MonitorsPublished on Jan 17, 2014
Energy News Monitor | Volume X; Issue 31



Ø    ENERGY/POWER: India Power Outlook 2035

Ø    POWER/COAL: Reasonable tariff: Questions are more ‘reasonable’ than ‘answers’!


State-wise Retail Selling Prices of Domestic LPG 

Oil & Gas: India’s Milestones        



·         RIL eyes oil project in Venezuela

·         ONGC, Mubadala of UAE to jointly invest in upstream projects

·          Cairn India to invest ` 30 bn to improve oilfield recovery

·         RIL-BP avert shutdown of KG-D6 gas fields

·         RIL ramps up gas output from KG-D6 block

·          BPCL, HPCL jointly exporting refined petroleum products

·                   South Korea keen on setting up nuclear power plant in India

·          MERC decides electricity tariff in Mumbai: Reliance Infra

·         Chevron wins approval for Alder field in Central North Sea

·         Maersk Oil to acquire 40 pc of two Kurdistan exploration blocks

·                   Abu Dhabi to operate onshore oil fields as concessions expire

·         Petrobras says refineries operating at 97 pc capacity

·         Woodside agrees to sell Pluto LNG to Chubu Electric of Japan

·         Russia's Transneft sees lower oil exports in 2014

·         CPC crude exports to rise to six-year high in Feb

·         Siemens to build turnkey combined-cycle power plant in Turkey

·         Quanta to build 120 MW combined cycle power plant in Alaska

·         Alstom moves into Israel hydro market with pumped-storage order

·             Saudi Aramco contracts L&T for transmission line construction


·         New gas price mechanism to boost profits of ONGC, RIL: S&P

·         CNG price to rise by 9 per kg from April on costlier domestic gas

·         PM urges oil companies to buy blocks in India

·         Govt puts 46 blocks on auction, area grabbed from RIL included: NELP X

·          Gas price to double as govt notifies new pricing formula

·         RIL cheers gas price hike, now wants free pricing

·         Govt to 'seriously consider' raising LPG cylinder quota: Moily

·         24X7 call centre launched in Goa to tackle power consumer woes

·          Drive to test electronic power meters in Delhi by mid-Feb

·         Punjab chamber assails move to hike power tariff

·         PM lays foundation stone of 2.8 GW nuclear power plant in Haryana

·         Power Min's cabinet note on POSOCO to be finalised

·         'Rajasthan Govt to formulate new policy on farmers' power need'

·         Karnataka may become power surplus by 2017: CM

·         UK to pay up to $3 mn a well to councils allowing shale gas

·          BP oil-spill settlement approval upheld by appeals court

·                   Ivory Coast sees soaring oil output rivaling Ghana by 2019

·          Iran gets sanctions relief Jan 20 as nuclear deal begins

·         RWE npower plans to shut seven UK power plants by end 2023

·         Peru plans $8.1 bn in energy investments in 2014

·         Tata Power launches ` 1.5 lakh solar invertor

·         Reliance Power, Lanco seek higher solar tariffs

·         First NWEM to begin by mid-2014

·                   NHPC signs initial pact with Kerala for wind energy project

·         Qbotix supplying robots for 45 MW of solar projects

·         Top global emitter China best on climate change, Figueres says

·         Danish pension fund to invest in renewable energy projects in developing nations

·         EU commissioners clash over 2030 climate goals

·         Indonesian indigenous groups fight climate change with GPS mapping



India Power Outlook 2035

Lydia Powell, Observer Research Foundation


his could just as well be a piece on the outlook for political power in India. Access to electrical power has become so important that it is now one of the master keys to unlock political power. As this column has observed earlier, we can even see a correlation between uninterrupted power supply and uninterrupted hold on power. At the very extreme, it could be said that twenty four hour power supply can even wipe clean a poor record on other issues such as upholding social justice. More recent developments show that a promise to make power more affordable can propel one from obscurity to stardom. All this highlights the growing importance of energy, particularly in its most user friendly form, electricity, in human life. In the context of India, the importance of electricity is likely to be far more dramatic in the coming few decades as change in demand is likely to be faster and more widespread. Those who think that the road to political power is paved with electrical power must take note of the nuances in the issue.  

Globally demand for electricity is expected to grow more than the demand for any other form of energy averaging 2.2% for the next two decades as per projections in the World Energy Outlook 2013 (WEO 2013).  Among large economies, electricity demand in India is expected to grow at the fastest rate of 4.4% which is lower than that of assumptions in domestic projections. According to WEO 2013, India is likely to add an additional 488 GW capacity to its existing capacity by 2035. To the delight of climate change and renewable energy activists 38% (or 186 GW) of this would be derived from non-hydro renewable energy forms such as wind and solar energy. To put this figure in perspective, India is likely to add as much renewable energy capacity as it did overall power generating capacity 60 years. Though low plant load factors will limit actual generation from renewable sources this is a phenomenal increase in renewable energy capacity.  Only 31% (or154 GW) of power generating capacity to be added by 2035 would be based on coal, 16% (or 80 GW) from gas, 9% (42 GW) from hydro, 4% (about 21 GW) from nuclear and the rest from oil and other sources. According to WEO 2035, cumulative power generating capacity in India as of 2035, is expected to touch 717 GW.  Out of this 40% (288 GW) would be coal based, 15% (106 GW) wind based 14% (100 GW) gas based, 13% (92 GW) solar based, 11% hydro (82) based 4% (26 GW) nuclear based and the rest based on bio fuels and oil. What comes out clearly from these figures is that India’s fuel mix for power supply is likely to undergo dramatic change and take a turn towards a low carbon path in the next two decades.

Roughly half of the coal based capacity to be added is likely to be based on supercritical technologies. This will raise average efficiency of India’s Indian coal-fired generation which is quite low compared to global bench-marks at the moment. WEO anticipates coal-fired generation to increase in efficiency by 8% and improve efficiency from 28% to 36% by 2035. A 1% increase in efficiency (heat rate) in coal fired generation is likely to decrease carbon emissions by 1-2%. In addition the dramatic increase in renewable power generation capacity will firmly put India in the low carbon club. But this will come at the cost of publicly funded policy interventions such as the solar mission and the wind mission which could in turn come at the expense of public investment in more fundamental needs such as food and health.  

Whether or not this expensive investment in renewable energy would actually result in generation and more importantly contribute to changing the ‘climate’ is something about which it is not easy to comment on unless one is bold enough to be politically incorrect. However we will in a world in which the rewards for being politically correct far exceed the reward, if any, for being technically correct. This means that all that renewable energy capacity which will put India in the politically correct club along with China is not necessarily a bad thing.  UN climate Chief Christina Figueres has recently commented that even though China is the top emitter of carbon, it is ‘doing it right’ when it comes to fighting climate change. Some news reports are even interpreting her comment as an endorsement to communism as the best model to fight climate change. Perhaps Ms Figueres will have to revise her views when she looks at India’s investment in renewable energy! On a more serious note, India needs to take note of another observation in WEO 2013 that shows that current ideas of competitiveness of renewable energy based on ‘grid parity’ is flawed and that one has to look at ‘cost parity’ to understand relative competitiveness of energy sources (more on this later). 

Let us now turn to the more mundane question of supply and demand for electricity in the long term and compare projections by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) of India in its 18th Power Survey report and that of WEO 2013. According to CEA projections, demand for electricity by the end of the 15th plan period (2032) is likely to be 3710 billion units corresponding to a peak load of 514 GW at bus bar. Among the assumptions made to arrive at this projections are (1) only utility based load considered with 2009-10 as the base year (2) 8-9% growth up to the end of the 12th plan and around 7-9% beyond that period (3) Full electrification by 2017 (4) high growth rate for electricity consumption in states with low per person electricity consumption but with policies in place for T&D loss reduction and restructuring (5) reduction in overall T&D loss levels to 15% barring the North East region and J &K.   

The first assumption is likely to have overlooked a large share of latent demand but all other assumptions are very optimistic and so cover for the inadequacy in the first assumption. In this light projections of CEA could be within the domain of reality. We could possibly get away with the observation that supply will more than adequately cover demand by the end of 2035 though it is technically wrong to compare WEO supply projections with the CEA projections for demand as they are based on different assumptions and different models. This would however not mean that per person electricity consumption in India will increase to minimum levels prescribed for decent living. Even by 2035, per person electricity consumption in India will be just a third of consumption in OECD countries. The message is that the battle to close the demand-supply gap in the power sector has high probability of being won by 2035 but the real battle with the poor quality of life of its people on account of energy poverty will most probably remain less than half won.                     Views are those of the author                     

Author can be contacted at [email protected]


Reasonable tariff: Questions are more ‘reasonable’ than ‘answers’!

Ashish Gupta, Observer Research Foundation


lectricity and economy are the two pillars without which development cannot take place. These pillars must complement each other for sustainability and viability. Ironically, India does not have that kind of vision which can support growth because of policy paralysis. But yet we are very ambitious in conferences expressing fancy visions without concrete plans. This is what has happened in one of the very big conferences on oil and gas sector in New Delhi. There the Hon’ble Prime Minister came out with a broad vision on how to reform the power sector in India through more investments. Another very important point he mentioned was that electricity must be provided to all at reasonable cost. Indeed in a general sense the points highlighted in the conference were very valid though in pragmatic terms they fall flat. Investments will certainly not come because of uncertainty in policies & political instability. Secondly, can anyone say, with certainty, what the reasonable cost of electricity is? Is there a study conducted by any independent agency on “cost of the service” or is there a separate division in the government who is working on the issue? Certainly there is no clue on this issue. As of now, arriving at a reasonable price for electricity is only through intuition. In this light column has generally limited itself to raising relevant issues rather than coming to any conclusions on ‘reasonable tariff’ based on inaccurate reasoning.  

