MonitorsPublished on Jul 21, 2009
Energy News Monitor I Volume VI, Issue 5
Nuclear Energy: Will it Change Global Energy Hierarchies?


evelopment in the Western mold has transferred the general pattern of Western economic growth and affluence to India as it has to the rest of the Developing world. Technology transfer has so far been skewed toward hard technology and industrial development. The dependency of Developing Countries on western energy technologies has also taken other forms. Increase in the price of oil has made Developing Countries increasingly dependent on Developed Countries for additional credit to pay for petroleum products. Countries with oil and gas resources remain dependent on western capital and technologies for developing their resources.  

Upstream production and exploration technologies are highly concentrated in the hands of western oil service companies which are in turn mediated by multinational oil companies based in the United States and Europe. The constraints imposed by the structure of the international market are much smaller in connection with operating technologies than with the manufacture of energy equipment. Most operating technologies are not complex, the exception being some aspects of off-shore drilling for oil, reservoir engineering and operation of nuclear plants. The complexity of these operating technologies lies in the high engineering input or in the very specialized equipment required to use them.

Electricity is the other major area of investment in the energy sector. In the last decade, investment in the power sector represented a significant percentage of gross fixed capital formation in Developing Countries. With the heavy expansion programme ahead, the shift towards plants with higher capital costs (nuclear, clean-coal and hydroelectric plants) and the faster than average price increases in equipment, it is expected that the share of investment in the power sector in gross capital formation will increase in the next decade. This heavy investment has a large foreign exchange component, estimated to average 50 per cent. The chief item of foreign exchange costs is imports of energy capital goods. The remaining items accounting for foreign exchange costs were engineering fees and royalties on the use of patented and non-patented know-how. 

Despite the rule of the market, the system of international interdependencies thus remains one of hierarchical dependence, one of asymmetric vulnerability, i.e., unequal ability of the interacting units to inflict damage on one another, therefore making the welfare of some units dependent on the will of others. Nuclear energy is, of course, the ultimate example. Developed societies hold most of the cards in nuclear materials and technology and have some well-grounded fears regarding nuclear proliferation.  But the Developed Countries (or, more accurately, the multi-nationals in the Developed Countries) desperately want markets for these and other hard technologies in the India and the rest of the Developing world. Thus, Developing Countries that want to go the nuclear energy route will probably be able to do so, but in doing so will have to increase their dependence on and dominance by the Developed world.

Critics of nuclear energy point out not only its weapon capability and environmental risks in the present situation; they also point to the way that the spread of nuclear energy to Developing Countries will tend inevitably to increase these risks while simultaneously, in trying to avoid the risks, reinforce international inequities because of the hierarchical relations necessary for nuclear monitoring and control. Nuclear energy, consequently, is the ultimate symbol of hard technology and the ultimate concrete reality for soft path (renewable energy) advocates.  

Environmentalists and environmental organisations such as Green Peace are attempting to eliminate this unjust system of asymmetric vulnerability by advocating self-sufficiency. They are highlighting this concern demonstrating that a system of international interdependence based on hard energy technologies that exploit fossil fuels has created ecosystem vulnerability, i.e., one that has a high potential for damage. They are using this argument to promote soft energy technologies such as solar, wind and small hydropower. They are arguing that these relatively simple, small-scale technologies that convert renewable energy sources are the only ones that are affordable and capable of providing a meaningful, ecologically sustainable quality of life for all persons. Fundamental to the soft energy path notion is an emphasis on the decentralization of energy supply. This means increased energy self-sufficiency for households, communities, and firms, a self-sufficiency that eventually aggregates to national energy self-sufficiency. This, in turn, implies less vulnerability of energy supplies to outside actors at all levels of social organization, i.e. less energy interdependence and, for Developing Countries, ‘Development without Dependency’.  

This ideal situation however goes against the grain of practically everything that has improved human welfare: specialization in resource development and in the division of labour, structural differentiation and interdependence, economies of scale, the substitution of energy for labour. Unilateral adoption of the soft path will destroy India’s terms of trade and set it on the road to economic ruin. 

In the final analysis, the disproportionate emphasis on nuclear energy in India as opposed to cleaner coal technologies must be weighed in the light of the fact that the benefits of international interdependence may or may not be zero-sum for the interacting parties. Interdependencies will create mutual benefits, even if the benefits are asymmetric. India should ask whether in their particular case the advantages of interdependence outweigh whatever disadvantages may result from dependency.

The Case against Government Intervention in Energy Markets (part – VIII)

by Richard L. Gordon

Continued from Volume VI, Issue No. 4…


f anything, Spulber’s critique of these new theories does not go far enough; too many of the analyses that he cites, for instance, postulate problems that are unlikely to arise. For example, Spulber notes Akerlof’s work on the market for used vehicles, and how difficult it is for buyers to detect “lemons”—a problem that leads to sub-optimal prices for all used vehicles.81 However, economist Eric Bond’s examination of the used-truck market suggested that mechanisms existed to appraise used truck quality.82 What is critical here is that these newer theories of market failure apply to transactions where the relevant knowledge is difficult for one party to the transaction to secure. This hardly applies to energy transactions. Consumers can readily determine the energy-use characteristics of all the energy-using equipment that they purchase (the government perhaps deserves credit for forcing disclosure). Once information problems have been solved, performance mandates (such as automotive fuel efficiency standards) are indefensible because they violate basic (and sound) economic principles about the optimal manner in which choices should be made. No one can be a better judge of what is best than a well informed consumer, given that performance preferences and consumption patterns vary by individual. Neither government agencies with a mandate to reduce energy consumption nor conservationists devoted to the cause of less energy are to be trusted. In short, affection for performance standards is very bad economics. Viewing what passes for the empirical literature on these matters inspires total rejection of the case for intervention. For over three decades, assorted research groups have generated paper studies purporting to prove the existence of massive amounts of neglected opportunities that would economically reduce energy consumption. The critical problem is that none of these groups has experience in implementing energy choices.83 Thus, the other logical possibility, that these studies are incorrect, seems more plausible. The situation is not helped by the willingness of conservationists to extend the criticism about inefficient energy use beyond small-scale users to large consumers and product producers. These large-scale users have greater incentives than households to investigate opportunities to reduce energy consumption and have organized to do so. The academic literature on government intervention to address these sorts of alleged market failures is extensive. A notable review of electric-utility energy-conservation programs by MIT economists Paul Joskow and Donald Marron found serious flaws in the manner in which the benefits from these programs were calculated.84 The central element of energy-consumption control—fuel-efficiency standards for automotive vehicles (known as corporate-average-fuel-economy standards, or CAFE), is widely, but not universally, criticized as undesirable, even if the alleged market-failure problems prevailed.85 The main problems are effects of the standards on other aspects of automobile performance, such as safety,86 and the incentives to increase automobile use from the higher mileage and thus low per mile travel cost.87 A further drawback, in practice, was created by Congress when it established more stringent rules for automobiles than for light trucks. As should have been expected, this spurred the substitution of light trucks for automobiles, and new types of trucks with properties more like automobiles emerged. The literature on CAFE suggests that the case for such standards critically depends on massive consumer neglect of the value of fuel savings. For example, a curiously ambivalent article written by Resources for the Future economists Fischer, Harrington, and Parry shows that with consumer awareness, CAFE is at best redundant and has negative effects if it diverts investment from improving other characteristics of motor vehicles. Nevertheless, the authors support modest tightening of CAFE because of other supposed benefits that their analysis did not capture. Those benefits, however, seem more speculative than the consumer-ignorance arguments, about which the authors were properly skeptical.88

Big Oil and the Speculators: The Great Excluded Issues

Politicians often rail against the role played by large privately owned oil companies and speculators in energy markets. Blue-ribbon panels have neglected the subject. In the NPC case, this was due to the rules to prevent collusion under which the Council operates. The neglect elsewhere, by definition, indicates that these other groups found the questions unimportant. Given the general ineptitude of these efforts, dumb luck is as likely an explanation as a sudden attack of good sense. However, the persistence of the charge that oil companies and financial speculators routinely engage in price fixing, market manipulation, and collusion necessitates mention here. There is nothing new about the complaints being lodged against “Big Oil” or Wall Street speculators. Assertions of mischief-making always arise when speculators are active in markets under going major changes. However, such assertions have no substance. Efforts dating back to the 1970s and resuming in the 21st century have consistently failed to support charges of energy market rigging by privately owned companies operating in the United States.89 The charges against speculators are exercises in economic illiteracy. Speculation is a bet about future prices. The bet can be won only by correctly predicting prices. These, moreover, are wagers in games of skill. Speculators persist because they are adept at anticipating price trends. Current prices are affected only if the high futures price inspires increased stockpiling, which has not been the case. The attacks on both oil companies and speculators are simply a demagogic way to express frustration. Confiscating profits then removes the incentives of companies and speculators to apply their skills to the market. The OPEC countries, which are the real culprits, are beyond congressional reach, but oil company executives and financial company executives must respond to subpoenas.

The Exile of First-Best Alternatives

Modern economic analysis, particularly in international trade theory, labors mightily to match solutions to problems. At least in this literature, the writers are careful to limit their attention to policy measures that are normally employed, and which might work in the cases considered.90 Hence, analysts are interested in picking the policy instrument that most directly solves the problem in question. Analysts only consider feasible policy instruments that would have the desired effect. Thus, discussion immediately begins with examination of which qualitatively feasible policy is best. In this literature, then, only stimulating policies are considered when stimulation is the goal, and similarly, only retarding policies are considered when restriction is the objective. For instance, subsidies stimulate that which is subsidized, while taxes discourage that which is taxed. Industries not targeted by the subsidies feel the opposite effect. For instance, a tax on coal stimulates natural gas. In the present case, the alleged problems are dangers of oil imports and of global warming. Thus, if the fears are valid, the most direct approaches are to tax imports and greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, the bundle of policy interventions embraced by the NPC and most others in the business of pontificating about energy policy does not directly address the identified problems. For instance, taxes on oil or gasoline, or fuel efficiency standards for new vehicles, discourage the consumption of both international and domestic oil. CAFE standards have the further drawback of raising the cost of owning a motor vehicle, but simultaneously lowering the cost of using that vehicle. It becomes unclear whether energy use will rise or fall, and the same holds true for other performance standards. The wide use of such standards means that they extend to areas such as electric appliances—and even toilets—in which oil use is negligible. Thus, they mainly hit domestic consumption of fuels that, at least in many cases, the usage should probably be encouraged.


81. George A. Akerlof, “The Market for ‘Lemons’: Qualitative Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 84 (1970): 488–500.

