MonitorsPublished on Feb 07, 2014
Energy News Monitor | Volume X; Issue 34



Ø     ENERGY: Governing the Indian Energy Sector: The Problem of the Un-civic Aam Admi

Ø    POWER: Delhi is heading towards Power less nights!


Ø     State-wise Cumulative Solar Water Pumps in India



·         HPCL to acquire two gas fields in Australia

·         India overtakes Japan as world's No.3 crude importer

·         IOC to invest about ` 10 bn in Kerala by 2016-17

·         L&T's first 700 MW unit plant at Rajpura becomes operational

·         NHDC unlikely to infuse funds into Maheshwar power project

·         NTPC looking to acquire 7 private power projects

·         Tata Power sells mine in Indonesia for $500 mn

·         Suncor reports fourth-quarter profit as oil-sands output rises

·         Shell pledges spending cuts, asset sales to restore profit

·         OMV says Libya production resumed at start of 2014

·         SRC invests over $500 mn in gasoline, power units

·         Husky Energy to spend $269.1 mn on Ohio refinery revamp

·         Venezuela oil sales to US at 1985-low shows China cost

·          California getting record volume of Canadian oil by rail

·         Texas vies with Saudi Arabian oil in California shipments

·         Sembcorp to acquire 45 pc stake in NCC-Gayatri power project

·         Europe links 15 power markets in biggest shift since 1990s

·         NPPD educates public on proposed transmission line


·         CNG price cut to offer temporary relief to consumers: Goldman

·         New LPG subsidy scheme causes chaos as new system needed to sell gas at subsidised rates

·         Non-domestic LPG price cut by ` 107; Diesel hiked by 50 paise

·          India Ratings maintains stable outlook for O&G sector

·         Cancel discom permits if power is cut: Delhi to DERC

·                   Hydro power can help north-east generate ` 6.7 bn annually

·         TN will soon be free from power cuts: Jayalalithaa

·         Kuwait oil workers' strike "inevitable": Union

·         Egypt forecasts gas shortage next fiscal year

·         FG defends $1.3 bn cost of Zungeru power plant

·                   UK, French Governments sign declaration on nuclear energy

·         South Africa power from coal may fall to 50 pc by 2050

·          South Korea approves first new reactors since Fukushima

·          Europe faces polar vortex flip side as power prices slide

·         Nalco commissions second wind power plant

·          Renewable energy pivotal for meeting India's demand

·         India fines utility head for missing renewable targets

·         BHEL, 5 other PSUs to set up 4 GW solar plant in Rajasthan

·         Europe divided on supply security as green power gains

·         Sharp’s solar unit returns to profit on performance in Japan

·         China to enter India's solar-powered vehicle market

·         New technology produces biofuel from plant waste

·         UN carbon supply may rise as sellers rush to beat 2015 deadlines

·         Keystone XL won’t worsen climate change, US says

·         US wind power building boom follows 92 crash

·         SoftBank unit to enter clean energy retail business in Japan

·         Foundations with $1.8 bn vow fossil-fuel divestment

·          China panel makers turn solar farmers to counter glut

·         French Minister urges rapid energy cooperation with Germany

·         Canadian solar supplies modules for power plant at India airport




Governing the Indian Energy Sector: The Problem of the Un-civic Aam Admi

Lydia Powell, Observer Research Foundation


he widely heard narrative at industry forums on poor governance of the energy sector is simplistic like a bollywood movie. It casts the politician or the government as the villain, the aam admi as the innocent victim and the entrepreneurial class as the saviour. We are told that if only the evil politician and the government that he controls get out of the way, abundant energy resources will be extracted by the efficient entrepreneurial class and distributed at affordable prices to the aam admi. The counter narrative from those with a visceral dislike for affluent entrepreneurs is also simplistic. It retains the aam admi as the victim but interchanges the roles of the entrepreneurial class and the government. If only the government wrests control over energy resources from greedy and corrupt entrepreneurs there will be abundant and affordable energy for all. One could say that there is nothing new in this debate as it seems to be merely replicating the worn out arguments over capitalism and socialism. The interesting part is not what the discourse reveals but rather what it conceals. As Pratap Bhanu Mehta pointed out in a recent column (on a different subject) the origin of the problem of poor governance can be traced to the un-civic aam admi. As the aam admi battles over labelling the politician or the entrepreneur as the evil force to be eliminated, he misses his own deeper failings. Mr Mehta’s column uses insights from an academic paper that makes this very important point.   