Apart from other things, there is the major problem of the fuel shortage that underpins tariff. Unless this problem is solved there is no mechanism in the world which can help in reducing tariffs. We do have expert committees with overlapping functions: Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs and Cabinet Committee on Investment. Indeed they have taken some good initiatives but yet their impact is very limited. The reason is that they are only dealing with clearing process with no grip on ground level realities. The companies (PSU or Private) on the other hand get a double whammy; one through delay in clearance processes and the other through lost investments. Once a company has shown interest a coal block, they have to convince the people in the area and in parallel work on the clearances and source investments. Unfortunately, in the end they are labelled as ‘sitting on the block’ and could stand to be ‘de-allocated’ of the block after several years of effort. Do we have any pragmatic solution for resolving this crisis which is linked to arriving at reasonable electricity prices?

Coal shortage is a far more complex issue compared to other issues in the power sector. It goes beyond land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement procedure. We do have good amount of coal reserves but the presence of vested interests makes coal mining very difficult. There have been reports that more than enough coal has been mined in the world and the remaining reserves must be left in the ground especially in India on account of carbon emissions. They have labelled coal as ‘black and dirty’ and are taking every possible measure to do away with coal mining in India. They want us to become totally dependent on import of energy resources. But India must not succumb to their desires and continue to avail of the benefits of the indigenous coal reserves. But the problem is to overcome key domestic issues. The question arises as to whether we have a proper plan which can provide a level playing field for exploring the coal/ fossil fuel reserves in the country?

Recent verdict of Supreme Court has come down like a hammer on mining companies as it has scrapped their coal block allocation. This will hamper the power security of the country. With due respect to the judgement, it is indeed true that without mining licences they are not the ‘allottee’ of the blocks concerned. But the court should have noted the plethora of clearances that companies have to take prior getting the mining licence.  It is not the fault of the companies per se but it certainly a governing system fault.  Interestingly we are living in the myth that the single window approach will open one day. Why are we so concerned about reasonable price of power when the discourse must shift to “how high a price India is willing to pay in the future for electricity?” The question is left open to political parties which are working on their manifestos to fight corruption in the country and provide affordable power. Interestingly, not a single political party is aware of the reasonable price of electricity but still they are all offering it to the electorate!                                          Views are those of the author                     

Author can be contacted at [email protected]


State-wise Retail Selling Prices of Domestic LPG

Akhilesh Sati, Observer Research Foundation

(in INR/ 14.2 Kg Cylinder)





Current Prices














Tamil Nadu






West Bengal










































Dadra & Nagar Haveli






Daman & Diu


































































Andra Pradesh










































Source: Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell; Indian Oil Corporation (Indane).

Oil & Gas: India’s Milestones             

Dinesh Kumar Madhrey, Observer Research Foundation


Continued from Volume X, Issue 30......


Reliance Petroleum and Indian Oil presented a proposal to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural gas which involved the formation of a new joint venture company to execute the ` 4,400-crore Central Indian pipeline. Indian Oil Corporation introduced interactive voice recording system for its Indane LPG customers. This facilitated round the clock service to the customer.


GAIL’s Jamnagar-Loni LPG Pipeline Project, world’s longest and India's first Cross-Country LPG 1269 km long pipeline was commissioned. Digboi Refinery completed 100 years of operation.


Lanka IOC Pvt Ltd (LIOC) was incorporated as a wholly-owned subsidiary. Branchline on Barauni-Kanpur product pipeline to Lucknow was commissioned. Haldia-Barauni crude oil pipeline was augmented from 4.2 to 7.5 MMTPA.

Administered Price Mechanism (APM) dismantled for marketing sector, pricing of petroleum products decontrolled.


In the year 2002-03, after taking over MRPL from the A V Birla Group, ONGC diversified into the downstream sector and ONGC entered into the retailing business.


IOC’s LIOC commenced retail operations in Sri Lanka and became first Indian petroleum company to begin downstream marketing operations overseas. Gasohol, 5% ethanol-blended petrol was introduced in select States.

Reliance's refinery at Jamnagar was ranked best in the Shell Benchmarking for the third consecutive year in 'Energy and Loss' performance from amongst 50 refineries worldwide. Reliance struck oil in an onshore block in Yemen, where it had an equity oil position.


to be continued…






ONGC offers stake in petrochem projects to Kuwait Petroleum

January 14, 2014. Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd (ONGC) is seeking a strategic partnership with Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) in two upcoming petrochemicals projects. The two companies signed an initial agreement for broad co-operation that could see KPC pick up stakes in the ONGC Mangalore Petrochemicals Ltd (OMPL) and ONGC Petro-Additions Ltd (OPAL) projects. KPC said the agreement was the first of many steps to come and his company was looking at several opportunities in India and outside. The two companies did not disclose the financial details of the potential deal. ONGC is developing the OMPL petrochemicals complex in south India, in which its subsidiary Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL) will also hold a small stake. The company is also developing the OPAL petrochemicals project, in a joint venture with GAIL India and Gujarat State Petroleum Corp (GSPC), at Dahej in western India, as part of its efforts to diversify beyond oil exploration and production. (

RIL eyes oil project in Venezuela

January 14, 2014. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is considering taking an 11 percent stake in one of Venezuela's biggest petroleum projects, strengthening ties between the Latin American nation and its top Indian customer. Reliance operates the world's biggest refining complex in Gujarat and derives nearly 80 percent of its revenue from refining. It is hunting for cheaper, heavier crude oil to feed its refineries. Venezuela has been Reliance's top crude oil supplier, and in 2012 the company signed a 15-year deal to buy up to 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of heavy oil from its oil company, PDVSA. Reliance is also examining entry into the Ayacucho-8 block in a joint venture with PDVSA. Venezuela's PDVSA holds 60 percent of the project. Other partners are Spain's Repsol, India's ONGC, Oil India and Indian Oil Corp. After recent regulatory changes in Mexico, Reliance is looking at exploration opportunities there, but has so far not committed any investments in that country. Reliance currently buys 60,000 bpd of oil from Mexico. (

ONGC, Mubadala of UAE to jointly invest in upstream projects

January 14, 2014. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and United Arab Emirates' investment firm Mubadala have decided to jointly invest in upstream projects. The in-principle agreement on such a move comes after a bilateral meeting between Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Veerappa Moily and UAE Energy Minister Suhail Mohhamed Al Mazrouei on the sidelines of Petrotech 2014 conference. Al Mazrouei also showed keen interest in the proposal and felt that both the companies should soon meet to arrive at specific focus countries. Moily has taken the Petrotech conference as an occasion to launch the oil diplomacy initiatives, and also to firm up relationships with various countries and entities in the direction of energy security for India. (

DGH disagrees with Vijay Kelkar report on oil exploration contracts

January 13, 2014. Upstream regulator Director General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) has put in a strong note of dissent against the Vijay Kelkar Committee suggestion to continue the present regime of allowing oil and gas producers to recover costs before paying the government its share. The DGH, R N Choubey, who was part of the Kelkar Committee, said in the note that the panel had exceeded its brief and quoted data that had no attributable author or source. The panel, in Chapter 2 of its report, recommended continuation of the present production sharing contract framework for the oil and gas sector, which allows for cost recovery by exploration and production companies before they pay the government its share. This was in contrast to the suggestion by the Prime Minister-appointed Rangarajan Committee to shift to a revenue-sharing model that would require companies to share a biddable amount of oil or gas output with the government from the first day of production, irrespective of cost. (

Cairn India to invest ` 30 bn to improve oilfield recovery

January 13, 2014. Cairn India plans to invest ` 3,000 crore over the next three years to improve recovery from its prolific Rajasthan oilfield. The largest ever improved oil recovery (IOR) and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) schemes will help recover over 90 million barrels of oil in the Rajasthan block and sustain peak output for a longer time. Cairn India currently produces close to 1,85,000 barrels of oil per day from the Rajasthan block and will exit the financial year with over 2,00,000 bpd output. The investment is part of the USD 3 billion capex the company had outlined last year. More than 80 per cent (over ` 12,800 crore) of the total capex will be spent on Cairn's prolific Barmer oil block in Rajasthan. Of the current production, about 1,50,000 bpd comes from the Mangala field, the largest among over two dozen discoveries Cairn India has made in the Rajasthan block. The oil major has plans to ramp up production from the Bhagyam field while also looking at producing oil from two smaller fields at the Barmer hills during the current financial year. (

RIL-BP avert shutdown of KG-D6 gas fields

January 12, 2014. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and its partner BP plc of UK have averted a possible shutdown of the KG-D6 gas fields after they got long-delayed approvals to take remedial action to stop water ingress from choking wells. With Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily approving of the remedial measures that were pending for nearly 18 months, RIL-BP added the first production well on the block in more than four years to ramp up output by over 15 per cent to 13.7 million standard cubic metres per day. This well, which will add up to two mmmscmd to the output, as well as water pluggings adding smaller volumes, could have come a year back and averted complete stoppage of gas supplies to power plants. (

RIL ramps up gas output from KG-D6 block

January 10, 2014. RIL has managed to reverse the rapidly falling gas output from the controversial KG-D6 block as a new well has boosted supply by 17 per cent, and production would rise again to a small extent by March as some old wells are revamped, the company said. The KG-D6 block's output has fallen to less than one-sixth of the target production. The block has initially promised to double India's natural gas supply and herald sweeping changes in energy consumption patterns by large scale replacement of liquid fuels in factories, households and automobiles with gas. From a peak of more than 60 million metric standard cubic metres a day three years ago, production had fallen to 11.7 mmscmd last month. It has now crawled up to 13.7 mmscmd as a new well in the block started production. The company said that Reliance is implementing its plan to address the fall in pressure in the D1 and D3 fields and would execute the project to install a compressor, which would help stabilise output from the block. Reliance's gas output would get a big boost only around 2017/18 when new fields in the block start production. The fall in output had generated a huge controversy as the oil ministry had blamed the company for the sharp fall in gas output and said production dropped because Reliance did not drill the required number of wells. Reliance blamed geological complexity and said drilling more wells would not boost production. The matter is under arbitration. (


BPCL, HPCL jointly exporting refined petroleum products

January 10, 2014. Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) have started exporting refined products jointly to cut costs and are exploring a similar mechanism for crude oil purchases. The two state-owned refiners jointly exported naphtha about a month ago and have started talks to procure crude. (