82. Eric W. Bond, “A Direct Test of the ‘Lemons’ Model: The Market for Used Pickup Trucks,” American Economic Review 72, no. 4 (September, 1982): 836–40. The Akerlof article, which helped win a Nobel Prize in economics for its author, is one of the four examples of the new theory of market failure reprinted in Cowan and Crampton (the refuting essay was the just-cited paper from Bond). Two of the remaining three examples were from Joseph E. Stiglitz, who has generated many models of peculiarly inefficient markets. The other comes from Paul A. David. The Nobel prizes awarded to Akerlof and Stiglitz for their work in this area prove that novelty, not validity, can secure academic acclaim.

83. The chief offenders are a research group at Oak Ridge National Laboratories and Amory Lovins.

84. Paul L.Joskow and Donald B. Marron, “What Does a Negawatt Really Cost? Evidence from Utility Conservation Programs,” The Energy Journal 13, no. 4 (1992): 41–71.

85. One of the rarer economic defenses of CAFÉ standards can be found in David Greene, “Why CAFE Worked,” Energy Policy 26, no. 8 (1998): 595–614. Greene argues, contrary to what is argued here, that exactly the right combination of market failures prevail to justify mandatory fuel efficiency standards.

86. Robert W. Crandall and John G. Graham, “The Effects of Fuel Economy Standards on Automobile Safety,” Journal of Law and Economics 38, no. 1 (April 1989): 97–118.

87. Andrew N. Kleit, “Impacts of Long-Range Increases in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standard,” Economic Inquiry 42 (2004): 279–94.

88. Carolyn Fischer, Winston Harrington, and Ian W .H. Parry, “Should Automobile Fuel Economy Standards Be Tightened?” Energy Journal 28, no. 4 (2007): 1–29.

89. Among the reports published in the 1970s are Joseph P. Mulholland, Economic Structure and Behavior in the Natural Gas Production Industry, Staff Report to the Federal Trade Commission (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1979); Joseph P. Mulholland, John Haring, and Stephen Martin, Staff Report on an Analysis of Competitive Structure in the Uranium Supply Industry (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1979); U.S. Congress, General Accounting Office, The State of Competition in the Coal Industry (Washington: 1977); U.S. Department of Energy, Coal Competition: Prospects for the 1980s (Springfield: VA : National Technical Information Service, 1981); U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Economics, Report to the Federal Trade Commission on the Structure of the Nation’s Coal Industry 1964–1974 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1978). Later studies include Jay S. Creswell Jr.,ScottM. Harvey, and Louis Silvia, Mergers intheU.S.PetroleumIndustry1971–1984: An Updated Comparative Analysis (Washington: U.S. Federal Trade Commission, 1989); U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Economics, The Petroleum Industry: Mergers, Structural Change, and Antitrust Enforcement (Washington: 2004); U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Gasoline Price Changes: The Dynamic of Supply, Demand, and Competition (Washington: 2005); U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Investigation of Gasoline Price Manipulation and Post-Katrina Gasoline Price Increases (Washington: 2006); U.S. General Accounting Office, Energy Markets: Effects of Mergers and Market Concentration in the U.S. Petroleum Industry (Washington: 2004).

90. This differs from the complex market-failure theories criticized above that rely on policy alternatives that are inapplicable to international trade.

to be continued…

Courtesy: Cato Institute, Policy Analysis No. 628, December 1. 2008






‘ONGC hires Citi in bid for Kosmos Ghana stake’: Sources

July 20, 2009. ONGC has hired Citigroup to advise it on a bid for Kosmos Energy's stake in the Jubilee oil field offshore Ghana in a deal that could be worth around $3 billion. Private equity-backed Kosmos, which has received a total of $800 million in financing from Blackstone and Warburg Pincus, has hired Standard Chartered and Barclays Plc to sell its stakes in the Jubilee oil field.

ONGC Videsh declines offer for Zubair oil field

July 20, 2009. ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) and its consortium partners, O.A.O. Gazprom and Turkish Petroleum Corporation, have declined Iraq’s offer of a service contract for the Zubair oil field. OVL declined the offer on the issue of minimum remuneration that a service contractor earns for producing incremental oil from the field as well as maintaining the existing production. Iraq wanted the minimum remuneration amount to be reduced by $2 a barrel, which was found to be not profitable. Iraq had invited bids for 20-year service contracts to dig resources from four oil blocks, along with Zubair , and two gas blocks. Iraq is offering the oil fields on long-term contracts. The companies would be paid a flat fee for their services instead of production-sharing contracts, through which the companies and the Government share the oil and its profit. Iraq has roughly 115 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, making it the third-largest in the world.

ONGC starts oil production in Brazil

July 16, 2009. ONGC's deep-sea project in Brazil has reportedly begun its crude oil production. The output is projected to touch 100,000 barrels a day. ONGC Videsh Ltd., Shell and Petrobras of Brazil had started production on July 13 at its multi-field Parque das Conchas project, also known as BC-10, 120 km off Brazil’s southeast coast, where heavy oil resources lie below nearly 2 km of water in the Campos Basin. The oil is being produced using a floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) named Espirito Santo. The FPSO can process 1,00,000 bpd of oil and 50 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, and store nearly 1.5 million barrels of oil for shipment to shore by transport tankers.

Cairn output will cut import bill by $6.8 bn

July 16, 2009. Cairn India's prolific Rajasthan oil fields, which are likely to go on production next month, will bring down India's oil import bill by USD 6.8 billion, investment banker Goldman Sachs said in its latest report.  It forecast a peak production of 190,000 bpd (9.5 million tons a year) of oil from Rajasthan by end of 2012-13 fiscal. India, in 2008-09 paid USD 75.5 billion (Rs 3,41,887 crore) to the oil exporting nations to meet the energy requirement of the growing economy. In addition to this, the government incurred a fuel subsidy of USD 18 billion.  India's current oil production is around 660,000 bpd (33 million tons a year).


Essar Oil ties up $920 mn to fund refinery expansion

July 21, 2009. Ruias-owned Essar Oil has tied up USD 920 million to fund the expansion of its Vadinar refinery in Gujarat to 16 million tonnes. The Vadinar refinery, situated five kilometres away from Reliance Industries' twin refineries in Jamnagar district, currently operates at 133 per cent of its nameplate capacity of 10.5 million tonnes a year. The company will in Phase II add a new 18-million-tonne-a year processing unit at an investment of close to USD 4.4 billion by December 2011.

Indian carriers slash fuel dues to refiners

July 17, 2009. Indian carriers, including Jet Airways (India) Ltd. and Kingfisher Airlines Ltd.,have reportedly reduced fuel payment dues to state-run refiners 39% this year.  Jet fuel dues were a combined Rs22.25bn on May 31 from RS36.58bn on Dec. 31. Kingfisher owed Rs9.5bn, while Jet Airways, the nation’s most valuable carrier, owed Rs7.6bn. Indian Oil Corp.,was RS9.9bn while Hindustan Petroleum Corp., had Rs7.18bn in pending payments. Bharat Petroleum Corp. owed Rs5.17bn.

Essar Oil to have 1,500 fuel stations by March

July 16, 2009. Essar Oil is said to have plans to add 15-20 outlets every month and is looking beyond 1,500 by March, possibly even 1,800 stations. The plan is based on the premise that prices of petrol and diesel could be freed in the near future. It is also part of the company’s original target to put up 2,500 retail outlets in the next 18 months.  Major areas will be Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan before work starts on consolidating its presence in the South. Gujarat would possibly see the sharpest rise of outlets from 200 to 440 by March 2010. The State is home to Essar’s Vadinar refinery.

Reliance aims to sell fuel in US market

July 15, 2009. Reliance Industries, owner of world's biggest oil complex, aims to directly sell fuel in the United States, the world's biggest oil consumer. Reliance recently commissioned a second crude unit at its 580,000 barrels per day refinery. Full scale commissioning of the new plant, sited next to the group's existing 660,000 bpd refinery, will turn Jamnagar into the world's biggest complex processing 1.24 million bpd of crude. US-based refiners have been concerned that a raft of new federal environmental regulations could make it easier for overseas competitors to take a larger share of the US fuel market. The top US energy lobby group, the American Petroleum Institute, said Reliance would do well in the US because American refiners are bound by tough federal environmental regulations, based on the climate bill that just passed in the House of Representatives. RIL had started supplying fuel to the US refiner Hess Corp. Reliance had sold a 66,000 tonnes cargo of 10 ppm diesel to Hess in May and about 60,000 tonnes of 90 RON petrol to the the US refiner in June. Reuters in March reported that the Indian refiner had signed its first-ever term contract with Hess for sale of at least 4 diesel cargoes of 65,000 tonnes.  

Transportation / Trade

MGL to increase CNG & PNG prices

July 18, 2009. In view of the substantial increase in Mahanagar Gas Limited’s (MGL) gas purchase cost and increase in other non-gas costs, MGL is constrained to increase the price of Piped Natural Gas (PNG) and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

The price of PNG was kept more or less same for the past 7 years. The same is true for CNG, where the price has remained more or less same for the past 4 years. During this period, the non-gas costs such as power tariff, reinstatement charges, pipe laying costs, material costs and other operational expenses etc. have increased tremendously.

Though the new gas cost has increased by more than 3 times compared to the old APM gas price, yet MGL is increasing its selling price of CNG & PNG by only 14% and 15% respectively. Even after the above revision, MGL’s gas remains to be the cheapest in the country (except IGL in Delhi, where CNG enjoys a VAT exemption and benefit of high volumes) and is at a 63% discount to petrol, about 40% discount to HSD and 22% to domestic LPG.

GAIL to lay down 600-km long gas pipeline in MP

July 17, 2009. Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) will lay down a 600-km long gas pipeline from Jhabua to Kailaras in Madhya Pradesh at an estimated cost of Rs 3,000 crore. The cost of the pipleline between the two points (Jhabua and Kailaras) will be Rs 2,500 crore while another Rs 500 crore will be spent on installing two compressors. The company also plans to supply piped gas in a radius of 50 km in the cities situated along the route of the pipeline and nearly 230 cities and towns including Guna, Indore, Gwalior and Malanpur have been shortlisted for the purpose. 

Aviation fuel price cut

July 15, 2009. The price that domestic airlines will have to pay for aviation turbine fuel is coming down. Oil companies announced a reduction in ATF prices ranging from Rs 2.22 a litre in Delhi to Rs 2.36 a litre in Chennai. Domestic airlines will pay Rs 36.33 for a litre of ATF while earlier they were paying 38.55 for a litre in Delhi while in Chennai airlines will pay Rs 40.16 for a litre down from Rs 42.52 earlier.

Fuel prices constitute between 45-50 per cent of the operating cost of most domestic airlines. Domestic oil companies now change ATF prices twice a month on the 1st and 15th so as to reflect the global movement in the price of the fuel.

Policy / Performance

IPI deal to open new vistas for Indian cos

July 21, 2009. The government made it clear that it will not bow to external pressures in deciding on participating in the $7.4-billion IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline project but listed several outstanding issues, including the final gas price, with Iran as impediments to signing a contract.  