One of the paper’s most interesting insights is that ‘low trust’ societies seek more government even when it is known that more government only means more bad government. A low trust society in which the aam admi distrusts the aam admi, a demand is generated for high levels of regulation even when the entrenched government is known to be inefficient and corrupt.  Some of the data sets used in the paper include India. Not surprisingly, India is placed just below South American and African countries, which score the highest when it comes to distrust within the society. Consequently India is placed just below these countries when it comes to regulation of entry into entrepreneurial activity. India also scores poorly in freedom in price setting and court formalism. Scandinavian countries are placed among the lowest in terms of distrust and therefore lowest also in terms of regulating entry to entrepreneurship. 

The key conclusion of the paper is that government regulation is strongly negatively correlated with social capital.  Social capital is generated in a ‘high-trust’ civic society and destroyed in a ‘low-trust’ un-civic society.  Those who have not invested in social capital impose a negative externality (such as pollution, poor quality goods & services and corruption) on others when they become entrepreneurs. The community seeks to regulate entrepreneurial activity when the expected negative externalities are large. But regulation itself must be enforced by government officials who demand bribes if they have not invested in social capital. When people live in an un-civic community they expect high levels of regulation and corruption and do not invest in social capital. Their expectation is justified as lack of investment in social capital leads to un-civicness, high regulation, high corruption and low levels of entrepreneurial activity. The model predicts two equilibrium outcomes. The first is a good one with a large share of civic individuals and low or no regulation and a bad one where a large share of un-civic individuals supporting heavy regulation. Applied to the governance of the Indian energy sector we can see that we have indeed arrived at the bad outcome. In the capital a large number of aam admi’s are demanding high levels of regulation of every possible entrepreneurial activity that is required to produce, transport and distribute energy. If the demand for heavy regulation is met it will defeat the purpose of obtaining energy for the aam admi as entrepreneurial activity required for producing and delivering energy may be curtailed. In the national context we can see the same bad equilibrium outcome when it comes to producing fossil fuels. But this does not automatically justify the argument that entrepreneurs are making: that they are productive and honest entrepreneurs who are ready to produce and supply energy and regulation by the government is the problem that stands in their way.   

As per the model, when all participants (including the aam-admi) are un-civic, entry into productive activity occurs when an un-civic entrepreneur meets an un-civic official responsible for regulation and pays bribes.  As only the most productive entrepreneurs are able to pay bribes they enter imposing a negative externality on others. This produces a perverse positive outcome. Even though regulators who regulate entry are corrupt, they serve a useful purpose by keeping the unproductive entrepreneur out because he cannot afford to pay bribes. In other words the society would be worse off if all un-civic entrepreneurs are allowed into the business of producing energy. In such a society where no one trusts anyone, the preference is for government to regulate and control even when it is known that these officials cannot be trusted. This column cannot go into deeper nuances of the model but the possibility of our problem in governing the energy sector (or any other sector for that matter) originating in our own deeper societal failing gives some food for fresh thought. The un-civic aam-admi, the un-civic-entrepreneur as well as the un-civic politician are products of the society. We need to look deep into ourselves and ask whether our ‘uncivicness’ is the product of our social beliefs and upbringing or the product of our education. We need to ask if it is the product of our larger socialist past or the liberalised present. We need to answer this question if we want to go beyond simplistic interpretations that perpetuate rather than solve the problem.   

Views are those of the author                    

Author can be contacted at [email protected]




Delhi is heading towards Power less nights!

Ashish Gupta, Observer Research Foundation


olitics in “energy” and energy in “politics” are both very dangerous; a clear example of the same is emerging from Delhi. Two groups in the drama that is unfolding is benefitting the most: one is “auto-wallas” and the other is the media. The Aam Admi Party (AAP) has posed a successful election victory with the support of the “auto-wallas” and the other weaker sections of the society. In order to win through the same kind of sentiments in the coming Lok Sabha Elections, it forced the Central Government to reduce the price of CNG. Interestingly according to some media reports, when asked about the revised fares after the reduction, the officials on conditions of anonymity revealed that they were not working on the fares. Therefore, the victims are once again the common consumers. For the media the energy issues are more of a shortcut to minting money! They come up with all sorts of debates and discourses on the television and other media without depth or without any positive conclusions. The best thing about these debates are that they never invite the concerned official related to the issues but only their political bosses who do not understand the basic dynamics of the energy sector. Very often these debates create more problems than before.  But the media ensures that there is a fist fight on screen so that money can be made.  This is the reality that many have become used to!