BPCL to shut crude unit at Mumbai refinery in April-May

January 10, 2014. BPCL will shut a crude unit at its Mumbai refinery for about 15 days in April-May as it carries out a 40-day maintenance work at its catalytic cracker unit. During the shutdown, the crude unit will remain idle for about 15 days. The cracker has a capacity of 0.65 million tonnes a year and the crude unit operates at about 80,000 barrels per day. The refiner has completed a 28-day maintenance shutdown at its 900,000 tonnes a year fluidised catalytic cracker unit. BPCL's Mumbai refinery currently processes about 240,000 barrels per day of crude oil. The refiner also operates a 190,000 bpd plant in southern India's Kochi. It has a majority stake in the 60,000 bpd Numaligarh refinery in northeast India and the 120,000 bpd Bina plant in Central India. (

Transportation / Trade

Govt may cut Iranian oil imports by 15 pc y/y in 2014/15: Oil Ministry

January 14, 2014. India plans to further cut imports from Iran by 13 per cent next fiscal even though easing of US and western sanctions has made buying crude oil from the Persian Gulf nation easier. India is targeting 11 million tonnes of crude oil import this fiscal despite buying only 5.82 million tonnes of crude oil from the Islamic nation during the first eight months of current fiscal. India, which has been since last year cutting imports from Iran after US and European nations' sanctions made shipments and payments difficult, imported 13.14 million tonnes of crude oil from Iran in 2012-13, down from 18.11 million tonnes in the previous year. In November last year, the US and other western powers agreed to ease sanctions against Iran that would lift ban on insuring tankers carrying Iranian crude as well as open payment channels. Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd will import 4 million tons of crude from Iran this fiscal while Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has contracted 1.2 million tonnes. Private sector Essar Oil is likely to import 4 million tonnes. (

Govt seeking long-term oil supply contract with Canada: Moily

January 13, 2014. Government is seeking a long-term oil supply contract with Canada, oil minister Veerappa Moily said. In November, Indian Oil Corp, the country's largest refiner, became the first state refiner to buy Canadian oil, joining private refiners Reliance Industries and Essar Oil. Govt's efforts to diversify oil sources have become more urgent as western sanctions over Teheran's nuclear programme squeeze imports from Iran, once India's second-biggest supplier. Supplies from Libya and Sudan have also been disrupted. (

Policy / Performance

New gas price mechanism to boost profits of ONGC, RIL: S&P

January 14, 2014. Global rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) said the government's decision to increase domestic gas prices is likely to benefit two major gas producers Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL). The new gas pricing mechanism to improve the cash flows and profitability of both ONGC and RIL to varying degrees, it said. The impact on RIL's profitability is not likely to be as significant given the company's low gas production of about 13 million metric standard cubic meters per day, it said. Under the government's new gas pricing mechanism, gas prices are likely to almost double from the current USD 4.2 per million british thermal units. The mechanism is applicable for five-year beginning April 1, 2014. (

Tax holiday, royalty exemption proposed for oil block auction

January 14, 2014. In a bid to attract more global oil majors, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has proposed exemption from royalty payment and an income-tax holiday of up to 10 years for the next round of auction of oil and gas exploration blocks. In a draft note to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), the ministry recommended shifting to a revenue-sharing model from the current production sharing contract (PSC) framework, which allows explorers to recover their costs from commercial discoveries before sharing profit with the government. The Oil Ministry said it proposed to incentivise exploration by exempting royalty payment on offshore oil and gas production. (

CNG price to rise by 9 per kg from April on costlier domestic gas

January 14, 2014. The price of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), once regarded as a cheap alternative to liquid automotive fuels, will rise by up to ` 9 per kg in Delhi and at ` 12-15 in Mumbai from April because of higher prices of domestic gas and domestic supply will be distributed more equitably between competing cities. For Delhi's consumer it will be a big blow as prices in the capital region were raised by a record 10% last month, almost wiping out the price advantage of gas over diesel. Domestic gas prices are likely to double to about $8.4 per unit from April, but they are still cheaper than imported liquefied natural gas (LNG). So far, suppliers in Gujarat depended heavily on LNG, while more privileged cities such as Delhi got up to 70% of its supply from the relatively cheaper domestic gas. But this system is changing because of a court order. It will make gas cheaper in Gujarat, which will start getting domestic supply and more costly in Delhi as it will depend more on LNG, while domestic gas prices are also rising. For Mumbai, which gets all its supply from domestic sources, the price rise could be as high as ` 12-15 per kg. (

Oil Secretary Vivek Rae says India close to seeking loan from IMF

January 14, 2014. High oil prices have pushed India to the brink of a severe energy crisis, taking it close to seeking a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but sheer good luck has saved the country so far, Petroleum Secretary Vivek Rae said. He said net oil imports of the country amounted to $100 billion a year. He said the IT revolution and NRI remittances had helped bring $120 billion to the economy, which just about balances the outflow for oil. The rupee has depreciated sharply, making the rupee cost even higher and the economy vulnerable to external shocks. India imports close to 80% of the oil and nearly half the gas it consumes. Rae said oil shocks in the past had forced India to take loans from IMF. He said the Iran-Iraq war and Saddam's invasion of Kuwait had damaged India's balance of payments. (

PM urges oil companies to buy blocks in India

January 13, 2014. Prime Minister (PM) Manmohan Singh reached out to foreign and Indian oil firms to drill in India as the demand for energy is galloping but industry leaders at the Petrotech conference advised caution about the proposed new contractual regime that will end disputes and controversy but makes the terms less attractive. Singh said development of the hydrocarbon sector required "particular attention" in the country that produces 2.5% of the world's energy but is the fourth largest consumer and will become the third-biggest by 2020. The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) is ready to offer investors 46 exploration blocks, out of that 17 are on land, 15 are shallow water and 14 are deepwater. The oil ministry has recently proposed a non-controversial model for the launch of the tenth auction round of blocks this year with extended tax holiday and longer contract tenure to attract investors. But, the proposal is contrary to the Vijay Kelkar committee recommendation, which pushed for continuing with the controversial current system where companies are allowed to recover their costs before sharing revenue with the state. (

Govt puts 46 blocks on auction, area grabbed from RIL included: NELP X

January 13, 2014. Government put on auction the gas discovery area it snatched from Reliance Industries in KG-D6 block and the field that Cairn India is seeking to regain around its Rajasthan block. The two areas are part of the 46 blocks that India unveiled for bidding in the 10th round of New Exploration Licensing Round (NELP). The blocks offered include some of the 9,000 sq km area in that Barmer block that Cairn had contractually relinquished, but is now seeking it back to connect the currently producing fields in the Rajasthan block. Also, the areas offered include most of the 6,198.88 square kilometres of KG-D6 block that the ministry took away from RIL. This area includes five discoveries -- D4, D7, D8, D16 and D23-- for which the Directorate General of Hydrocarbon (DGH) had opined that RIL missed deadlines for submission of investment plans. While Cairn's relinquished area contains no discoveries, the area taken off KG-D6 has five gas discoveries and they hold 0.805 trillion cubic feet of reserves, or about one-fourth of the restated reserves in the currently producing D1&D3 fields, and are worth USD 10 billion at current imported cost of gas. Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily said of the 46 blocks on offer, 17 are onland, 15 in shallow water and the remaining 14 deepwater. Oil Secretary Vivek Rae said the 10th round of auction will require bidders to quote the amount of oil or gas output they are willing to offer to the government from the first day of production. The terms are the same as those suggested by a panel headed by Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan for awarding future oil and gas block contracts. The company offering the highest share of oil or gas produced from the field would get the block, Rae said. At present, oil companies can recover costs of exploration and production before sharing profit with the government. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had criticised this approach on grounds that it encourages companies to increase capital expenditure and delay the government's share. The shift from the production sharing contract (PSC) regime, where operators are first allowed to recover costs, to a revenue-sharing model will be decided by the Cabinet. (

ONGC plans creating new posts of directors

January 13, 2014. ONGC is planning to create new positions of directors in the company and its subsidiaries - ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) and Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals (MRPL). It is considering creating positions for director for research & development (R&D) as well as a director for business development. OVL and MRPL may also have an additional board position for the director-business development (BD), the oil ministry and company said. ONGC plans to have a position for the director R&D as it needs to focus on developing cutting-edge technologies to remain ahead of the competition. The company also wants to have a separate director to look after its new business initiatives in the downstream areas such as power and fertilizer plants. For example, ONGC has significant gas discoveries in Tripura, but there are no takers for the fuel. There is no pipeline connectivity to other markets where demand is high. The gas can't be evacuated because lack of demand. ONGC had no option but to set up a power plant and a fertilizer unit. (

Gas price to double as govt notifies new pricing formula

January 11, 2014. The government has notified the new gas pricing formula, which will double its rate to $8.4 per unit from April, for all domestic output, giving a huge relief to the exploration industry and further easing the friction between oil ministry and RIL. The move is expected to kickstart development of new fields, which was not possible earlier as companies such as Reliance that has several proven discoveries did not know how much revenue the gas fields would generate. (

Govt to 'seriously consider' raising LPG cylinder quota: Moily

January 11, 2014. The government will "seriously consider" raising the limit on subsidised cooking gas cylinders to 12 from nine a year as Congress party leaders have persuaded oil minister Veerappa Moily to review the matter to please voters ahead of the general election. The matter will be referred to the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, Moily said. The minister had taken a hard-line position that the number of cheap gas cylinders would not be raised as the limit is a part of the reform process. He softened the tone after Congress MPs met him in the ministry. Petroleum secretary Vivek Rae had said there was no proposal in the ministry to raise the cap. He was reacting to the reports, which quoted finance minister P Chidambaram saying that chief ministers of several states were demanding to raise quota of subsidised cylinders and the government would consider it. But, MPs fear that voters would be angry because most of them would have exhausted the quota of subsidised cylinders by the time elections are held. If they pay market price of more than ` 1,241 per cylinder just before the elections, the ruling UPA is bound to face setbacks, the MPs said. Subsidised cooking gas cylinder costs ` 414 in Delhi. (