The transport tariff, to be paid for the wheeling of gas through the section of pipeline passing through Pakistan, has not been decided yet. India wanted a guaranteed supply of gas and wants the delivery of gas at its border with Pakistan but Tehran and Islamabad have agreed to hand over the gas at the Iran-Pakistan border.   

SAGE Enterprise, a global consortium is currently in discussions with Qatar and Iran to get natural gas from West Asia to India through the deepwater pipeline. The transport of natural gas at a lower cost than LNG, over distances up to around 2100 km and the transport of Iranian gas by offshore pipeline to any place south and west of Jaipur in India can provide a shorter, more direct route than by an overland pipeline.

Andhra Pradesh seeks 'due share' of Reliance gas

July 20, 2009. Even as the two Ambani brothers are locked in a legal battle over supply and price of gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin, the Andhra Pradesh government has sought its "due share" of the hydrocarbon asset. In a meeting with members of 13th Finance Commission, Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy said they must intervene in the matter as the people of the state were also entitled to reap the benefits of the natural resource, found off the state's coast. During the meeting, which included Finance Commission Chairman Vijay Kelkar, Reddy called for changes in gas distribution mechanism to ensure that the gas requirements of the state's industry, especially electricity projects were met.

SC to hear RIL-RNRL case on Sept 1

July 20, 2009. The Supreme Court said that the next hearing in the long-standing gas dispute between Reliance Industries (RIL) and Reliance Natural Resources (RNRL) would take place on September 1. The apex court said it would hear all the parties on the same day. The role of the Government and all the other third parties would be decided after the September 1 hearing.  Ambani asked the Prime Minister to direct the Petroleum Ministry and the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) to stop intervening in the dispute except to interpret the production-sharing contract, which determines the Government’s rights and entitlements from the gas produced at a field operated by RIL. The Government increased its involvement in the gas dispute between the two Ambani brothers by filing a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court, asking it to quash the MoU signed between the two estranged brothers in 2005. The sovereign right of the Government over gas and the production sharing contract between the Union of India and RIL, the contractor, will gain precedence over the private MoU in larger public interest, the Centre said. The MoU between the two brothers be treated illegal and declared null and void as it treated the gas as a personal and family property of the signatories, it added.

Don’t grant interim relief to RNRL, says RIL

July 17, 2009. RIL in its affidavit said that the interim relief sought by the other party on gas sale be rejected as it did not have any plants capable of receiving the fuel. It has also submitted that any damages suffered by RNRL,  if established, can be re-compensated later by money and added that gas supplied at this stage to RNRL could be used only for the purpose of trading with third parties, report stated.  The affidavit filed in Supreme Court by RNRL said that “The profits that RNRL may make are not a concern of RIL. In fact, RNRL was created just so that it could earn such a profit."  

GAIL seeks regulator’s nod for uniform transportation tariff

July 16, 2009. GAIL (India) Ltd’s revised transportation tariff submitted to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (P&NGRB) is on a postalised basis, which means it would be a uniform tariff system irrespective of the distance of the given zone. The tariff proposal is said to be more or less on the same levels as the existing rate. However, in one or two sections it is said to be marginally higher. Currently, for the Hazira-Vijaipur-Jagdishpur (HVJ) pipeline network, GAIL levies a transportation tariff of Rs 1,019/thousand standard cubic metre. For Krishna Godavari Basin networks, Tatipaka-Kakinada-Kouur and Tatipaka-Kondapalli, it levies Rs 432/thousand standard cubic metre and Rs 1,067/thousand standard cubic metre, respectively.  While the transportation tariff levied by GAIL for Dahej-Vijaipur pipeline which connects to HVJ is Rs 27.14/mBtu, and Dahej-Uran pipeline tariff is Rs 26.14/mBtu.

Gas price index in the pipeline

July 16, 2009. Targeting a reference price, the central government is finally working towards creating a benchmark index for gas prices. The creation of the proposed gas price index would help develop the gas market and bring clarity in gas pricing for future contracts and consumers. In the US, which has an active gas trade, the price at Henry Hub in Louisiana, a point of intersection for multiple gas pipelines, serves as the reference. India is yet to have an equivalent. Nodal pipeline company Gail is conducting a study in consultation with the petroleum ministry to develop the index.  The move comes as a long-drawn battle is on in courts to settle the price at which gas should be sold. The lack of clarity in PSCs, more so as they lend themselves to disparate interpretations, has led to legal disputes.  Already, the terms of reference for the study have been finalised. The index will be based on the consumer trends of various segments, though there may be many obstacles here.

‘Global oil refining faces significant challenges’: Fitch

July 16, 2009. Fitch Ratings says in a special report that the global oil refining industry faces significant challenges in the near- to medium-term due to a sharp deterioration in the global supply/ demand balance for refined products. The agency projects a substantial weakening in funds from operations (FFO) and the credit metrics of refining companies in 2009 and 2010, driven by lower refinery utilisation rates and weaker refining margins, compared with the solid results reported in the last refining upturn between 2005 and 2008.

Draw up plan for new LPG connections, oil cos told

July 16, 2009. The Petroleum Ministry has directed the public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) to prepare year-wise and State-wise road map for increasing the pace of new domestic LPG connections substantially. The Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas has directed the companies to prepare a road map for increasing the pace of new LPG connections by releasing 5.5 crore new connections by 2015. This will enhance the population coverage from about 50 per cent to 75 per cent in line with the Vision 2015 finalised by the Ministry recently.  As envisaged in the Vision, the intent is for taking the total number of LPG customers to16 crore. Most of the new connections would be released in rural areas as urban areas are largely covered.



Sardar Sarovar hydel unit to resume production soon

July 20, 2009.  With the delayed rains finally arriving, production of hydroelectric power at the River-Bed Power House (RBPH) of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) in Gujarat, discontinued on July 4 due to erratic monsoon in the main catchment areas of the River Narmada in Madhya Pradesh, is likely to restart soon. Paucity of water in both the Indira Sagar dam (MP) and Sardar Sarovar reservoirs and diversion of some water for drinking and necessary irrigation purposes during the summer had forced the four beneficiary States — Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan — to jointly decide to temporarily halt 1,200 MW of hydro-power production at RBPH.  Power benefits are shared among Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat in the ratio of 57:27:16 respectively, whereas Rajasthan gets only water.

Coal shortages plague NTPC stations

July 20, 2009. NTPC Ltd was forced to shut down its 1,000-MW Sipat thermal station briefly in May due to coal shortages and reported loss of generation at three other key stations — Kahalgaon, Talcher and Korba — during April-June.  The power major is currently operating several of its key stations, including Farakka in West Bengal, Kahalgaon in Bihar, Talcher in Orissa and Korba in Chhattisgarh, with limited coal stocks.While the coal shortages have hit NTPC’s stations in the eastern region the worst, power generation has not stopped at these plants due to (the) coal shortage.  The company’s plant at Sipat in Chhattisgarh was shut for five days in May due to low coal stocks, he added. The loss of generation at the 3,000 MW Talcher station was 199.6 million units, in Kahalgaon it was 126 million units and 142.5 million units at Sipat during the last three months.

Alstom Project wins order worth Rs 3.73 bn

July 20, 2009. Alstom Projects India Ltd has been awarded a contract worth Rs 3.73bn by Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd for supply of Boiler components for 2 X 800 MW Supercritical Coal Fired Power Plant at Krishnapatnam, Nellore Dist in Andra Pradesh.

Petronet LNG seeks land for power project in Kochi

July 20, 2009. Petronet LNG Ltd is considering setting up a 750 mw power project at the site of its proposed Rs 2500 crore Kochi re-gassification terminal which is expected to go operational in 2011. Petronet LNG board decided to carry out a pre-feasibility study of the proposed power plant. Cochin Port Trust (CPT) and Kerala Government would take a decision to allot land for the purpose, in a month.  The port had allotted 32 hectares in Puthuvype for the terminal and another 22 hectares for marine constructions.

Vendanta to bid for ultra mega power projects, coal blocks

July 19, 2009. Vedanta Resources said the company will bid for the Ultra Mega Power Projects and coal blocks as and when the government puts them on auction and added it has plans of Rs 70,000 crore till 2011-12.  The cash-rich group is working out ambitious investment plans of Rs 70,000 crore, a large part of which is being used for creating a total 11,000 MW power generation capacity. The group has already invested Rs 35,000 crore of the total planned expenditure.

Alstom, Toshiba to set up India power units in 4 months

July 17, 2009. In a move that will give a boost to power generation in the country, private power equipment makers such as Alstom and Toshiba will set up their power manufacturing base in India in the next three-four months. This decision will help the power ministry in its objective to add 78,700 mw power generation capacity by March, 2012. The government would soon give its nod to bulk tendering of supercritical equipment by NTPC and DVC. This has evinced interest from new joint ventures such as L&T –Mitshubishi, JSW-Toshiba, Bharat Forge- Alstom and Ansaldo- G B Engineering. New ventures are expected to bring investment to the tune of Rs 5000 crore.

Monsoon activity ups KSEB hopes

July 17, 2009. Hopes of increased hydel power generation were stoked for the Kerala State Electricity Board by vigorous monsoon activity over the past few days. In June there had been a shortage of water received at its reservoirs, with water sufficient to produce 331 million units being received that month as against the expectation of getting water enough to produce 800 mu of power. Of Kerala's average daily requirement of 1,319 mu in June, 420 mu is contributed by hydel power sources. Rainwater enough to produce 331 mu power received in June was lower than the 433 mu worth of water received in June 2008 and significantly lower than the 1,003 mu worth of water received in June 2007. KSEB officials said the water position in its three major reservoirs was 36% of their capacity, but expected the fresh monsoon activity to improve the water position in all three.

BGR Energy seeks tie-up with Japanese turbine firm

July 16, 2009. In order to become a full-fledged power plant equipment manufacturer, engineering and infrastructure firm BGR Energy Systems has approached a Japanese steam turbine manufacturer for a tie-up.  If the deal is concluded, Rs.1,900-crore Chennai-based BGR Energy believes it will be able offer larger machinery needed for power plants on its own, enabling it to control costs and become competitive while bidding.  In April, the company had announced a technical tie-up with Foster Wheeler North America Corp, a subsidiary of Foster Wheeler's Global Power Group, for manufacture of sub- and super-critical boilers with capacities ranging from 100 MW to 1,000 MW.

ADAG ties up funds for Rosa power project

July 15, 2009. Reliance Power said it has achieved financial closure for the 1,200 mw Rosa power project being planned in Uttar Pradesh. Rosa Power Supply Co, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Anil Ambani-led firm, has sealed a long-term loan from a group of banks and institutions led by IDBI Ltd. The company is said to have already raised Rs 2,000 crore for the said project. The project would entail an investment of over Rs 10,000 crore and would be one of the larger private sector investments in UP.  The Rosa Project is expected to supply 900 mw to UP. While the stage-I of the project would be operational within this year, the expansion phase would be operational by 2012. 