Now coming to the electricity issues in Delhi, the power sector management in Delhi is creating more new problems rather than solving existing ones. The ruling party and the discoms are at war and none of them is looking to resolve the issues. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has already given a deadline of 11th February, 2014 after which it will stop the supply of power to Delhi discoms if their dues were not paid. The problem is severe but the discoms and the government are working at cross purposes. Instead of finding solutions, the Delhi government is working towards cancelling the licences and the discoms on the other hand are seeking legal advice to avoid audit or cancellation of licence.  In the end only the poor consumers will suffer.  

Discoms, for their part have already explained that they do not have any funds for buying additional power and so there will be outages for eight to ten hours in Delhi. The bigger question here is: how were these private discoms running for the last ten odd years if they are incurring such huge losses? As a thumb rule, private companies are free to earn 16% on their equity. This column cannot go into details but unfortunately a similar situation emerged in 2011 when discoms threatened a blackout. The then Delhi government had to intervene by infusing Rs. 500 crore equity so that discoms could avail loan from the banks. Well, such a situation did not exist when the new government was formed but suddenly it has emerged from nowhere. Surprisingly no one knows where the subsidy from the government to the utilities goes! No one has a clue!

Interestingly there are three discoms working in the Delhi area where two discoms are always blamed as defaulters by the NTPC and the third discom is appreciated on all the fronts. The question is: how there can be such a huge difference in the working efficiency of the three discoms though they all claim to be the most efficient and serving roughly the same type of consumers? This also poses a very big question mark on whether the privatization is the answer for all the power sector problems. Nevertheless the Delhi government is exploring the option of handing over the administration of the two discoms to the most efficient discom or to rope in Delhi Transco in case their licenses are cancelled.  

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) on the other hand is literally squeezed between the government and the discoms. They have to care for the consumers, assure reliable supply and so on. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, the DERC approved surcharges from 6 – 8 % which will be collected by the consumers from the 1st February, 2014. Without questioning the credibility of this order, we can say that the move has not come at the right time especially since in December, 2013 the regulator has disapproved any surcharge. The Delhi government strongly condemned the DERC approval on the premise that the regulator should have waited for the CAG report. Indeed if the government is right then DERC is also correct as it is an independent body.

The Delhi government is in full swing to take strict action against the discoms if they resort to long outages in the Delhi. But the question here is whether revoking the discoms licences will provide any fruitful result? Certainly not! First, it is a very long process where every party will be given a reasonable chance to present its case. Second, it must also prove who is wrong; is it the discoms or the government? Last, revoking licences will lead to unprecedented reactions from the discoms employees who will certainly disrupt the working of the new utility administrators.  The control by the administration will be applicable only for one year and if the regulator finds that the concerned discoms have improved then the control will be handed back to the licensee once again. Therefore starting from zero and coming back to the same is not a very good idea.

In this light, it is clear that we are heading toward no solution but are likely to punish electricity consumers of Delhi. Instead the government must act sensibly to avert a blackout situation. They must try to arrange some funds to bailout discoms with subsidy (partially as a one time arrangement). In paralell the CAG audit must continue so that in the end consumers will know what is happening in the discoms financial statements. Every consumer is looking forward to know whether the discoms are run by entrepreneurs or rent seekers. 

Views are those of the author                    

Author can be contacted at [email protected]


State-wise Cumulative Solar Water Pumps in India

Akhilesh Sati, Observer Research Foundation

(as on 30.07.2013)



Solar Water Pumps

(in nos.)