RIL cheers gas price hike, now wants free pricing

January 11, 2014. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has half-heartedly welcomed the government's approval of the Rangarajan formula that doubles prices to $8.4 per unit from April. It said the decision is a good interim step that should be followed up with free pricing, which it claims is a contractual right. The government notified the new formula, which links gas prices to international benchmarks. (

Investors in energy sector worried by AAP's aggressive anti-graft stance

January 10, 2014. The Aam Aadmi party's aggressive stance against corruption, especially its announcement to involve audit and investigative agencies towards commercial matters, has spooked investors in the capital-intensive energy sector, CEOs and sector experts said. BP's Indian operations head Sashi Mukundan said the current situation was not good for the energy sector, which needs to respond to the rising demand to fuel the expanding economy. ONGC Chairman Sudhir Vasudeva and former Planning Commission member Kirit Parikh also expressed anguish at the state of affairs at a CEOs roundtable ahead of the Petrotech conference. Kirit Parikh said even legitimate profits were being viewed suspiciously. He said the aggressive stand taken by newly formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) against corruption has made everyone look at government with suspicion. Parikh, who has been advocating for diesel price de-control, said the move may result into inflation for couple of years but delay it for two years will harm the economy even more. Several decisions in the petroleum ministry have been delayed in recent years as bureaucrats are worried that they may face a CBI case. The Comptroller and Auditor General had lambasted the oil ministry for being too lenient in enforcing contracts with oil and gas companies. Subsequently, the ministry refused RIL to allow it to recover part of its field-development costs because the company was blamed for the fall in gas output at the KG-D6 fields. (

Oil Ministry to move Cabinet for reducing subsidy burden on ONGC, OIL

January 9, 2014. Oil Ministry plans to go to the Cabinet seeking a minimum $65 per barrel price for state oil and gas explorers like ONGC to help bring 70 million tons of oil to production, Oil Secretary Vivek Rae said. Rae said the $40-42 per barrel net price realised by ONGC after paying for fuel subsidies, is barely enough to meet its costs. Upstream firms pay for a portion of fuel subsidies by extending discounts on crude oil they sell to refiners who are forced by the government to sell diesel and cooking fuel at rates lower than cost of production. Discoveries in Mumbai High and KG basin on the east coast can produce nearly 70 million tons over a period of time if price is right, he said. The Kirit Parikh Committee too had advocated reducing upstream subsidy burden and Oil Ministry plans to take that report to the Cabinet. The panel had suggested a ` 5 hike on diesel prices, ` 250 a cylinder increase in the price of domestic cooking gas and ` 4 a litre in kerosene oil, with immediate effect to cut subsidy bill. Rae did not say if his ministry supports his recommendation but said it would be put to the Cabinet for a decision. The Parikh committee had suggested a slab-based subsidy sharing formula for upstream companies. It had said that ONGC and Oil India share of the total subsidy should be 40 per cent if crude oil prices were below $80 a barrel and adding 25 basis points to the share for each $1 a barrel increase beyond $80 a barrel. If prices were above $120 a barrel, the upstream contribution was suggested at half the crude oil price. (

Govt considering partial rollback of price hike in bulk diesel: Oil secretary, Vivek Rae

January 9, 2014. Oil ministry is considering a partial rollback of bulk diesel prices as sales have dropped significantly, oil secretary Vivek Rae said. Government has asked bulk buyers to pay market rates for diesel since last January and has also been raising the price of subsidised diesel in small amounts every month in an effort to cut its ballooning fuel subsidies. He also said there was a need to review the subsidy sharing mechanism to ensure that upstream companies get about $65 a barrel on sale of crude oil. ONGC has long complained that its realisations on oil sales are much lower than what it needs to maintain production. (

IOC stake sale decision deferred after Oil Ministry opposition

January 9, 2014. A group of ministers headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram deferred a decision on disinvestment in Indian Oil Corp (IOC) following strong opposition to the stake sale by the Oil Ministry. While Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily refused to elaborate on the reasons for the deferment. The Finance Ministry is aiming to garner ` 4,500 crore by selling 10 per cent (19.16 crore shares) of the government stake in the oil major. This leaves less than ` 30,000 crore market value that is attributable to IOC. This is less than the investment that IOC is putting in setting up a 15 million tonne refinery at Paradip in Odisha, the Oil Ministry feels. The Ministry put these views at an inter-ministerial group (IMG) of secretaries while opposing sale of 10 per cent stake in IOC. (



South Korea keen on setting up nuclear power plant in India

January 12, 2014. Keen to enter India's growing nuclear market, South Korea wants to build an atomic power plant here but India is not rushing into it. The government first wants to complete the projects already initiated, including Koodankulam III and IV and Jaitapur, which are facing hurdles on various counts. However, India is willing to have cooperation with South Korea in other aspects of the nuclear field, like research. South Korea conveyed its desire to build a nuclear plant in India when a delegation from its Ministry of Science came recently. This was preceded by a visit of a team of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to South Korea to discuss possible cooperation in the nuclear field in November last year. India not very keen to have Korean nuclear reactors immediately. The DAE first wants to concentrate on existing plants and deal with the issues like liability over which many foreign collaborators have raised questions. The Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant Project (JNPP) being built with French assistance, the unit 3 and 4 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) with Russian assistance and the Mithi Virdhi nuclear plant with the assistance of the US are either stuck because of various reasons or running behind schedule. (

India may face 5 pc power production shortfall annually on account of Kishenganga

January 12, 2014. India is likely to suffer a marginal shortfall in power production from the upcoming Kishenganga hydro-electric project in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the International Court of Arbitration's verdict to release fixed quantity of water to Pakistan. The Hague-based Court had decided that India should release a minimum flow of nine cumecs (cubic metres per second) into Kishenganga river (known as Neelum river in Pakistan) for environmental reasons. The project is designed to generate power by diverting water from a dam site on Kishenganga river to the Bonar Nallah, a tributary of Jhelum river, through a system of tunnels, with the water powering turbines having a capacity of 330 MW. Releasing nine cumecs of water, as per orders, may come in the way of diverting water for generating power during the four "lean months", where water flow dips to a low. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade

MERC decides electricity tariff in Mumbai: Reliance Infra

January 14, 2014. Reliance Infrastructure has said that the demand for revision in electricity tariff in Mumbai can only be considered by Maharashtra power regulator MERC. This has come in the backdrop of Congress, MP Sanjay Nirupam demanding a 50% cut in the power tariff in Mumbai. Demands include scrapping the fixed charge of ` 100 per bill and regulatory asset charge of ` 600 for consumption of over 500 units towards infrastructure, and replacement of defective electronic meters imported from China. Reliance Infrastructure said fixed charges are part of the tariff determined by MERC. Regulatory Asset Charge (RAC) is also part of tariff determined by MERC, the company said. It said that all the electric meters procured, installed and tested by Reliance Infrastructure are within permissible accuracy limit. The company said that it procures power from Dahanu Thermal Power Station, tariff of which is determined by the MERC. It also purchases power from other sources which are finalised through competitive process and approved by the MERC. Apart from Reliance Infrastructure, Tata Power and Brihan Mumbai Electric Supply & Transport, an arm of Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation, supply power in Mumbai. (

Kerala, Tamil Nadu unable to buy power from national grid

January 13, 2014. India's southern states are unable to buy power from the rest of the country although a new grid has been put in place since January 1. Kerala and Tamil Nadu have not been able to buy power from the exchanges over the past one month. While there is no generating station with excess power in these two states, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have been receiving some supply from the local plants. However, this supply is not adequate. As a result, power prices in these two states have risen sharply to 5 per unit from 3 per unit over the past one month. At the same time, there are a number of thermal power stations with idle capacity in north and east India. These plants cannot be fired up as the new grid is not stable enough to supply excess power to the southern states from the rest of the country. (

BSES power discoms counter Kejriwal charge

January 13, 2014. The Reliance Infrastructure-owned power distribution companies in Delhi have countered the new city government’s allegation that they’d hidden the gains from reduction in technical and commercial (T&C) losses. These gains were more than offset by the rise in power purchase cost, the companied have said. Aggregate T&C losses in the area served by BSES, the two discoms of R-Infra in Delhi, came down from 57 per cent in 2003-04 to 18 per cent in 2012-13, creating additional revenue of ` 19,258 crore. During the period, bulk power purchase cost (PPC) rose 290 per cent to ` 5.54 a unit, a net increase of ` 27,404 crore. This left them with a deficit of ` 8,146 crore, the companies have argued. The letter comes after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government succeeding in getting the Comptroller and Auditor General of India to conduct an audit of discom accounts. The audit, yet to begin, could expose financial irregularities, according to Kejriwal. AAP had recently claimed that power prices in the city should have come down as a result of the gains from reduction in losses that have shrunk from 57 per cent in July 2002, when the sector was privatized, to 15 per cent now. The government has also raised doubts over the revenue from power sales by BSES in the spot market. (

Crompton Greaves launches smart grid facility

January 11, 2014. Avantha Group company Crompton Greaves has launched its state-of-the-art smart grid facility at the Global Village, in Bangalore for full-fledged manufacturing of smart grid devices. Besides manufacturing smart grid devices, the facility will support economic development, foster job creation and boost an understanding of Smart Grid solutions in the energy field. The smart grid devices manufactured in this facility will offer numerical solutions to Indian utilities and industries in the Transmission and Distribution segment and provide improvement in the electric grid to make it more efficient and reliable. (

Policy / Performance

24X7 call centre launched in Goa to tackle power consumer woes

January 14, 2014. The Goa government has launched round the clock call centre for power consumers in its efforts to streamline the complaint mechanism. State electricity department said that the call centre is available at a dial of 135 and it can be accessed round the clock. Goa based Hello information services have been outsourced the contract to run the centre which will take feedback and respond to the complaints immediately. The call centre will entertain complaints about outages and breakdown from the consumers who are currently finding it difficult to address their problem especially late night. (