Assam to generate 2043.7 MW of additional power

July 15, 2009. Assam is eyeing to generate 2043.7 MW of additional power in next couple of years. The state government is talk with Oil India Limited (OIL) to initiate joint venture power project.  The state has also established power linkages from which it is hoping to get around 150 MW of power.  The state government has made a proposal to the PSU Company OIL to jointly initiate power project like ONGC s Palatana power in Tripura, Several projects lined up by the state government slated to be commissioned by 2011. Lakwa waste heat project (38MW) is expected to be commissioned by December this year.  For the proposed Amguri Gas based power project in Upper Assam gas pricing is being negotiated with Canoro resources limited. The state cabinet has recently approved the proposal for the 500-MW Margherita Borgolai coal-based power project. State owned Assam state electricity board (ASEB) and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) will implement the project.

Transmission / Distribution / Trade

Adani Power IPO opens on 28th July

July 20, 2009. Adani Power Ltd., a power project development company, promoted by Adani Enterprises Ltd. is undertaking an initial public offering (IPO) of 301,652,031 Equity Shares of Rs. 10 each for cash at a price to be decided through a 100% book-building process. The Issue will open on July 28 and closes on July 31.The Price Band and the minimum Bid Lot will be decided by the company in consultation with the Global Coordinator and Book Running Lead Manager and announced in all editions of The Financial Express in the English and Gujarati languages and Jansatta in the Hindi language at least two working days prior to the Bid/ Issue Opening Date.

Bankura may award coal mining contract to India resources

July 20, 2009. Bankura DRI Mining Manufacturers Company Ltd may award a long-term contract for developing and operating an underground captive coal mine at Biharinath block in Ranigunj coalfield in West Bengal to Australia-based India Resources Ltd, according to an IRL release.  Bankura DRI is an SPV created by six sponge iron companies — Concast Bengal Industries, Amiya Steel, Govinda Impex, Bishan Dayal Goyal & Sons, Divya Jyoti Sponge Iron and Bhagwati Sponge.  Under the recent agreement, Bankura granted IRL Coal Pvt Ltd, an IRL subsidiary, exclusive rights for four months to finalise the techno-commercial terms for mine development and operation.

TNEB steps up efforts to improve supply in Coimbatore

July 19, 2009. The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) Coimbatore Region, is striving to improve the quality of power by strengthening transmission lines, erecting nine110 kV sub-stations within the city besides looking for land to set up 230 kV sub-stations to meet the energy requirements over the long term.  Currently, there are 110 sub-stations (of various loads such as 110 kV, 230 Kv, etc,) in this region comprising Tirupur, Coimbatore and Nilgiris districts.

Power Grid asked to allow Maytas Infra to continue

July 17, 2009. Maytas Infra Ltd. has bagged Jajpur & Midnapore projects in 2008 from Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. (PGCIL) through competitive bid process and in its own right as a competent infrastructure company. Maytas has quickly mobilized the teams at most of the packages to execute the projects and currently the execution is progressing well.  As per earlier contract between PGCIL and Maytas Infra for execution of Rural Electrification works, PGCIL was bound to release the mobilization advance against the bank guarantees provided by Maytas. Due to the recent developments, PGCIL has delayed release of the advance which is impacting the work progress.

ABB wins Rs 1410 mn substation orders

July 15, 2009. ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, won orders worth Rs. 1410 million from Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company Limited (MSETCL) for substations to help improve the efficiency and reliability of the state's network. The 220kV and 132kV substations will be located in the Nashik, Amravati and Nagpur zones of the western Indian state of Maharashtra, and are an integral part of MSETCL’s efforts to reduce transmission and distribution losses. The order was won in the second quarter, and the project is scheduled for completion in 2010.  

KSEB detects power theft by houseboats

July 15, 2009. The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has detected a major power theft racket involving the houseboats operating in Vembanad lake in Kuttanad. The Kuttanad region spanning Alappuzha and Kottayam districts has nearly 300 houseboats operating in the lake. The anti-power theft squads of the board found that four boats were tapping power from the electricity lines drawn over the bunds for lighting and air-conditioning.  The board said had booked criminal cases against the owners of these houseboats, besides imposing a penalty of Rs 12 lakh on them for the damages caused by their action.

NALCO owes Rs 496.23 crore as power bill to Orissa

July 15, 2009. Power dues amounting to Rs 630 crore were pending in Orissa with 34 companies, including public sector National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO) and Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP).  As the matter relating to NALCO was sub-judice, the minister said, the state government was not sure on the time limit within which the company would make full payment. NALCO was followed by RSP, another CPSU, with an arrear of Rs 50.96 crore. Dues with Oswal Chemical & Fertiliser Limited, Paradeep, also stood at Rs 28.24 Crore, he said.  While private sector Ballarpur Industries Limited, Jeypore owes Rs 11.69 crore as power bill, ICCL/IMFA, Choudwar is to pay Rs 1.18 crore to the state towards electricity bill.  Dues of other companies are: Aarati Steel & Power Limited, Cuttack (Rs 13.16 cr), Shree Metalicks, Keonjhar (Rs 8.11 crore), and ESPL, Jharsuguda (Rs 1.91 cr).

Policy / Performance

J&K to set up hydel power plants in state

July 21, 2009. The Jammu and Kashmir government plans to rope in private players to exploit 22,000 MW power potential of the state.  Power is supplied to the consumers for less than 9 hours a day. Irregular electricity supply is also affecting the industrial consumers equally. Curtailment, which means electricity cuts in fixed long hour shifts, has been increased from 2 days to 3 days a week since the coalition government took over in January, besides, unscheduled power cuts.

NHPC in talks with India govt On Bhutan projects

July 21, 2009. State-run NHPC Ltd. is in talks with India's federal government to expand its operations to Bhutan. NHPC has been entrusted with preparing detailed project reports for three power projects in Bhutan. NHPC is requesting the (Indian) government that at least one-two of these projects should be given to NHPC for implementation and execution.

High Court nod for mini-hydel projects

July 21, 2009. The Karnataka High Court gave green signal to the Perla and Shamboori mini-hydel power projects, coming up across the Netravati in Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada district. The court’s nod comes in the wake of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition challenging the decision of the Central and State Governments to permit a private entrepreneur to go ahead with the hydel projects. The trust which filed the PIL said that if the private entrepreneur was allowed to implement the project, it would cause untold misery to the residents of surrounding villages where the power projects were coming. Moreover, valueable flora and fauna of the Western Ghats would be lost.

Customs, excise duty waiver for merchant power projects likely

July 21, 2009. In a bid to promote merchant power projects in the country, the government is planning to permit projects that allow merchant sales of up to 40% of saleable energy in case of hydel power and 15% in thermal power to get zero import duty and deemed export benefit (excise duty waiver) on equipment purchase. It is also planning to extend its policy of giving price preference of 15% to domestic equipment companies till 2011.

Merchant sales allow project developers to sell power in the open market at market-determined prices instead of signing long-term contracts with state electricity boards. The Centre’s mega power policy, in its present form, provides tax sops to projects (over 1,000 mw thermal and over 500 mw hydel projects) where the entire capacity is tied up under long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with state utilities and trading entities. Under the policy, while import of capital goods is exempted from Customs duty, deemed export benefit is available for supplies by domestic bidders. In addition, income-tax holiday under Section 80-IA can also be availed.

Power to generate over Rs 12,000 cr revenue in Arunachal by ’20

July 20, 2009. The huge untapped natural resources in Arunachal Pradesh when harnessed would make it a front ranking State.  Development of hydropower projects alone, for which the State Government has signed MOUs with several CPUs and private players, would generate at least Rs 12,000 crore to Rs 15,000 crore revenue by 2018-20.

This was against Rs 2,100 crore plan size the Planning Commission has approved for the State for the current year. A massive 55,000 MW hydro-power potential has been identified in Arunachal by the Central Electricity Authority.  Construction of major projects except the yet to be commissioned 2,000 MW Lower Subansiri of the NHPC at Gerukamukh have not yet been undertaken.

AP seeks central aid for free power for farms

July 20, 2009. The Andhra Pradesh Government has requested the 13th Finance Commission to provide Central Government support for free power supply to farmers, Aarogyasri community health insurance and extend about Rs 20,000 crore for the irrigation sector.

The State recorded a growth rate higher than the national average as reflected by the gross domestic product which increased from 3.8 per cent to 7.5 per cent during 2002-2003 to 2004-2005. The State recorded a growth from 3.3 per cent which peaked to 8.3 per cent during the same period. The State attributed this growth to initiatives such as Jalayagnam, free power to farmers, interest subsidy on crop loans to farmers, and implementation of recommendations of the Twelfth Finance Commission.

Over 45,000 MW capacity addition behind schedule

July 19, 2009. At a time when the government is trying hard to add power generation capacity of over 78,000 Mw during the current Five-Year Plan, projects of over 45,000 Mw currently under construction are running behind schedule. The latest data obtained from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) says that projects behind schedule include around 35,000 Mw of thermal power projects and rest 10,000 Mw of hydro power projects, a major chunk of which is scheduled to be commissioned during the current Plan period ending March 2012. Several factors including delay in placing order for main plant and balance of plant (BoP) equipment for thermal projects, delays in preparation of project reports and in getting environmental clearances for hydro projects have resulted in these projects running behind schedule. The quantum of the power capacity lagging behind schedule is around 65 per cent of the total 66,000 of generation capacity under execution in the country.

Govt asks Sikkim to withhold 6 hydel projects

July 19, 2009. The Central Government has asked the Sikkim Government to withhold the six hydel projects in the state. Union Ministry of Environment and Forest has refused to give environment clearance to these hydel projects. Sikkim was expected to get 1047 MW power from these projects.

The projects of Teesta stage I which was expected to generate 280 MW, Teesta Stage II expected to generate 330 MW, Lachen expected to generate 120 MW, BOP expected to generate 99 MW and Bimkyong expected to generate 99 MW and Lachung which was expected to generate 99MW would be affected by the Centr’s direction.

Delhi Govt to offer CFLs for Rs 15

July 19, 2009. As part of Delhi government’s energy efficiency plans, the capital may soon be adopting Bureau Of Energy Efficiency’s (BEE) Bachat Lamp Yojana for promotion of CFLs. Under this plan, various areas will be designated under the discoms where residents would be required to replace 60 watt and 100 watt incandescent lamps with CFLs at a minimal cost of Rs 15 per lamp. Delhi Secretariat may also go for an energy audit to determine the areas where the government, by using energy efficient methods, can cut down on its energy consumption. The audit will be carried out by BEE. Once the study is submitted, the government will decide whether and how it would be able to implement suggestions. NDPL managed to sell about 65,000 CFLs under this scheme, resulting in an energy saving of about 3 MW. BSES sold over 5 lakh CFLs in its areas and managed an energy saving of over 30 MW. However, both discoms have discontinued with the schemes and at present.