Andaman & Nicobar


Andhra Pradesh


Arunachal Pradesh


















Himachal Pradesh


Jammu & Kashmir






Madhya Pradesh




















Tamil Nadu






Uttar Pradesh


West Bengal





Source: Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No.1352 for MNRE






HPCL to acquire two gas fields in Australia

January 29, 2014. Prize Petroleum Co, the upstream arm of state-run refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) has signed an agreement with Australian exploration firm AWE to acquire minority stakes in two gas fields and a gas infrastructure facility for 85 million Australian dollar (around $75 million). Prize Petroleum will acquire 11.25% stake in T/L1 license that includes Yolla producing field and purchase 9.75% stake in T/18P permit including Trefoil development field in Australia. The shallow water fields are located the Bass basin between mainland Australia and Tasmania. Origin Energy is the operator of the fields where AWE and Toyota Tsusho are major partners. Prize Petroleum will also have a stake in gas infrastructure including an offshore platform, gas processing plant and a 147 km subsea pipeline. (

Transportation / Trade

HPL bid may turn out to be infructuous: IOC

February 4, 2014. Indian Oil Corporation's (IOC) bid for buying out West Bengal government's stake in ailing Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) may turn out to be infructuous, the company said. IOC had long back written to the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC), an arm of the West Bengal government, for a discussion on the state of affairs on HPL including a dialogue with TCG, the other major promoter of the company.

IOC emerged as the sole bidder for 675 million shares of WBIDC in HPL and quoted a price of ` 25.10 per share way back in October 2013. TCG had moved the court over the disputed 155 million shares and the Supreme Court had also allowed it to take the matter to Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce for arbitration. Meanwhile, lenders had extended a loan of ` 100 crore to HPL. The HPL board had also approved a rights issue amounting to ` 1,300 crore to tide over the funds crunch. (

India overtakes Japan as world's No.3 crude importer

January 30, 2014. India has overtaken Japan as the world's third-biggest crude oil importer in 2013, data showed. India imported 3.86 million barrels-per-day of crude oil last year, tanker arrival data showed. India's imports were nearly 6 percent higher than Japan's customs-cleared imports of 3,648,372 bpd (211,716,710 kilolitres). (

India imported nearly 40 pc less Iranian oil in 2013

January 30, 2014. India imported nearly 40% less Iranian crude last year, with no sign in the last month of 2013 that the easing of Western sanctions in a landmark deal resulted in Indian refiners bumping up their purchases. The breakthrough agreement between Tehran and six world powers that was reached on 24 November and took effect earlier this month allowed it to keep oil exports at reduced levels of about 1 million barrels per day (bpd), less than half pre-2012 levels. But while analysts have expected Iran’s exports to start creeping up as some sanctions are eased, data from its top buyers indicate imports have held steady to lower so far. Oil industry sources in India have said they expect no rapid increases in the imports in coming months, while noting shipments could fall further in the upcoming fiscal year. India’s cuts last year due to the toughened sanctions that were put in place in 2012 were deeper even than the targeted cut of 15% to 220,000 bpd in average imports from Iran for the year ending 31 March 2014. And New Delhi could take just 180,00-190,000 bpd in 2014/15 as it may have to cut imports further if sanctions against Iran are not fully lifted later this year, the oil ministry said. For 2013, India — Iran’s top oil customer after China — imported 195,600 bpd of oil and condensate, down 38% compared with 315,200 bpd in 2012, according to data from trade sources. India’s purchases from Iran declined nearly 14% last month compared with November and about 31.5% from a year ago, the data also showed. India reduced Iran’s importance as a supplier to about 5.1% of all imports in 2013, with the country slipping to seventh position in terms of the volume of crude imports compared with fourth a year ago. To replace Iranian volumes, India imported about 31.2% more oil from Latin America in the January-December period, with the region accounting for about 19.1% of overall imports, up from about 15.7% a year ago. The Middle East region supplied about 62.3% of India’s oil imports in January to December, compared with nearly 64% a year ago. Overall, India imported 3.51 million bpd of oil in December, down 3% from a year earlier. Imports for the full year rose nearly 7.8% to 3.86 million bpd to fuel expanding refining capacities. (

IOC to invest about ` 10 bn in Kerala by 2016-17

January 30, 2014. Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) will invest about ` 1,000 crore by 2016-17 in Kerala to set up various facilties, including an integrated ` 600-crore LPG import facility at nearby Puthuvypeen. The Puthuvypeen project, which will have a capacity of 0.6 million tonnes per annum, is scheduled to be commissioned by 2016-17 to meet the requirements of Kerala and neighbouring states, IOC said. A 400-km cross country LPG pipeline from the LPG import terminal at Puthuvypeen to Kochi Refinery Ltd and to Salem via Coimabtore, to be set up at ` 500 crore investment, has also received approval and work on the same is expected to start by the year end, IOC said. These two projects, when completed, are expected to significantly reduce road movement of bulk LPG, IOC said. IOC has also apporached the state government for land to construct a ` 100 crore depot in Thiruvananthapuram. (