Drive to test electronic power meters in Delhi by mid-Feb

January 14, 2014. For those who feel their electronic power meters are fast, leading to inflated power bills, here's another chance to get them checked. A new meter testing drive announced by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is expected to kick off by mid-February. It will involve checking of 10,000 'fast' meters across the city to assess whether they are defective or not. The new drive comes after huge public demand to check electronic meters which thousands of Delhiites claim have led to inflated bills. Consumers have time till January 31 to get their meters tested. An aggrieved consumer will have to write to the deputy commissioner (DC) of his or her area, along with a copy of the power bill. The government will then randomly check 10,000 meters from the number of complaints received. Delhi government has approached half-a-dozen engineering colleges to take over the role of an independent agency for checking the meters. These include IIT Delhi, Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology, Delhi Technological University (DTU), IIIT Delhi, Jamia and government laboratory Electronic Regional Trust Laboratories. Out of these, DTU and IIIT have shown interest in the job. (

PM lays foundation stone of 2.8 GW nuclear power plant in Haryana

January 13, 2014. Prime Minister (PM) Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone for a 2,800 GW nuclear power plant near Gorakhpur village in the Fatehabad district of Haryana. The Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojna project will have four units, each of 700 MW capacity, and is to come up at a cost ` 23,502 crore. (

Punjab chamber assails move to hike power tariff

January 13, 2014. Disturbed over a proposed hike in power tariff in Punjab, Ludhiana-based Chamber of Industrial & Commercial Undertakings (CICU) has urged state Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to advise Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) not to grant approval for the proposal, which has been submitted by the state electricity corporation to encourage investments from other states in Punjab and to boost existing industry.

CICU said that the proposal of Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) for a hike in power tariff by 65 paise per unit submitted to PSERC is uncalled for, as it will raise the cost of production and make industry in Punjab uncompetitive. (

Power Min's cabinet note on POSOCO to be finalised

January 12, 2014. The power ministry is expected to finalise the Cabinet note by this month-end on the proposal of hiving-off POSOCO, an arm of state-run Power Grid Corporation, into a separate entity. It is awaiting a response from the Finance Ministry's EFC (Expenditure Finance Committee) before moving the Cabinet. EFC will discuss the proposal at a meeting that will be attended by the representatives from the Power Ministry as well as the Planning Commission. (

'Rajasthan Govt to formulate new policy on farmers' power need'

January 11, 2014. Rajasthan Government is all set to chalk out a new policy on the electricity requirement for agricultural purposes and related issues, Energy Minister Gajendra Singh Khinvsar said. Khinvsar said the farmers policy would ensure adequate and hassle-free provisioning of power distribution and supply and agricultural connections. He said that 24-hour power supply will be ensured in every town, village and hamlet within a year. (

Now, Shiv Sena wants 50 pc power tariff cut

January 11, 2014. Following the footsteps of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Shiv Sena launched an agitation against private power distributor Reliance Infrastructure (R-Infra), demanding reduction in electricity charges in Mumbai. Sena has threatened to forcibly shut R-Infra's collection centres after a fortnight, if the company fails to approach the Maharashtra government to cut tariff and seek subsidy to make up for the revenue loss. R-Infra's total consumer base is 2.8 million of which 2.3 million are residential. Out of this, 1.7 million consume up to 500 units per month. As per the multi-year tariff approved by the Maharashtra Electricigty Regulatory Commission, R-Infra's avereage billing rate for 2013-14 is ` 7.98 per unit, ` 7.04 in 2014-15 and ` 6.23 per unit for 2015-16. (

Karnataka may become power surplus by 2017: CM

January 8, 2014. Karnataka, which has initiated projects to produce 18,000 MW, has targetted to be a power surplus state by 2017, Chief Minister (CM) Siddaramaiah said. The projects, both in conventional and non-conventional sectors, were in different stages of implementation, he said. Noting that Karnataka was a pioneer in the Indian power sector as it has been generating electricity for 112 years, he said, the state initiated several reforms in the transmission and distribution sector to help reduce inefficiencies in the system. It also provides enormous opportunity to electrical equipment manufacturers to supply high quality equipment at reasonable costs, he said. (

Govt to push discoms to purchase hydropower

January 8, 2014. The government, which plans to make it mandatory for electricity distribution companies to buy hydropower, is also considering launching tradable certificates for the states that do not have potential to meet the proposed obligation. It will shortly kick off the consultation process to amend Electricity Act to promote investments and hydropower. Hydro energy certificates will enable northern and northeastern states to attract more investments besides ensuring viability for the projects. (

Tamil Nadu power regulator may tweak rules for quick business

January 8, 2014. The Tamil Nadu Electricity Commission is looking to change the rules in order to ensure just one member can be considered a quorum, rather than the current requirement of two, something that could potentially quicken the decision-making process. The regulator has issued a draft notice toward easing the rules for what constitutes a quorum-the minimum number of members needed to transact the business of a group. (

Coal Ministry slaps notice, seeks explanation from NTPC for mine delays

January 8, 2014. The Coal Ministry has issued a show-cause notice to NTPC for delay in production from Chatti Bariatu South coal block in Jharkhand and sought explanation from the power PSU for making slow progress in another mine in the state. Almost a year ago the government had withdrawn the deallocation of three mines of NTPC, including Chatti Bariatu and Chatti Bariatu South coal blocks. (




Chevron wins approval for Alder field in Central North Sea

January 14, 2014. Chevron North Sea has been granted approval by the UK government to go ahead with the development of the Alder field in the North Sea. The project, which is expected to commence production in 2016, has a planned design capacity of 110 million cubic feet of natural gas and 14,000 barrels of condensate per day. (

Maersk Oil to acquire 40 pc of two Kurdistan exploration blocks

January 14, 2014. Maersk Oil, a unit of oil and shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk, has received Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) approval to buy 40 percent stakes in two exploration blocks from Repsol Oriente Medio SA. Repsol will continue to operate exploration activities and also hold 40 percent interests in them. The Kurdistan Regional Government will hold the remaining 20 percent stakes in each block, Maersk Oil said. The two blocks, Piramagrun and Qala Dze, are located about 150 kilometres east of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Blocks are used to describe areas with potential for oil or gas production. Maersk Oil produced 229,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the third quarter of 2013 but is targeting 400,000 barrels per day for 2020. Maersk Oil has said it will spend $3 billion to $5 billion annually on developing projects. (

Shell venture starts fracking giant Russian shale oil formation

January 13, 2014. Royal Dutch Shell Plc and OAO Gazprom Neft began a drilling campaign to assess the potential of Siberia’s Bazhenov formation, reckoned to be one of the world’s largest deposits of shale oil. Salym Petroleum Development, the venture between Shell and Gazprom Neft, has started drilling the first of five horizontal wells over the next two years that will employ multi-fracturing technology. The Bazhenov layer, which underlies Siberia’s existing oil fields, has attracted Shell and Exxon Mobil Corp. because it’s similar to the Bakken shale in the U.S., where advances in drilling technology started a production boom. Exxon will also start a $300 million pilot project drilling in a different part of the Bazhenov with OAO Rosneft this year. (

Abu Dhabi to operate onshore oil fields as concessions expire

January 8, 2014. Abu Dhabi’s 75-year oil-production agreement is expiring, leaving the largest U.S. and European oil companies without direct stakes in the onshore crude deposits of OPEC’s fourth-biggest supplier. Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC) will continue to produce and market oil from the fields through an operating unit, ending its partnership with BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Total SA. The international companies are among those bidding for new production agreements that would allow them to keep pumping oil in the Persian Gulf emirate, leaving their future roles in the sheikhdom unclear. ADNOC has invited additional companies from Europe and Asia to compete for the oil-development projects. ADNOC said the bidding process could take until January 2015. (


China crude imports rise to record high as new refineries start

January 10, 2014. China, which consumes more oil than any country except the U.S., boosted net crude imports to a record high last month as two new refineries prepared to begin operations. Overseas crude purchases exceeded exports by 26.69 million metric tons in December, according to data of the General Administration of Customs in Beijing. That’s equivalent to 6.31 million barrels a day, 13 percent higher than the same month in 2012 and up 10 percent from November. China, the first country to sell more than 20 million vehicles domestically in a year, is increasing crude purchases to meet fuel demand. Imports last year climbed by 4 percent to 282 million tons, or about 5.66 million barrels a day, the data show. The U.S. shipped about 7.81 million barrels a day in 2013, according to the Energy Information Administration. Sinochem Group’s new Quanzhou refinery in the nation’s south, with a capacity of 12 million tons a year, is fed mostly by seaborne imports while PetroChina Co.’s 10 million-ton plant in Sichuan uses piped supplies from Kazakhstan. China’s major refineries increased their average run rate to 87.2 percent as of Jan. 2, compared with 84.8 percent a month earlier. (

Petrobras says refineries operating at 97 pc capacity

January 8, 2014. Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras refined an average 2.03 million barrels a day of crude in the first 11 months of 2013, an amount equivalent to about 97 percent of its capacity. That was an 8 percent increase over the same period of 2012 when Petrobras refineries averaged 1.9 million barrels a day. Petrobras has been running its refineries at near capacity in an effort to reduce imports of gasoline and diesel fuel that are sold at a loss due to the government's fuel-price controls. The company's 13 refineries are not able to keep up with rising domestic demand for gasoline and other products, forcing the world's sixth-largest economy to buy fuel supplies from as far away as the United States and India. (

Transportation / Trade

Woodside agrees to sell Pluto LNG to Chubu Electric of Japan

January 14, 2014. Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL), Australia’s second-largest oil producer, agreed to supply natural gas from its A$15 billion ($13.5 billion) Pluto project in Western Australia to Chubu Electric Power Co. of Japan. Woodside will sell as much as 1.5 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas over three years to Chubu, Japan’s third-biggest power utility, the Perth-based company said. (