‘Indo-US N-deal won't be hostage to India signing CTBT’: Hillary

July 18, 2009. The Indo-US civil nuclear deal will not be held ‘hostage’ to India signing the CTBT, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made it clear. She said she would also like to find out "what is the appropriate non-proliferation programme for the future. India has the capacity to determine where it wants to go in this particular area."

CIL’s social initiative precedes coal concession deal in Mozambique

July 18, 2009. As a first step towards securing exploration and development rights in two coal blocks in Mozambique, Coal India Ltd will shortly initiate social development programmes there. To start with, CIL is sending artificial limbs for those injured in landmine blasts in the civil war in the country. The company has promised to spend over Rs 100 crore towards distributing artificial limbs, creating a mine technology hub, and setting up an institute on the lines of Indian Institute of Mines to create a human resource pool in that country, all as part of the concession agreement between India and Mozambique. A CIL delegation, which is to visit Mozambique late this month or early August, is likely to finalise the date of signing the agreement with the Mozambique Government for two coal blocks, A1 and A2.

HPGCL secures coal supply from Coal India

July 17, 2009. The Haryana Power Generation Corporation Limited (HPGCL) has secured coal supply for its power stations by signing a Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA) with three major subsidiaries of Coal India Limited (CIL), namely Central Coalfields Limited (CCL), Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) and Northern Coalfield Limited (NCL). The tenure of the FSA has been fixed at 20 Years or the lifespan of the Power Station which ever is lesser.

The signing of FSA is a major step by HPGCL towards ensuring an assured and reliable supply of good quality and sufficient quantity of sized coal for the Generating Stations of HPGCL, so that they keep on running uninterruptedly and provide enough power for overall development of the State.

Teesta Urja receives FIPB nod

July 17, 2009. The Government cleared 16 foreign direct investment proposals worth Rs 892 crore, most of which will be for a hydro power project in Sikkim.  Teesta Urja will bring in Rs 547.20 crore for developing 1,200-MW hydro power project in Sikkim.

BHEL to enhance capacity to 15,000 MW by Dec-end

July 17, 2009. In order to contribute to the demand for power generating equipment during the 11th Plan period and beyond, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) had augmented its manufacturing capacity for Power Plant Equipment from 6000 MW to 10,000 MW per annum by December 2007.  

This manufacturing capacity is being further enhanced to 15000 MW per annum by end December 2009. This will further go up to 20000 MW per annum by December 2011. The estimated cost for the above capacity expansion programme of BHEL is approximately Rs58.03bn.

Reliance power buyers can pay bills at old rate

July 16, 2009. The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) provided major relief for over 23 lakh Reliance power consumers in suburban Mumbai when it decreed that customers could continue to pay according to the old tariff.  MERC’s order will apply until it completes its probe into allegations of “inflated’ ’ bills and issues further directives.

The MERC order stays the hike for 23 lakh out of Reliance’s 27 lakh consumers, and applies to all residential consumers (except those below the poverty line) and some commercial and industrial customers.  The order for the first time makes Reliance power cheaper than that of BEST, as BEST consumers in the island city where MERC has hiked the tariff by 9.5%—will have to continue paying at the higher rate.

NTPC to place equipment orders for 11 power units

July 16, 2009. NTPC plans to place equipment orders for plants generating a combined 7,260MW by September, 2009. The company plans to place order for 11 power units of 660MW each. NTPC also plans to import 12.5mn tons of coal in FY10 and has imported 3.5mn tons of coal so far this year. Further the company would be needing 150mn tons of coal in FY10.  The utility’s coal-fired plants are working at 92% efficiency and supply of the fuel is under control.

NTPC project in Chhattisgarh

July 15, 2009. NTPC Ltd has signed MoUs with the Chhattisgarh Government for setting up a 4,000- MW power project at Lara in Raigarh district. The beneficiaries of this project would be the States and UTs of the Western region and the project is scheduled to be completed during the 12th Plan.

‘Open access push may impact State Power Utilities’: Fitch

July 15, 2009. Fitch Ratings says the recent push towards operationalisation of open access in the power sector may impact the credit profiles of the State Power Utilities (SPUs) in the short- to medium-term. Limited progress in the physical implementation of distribution open access, particularly for bulk consumers, has prompted a recent push by the Government of India (GoI) and the central electricity regulator to kick-start open access by implementing the provisions of the Electricity Act 2003 and national electricity and tariff policies. The thrust appears to be towards getting the state regulators to fix the cross-subsidy surcharge at reasonably low levels to enable large consumers to gain distribution open access on a priority basis. Simultaneously, the GoI is also considering amending Section 11 of the Electricity Act 2003, which is currently being used by state governments to restrict the export of power outside the state through open access.

Report on power reforms gathers dust

July 15, 2009. Nandan Nilekani may be a symbol of PM Manmohan Singh’s idea to energise the government by inducting new ideas from the private sector through lateral entry. But a report, prepared some years ago and refreshed last year at the government’s behest, by the Infosys co-founder on using IT to increase efficiency in managing flow and consumption of electricity in the country has been gathering dust in the power ministry.  India has one of the highest power wheeling losses in the world, with only 65 out of every 100 units of electricity being transmitted reaching destination. This is the result of inefficiencies in the system, poor metering and theft. This has a sapping effect on efforts to ramp up availability and give consumers flexibility to chose suppliers according to rates on offer at any given time of the day through open access.  During NDA rule, then power minister Suresh Prabhu had asked Nilekani to prescribe a heavy dose of IT to revitalise the transmission system as part of the power reforms programme. The report got buried with Prabhu’s exit. Till last year when then minister of state for power Jairam Ramesh dusted it and asked Nilekani to refresh it in tune with the elapsed time.




Nexus secures offshore vessel to complete Longtom gas project

July 21, 2009. Nexus advised that a suitable diving support and installation vessel has been secured to complete the remaining offshore installation work for the Longtom gas project (VIC/L29) in the Gippsland Basin, offshore Victoria.  The vessel will be mobilized from Singapore and is expected to arrive on the Longtom site late August 2009 to complete the hook-up of the installed equipment. The timing has been revised to take account of the availability of the preferred vessel.  

Petrobras posts June production results for Brazil, abroad

July 20, 2009. Petrobras' average oil and natural gas production in Brazil and abroad topped-out at 2,505,379 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) in June, 3.5% more than a year ago, and 1.6% below the total volume lifted last May. Only taking the fields in Brazil into account, the oil and natural gas production averaged 2,253,414 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed), 2.3% more than the previous year’s mark (2,203,039 boed), and 2.4% less than a month earlier.  The exclusive domestic field oil production, 1,926,646 barrels per day, was 3.2% above June 2008 (1,867,336 b/d) and 3.2% less than last May (1,989,322 b/d).

StatoilHydro turns on taps at tune South satellite

July 20, 2009. StatoilHydro started production from the Tune South satellite well. The satellite is tied back to the Oseberg field center via the Tune subsea template. Tune South is developed as a satellite well tied back to the Tune subsea template, 10 kilometers southwest of the Oseberg field center in the North Sea. During 20 years of production, the Oseberg area has provided much more oil and gas than was anticipated when the development plans for the field were submitted.

CNOOC and Sinopec jointly acquire 20 pc interest in Angola block

July 20, 2009. CNOOC announced that its 50:50 joint venture with Sinopec International Petroleum Exploration and Production Corporation (Sinopec), has signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement with Marathon International Petroleum Angola Block 32 Ltd., a subsidiary of Marathon Oil Corporation, to acquire a 20% working interest in the Production Sharing Contract and Joint Operating Agreement under Block 32, offshore Angola.  Block 32, with an acreage of 5,090 square kilometers, is an oil rich deepwater exploration block with 12 oil discoveries. The block is located about 150 kilometers off the coast in a water depth of 1400 to 2200 meters.

Angola will raise oil output capacity

July 17, 2009. Angola will continue to increase its oil production capacity even as the country and other OPEC members curb actual output, said Oil Minister Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos.  Angola is among OPEC members that resolved last year to reduce production by 4.2 million barrels a day as an economic slowdown reduced world demand.

StatoilHydro proves gas at Idun North find in Norwegian Sea

July 17, 2009. Gas has been proven by StatoilHydro in exploration well 6507/3-7 Idun North in the Norwegian Sea. Currently being completed, the well is located two kilometers northwest of the Idun find and 12 kilometers north of the Skarv find. The objective of the well was to prove petroleum in the Fangst and Bat group in Middle and Lower Jurassic reservoir rocks. The well proved gas in the Fangst group.

Murphy strikes black gold at Turquoise Marine-1 offshore Congo

July 17, 2009.  Murphy Oil has announced an oil discovery at the Turquoise Marine-1 prospect located in the Mer Profonde Sud (MPS) block, offshore Republic of Congo (Brazzaville). The well was drilled in 5,285 feet of water to a total measured depth of 12,060 feet and encountered in excess of 136 feet of net oil pay. The Turquoise Marine-1 discovery is approximately 17 miles from the Murphy operated Azurite Field.

Oil may test Bollinger support near $58: Technical analysis

July 17, 2009. Crude oil remains in a downtrend and may slip toward its lower Bollinger Band just above $58 a barrel as traders test the resilience of technical support levels. Technical traders may test support along the lower Bollinger Band, which plots price targets based on volatility, a level that shows as around $58.30 a barrel on continuation charts. A settlement below that area may trigger a fresh wave of selling, potentially taking oil toward $50 a barrel, a level last traded at the end of April.

Sudan oil production to reach 922,000 bpd in ’13

July 15, 2009. Sudan would increase its crude oil output by 400,000 barrels a day within three to four years thanks to improved oil-extraction technique, said Sudan's state oil firm Sudapet. The Sudan oil production would raise to 922,000 barrels a day in 2012 or 2013, according to Sudapet president Salah Hassan Wahbi. If reached, this output would put Sudan's production close to the Algerian or the Libyan output.  By the end of 2008, Sudan had set its oil production target for 2009 at 600,000 barrels per day (bpd), an increase of 20 percent from 500,000 bpd in 2008.

Verleger sees $20 oil this year on ‘Devastating’ Glut 

July 16, 2009. Crude oil will collapse to $20 a barrel this year as the recession takes a deeper toll on fuel demand, according to academic and former U.S. government adviser Philip Verleger. A crude surplus of 100 million barrels will accumulate by the end of the year, straining global storage capacity and sending prices to a seven-year low, said Verleger, who correctly predicted in 2007 that prices were set to exceed $100. Supply is outpacing demand by about 1 million barrels a day, he said. 