Policy / Performance

Govt slashes pipe cooking gas, CNG prices by 20-30 pc

February 4, 2014. The government has slashed the price of piped natural gas for households and CNG for automobiles by 20 per cent to 30 per cent by diverting cheap domestic gas from industrial customers and eliminating costly LNG imports for city networks. The decision, that will reduces prices to the lowest in two years, would be effective immediately, but prices are bound to rise in April when domestic gas prices will double. City gas networks will now meet their entire demand from domestic gas. This will bring down prices in every city except Mumbai, which already gets all its gas from Indian fields. Gas users in Gujarat, India's biggest consumer, will gain the most as the state meets its most of its retail demand from costly liquefied natural gas. The state was granted relief by the Gujarat High Court, which ruled that all cities must be treated equally in the supply of cheap domestic gas. This was upheld by the Supreme Court. Oil minister Veerappa Moily said the decision was not influenced by the Aam Aadmi party's demand to increase Delhi's quota of scarce domestic gas. Following the court order, in November, the oil ministry determined a uniform share of domestic natural gas for all cities, which was fixed at 80 per cent. In a surprise move, Centre withdrew its petition in Supreme Court (SC) challenging Bombay high court order staying its guidelines on supply of natural gas and informed the court that it has revised the earlier policy which was sharply criticised by some states including Delhi's AAP government. Three days after Centre had urged the apex court to adjudicate all the disputes relating to the guidelines, it informed a bench headed by Justice HL Dattu that the government has revised the guidelines itself and pleaded to withdraw the petition. Placing before the bench its fresh notification, the government said allocation of domestic gas to GAIL for supplying entities for CNG (transport) and PNG (domestic) segment is increased to 8.32 MMSCMD (million metric standard cubic meters per day) with immediate effect. It told that every efforts will be made to meet 100 percent of CNG (transport) and PNG (Domestic) requirement from domestic gas. The bench thereafter allowed the government to withdraw its appeal. With the Centre decided to rejig domestic gas supplies to raise allocations to fuel retailers in cities such as Delhi and Ahmedabad, CNG prices will be cut by a steep ` 15 per kg and piped cooking gas by ` 5. Moving a contempt petition against the Secretary and Director of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, the Arvind Kejriwal government had submitted that the guidelines is in violation of the apex court order which had directed the Centre to allocate CNG first to the transport sector. (

CNG price cut to offer temporary relief to consumers: Goldman

February 4, 2014. The cost of CNG, which will be reduced by up to ` 15 per kg in the next few days following a rejig in natural gas allocation, will go up by ` 10.6 a kg in April, when domestic gas prices almost double. The oil ministry said city gas distribution (CGD) companies would get cheaper domestic gas to meet all of their requirements for CNG and piped natural gas (PNG) supplies to households compared with the previous limit of 80 per cent for most states. As a result, Indraprastha Gas Ltd will cut CNG/PNG prices by about ` 15 per kg and ` 5 per cubic metre, respectively. CNG (compressed natural gas) in Delhi now costs Rs 50.10 per kg and piped cooking gas ` 29.50 per standard cubic metre. Goldman Sachs estimates the price of locally produced natural gas will climb to USD 7.8 per million British thermal units in April from USD 4.2 currently after the Rangarajan formula for pricing domestic gas is implemented. The formula calls for pricing all domestically produced natural gas at the average of international hub rates and the cost of imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) in India. Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily said the price cut was possible because the government had decided to meet the entire need of CNG and PNG from domestic gas, which is subject to an administered pricing mechanism (APM). This eliminates the need to import costlier LNG. Retail prices are set to fall in all states, except Maharashtra and Haryana, as city gas distributors stop buying higher-priced LNG and shift entirely to APM gas. City gas entities in Mumbai and Pune as well as Faridabad in Haryana get all of their requirements from APM gas. Goldman said the additional requirement of 1.92 million standard cubic meters a day of domestically produced gas will be met by cutting supplies to non-priority sectors. (

