the proposal, part of a bill passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee.

The goal of the study is "to ensure an efficient, secure, and transparent carbon market, including oversight of spot markets and derivative markets," the bill said. 

Kerry, Lieberman, Graham set to unveil latest climate bill

April 22, 2010. A trio of U.S. Senators plan to unveil the latest version of a comprehensive climate bill designed to cut domestic greenhouse gases 17% by 2020.  Senators John Kerry (D., Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I., Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), have spent months courting industry and lawmakers of all stripes in an effort to forge a bill that will gain the necessary 60-vote margin for passage. The bill would cap emissions on the utility sector, sharply limit Environmental Protection Agency powers to regulate greenhouse gases, establish fees for transportation fuels, expand offshore drilling and boost funding for the nuclear industry.

China drivers shun hybrids, electric cars on lack of subsidy

April 22, 2010. Automakers including GM and Nissan Motor Co. plan to display a record 95 alternative energy-powered models at this year’s Beijing Auto Show, which opens to the press tomorrow. While China’s government has touted less-polluting cars as a way to improve air quality and cut reliance on imported oil, it has delayed a plan to introduce subsidies that may put the models within reach for buyers like Huang. 

A lack of affordability may limit sales of such vehicles by GM, Nissan and Toyota Motor Corp., which have all announced plans to introduce new hybrids and electric cars in China by 2011. The sluggish demand is also curbing investment in less- polluting car technology, prompting domestic automakers to seek foreign alliance partners to help fund development.

Industrialized nations' CO2 falls 2.2 pc in 2008

April 21, 2010. Industrialized nations' greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.2 percent in 2008, the steepest decline since the break-up of the Soviet Union as economies slowed.

Emissions are likely to have fallen more sharply in 2009 due to recession that analysts said was a bigger brake than government policies meant to shift from use of fossil fuels toward cleaner energies such as wind or solar power. 

Final government data sent to the United Nations in recent days -- used to judge compliance with climate treaties -- shows that emissions from 36 nations fell to 17.10 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2008 from 17.48 billion in 2007. U.S. greenhouse emissions fell by 2.8 percent to the lowest level since 2001 and European Union emissions were down 2.0 percent.

Japan eyes households to help cut CO2 emissions 25 pc

April 21, 2010. Japan will step up its call this week to use greener household technologies to cut CO2 output to shift away from sharp emission caps or carbon taxes on industry proposed in parliament that labor worries could cost jobs. Japan's Democratic Party-led government has pledged to cut greenhouse gases 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, more than triple the amount proposed by the previous government. A recent environment ministry however report suggests that households cutting fossil energy use and expanding renewable and nuclear power instead of caps on industry are the better ways to achieve the goal than targeting industry. 

Siemens to supply wind turbines for E.ON wind farm in Texas

April 21, 2010. Siemens AG said E.ON AG placed an order for the supply of 87 wind turbines for the Papalote Creek II wind power plant in San Patricio County, Texas. The wind farm is expected to be commissioned in the fall of 2010, the company said.

EU to lend $2.7 bn for climate work

April 21, 2010. The European Union's executive has recommended making an extra 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion) of loans available to help other countries combat climate change. Belarus, Iraq, Libya, Iceland and Cambodia were also added to the list of more than 70 territories that the EU can lend to. The proposal came in a European Commission review of the "external lending mandate" of the EU's financing arm, the European Investment Bank (EIB). Such funds might be used by poor countries to overhaul their energy infrastructure to cut carbon emissions, or to develop new water infrastructure as old sources dwindle.

Once-hidden EU report reveals damage from biodiesel

April 21, 2010. Biofuels such as biodiesel from soy beans can create up to four times more climate-warming emissions than standard diesel or petrol, according to an EU document released under freedom of information laws. The European Union has set itself a goal of obtaining 10 percent of its road fuels from renewable sources, mostly biofuels, by the end of this decade, but it is now worrying about the unintended environmental impacts.  Chief among those fears is that biofuel production soaks up grain from global commodity markets, forcing up food prices and encouraging farmers to clear tropical forests in the quest for new land.  Burning forests releases vast quantities of carbon dioxide and often cancels out many of the climate benefits sought from biofuels. Biodiesel from North American soybeans has an indirect carbo footprint of 339.9 kilograms of CO2 per gigajoule -- four times higher than standard diesel -- said the EU document, an annex that was controversially stripped from a report published in December.

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