Oil may fall below $45 on weak U.S. demand, BNP says

July 15, 2009. Crude oil in New York may fall below $45 a barrel by the end of August as the global recession stalls a recovery in fuel consumption in the U.S., the world’s biggest energy user, BNP Paribas said. The $787 billion U.S. stimulus program hasn’t restored fuel demand as consumers save more amid rising unemployment and a bleak economic outlook,. China, which took advantage of low prices to buy more commodities like copper and oil at the start of the year, isn’t powerful enough to lead a global demand recovery.  China is not going to save the world. The $10 trillion household spending of the U.S. is more than the spending by Japan, China, France, Germany and the U.K. put together, and the global consumer still is the U.S.

OPEC forecasts slower oil demand recovery next year than IEA

July 15, 2009. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries expects a slower rebound in oil demand next year than the International Energy Agency, based on a weaker outlook for the global economy.  Worldwide crude-oil consumption will increase by 500,000 barrels a day, or 0.6 percent, to 84.3 million a day in 2010 as industrial production gradually picks up after this year’s recession, OPEC said in a report today. That compares with an increase of 1.4 million barrels a day, or 1.7 percent, to 85.2 million, forecast by the IEA on July 10. 


LG Chem, Cnooc invest in chemical plant 

July 21, 2009. LG Chem Ltd., South Korea’s biggest chemical maker, and Cnooc Ltd. will invest $370 million to build a petrochemical plant in China to tap demand in the world’s second-largest energy user. The companies signed an agreement to form a venture to produce acrylonitrile butadiene styrene in South China. LG Chem and Cnooc will equally own the project. Production from the venture will start in 2011 with a capacity of 150,000 metric tons a year. The plant will increase its capacity to 300,000 tons a year by 2013. 

Sinopec fuel sales falls

July 21, 2009. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., the nation’s largest oil refiner, said fuel sales fell 8.4 percent in the first half after the economic slowdown cut demand. Domestic oil-product sales dropped to 57.71 million metric tons, or 2.24 million barrels a day, in the first six months, from 63.02 million tons a year earlier, Beijing-based Sinopec, as China Petroleum is known, said. Crude processing rose 1.8 percent to 86.9 million tons.  China’s economy expanded at the slowest pace in almost a decade in the first quarter, damping demand for oil products, including diesel and gasoline.

Jilin Petrochemicals kicks off refinery expansion

July 21, 2009. PetroChina's Jilin Petrochemicals has recently kicked off its 10-million-ton/year refinery expansion and a 400,000 tons/year ABS greenfield project in Jilin, Northeast China.  The refinery expansion will be completed and put into full operation in October 2010, while the 400,000 tons/year ABS project is expected to go on stream by October 2011. After the completion, Jilin Petrochemicals' refining capacity will reach 10 million tons a year, while the quality of gasoline and diesel products, product structure and company efficiency will be improved.  

Purvin & Gertz examines refining capacity rationalization

July 21, 2009. Purvin & Gertz has released a new study titled Rationalization of Refining Capacity. Precipitous declines in demand for refined products that started in 2008 coupled with an emerging surplus of refining capacity are severely challenging the refining industry in many regions of the world. Profitability is being threatened worldwide by low refining margins with particularly weak conditions becoming evident in the developed economies of Canada, Europe, Japan and the United States. Purvin & Gertz has developed and employed a proven methodology to identify those refineries that are most at risk of being rationalized in the market regions with the weakest conditions.

Sinopec reports rise in refining in H1

July 21, 2009. China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (Sinopec), the nation's largest oil refiner, said that it processed 86.9 million tonnes of crude oil in the first half of 2009, up 1.82 percent year-on-year, despite the economic slowdown. Sinopec reported earlier that the amount of crude oil it refined fell 3.27 percent year on year in the first quarter. The company, also a leading oil producer, said in a preliminary report that its crude oil output rose 1.18 percent year on year to 149.12 million barrels in the first half of 2009.

Iraqi Kurdistan inaugurates oil refinery

July 20, 2009. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)-owned KurdSat TV carried a live broadcast of the opening ceremony of Arbil Oil Refinery and Khurmala oil field. The project had the capacity of producing 75,000 barrels of oil per day.

China refinery utilization hits 16 month high

July 20, 2009. The operating rate and crude oil processing volume of China's oil refineries were both on the continuous rise recently, along with escalating domestic refined oil prices. As of July 16, 2009, their average operating rate had reached 85.12%, a record high for 16 months, and this rising tide had lasted for eight consecutive weeks. The Huizhou-based oil refinery of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), for instance, had witnessed a nearly 90% operating rate.

Cuba begins expansion of JV refinery with Venezuela

July 17, 2009. The Cuban authorities have begun the expansion of the storage capacity of a Cuban-Venezuelan refinery.  The refinery, Camilo Cienfuegos, which is a joint venture between Cuban state-owned Cuba Petroleo and Venezuelan state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela, is located in Cienfuegos province, some 250 km southeast of Havana. The plant processed 19.4 million barrels of crude in 2008.  Among the new tanks, three will be used to store crude oil and the other for aviation fuel.

Asia-wide refinery output cut causes marine fuel oil shortage

July 17, 2009. Marine fuel oil supplies in Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering port, have plunged as oil refiners across Asia cut output, according to official figures and traders. The shortage reduced Asian benchmark fuel oil’s discount to Dubai crude, or the crack spread, to $1.636 a barrel on July 15, the narrowest since Feb. 11, 2004.  The fuel oil inventory in Singapore, Asia’s biggest oil- trading center, was 14.1 million barrels in the week ended July 15, 38 percent lower than a year earlier, said International Enterprise Singapore, a unit of the trade ministry. Refiners in South Korea and Japan are cutting crude throughput after the recession reduced demand, leading to high product stockpiles and reduced margins.

Shell to shut part of Singapore refinery for upgrades

July 16, 2009. Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to shut a gasoline unit at its Singapore oil refinery, the company’s biggest, to improve the plant and build links to a proposed petrochemicals complex. The company will idle and overhaul a hydrocracker unit as part of plans to start its Shell Eastern Petrochemicals Complex, which will include an ethylene cracker on Pulau Bukom and facilities on nearby Jurong Island. The closure may last two months starting in mid-September.

Transportation / Trade

CNOOC eyes jumps in LNG imports, oil and gas output

July 20, 2009. State-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) aims to have 50 million tonnes per year of liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving capacity by 2020. The target would be nearly eight times the total capacity of the first phase of two LNG terminals that CNOOC has brought on line since 2006, as China was eager to expand the use of clean energy to reduce its dependence on coal. Gas accounts for only around 3 percent China's energy supply. CNOOC recently won approval to build its fourth LNG receiving terminal along China's coast, which would be able to take up 3 million tonnes of the fuel a year when it is ready in 2012.

African nations sign deal for trans-Saharan gas pipeline

July 19, 2009. Nigeria's state oil company said Nigeria, Algeria and Niger signed an agreement to create a $10 billion trans-Saharan gas pipeline to ship gas to Europe. Europe currently depends on Russia for much of its gas and is seeking new sources and routes, and the European Union recently lent its support to the project. Total SA and Eni SpA have expressed interest in joining the trans-Saharan pipeline project.

CPC inaugurates Taiwan's second LNG terminal

July 17, 2009. Taiwan’s CPC Corp. officially inaugurated on July 16 the country’s second LNG terminal, this one at Taichung in the north. Start-up of the nearly $955 terminal was more than a year behind schedule. For 2009, the Taichung LNG terminal will supply 1.68 million tonnes of vaporized LNG via a subsea pipeline to the state-run 4.4-Gw Tatan electric power plant in Taoyuan County, northern Taiwan, according to statements attributed to CPC Chairman Shih Yen-shiang. The remaining gas will meet industrial and residential demand in northern and central Taiwan.

Sino-Kazakhstan crude pipeline starts second phase flow

July 15, 2009. China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), PetroChina's parent company, announced July 14 that the second phase of the Sino-Kazakhstan crude pipeline began pumping oil through its first section.  

The 792-kilometer-long first section of pipeline, starting from Kazakhstan's Kenkiyak and ending in Kumkol, is designed with an initial transport capacity of 10 million tons per year.  The first phase of Sino-Kazakhstan crude pipeline, connecting Kazakhstan's' Atasu to Inner Mongolia's Alashankou by 962 kilometers of pipeline, was fully put into operation in December 2005.

Policy / Performance

Yemen to replace Aden refinery

July 21, 2009. Yemen plans to replace an oil refinery in Aden to cope with rising oil demand and to develop chemical products made from petroleum, the government said.  The existing refinery, in the port city whose ancient, natural harbor lies in the crater of an extinct volcano, is too old and small to respond adequately to demand.  

The oil refinery was turned over, along with a tanker port, to Yemen in 1977 by British Petroleum, now BP PLC, which established and operated the refinery.

Ukrainian, Libyan premiers discuss possible refinery project

July 21, 2009. Libya is interested in the joint development of oil deposits in Ukraine, Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al- Mahmudi has said.  Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, in turn, said that the possibility of creating a joint Ukrainian-Libyan enterprise for the construction of the oil refinery and the realization of joint efforts to ensure that it is provided with raw materials was discussed during the session.

Brazil interested in Russian gas liquefaction technology

July 21, 2009. Brazil is interested in Russia's gas liquefaction technology to exploit the new oil and gas fields off its coast.  In exchange for the Russian technology, Brazil could offer deepwater oil production technology, s abatement said after a meeting of the bilateral cooperation commission in Moscow.

US House passes bill supporting NG vehicle R&D

July 21, 2009. The House of Representatives, by unanimous consent, passed a bill that would direct the Secretary of Energy to: (1) conduct a five-year program of natural gas vehicle research, development, and demonstration; and (2) coordinate with the natural gas vehicle industry and with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding streamlining the certification of natural gas conversion systems to federal certification requirements and in-use emission standards.

Ecuador, Indonesia ink oil deal for joint study of E&P projects

July 21, 2009. Petroproduccion, a unit of Ecuadorian state-owned oil company Petroecuador, and Indonesian state-owned oil company Pertamina signed an agreement calling for a joint study of the possible development of oil exploration and production projects in Ecuador.  

Under the terms of the agreement, the two countries will conduct a study to determine the viability of petroleum operations in Ecuador's southeastern Amazon region, the Mining and Petroleum Ministry said, adding that the goal of the arrangement was to expand the Andean nation's oil reserves.

Chevron looking to fight Ecuador suit in US

July 20, 2009.  Chevron Corp, which is fighting a long-running environmental lawsuit in Ecuador, is planning to fight the case in the United States.  In an ongoing suit in Ecuador, which has run for a decade and a half, locals charge that Chevron's Texaco unit damaged their health by dumping billions of gallons of oil-laden water from 1972 to 1992, before turning over operations to state-run Petroecuador. A ruling has been expected some time this year, but the company has argued that public criticism of Chevron by Ecuador President Rafael Correa makes a fair trial impossible.