Aadhaar-based LPG subsidy still not disconnected; govt to set up panel to review linkage

February 3, 2014. Oil companies continue to collect Aadhaar numbers of cooking-gas consumers as the government is again discussing the merits of the scheme after the Cabinet abruptly de-linked the subsidy on the kitchen fuel from Aadhaar cards, which Congress leader had lauded as a big step for better governance. The government said that de-linking of Aadhaar cards from the subsidy on cooking has still not been notified although the Cabinet decision to raise the supply of cheap gas cylinders has been notified. The government is considering fine-tuning the decision of supplying only one subsidised cylinder per month. Some may consume more than one cylinder in month, but they will get only 12 subsidised cylinders in a financial year, the government said. The government will set up a committee to review linkage of cooking gas consumers with their respective Aadhaar numbers, which aims to check diversion. The oil ministry said the government would clarify issues of getting more than one cylinder in a month and continue linking cooking gas consumers with their respective Aadhaar numbers soon. The Cabinet's decision would raise government's subsidy burden by ` 5,000 crore annually, oil minister Veerappa Moily had said. The direct cash transfer of cooking gas subsidy on bank accounts of consumers was launched on June 1, 2013 and top Congress leaders had boasted that the scheme would be a game changer in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. But, unpopularity of the scheme forced the government to retract midway, UPA leaders and government. The scheme, also known as the direct benefit transfer to LPG consumer (DBTL), had already covered about 9.5 crore consumers in 291 districts, according to the oil ministry. India has about 15 crore LPG customers. Moily was initially reluctant on raising the cap because average consumption of cooking gas cylinders was 6.9 per year. But, he approached the Cabinet after Rahul Gandhi asked the government to raise the number at the All India Congress Committee session held in New Delhi, recently. (

New LPG subsidy scheme causes chaos as new system needed to sell gas at subsidised rates

February 3, 2014. The government's decision to raise the supply of cheap cooking gas has actually jammed supplies, hurting consumers who were supposed to gain, as dealers have to put in place a new system in place to sell the product at subsidised rates instead of the market price. All India LPG Dealers Federation (AILDF) said that the hurry to get the new system in place could lead to labour unrest, online system failure and confusion over new cash memos. LPG consumers are already queuing up impatiently at the cylinder supply stations with their demands. The customers have faced a rough period in recent months because of the government's flip-flop over the price, supply and subsidy on the vital household fuel. Most of the complaining consumers are those who have exhausted their quota of 12 subsidised cylinders a year and would be able to avail the advantage only in April now. (

Non-domestic LPG price cut by ` 107; Diesel hiked by 50 paise

January 31, 2014. A day after the Union Cabinet increased the quota of subsidised LPG cylinders from 9 to 12, the price of non-subsidised cooking gas was cut by ` 107 per cylinder on easing international rates. The 14.2-kg cooking gas cylinder that consumers buy beyond their entitled quota of 12 cylinders at subsidised rates, will now cost ` 1,134, down from ` 1,241, in Delhi. Non-domestic LPG rates were at the beginning of the year hiked by a steep ` 220 per cylinder but have now been cut in line with softening international oil rates. IOC said losses on LPG have come down to ` 656 per 14.2-kg cylinder from ` 762.50. On the other hand, Diesel price was hiked by 50 paise per litre but there will be no change in petrol rates. The hike is excluding local sales tax or VAT. The actual increase will be higher and will vary from city to city. The price of diesel in Delhi will be hiked by 57 paise, including tax, to ` 54.91 per litre, while it will cost ` 63.23 a litre in Mumbai as against ` 62.60 at present. The diesel price hike is in line with the January 2013 decision of the government to raise rates by up to 50 paise per month till such time that the entire losses on the fuel are wiped out, and prices made market determined. Announcing the price hike, IOC said that even after the 13th price hike since last January, oil companies are incurring ` 9.24 per litre loss on sale of the fuel. (