CB&I, Chiyoda ink LNG cooperation agreement

January 14, 2014. The Netherlands-based CB&I inked a cooperation agreement with Chiyoda to design and build liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities in North America. CB&I has also developed an LNG projects in Australia, Russia and East Africa in cooperation with Chiyodaon. CB&I has participated in more than 350 LNG projects and studies in 45 countries. (

Amec agrees to acquire Foster Wheeler for $3.2 bn

January 13, 2014. Amec Plc, the second-biggest U.K. oil and gas engineer, agreed to buy U.S.-traded Foster Wheeler AG for $3.2 billion to expand foreign and fuel-product business. The provisional deal will give Foster Wheeler investors $16 in cash and 0.9 of a new Amec share, equivalent to a total $32, for each share they hold, the London-based company said. It will seek a U.S. listing after the purchase. The transaction will boost capacity in the oil products and petrochemicals business at Amec, now mainly focused on helping companies get oil and gas out of the ground. Foster Wheeler has worldwide operations and has been working in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates since the 1970s. The cash part of the deal will cost about 1 billion pounds, and the company currently has about 100 million pounds of cash. Amec will use current funds and new debt for that portion of the purchase. (

Russia's Transneft sees lower oil exports in 2014

January 13, 2014. Russia's oil pipeline monopoly Transneft expects to reduce its crude oil exports to 225 million tonnes in 2014 from 228 million tonnes in 2013, the company said. Transneft expects Russian oil producers to increase crude supplies to its pipeline system by 4 million tonnes to 485 million tonnes in 2014. Tokarev also said that Transneft expects to export an additional 15 million tonnes of oil products a year via the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk by 2020, because of new pipelines. (

LNG export surge boosting prices for Australian buyers

January 11, 2014. Australia’s natural-gas buyers are poised to pay more even as supply more than doubles in the next five years because higher prices in Asia are spurring exports. Wholesale purchasers in eastern Australia, who paid A$3 ($2.67) to A$4 per million British thermal units (Btu) on average over the past decade, are being asked for more than twice as much when they sign new supply contracts or renew existing ones, says Wood Mackenzie Ltd., an energy research company. (

CPC crude exports to rise to six-year high in Feb

January 10, 2014. The Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) will boost daily crude exports in February to the most in at least six years, a preliminary loading program showed. CPC, operator of the only oil-export link in Russia that has shared foreign ownership, will ship 2.83 million metric tons in February, compared with 3.09 million tons this month. The program comprises 10 cargoes of 135,000 to 135,500 tons each and 17 consignments of 85,000 to 90,000 tons. The CPC pipeline carries crude from Kazakhstan’s western fields to a terminal near Russia’s Novorossiysk port on the Black Sea. Russia owns 31 percent of the pipeline and Kazakhstan 21 percent. Loading programs are monthly schedules of crude shipments compiled by field operators to allow buyers and sellers to plan their supply and trading activities. (

Caribbean oil-tanker rates surge as Libya seen disrupting trade

January 10, 2014. The cost of hauling Caribbean oil to the U.S. surged to a five-year high amid speculation the region’s vessel supply is being diminished by months of delays to Libyan crude exports that are altering trade flows. Aframaxes hauling 70,000 metric-ton cargoes on the route earned $83,205 a day, the most since December 2008, according to the Baltic Exchange in London. Larger Suezmaxes departed the region to meet rising demand for West African oil shipments to Europe. That trade-route expansion helped Europe’s refineries cover a shortfall in Libyan crude. The rates surge shows how parts of the tanker market are recovering from a slump after the industry’s biggest vessels earned the most in 3 1/2 years at the end of 2013, according to Baltic Exchange data. (

Unforeseen US oil boom upends markets as drilling spreads

January 9, 2014. The U.S. oil boom has put European refineries out of business and undercut West African crude suppliers. Now domestic drillers threaten to roil Asian markets and challenge producers in the Middle East and South America. Fifteen European refineries have closed in the past five years, with a 16th due to shut this year, the International Energy Agency said, as the U.S. went from depending on fuel from Europe to being a major exporter to the region. Nigeria, which used to send the equivalent of a dozen supertankers of crude a month to the U.S., now ships fewer than three, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). And cheap oil from the Rocky Mountains, where output has grown 31 percent since 2011, will soon allow West Coast companies to cut back on imports of pricier grades from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela that they process for customers in Asia, the world’s fastest-growing market. (

Oil-tanker recovery trails market with US export ban

January 9, 2014. The recovery propelling shipping markets is poised to leave crude-oil tankers behind, unless the U.S. changes its 39-year-old ban on most unrefined exports. Sea shipments of refined fuels are set to expand the fastest since 2010 and demand to transport dry-bulk commodities such as iron ore and coal will rise more than capacity for the first time in seven years, according to Clarkson Plc, the world’s largest shipbroker. Demand for crude carriers will advance the least since 2009, as the U.S. produces the most The U.S. is importing less crude as domestic fields produce the most since 1988 and the country meets the highest share of its own energy needs since 1986, Energy Department data show. Incoming shipments will fall another 7 percent to 4.9 million barrels a day in 2014, compared with the 2005 peak of 8.5 million, Clarkson estimates. (

Arctic cold cuts fuel supplies as refineries to pipelines freeze

January 8, 2014. Record cold weather pummeled energy infrastructure across the U.S., prompting gas pipeline operators to reduce flows, fuel terminals to shut loading racks and refineries to scale back production. The cold snap pushed oil prices higher for a second straight day and boosted natural gas on the spot market to a 17-month high. Temperatures in several cities across the eastern half of the U.S. dropped to record lows, with New York’s Central Park hitting 4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 16 Celsius), breaking a mark for the date set in 1896, according to AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. (

Policy / Performance

UK to pay up to $3 mn a well to councils allowing shale gas

January 13, 2014. Prime Minister David Cameron will give millions of pounds to local authorities that allow shale gas developments to go ahead, part of a drive to create more jobs and encourage investment in the U.K. Councils will be allowed to keep 100 percent of the business rates they collect from shale gas sites, double the current 50 percent figure, in a move that may be worth 1.7 million pounds ($2.8 million) per site in central government funding per year. Business rates are taxes to help pay for local services, charged on most non-domestic properties. (

Uganda to award oil production licenses to Tullow

January 13, 2014. Uganda aims to award seven production licenses to Britain's Tullow Oil by the end of March, its energy and mineral development minister said, as the country inches closer to starting crude production. East Africa's third-largest economy, which struck hydrocarbon deposits in the Albertine rift basin along its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), expects to begin commercial production in 2016 at the earliest. Uganda is negotiating eight production licenses with Tullow and one with French major Total. Uganda aims to have at least half of the planned 60,000 barrels per day refinery operating by end of 2017. (

BP oil-spill settlement approval upheld by appeals court

January 12, 2014. BP Plc’s $9.2 billion partial settlement over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill was upheld by an appeals court over the company’s protest that the deal wasn’t valid unless a claims-payment dispute was resolved in its favor. The U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans also upheld a lower-court judge’s certification of the settling plaintiffs as a class and rejected arguments that the agreement couldn’t be approved because it inconsistently compensated victims with the same types of economic injuries. BP originally supported class certification along with its settlement before arguing the agreement could be “salvaged” only if properly construed and implemented, the appeals court said. The plaintiffs meet the requirement for a class and certification can’t be blocked by the dispute over individual payments, which is being considered by a separate appellate panel, the court said. (

Statoil said to eye deals as govt loosens control

January 9, 2014. Statoil ASA is the giant of Norway’s economy, accounting for almost 20 percent of Oslo’s benchmark index. The state oil producer also looms large emotionally, as a symbol of Norway’s resource wealth and engineering prowess. It may soon get less Norwegian. Encouraged by a newly elected conservative government that’s considering reducing the state’s 67 percent stake, Statoil is studying overseas acquisitions. It’s examining takeovers that would allow it to diversify away from Norway while diluting the state’s $51 billion shareholding. (

Libyan rebels say oil cos eager to buy crude from east

January 8, 2014. Rebels in east Libya said oil companies are eager to buy their crude and offered to protect tankers after the government’s navy blocked one such vessel from loading. The region’s Libyan Oil and Gas Corp. sent a letter to international oil companies offering to ensure the safety of tankers loading at Es Sider, the biggest port. The notice was distributed days after a vessel was stopped from going to the facility by the central government’s navy. Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zaidan said that any tanker loading illegally sold crude would be sunk. (

Lebanon delays energy exploration license auction again

January 8, 2014. Lebanon postponed its first auction of licenses for offshore oil and natural-gas exploration until April 10, Energy Minister Gebran Bassil said, stalling bids for a third time amid political differences in the Arab state. Political disagreements have blocked the formation of a new cabinet since Prime Minister Najib Mikati resigned in March. The auction was first scheduled for Nov. 4 then delayed to Dec. 10 and again to Jan. 10. Exxon Mobil Corp. and Total SA are among the companies prequalified to bid. Lebanon, which must import most of its oil and gas, needs revenue to pare its public debt, the highest as a share of economic output among 22 Arab nations. (

Ivory Coast sees soaring oil output rivaling Ghana by 2019

January 8, 2014. Ivory Coast Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan said his nation will boost oil output within five years to 200,000 barrels a day, rivaling neighboring Ghana as stability returns to a country wracked by a decade of turmoil. The West African nation wants oil companies to increase exploration and drilling offshore after output more than halved to about 30,000 barrels a day because of technical problems, he said. Ghana pumps about 100,000 barrels a day and wants to more than double output to 250,000 by 2021. Ghana is West Africa’s fourth-largest producer, after Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. (



Siemens to build turnkey combined-cycle power plant in Turkey

January 14, 2014. Siemens has been awarded a contract for the turnkey construction of the Bandirma II combined-cycle power plant (CCPP) in the Balikesir province, Turkey. The company will also supply the entire electrical system, a 400kV high-voltage switchgear installation, SPPA-T3000 instrumentation and control system, a Benson-type heat recovery steam generator, as well as the auxiliary and ancillary systems. Upon completion in the spring of 2016, the Bandirma II plant is expected to have an installed capacity of around 600 MW and an efficiency of more than 60%. (

Quanta to build 120 MW combined cycle power plant in Alaska

January 10, 2014. Quanta Power Generation has been selected to build a 120 MW combined cycle thermal power plant in Alaska. Anchorage Municipal Light & Power has contracted Quanta for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for the George M. Sullivan Plant 2 Generation Replacement Project. Engineering and procurement activities will begin soon and construction of the plant is expected to be complete in September 2016. (

Marubeni buys Tokyo power plant, aims for more Japan production

January 10, 2014. Marubeni Corp has bought a Tokyo-area 100 MW gas power plant, the Japanese trading house said, as it looks to take advantage of major reforms in store for the nation's power sector.