Iraq to develop gas fields with eye on Nabucco

July 20, 2009. Iraq says it is planning to develop major natural gas fields in preparation for joining the Nabucco pipeline project after the European Union expressed interest in acquiring Iraqi gas. The country will focus on meeting domestic needs first but is more than willing to export surplus gas and is considering development of the promising Akkash and Mansouriya gas fields.  

The Iraqi gas fields would go via Turkey to connect to the Nabucco pipeline -- which connects the Caspian and Middle East with Western Europe -- by 2013.

Cambodia awards total oil search rights in Gulf of Thailand

July 20, 2009. Cambodia has granted French company Total S.A. oil exploration rights in one of its offshore blocks in the Gulf of Thailand.  Cambodia expects to begin oil production in 2011. Oil was discovered in 2005 by U.S. energy giant Chevron Corp., the most active of several firms exploring in six blocks off the country's coast.

Costa Rica, China sign supplement to refinery agreement

July 17, 2009. Costa Rica's state-owned refiner Refinadora Costarricense de Petroleo (Recope) and China National Petroleum Corp. have signed a supplement to their earlier agreement to build a joint venture refinery in the Central American country.

Costa Rica's Minister of the Presidency Rodrigo Arias said the supplement will not violate Recope's legal monopoly over refining and distribution in the country, a matter that earlier had concerned the state comptroller’s office.

OMV awards pipeline contract to GE Oil & Gas

July 16, 2009. OMV Gas GMBH, aiming to double the capacity of the Penta West Gas Pipeline, has chosen GE Oil & Gas to supply integrated compressor line (ICL) technology for OMV’s Neustift compression station.  Under a $25 million contract, GE Oil & Gas will supply three ICL units for the compression station, which is part of the extension of the Penta West Gas Pipeline, a key supplier of gas for Austria and bordering states. GE Oil & Gas said each ICL unit consists of a centrifugal compressor, high-speed motor, transformer, and variable-speed drive.

Tullow gets thumbs up from Ghana govt to develop Jubilee

July 15, 2009. Tullow Oil announced that on July 13, 2009, the Minister of Energy in Ghana formally approved the Jubilee field Phase 1 Development Plan and Unitization Agreement on behalf of the Government of Ghana.

The Jubilee field will be developed via a Floating, Production, Storage and Offtake vessel (FPSO) and will deliver a plateau oil rate of 120,000 bopd, water injection capacity of 230,000 bwpd and gas export and injection capacity of up to 160 mmscfd. Work on the FPSO and subsea facilities was initiated in July 2008 and is on track to deliver first oil in the second half of 2010. It is estimated that phase-one development will produce in excess of the planned 300 million barrels of recoverable oil.



NZ's Pike River says sells coal at $128 per tonne

July 20, 2009. New Zealand miner Pike River Coal said it had sold its premium hard coking coal at $128 a tonne for the current Japanese fiscal year through to March 2010. The company said there had been some production issues at the mine and the first shipment would leave for Japan about mid-November 2009. Pike River said that the price met its expectations, and prices should rise in the following year based on increased demand from China.

India coal traders must own power and mines: C&O boss

July 16, 2009. Coal traders in India need to diversify into power generation and mining to succeed in an increasingly competitive business, Ahmed Buhari, founder president of Dubai-based traders Coal & Oil (C&O), said. C&O, which is seeking mines to buy, aims to gain an edge over competitors by building a coal-fired power plant in Tamil Nadu in southern India, Buhari said. "The game is now changing in India," he said. "The state electricity boards, independent power producers, the big listed consumers, are looking for solid, stable suppliers of coal. Diversifying into generation strengthens our company and draws upon our years of expertise in fuel supply," he said.

U.S. DOE takes step forward on FutureGen coal project

July 15, 2009. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) took another step forward on the coal-fueled 275-megawatt FutureGen carbon capture and sequestration power project in Illinois. Specifically, the DOE said it issued a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Record of Decision. The DOE decision allows the FutureGen Alliance to proceed with site-specific activities for the project. During the next eight to 10 months, DOE said the Alliance will complete a preliminary design, refine its cost estimate, develop a funding plan, expand the sponsorship group, and, if needed, conduct additional subsurface characterization.

Transmission / Distribution / Trade

Squatters are biggest electricity thieves in Malaysia

July 20, 2009. Fifty-one squatter colonies in the state have been identified as the biggest electricity thieves in the state.  Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) is losing about RM3mil in revenue a year due to rampant power theft by squatters.  The loss is estimated based on the number of houses located in the 51 squatter colonies that the company has identified to be benefitting from electricity tapped through illegal connection to its power source.

Sudan completes electricity linkage with Ethiopia

July 20, 2009. Sudan completed the installation of the last tower in a electricity linkage project in order to import electric power from Ethiopia starting from next year.  By 2010, Ethiopia will generate more than 4,000 megawatts, enabling the country to provide 50 percent of its 80 million people with electricity, and export electricity to Sudan and Djibouti in a first time and Kenya in a second phase after the implementation of an ambitious multimillion–dollar plan to produce power.

Heat wave to test Southern California power grid

July 20, 2009. The largest utility in southern California urged consumers to conserve power to help keep air conditioners running without interruption as hot weather sends demand soaring. As the heat continues, the utility warned it was possible other equipment might fail because of the high ongoing usage. While saying it expects to have sufficient resources to meet demand this week and throughout the summer, Southern California Edison noted conservation could provide an added reserve should an unexpected power emergency occur.

Saudi Electricity earnings hit by cost of new projects

July 19, 2009. State-owned Saudi Electricity Co, the Gulf's largest utility by market value, said its net profit fell by 8 per cent in the second quarter on higher costs linked to new projects.

The company made 715 million riyals (Dh702 million) in the three months to June 30 compared with 781 million in the year-earlier period. Saudi Electricity is currently carrying out projects worth 75 billion riyals to be completed within three years to meet rising demand for power with the kingdom planning to spend $400 billion more to upgrade its infrastructure.

Long-ignored US transmission project gets new life

July 18, 2009. A high-voltage transmission-line project first proposed in the early 1990s is once again moving forward, this time propelled by a Missouri company.  Idaho Power Co. first acquired the rights-of-way for the Southwest Intertie Project about 15 years ago, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management performed an environmental study of its route at the time.

But the project was shelved until 2005, when Great Basin Transmission LLC an affiliate of LS Power Development picked up the rights from the Idaho utility. Now, the project is on the edge of becoming reality.

The 500-kilovolt line would run more than 500 miles. Construction could start on its southern half this year, and the segment that includes Idaho could be operational by 2011.

Gulf power grid 'big step toward overcoming electricity shortage'

July 16, 2009. Gulf countries have taken a step towards easing a regional power crunch and supplying the flow of electricity needed by their increasingly affluent societies by linking up their grids. Economic growth has strained the infrastructure of the world's largest oil exporters, and left them struggling to supply enough power. The downturn has slowed growth, but power supplies remain tight.  Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain could start seeing power flow across borders by the end of July. They signed a power trading agreement last week and have been testing grid links for months. Oman and the United Arab Emirates would be linked up later.

Policy / Performance

Eskom ‘can save on power station costs’ 

July 21, 2009. South African power utility Eskom is confident it can save at least 10% of the costs of building the Medupi and Kusile power stations.  Eskom, which is in the middle of a multibillion-rand capacity expansion programme, is facing a shortfall in funding. Now at R27bn, it is set to widen further in the next few years.  The deteriorating global financial conditions have put the organisation in a precarious position, as sources of funding are scarce.

NRB’s LC decision affect hydropower dev

July 21, 2009. Nepal Rastra Bank's (NRB's) decision prohibiting import of construction goods for hydro projects above five MW from India through Letter of Credit (LC) on convertible foreign currency has affected hydropower development.  NRB's decision has increased project costs by 25 percent from the estimated cost.  Generally, it costs about Rs. 150 million to generate MW. However, the NRB decision to stop issuing LC to domestic developers for projects above five MW is expected to increase the project costs by more than Rs. 30 million for each megawatt.

Zimbabwe pleads for Southern African power line

July 20, 2009. Zimbabwe pleaded with international investors to fund a proposed new transmission line linking SA with the hydro power stations of Zambia and Mozambique. A new transmission line would help supply power to SA but would also provide an outlet when Zimbabwe completed three new power stations it planned.  These included the Gokwe North coal-fired station, with a 1400MW capacity, the 600MW Hwange Expansion coal-fired station and the 300MW Kariba hydro power plant.

Nepal to invite bids for 8 power projects 

July 19, 2009.  Nepali government plans to invite bids from the private sector for detailed feasibility studies and construction of eight hydropower projects with a total capacity of 175 MW. The Department of Electricity Development (DoED) under the Ministry of Energy will set the bidding process rolling soon. The first category includes projects in areas severely affected by the decade-long conflict, namely Budhi Ganga in Accham district, Madi in Rolpa district and Inkhu in Solukhumbu district.  The second-category projects aim to address power shortfall in the eastern region. Dudh Koshi and Simbuwa come under the third category.  The first-category projects are ready for bidding for feasibility study, contractors are studying the second-category projects, while officials are evaluating proposals for the third-category projects.

Malaysian power tariffs set to rise

July 16, 2009. Malaysian electricity tariffs will be raised as the government looks to cut subsidies on fuel prices. Much of the electricity generated in Malaysia uses natural gas subsidised by the government. National power company Tenaga Nasional had submitted a proposal for a tariff review to the government.

Australia's Origin in landmark carbon-sink deal

July 15, 2009. Origin Energy Australia's second-largest power retailer, has signed a deal to fund a mass-planting of trees that would serve as a hedge for its own carbon-emission liabilities, Origin said. The deal involves Origin paying carbon-credit specialist Carbon Conscious planting native Mallee eucalypt trees in the wheat-belt regions of Australia to generate carbon permits under Australia's planned carbon-trading scheme.

Renewable Energy Trends


India pushes for renewable energy, says no to carbon caps

July 20, 2009. The U.S. and India are a world apart in climate discussions, with India reticent to agree to carbon caps, saying it already has the lowest per-capita emissions among major nations.  Behind China, India is viewed as a key cog in the U.S. climate agenda. India’s priority is to achieve energy security and self reliance and noted that climate change is not the main driver for renewable energy in India; it is a co-benefit.

Solar energy is not even a fraction of India’s renewable energy sources, consisting primarily of wind and biomass that makes up 3 percent of the country’s total electricity production. But India’s goal is to reach 20,000 megawatts of solar electricity by 2020, as part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change that was announced in June 2008, to combat global warming.

Solar Semiconductor to establish solar cell plant at Fab City

July 20, 2009. Solar Semiconductor, a Hyderabad-based photovoltaic (PV) modules manufacturer has announced that it will set up a solar cell plant at its Fab City campus. The company plans to invest $100 million (Rs. 490 crore) in this plant. Initially the plant will have a capacity of 30 Mw and subsequently it will be ramped up to 60 Mw.  