India Ratings maintains stable outlook for O&G sector

January 29, 2014. India Ratings & Research said it maintains a stable outlook for the nation's oil and gas sector for the 2014-15 fiscal. The agency expects public sector companies to sustain strong linkages with the government or maintain business stability in case of standalone ratings. India Ratings estimated Brent crude oil prices to hover in the range of $104-108 per barrel in 2014-15 as energy sufficiency of US has moderating influence on global oil rates. Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries or OPEC, responsible for around 40 per cent of global crude production and around 60 per cent of global traded crude, may lower its output as it has done in the past, in the face of moderation in crude oil prices. The price of Indian crude basket may reduce by $2 to $4 per barrel in FY'15. This, along with muted incremental demand for crude oil in FY'15, is unlikely to deteriorate revenue losses or under recoveries on diesel and cooking fuel sales, in US dollar terms during the year from FY'14 levels. However, if rupee depreciates significantly against the US dollar, such benefit may be wiped out. Indian refiners are unlikely to have gross refining margins (GRMs) in excess of $8 per barrel, as was seen for the major part of FY'13, while at least a quarterly (GRM) falling below USD 7 is not a remote possibility, India-Ratings said. (



L&T's first 700 MW unit plant at Rajpura becomes operational

February 3, 2014. Larsen & Toubro (L&T) said that commercial operations of its first 700 MW unit of the 1400 MW supercritical thermal power plant at Rajpura in Punjab has begun. Commercial operations of the plant are likely to augment Punjab's generation capacity significantly, making the state power surplus, and enabling it to export power to the national grid. The plant was constructed on a turnkey basis by L&T Power, with more than 90% of the equipment sourced from group companies of L&T. The supercritical boiler and turbine were manufactured by L&T's joint venture companies with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) located at Hazira, Gujarat. (

JSPL acquires Andhra-based Kineta Power

February 2, 2014. Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) has acquired 100% stake in Kineta Power, a privately-owned coal-based 1,980 MW power plant in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, for an undisclosed sum. Confirming the deal, JSPL said that the deal was signed 3-4 months ago. It has all statutory clearances. Industry insiders said the deal would be executed in phases and the project cost would be around ` 10,000 crore. JSPL has plans to run the plant on imported coal. The company is currently doing detailed engineering and planning of the project. The company will import coal from its mines in Indonesia and would blend it with the thermal coal produced at its mines in Mozambique. Terming the deal a very good buy for JSPL, industry insiders said that the project has most of the statutory clearances, including environment and defence. (

NHDC unlikely to infuse funds into Maheshwar power project

January 31, 2014. Narmada Hydroelectric Development Corporation (NHDC), a subsidiary of MP government and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), is unlikely to chip in any funds into the controversial Shree Maheshwar Hydel Power Project. Union ministry of power is learnt to have asked the NHDC to chip in at least ` 700 crore in promoter’s equity in the 400 MW project. (

NTPC looking to acquire 7 private power projects

January 29, 2014. NTPC Ltd said it was actively looking at close to seven private power projects for possible acquisition. Some of these projects are as big as the size of 2,000 MW, Roy Choudhary, chairman and managing director of NTPC Ltd, said. He said the company would pursue the course of inorganic growth along with the existing expansion plans. Responding to a question, he said the company had adequate resources to fund these acquisitions. Most of these seven projects are coal-fired stations and also possess fuel linkages, he said while refusing to give further details. It may be recalled that several private power developers in the country are looking at selling their assets mid way, some of them are at the advanced stage of development, owing to issues like delayed clearances and also to lessen the debt burden. Roy said the company was geared up to not only meet the current Five Year Plan target of executing 12,000 MW but was also working on a total of 20,000 MW capacity projects. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade

Chhattisgarh discom has outstanding dues of ` 900 mn to CSPTCL

February 2, 2014. Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company Ltd has outstanding dues of ` 90 crore on account of electricity sale, an audit has found. The amount is due to Chhattisgarh State Power Trading Company Limited (CSPTCL), a fixed commission based nodal agency of the Chhattisgarh government. According to the audit carried out by Chhattisgarh's Accountant General (AG), ` 90.49 crore was outstanding against CSPDCL, whose mandate is to purchase power from private generators and sell it on behalf of state government. (

Tata Power sells mine in Indonesia for $500 mn

February 1, 2014. Faced with losses from the Mundra power project, Tata Power said that it has sold its 30 per cent stake in one of its Indonesian coal mines for $500 million (` 3,135 crore). The company signed an agreement with one of the entities of the Bakrie group, promoters of Bumi, to sell the stake. Tata Power will continue to hold its stake in Kaltim Prima Coal. The company said that Arutmin is a mine that is spread over a number of pits in South Kalimantan in Indonesia. The mines supply coal to the 4,000 MW imported coal-based Mundra power project in Gujarat, but the company assures that this supply will not be affected. (