The company is also aiming to add another 200 MW of domestic capacity by 2016 when the nation's electricity market will be completely liberalized, bringing its thermal and hydro-power generation capacity in Japan to just over 360 MW, the company said. An increase in power production could help lower power prices, but it would also increase competition for regional monopolies like Tokyo Electric Power Co as they deal with the fallout of the Fukushima nuclear crisis. (

Alstom moves into Israel hydro market with pumped-storage order

January 10, 2014. Alstom SA, a French power-equipment maker, won 120 million euros ($163 million) of contracts to build and operate Israel’s first hydroelectric pumped-storage plant near the Sea of Galilee. The Gilboa facility 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of Haifa would use energy from other power stations to transfer water to a reservoir to be reused later to generate electricity. When commissioned in 2018, the plant will boost Israel’s installed power capacity by 2.5 percent, Alstom said. (

Azerbaijan ups power generation

January 8, 2014. In 2013, Azerenergy JSC (production and distribution of electricity in Azerbaijan) generated more than 21.5 billion kilowatt/hours of electricity compared to about 21.3 billion kilowatt/hours over the same period in 2012. Azernergy generated 2.2 billion kilowatt/hours of electricity in December 2013 compared to 2.1 billion kilowatt/hours in December 2012. During the reported period the electricity flow with the neighbouring countries continued. The capacity of power stations owned by Azerenergy exceeds 6,000 MW. It has over 200 substations with a capacity of 500, 330, 220 and 110 kilovolt amperes, as well as eight hydro power stations and 13 thermo power stations. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade

Saudi Aramco contracts L&T for transmission line construction

January 9, 2014. L&T Construction has secured a contract from the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of transmission lines in Saudi Arabia. Awarded through L&T Saudi Arabia to the company's Power Transmission & Distribution Business, the contract covers construction of 55km of 230kV double circuit overhead transmission line and underground cabling. The transmission line will replace the existing 115kV electrical power supply system at the Abu Ali Plants. The company will also be responsible for pre-commissioning of the onshore facilities associated with construction of the double circuits, overhead transmission lines/power cables from Wasit Cogeneration substation with associated gantries, and transmission yards up to the beach transition yard at Khurasaniyah area, and from Abu Ali Plant 230kV substation with associated gantries and transmission yards up to the beach transition yard at Abu Ali Island. Work under the contract is scheduled to complete in 26 months. (

New York to strengthen electric grid, streamline transmission projects

January 9, 2014. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has unveiled "Reimagining New York for a New Reality," a $ 17 billion strategy that he says will, among other things, transform the state's infrastructure and energy supply to better protect New Yorkers from future extreme weather. New York will utilize approximately $ 1.37 billion in federal funds to harden the state's existing electrical grid, including moving approximately 500 miles of overhead primary wire underground, elevating vulnerable substations, expanding tree-trimming and raising power lines for newly elevated homes, and creating a new outage response system. Under a program to create at least 10 microgrids, New York will launch NY Prize, a $40 million competition to help build community-scale power grids for areas with approximately 40,000 residents. The New York State Smart Grid Consortium, a public-private partnership devoted to statewide implementation of the smart grid, praises Cuomo for his vision on energy issues. The New York Independent System Operator supports Cuomo's proposal to streamline grid improvements. (

Colombia bans coal loading by 2nd-biggest producer Drummond

January 9, 2014. Drummond Co.’s shipments of coal from Colombia, Europe’s No. 2 supplier, to international buyers including Electricite de France SA (EDF) are suspended until the producer finishes mandatory port enhancements to avoid spills. European coal prices rose as much as 3.6 percent, the most since Oct. 24, as Colombia’s second-biggest producer was ordered to stop loading ships at its Caribbean port until a conveyor-belt system replaces the current arrangement of barges and cranes. Drummond estimates its direct loading system will be in place by March. Colombia, which supplies about a quarter of Europe’s coal imports, introduced new rules Jan. 1 requiring producers to load coal directly onto ships. Other producers of Colombian coal, including BHP Billiton Ltd. and Glencore Xstrata Plc, met the deadline, while Drummond continued to load by barge this month. (

Policy / Performance

Iran gets sanctions relief Jan 20 as nuclear deal begins

January 13, 2014. Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear activities starting Jan. 20 under a deal with world powers, triggering the easing of some sanctions and the start of a six-to-12 month timetable to reach a permanent accord. Iran and the so-called P5+1 countries -- China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S., plus Germany -- reached an understanding on how to implement a deal reached last November, U.S. President Barack Obama said. The agreement restricts Iran’s nuclear activities and imposes more intrusive inspections. In return, Iran will benefit from sanctions relief, which the U.S. values at $6 billion to $7 billion over six months. It’s unlikely the implementation accord will quell bipartisan efforts in Congress to escalate pressure on Iran with further sanctions. Iran has threatened to abandon talks if Congress votes to tighten economic restrictions and Obama repeated his vow to veto additional sanctions while negotiations on a broader deal continue. (

RWE npower plans to shut seven UK power plants by end 2023

January 9, 2014. Energy supplier RWE npower said it would shun costly retrofits required by European Union pollution laws on seven of its power plants in Britain, meaning they will close by the end of 2023 at the latest. The EU-wide Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), which will come into effect in 2016, imposes limits on emissions of climate-harming gases, tightening already existing legislation. Power plant owners in Britain had to tell the government before the start of this year how they would comply with IED. (

Collaboration: Chinese help sought on transmission lines

January 9, 2014. Federal Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Muahmmad Asif met the Vice-Chairman of National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China, Zhang Xiao Qiang and discussed various energy projects. During the meeting, Khawaja Asif highlighted the present government’s efforts for generating affordable energy to meet the country’s rising power demand through various projects by utilising coal, as well as hydel, solar and wind power. Asif emphasised that in addition to enhancing power generation capacity there was a need for upgradation and expansion of transmission networks in the country. He sought Chinese government’s assistance for the development of transmission lines that may cost $6 billion, according to estimates. Asif thanked the Chinese government for their assistance and support in meeting the energy needs of Pakistan and for funding different projects in Pakistan. (

Rwanda: Rukarara power plant to be connected to grid

January 8, 2014. The Rukarara II hydro power plant is set to be connected onto the national grid by the end January according to the Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA). The plant, which has a capacity of 2.2 MW, has been undergoing commissioning tests since mid-December. It has been under construction since October 2010 and was jointly funded by the government (35%), Belgium (37%) and the European Union commission (28%).

The connection on the national grid comes at time when the utility body is struggling to meet the demand as it aims to increase the installed electricity capacity from 110.8 MW to 563 MW in the next four years. The new connection will enhance EWSA's aim to curb power shortages in the country. Rukarara II is part of the six micro-hydro plants expected to produce 63 MW of electricity by 2017. The others are Giciye, Nyabahanga, Nyirabuhombo, Mukungwa II, Janja and Gashashi. (

Peru plans $8.1 bn in energy investments in 2014

January 8, 2014. Investment in energy projects is projected to total $8.1 billion in Peru this year, bolstering the Andean nation's development and competitiveness, the energy and mines ministry said. The ministry asked the Private Investment Promotion Agency, or ProInversion, to move ahead with projects worth $7.3 billion, with an additional $800 million in investment expected for rural electrification projects. ProInversion is working on a southern pipeline, the addition of hydroelectric power plants with 1,100 MW of generating capacity and transmission lines, among other projects, this year, the energy minister said. About 50 percent of the projects approved by ProInversion in 2013 were in the energy sector, with investment totalling some $2 billion. (



Yes Bank inks MoU with TERI to promote sustainable development

January 10, 2014. Private lender Yes Bank, as part of its CSR activity, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with TERI BCSD (Business Council for Sustainable Development) to promote sustainable development in the country. The MoU will enable Yes Bank to work with BFSI (Banking, Financial Services and Insurance) sector on responsible finance, financial inclusion, especially focusing on agri, MSME and tourism sectors. This MoU is a beginning of an enriching relationship which would facilitate climate change mitigation and natural capital conservation, Yes Bank said. (

Tata Power launches ` 1.5 lakh solar invertor

January 9, 2014. Tata Power Solar launched a solar invertor for retail consumers, which can provide uninterrupted power supply for eight hours. It is designed to light-up devices like lights, fans and television. The total set-up of the solar panels, battery and the invertor would cost between ` 1.4-1.5 lakh. It is targeting cities and towns with regular load shedding. Named Tata Dynamo, the set-up works like a regular inverter, but has solar as its primary source of power. Tata Power Solar claims that in an area which has three to four hours of load shedding, can recover the expense of the invertor, in less than 18 months. This is in comparison to running a diesel generator. The life expectancy of the instrument is around eight to ten years. Further, the product comes with a 30% subsidy from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The product also comes with five year warranty and can be wall-mounted to save space. (

Reliance Power, Lanco seek higher solar tariffs

January 9, 2014. Solar power plants of Reliance Power, Lanco and others, are seeking higher tariffs saying that the data on solar radiation provided by the government was faulty which has led to lower generation. Several companies have filed petitions before the central regulator, seeking higher tariffs jut as a panel chaired by Deepak Parekh recommended compensation for Tata and Adani's higher costs of generation. At least three solar thermal power project developers with mandate to commission total 250 mw of capacity have moved petitions before the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission seeking higher tariff. Reliance Power subsidiary Rajasthan Sun Technique Energy, Lanco Group's Diwakar Solar Projects and Godawari Power and Ispat owned Godavari Green Energy, in their respective petitions, claimed that the solar radiation data shared by ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) are incorrect and solar thermal projects may not be able to generate power as per the projection. (