At present, Solar Semiconductor has a photovoltaic module-making capacity of 200 Mw a year, including 130 Mw at the Fab City and 70 Mw at Kompally. Both the facilities are dedicated to the export markets in the U.S., Germany, Spain and Italy.

The solar cells manufactured at the new plant will be utilized by the company's PV module-making plant at the Fab City.

DLF in talks with global cos to sell wind energy business

July 20, 2009. Two European companies, including the world’s second-largest energy utility, are in discussions with DLF to buy the property developer’s wind energy business. Gaz de France (GDF) Suez, which has a market capitalisation of $80 billion, and renewable energy group Akuo Energy have completed due diligence and the final decision on pricing will be taken by the end of this month.

Waste disposal scheme for Aranmula temple mooted

July 20, 2009. The State Pollution Control Board (PCB) has prepared a detailed project report on the proposed integrated waste disposal facility near the Sree Parthasarathy Temple ghats on the banks of the Pampa to check the pollution of the river from the temple kitchen and dining hall waste. The PCB had initiated legal proceedings against the Travancore Devaswon Board for polluting the Pampa on the basis of public complaints earlier.

The report submitted to the government by PCB district engineer Paulus Eapen suggested setting up of a biogas plant with a minimum capacity to treat 500 kg of waste a day near the temple ghats.

New technology to generate power

July 17, 2009. Taking cue from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the need for small-scale sources of power generation, Hydro Power Company has announced an independent project that will generate 0.5 mw to 1000 mw of power. Retired engineer D Raghavendran said the Booster system, in which oil and air are mixed, can generate power of the desired quantity. The process is environment-friendly and will ensure uninterrupted supply throughout the year. The charge is Rs 4.30 per unit.

Solar power to light up anganwadi in Karde village

July 17, 2009. Dow Corning, a player in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, has announced the opening of an anganwadi (day care centre) in Karde village featuring a 28-panel solar power system.  

This system would generate electricity for fans, lighting of the anganwadi and an adjacent school that has no power. The company had also arranged the installation of five solar-powered streetlights to make the village safer for students and residents.

Tata BP Solar, a local manufacturer of solar systems and a Dow Corning customer, has manufactured and installed the system. The solar panels contain silicon-based materials developed and manufactured by Dow Corning.

ONGC to set up 10 MW solar plant

July 16, 2009. Oil & Natural Gas Corp.,is reportedly said to set up a 10-megawatt solar power plant.  ONGC is in talks with companies for the project. ONGC signed an agreement with Uranium Corp. of India to explore for the nuclear fuel in the South Asian nation and overseas.

US safety tag for PV modules of Solar Semiconductor

July 16, 2009. The photovoltaic modules being manufactured by Solar Semiconductor have been certified by US-based Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for safety standards. UL is an independent product safety certification organisation which evaluates over 19,000 types of products, components, materials and systems annually. Solar Semiconductor has 200 MW production capacity for high wattage photovoltaic (PV) modules at its two facilities located at Kompally and Fab City here.


Onion peels power new green electricity generator

July 21, 2009.  A new system debuts that converts onion juice into electricity at Gills Onions, the largest fresh onion processor in the US. The company expects its new onion-fuelled power to reduce its electricity bill by $700 000 (R5.7 million) a year and cut annual greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 000 tons. The tale started with the question of how to lose onion waste.  

In the new system, bacteria produce methane gas from the juice. The gas then goes to two 300 kilowatt fuel cells, creating enough power for 460 homes. The Oxnard-based firm invested $9.5m in the project and will receive $2.7m from Southern California Gas under a state initiative to encourage self-contained generation by businesses. Gills Onions expects to generate up to 40 percent of its power.

Nissan to invest $700 mn in electric car venture

July 21, 2009. Car manufacturer Nissan said it will invest almost $700 million in two plants to make batteries for electric cars in Britain and Portugal after securing financial support from their governments.  Automakers around the world are exploring plans for mass electric car production as the industry seeks to haul itself out a devastating downturn.  The Nissan news comes less than a week after Toyota said it would produce its first European-built hybrid car in Britain from 2010. Nissan will invest more than £200 million ($328.6 million) in the plant near Sunderland, north east England.

Tuvalu vows to be energy renewable by ’20

July 21, 2009. The tiny island nation of Tuvalu, already under threat from rising seas caused by global warming, has vowed to do its part for climate change by fuelling its economy entirely from renewable sources by 2020. The South Pacific nation of 12,000 people is part of a movement of countries and cities committed to going climate neutral. Tuvalu hopes to replace the fossil fuels that it imports by ship with solar energy and wind power, a project that it expects will cost $20 million. The country, which is just 26 square kilometres in size with most of its land less than a metre above sea level, releases almost no greenhouse gases. So far, Tuvalu has installed a 40 kilowatt solar energy system with the help of Japan’s Kansai Electric Power Co. and Tokyo Electric Power Company.

 Terra-Gen gets $115 mn in financing for 150 MW wind project

July 20, 2009. New York-based Terra-Gen Power closed on $115 million in funding out of a total of $140 million in pre-construction financing to buy turbines for a 150 MW wind energy project in California.  The company plans on using the money to buy 100 General Electric 1.5 MW SLE wind turbines to use on the 150 MW Alta Wind I project in California. The project is the first phase of the Alta Wind Energy Center, a 3,000 MW initiative considered to be one of the largest U.S. wind development projects.

World Bank identifies $18 bn investment potential in clean energy in Nigeria

July 20, 2009. The World Bank has identified areas of investment opportunities in the clean energy development sector which can fetch Nigeria about $18 billion if explored. The bank said there are several clean development potentials in the country, which when fully implemented could result in the reduction of Green House Gas (GHG) emission to the tune of 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

At the prevailing global carbon market price of about $12.5 per tonne, the bank said Nigeria could rake in over $1.25 billion from sales of carbon credits generated.  Clean energy investment is an investment in energy supply and utilization system that provides the required energy with minimal negative environmental and social consequences.

Suzlon wins order from Technomash Bulgarian Industrial

July 20, 2009. Suzlon Energy said that it has signed an agreement with Technomash Bulgarian Industrial Group to deliver 12.6 MW of capacity through six numbers of Suzlon S88-2.1 MW wind turbines. The project will come up in the province of Dobrich in North-East Bulgaria, and be supplied in financial year 2009-2010.

India sees climate change "pressure," U.S. upbeat

July 19, 2009. Indian officials complained about U.S. pressure on India to curb its greenhouse gas emissions, but U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emerged from their talks upbeat about a solution. The United States wants big developing countries such as India and China, whose emissions are skyrocketing as their economies grow, to agree to rein them in. Developing countries say industrial nations must curb their own pollution and provide funding to help developing nations before they are asked to set limits that could crimp their economic expansion. Both sides appeared to be playing to the Indian domestic audience, with Clinton saying Washington did not wish to do anything that would reduce India's growth and Jairam Ramesh seeking to blunt criticism his government might concede too much.

U.S. says China must "pay" to cut greenhouse gases

July 20, 2009. China and other developing nations must help "pay" for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said backing off a recent statement that put a greater burden on the United States. As the United States and other developed countries make costly commitments to address climate change, "developing countries like China must do the same," Locke told members of the Manufacturing Council, a private sector advisory group. The comment followed Locke's statement last week in China that U.S. consumers should pay for the carbon content of goods they consume from countries around the world.

U.N. approves new generation carbon offset project

July 20, 2009. The United Nations has given a green light to the first of a new generation of carbon offset programs designed to bring carbon reductions to a mass market in developing nations. The panel that oversees the running of the U.N.'s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) gave in-principle approval during a meeting last week to the project that will deploy 30 million compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in Mexico. Under the project designed by energy efficiency project developer Cool nrg International, the CFLs will be distributed in phases over the next two to three years with the aim of generating up to 7.5 million U.N. offsets called Certified Emission Reductions, or CERs.

U.N. shipping body agrees to CO2-cutting proposals

July 17, 2009. The United Nations shipping agency agreed to voluntary proposals aimed at cutting carbon emissions. But environmental groups said it fell short of what was needed. Shipping and aviation are the only industry sectors not regulated under the Kyoto Protocol, which sets targets for greenhouse gas emissions by rich countries from 2008-12. Shipping accounts for nearly three percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and pressure has grown for cuts ahead of a crucial climate change summit in Copenhagen in December. Delegates from around 90 countries approved non-compulsory technical and operational measures to reduce greenhouse emissions from ships. These included an energy efficiency design index for new ships to ensure new vessel designs are environmentally friendly as well as an index for existing vessels.

Automakers seek battery ties as cars go electric

July 17, 2009. Rechargeable batteries could become the core technology for the auto industry if pure electric cars enter the mainstream -- a prospect that has carmakers racing to team up with battery makers.

Auto executives say that with fewer moving parts, easy-to-assemble electric cars may also lower the bar for entry into the cut-throat autos industry and make battery manufacturers the unlikely competitors for car giants.

Czechs expect to sell most CO2 rights in ’09

July 17, 2009. The Czech Republic expects to sell most of its 100 million metric tons of surplus greenhouse gas emissions rights this year to European Union governments and private companies. The central European country had been re-thinking such sales earlier this year after the global economic crisis pushed the price of emissions rights to record lows. But sales of sovereign pollution credits under the Kyoto Protocol climate pact are back on the table as the market recovers. The Czechs agreed to sell 40 million metric tons of credits to Japan in March in a government-to-government deal. They now hope to seal two or three deals in September as talks look promising with some EU governments and Japanese firms.

REpower bags order from Ormonde Energy

July 15, 2009. REpower Systems AG and Ormonde Energy Ltd., a subsidiary of Vattenfall AB, concluded an agreement on the supply of 30 REpower 5M offshore wind energy turbines with a total rated output of 150 megawatts (MW). For REpower, this is the largest offshore agreement to date for the UK market.  The turbines are intended for the Ormonde wind farm, on which construction is to begin at the start of 2011 around 35 kilometers away from the town of Barrow-in-Furness on the northwest coast of England. In 2007 the Ormonde Offshore Wind Farm in the Irish Sea received approval from the UK Government. Water depths at the location vary between 17 and 30 meters.

Wal-Mart index to rate products' environmental impact

July 15, 2009.  Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's biggest retailer, will announce on Thursday the development of an index that will be used to measure the social and environmental impact of the products it sells in its discount stores. The information could be used to one day provide consumers a label assessing how "green" or "sustainable" a product is.  Wal-Mart has reached out to professors and environmental groups for help in developing the index. The retailer said it will be used to evaluate its 60,000 suppliers and determine which merchandise winds up on its store shelves.

GE aims to enable consumers to cut home power use

July 15, 2009.  General Electric Co said Tuesday it will combine energy efficient lighting and appliances with energy management systems and renewable power generators in packages for new homes to slash consumers' electricity consumption. Called "Net Zero Energy Home," the systems will feature photovoltaic and thin-film solar cells and advanced energy storage products to save energy.

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