Himalayas lost 13 pc of glaciers in forty years

January 9, 2014. Amid controversy and debate over the precise impact of global warming on the Himalayas, glaciologists analysed a massive cache of data on the mountain range and have concluded that it lost 13 per cent of its glaciers in just four decades. Approximately 443 billion tonnes (Gt) of glacier ice was lost in this timeframe, says a new research paper published in Current Science. It estimates the total glacial water stored in the Indian Himalaya to be around 4,000 Gt. This loss is significant considering the amount of water stored in the glaciers of the Indian Himalayas, the authors of the Divecha Centre for Climate Change at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) said. (

First NWEM to begin by mid-2014

January 8, 2014. The government will launch its first wind energy mission this year to give a boost to the renewable source and putting it in the same league as the high-profile solar mission. The 'National Wind Energy Mission (NWEM), which would be launched around the middle of the year, would give incentives to invest, east land clearances and regulate tariffs. But unlike the flagship 'National Solar Mission' it would not involve projects for bidding. It would act as a "facilitator".  Under the proposed action plan, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) would strengthen grid infrastructure for wind power, identify high wind power potential zones, ease land clearances for the projects, regulate wind power tariff and incentivise investment in the wind sector. Grid connected wind based power in India has been in existence from almost 20 years now while solar made its debut just 4 years back with the national solar mission. India is the fifth largest wind power producer in the world with an installed capacity of 19 GW. (

NHPC signs initial pact with Kerala for wind energy project

January 8, 2014. NHPC signed a preliminary agreement with Kerala for developing wind energy projects in the state. NHPC will develop grid interactive wind power project in Nallasingam and Kottathara sites in Pallakad district with a potential of 82 MW capacity. The projects are expected to be completed over the next two years. Power generated from them will be provided to the Kerala State Electricity Board on rates fixed by the Electricity Regulatory Commission. NHPC is in the process of diversification with new solar and wind power projects in various states. (

Welspun announces MoU with Punjab to build solar power project

January 8, 2014. Welspun Energy Limited (WEL) announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Punjab government to set up solar power project of 150 MW capacity. WEL will invest over ` 1,300 crore for setting up this solar project over the next three years. WEL is already developing a 35 (DC) MW solar project in the state. This 150 MW project is slated to begin commercial operations by 2017. The Photovoltaic project will supply clean energy to power 0.72 million families. With the commissioning of this project, an estimated 24,96,602 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions will be mitigated each year. (


Qbotix supplying robots for 45 MW of solar projects

January 14, 2014. Qbotix Inc., a closely held supplier of robotic systems for solar farms, agreed to supply equipment for 45 MW of U.K. power plants under development by Castillium Ltd. The first Castillium projects using Qbotix systems will begin construction in mid-2014, according to the California-based robotics company. Qbotix’s battery-powered robots ride a rail around solar arrays and tilt the panels toward the sun as it moves across the sky. They increase panel output by as much as 45 percent and may lower the cost of building power plants by as much as 20 percent, the company said. The company is deploying its technology in Japan and may expand into Chile. (

Top global emitter China best on climate change, Figueres says

January 14, 2014. China, the top emitter of greenhouse gases, is also the country that’s “doing it right” when it comes to addressing global warming, the United Nations’ chief climate official said. The nation has some of the toughest energy-efficiency standards for buildings and transportation and its support for photovoltaic technology helped reduce solar-panel costs by 80 percent since 2008, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said. The country is facing growing public pressure from citizens to reduce air pollution, due in large part to burning coal. Its efforts to promote energy efficiency and renewable power stem from the realization that doing so will pay off in the long term, Figueres said. (

Egger of Austria completes wood-to-power plant in Romania

January 14, 2014. Egger Group, an Austrian manufacturer of wood-panel products, completed a plant in Romania that will use waste wood to generate power and heat. The company invested 35 million euros ($48 million) to build the 83 MW plant in Radauti in the country’s northeast, Tyrol-based Egger said. The facility will use waste wood from Egger’s nearby factory and feed energy back to its production lines. (

China industrial plants breach emissions standards, study finds

January 14, 2014. Steel factories and thermal power plants in eastern China that provide real-time emissions data frequently exceed national standards, a study led by an environmental group in Beijing said. Companies from those industries based in the provinces of Shandong and Hebei were in “serious breach” of discharge standards even during periods of severe air pollution, the report by the Beijing-based Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) said. The IPE studied data from industrial facilities in three eastern provinces that have begun releasing real-time information since July as part of a project initiated by China’s environment ministry. (

Boeing seeks to add diesel from vegetable oils to flights

January 14, 2014. Boeing Co., the biggest commercial airplane maker, is seeking approval from U.S. regulators to fuel jets with a “green” diesel made from vegetable oils and fats that will reduce consumption of fossil fuels and curb greenhouse-gas emissions. The fuel produces less than half the carbon dioxide emissions over its life cycle than fossil fuels and will cost about $3 a gallon in the U.S., Chicago-based Boeing said. Approval to use a fuel made from vegetable fats would increase options for airlines that are already using other types of biofuels made from inedible plant material. (

Danish pension fund to invest in renewable energy projects in developing nations

January 13, 2014. PensionDanmark A/S and other Danish pension investors backed a state fund to finance emission-reduction projects in developing countries as the Scandinavian nation seeks to export its climate know-how abroad. The Danish Climate Investment Fund received 1.2 billion kroner ($220 million) in commitments from private investors and the government, according to PensionDanmark, which contributed 200 million kroner. The fund will invest on commercial terms in projects that tackle climate change in emerging economies from Africa to Asia, PensionDanmark said. (

JinkoSolar to take over rival plants under reorganization

January 11, 2014. JinkoSolar Holding Co., the second-best performing solar manufacturer in the past year, agreed to assume control of a struggling rival’s production assets to boost capacity as global demand for photovoltaic panels climbs. JinkoSolar will take over the Haining, China, facilities owned by Zhejiang Topoint Photovoltaic Co. and related companies on Jan. 13, Shangrao, China-based JinkoSolar said. The solar industry is emerging from a two-year slump as a global surplus in capacity dragged down panel prices and eroded profits. That drove some companies into bankruptcy, creating acquisition targets for stronger photovoltaic producers, JinkoSolar said. (

EU commissioners clash over 2030 climate goals

January 10, 2014. European Commissioners clashed over what the European Union's climate and energy policy goals for 2030 should be, with time for agreement running short ahead of their planned publication this month, EU said. The European Union has sought to lead the global fight against climate change, but the economic crisis has sapped the appetite of business and some member states for decisive action because of concerns over competitiveness and cost. Any policy announcement on targets to succeed the 2020 EU goals on cutting emissions, improving energy efficiency and increasing renewable energy use, will require around two years of EU debate to become law. But it will send a signal ahead of next year's UN talks to reach an international deal on cutting emissions after 2020. EU said 2030 carbon-cutting targets of 35% and 40% were under debate, together with a renewables goal of 24-27%. EU said a 40% carbon-cutting goal and a 30% renewables level were under consideration. The levels now under debate are still a rise from 2020 goals of a 20% carbon cut and a target to get 20% of energy from green sources, such as wind and solar. But environmentalists say they amount to business as usual. (

Japan’s METI to review surcharges for clean energy

January 9, 2014. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will review how surcharges for clean energy are calculated. The review may lead to lower surcharges paid by homes and businesses every month, the paper said. Currently, surcharges are set by taking into account how much clean energy utilities buy and how much they save in power generation costs. (

China vehicle sales seen slowing on pollution controls

January 9, 2014. China’s main car association forecast that the world’s biggest automobile market will see slower growth this year as anti-pollution and austerity campaigns spread. China, which in 2013 became the first country to see domestic sales surpass 20 million units a year, will see deliveries rise as much as 10 percent in 2014 after last year’s 14 percent growth, the state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said. While China’s motorization has been a boon for foreign automakers -- all the major ones saw record sales in the country in 2013 -- pressure is building on the government to step in as pollution chokes residents and traffic congestion turns roads into parking lots. Sales of luxury goods have been hit since Xi Jinping took over as Communist Party chief in November 2012 and started a campaign to rein in lavish spending. (

Indonesian indigenous groups fight climate change with GPS mapping

January 9, 2014. Indigenous communities in Indonesia are using GPS technology to demarcate the boundaries of their ancestral lands, a move many believe could also help mitigate the negative effects of climate change. Indonesia's dense forests are home to an estimated 50 million-70 million indigenous people, and 10% of all known plant species, according to the Indigenous Peoples' Alliance of the Archipelago (Aman) and the Rainforest Action Network, a non-profit international environmental advocacy group based in San Francisco. Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a funding mechanism for the UN convention on biological diversity and the UN framework convention on climate change. (

Yingli sees return to profit as solar-panel demand gains

January 8, 2014. Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. (YGE), the world’s biggest solar-panel maker, expects to post its first quarterly profit in three years as early as next quarter as demand climbs and cost controls show results. The Chinese company “will see a gradual rise each quarter” after reporting a “small loss” or breaking even in the first three months of the year, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Wang Yiyu said. The forecast indicates increasing optimism that solar-panel makers are recovering from a plunge in prices caused by surplus manufacturing capacity. Trina Solar Ltd. and JinkoSolar Holding Co. already have returned to profit. Canadian Solar Inc., the best-performing stock among peers in the past year, posted its first quarterly net income in more than two years in November. (

Carbon market value to gain 15 pc in 2014 on EU surplus fix

January 8, 2014. The value of the global carbon market will rise 15 percent this year to 46 billion euros ($63 billion), driven by the European Union’s plan to postpone sales of pollution permits. The measure may push European carbon prices up more than 50 percent on average to 7.5 euros a metric ton this year from less than 5 euros. The value of carbon markets in North America is expected to climb in 2014, according to the London-based carbon analysis group. (

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