Kejriwal and BYPL planned power cut conspiracy: BJP

January 31, 2014. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vinay Katiyar claimed that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Discom company BSES Yamuna Power Ltd (BYPL) were behind a conspiracy to cut power in the capital for ten hours. Discom BSES Yamuna Power Ltd (BYPL) has warned that it would be forced to resort to daily power cuts of up to 10 hours from February because it has no funds to pay public sector generation units for power supplies. The Reliance-backed Discom has written to the Delhi Government saying it could lose over 500 MW of supply if generation units do not extend credit and give it more time to clear its dues. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accused BSES discoms of trying to "blackmail" the government by threatening power cuts upto 10 hours a day, and warned them of strict action including possible cancellation of licenses. The Chief Minister also said Tatas and Ambanis, who run three electricity distribution firms in Delhi, were not the only companies in the country and government was willing to bring new players. Dismissing any valid reasons for such extreme steps, the Chief Minister said there were so many question marks over the discoms account. (

Policy / Performance

Cancel discom permits if power is cut: Delhi to DERC

February 4, 2014. The Delhi government advised the city’s power regulator, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), to cancel licences of the Reliance Infrastructure-owned private power distribution companies, if it continues to threaten with blackouts. BSES discoms – BSES Yamuna (BYPL) and BSES Rajdhani (BRPL) – are alleging they have been unable to pay power supplier NTPC Ltd for purchase of power due to inadequate funds. NTPC has threatened to cut off 2,000 MW supply to BSES firms beyond February 10 unless the discoms pay up. BSES discoms supply power to over 75 per cent of the city’s 3.4 million consumers in the eastern, central, southern and western regions. The two firms source as much as 60 per cent of their power requirement from NTPC. Kejriwal had announced a tariff relief through 50 per cent subsidy in power bills for domestic consumers before launching a CAG audit of the discoms. The subsidy benefit was partially offset by DERC through a six-eight per cent hike in tariff approved. (

CIL output in Jan at 47 MT; misses target

February 3, 2014. Coal India Ltd (CIL) produced 47.38 million tonnes (MT) of coal in January, missing its target of 49.44 MT. The company achieved an offtake of 44.44 million tonnes during the month as against the target of 47.24 MT, the company said. CIL achieved an output of 366.57 MT between April-January, missing the target of 383.88 MT set for the period, it said. The company's offtake in the first 10 months of the current fiscal stood at 385.96 MT against a target of 401.18 MT for the period. The coal PSU had said that it may miss the production target of 482 MT for the 2013-14 fiscal by around 5 MT. The country is facing acute fuel shortages. CIL said cyclone Phailin as well as law and order problems at its subsidiaries Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd and Central Coalfields Ltd would be among the reasons for the likely shortfall. Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal had earlier asked the state-owned company to ensure that the output target for FY 2014 is met. According to a CIL, the PSU suffered production loss in October last year due to Cyclone Phailin, which affected the key coal producing states of Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal. CIL, which accounts for over 80 percent of the domestic production, contributed 452.5 MT of coal in 2012-13 as against the target of 464 MT. (

TN will soon be free from power cuts: Jayalalithaa

February 3, 2014. Tamil Nadu (TN) will soon be absolutely free from power cuts as a result of a host of measures being pursued by the government, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said. In her reply to the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor's address in the assembly, Jayalalithaa detailed the measures being undertaken to address the power situation. Procurement contracts have been to get 3330 MW power for 15 years. During 2014-15, the state will be getting 1098 MW power from private power producers in Tuticorin and Cuddalore districts. Also, 2158 MW power would be received from private power stations in Chattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Maharashtra, she said. (

Hydro power can help north-east generate ` 6.7 bn annually

February 3, 2014. The north-eastern region can generate revenue of ` 650-670 crore every year by taping hydro power potential, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said. The region will earn a lot of income from this potential. Ahluwalia also made a case for improving road connectivity saying it was crucial for power production. Central Electricity Authority said that of 88,000 MW power to be added in the 12th Plan, the contribution from the north-eastern region would be close to 3,000 MW. (

OIPL to pay ` 1.4 bn more for Bhedabahal UMPP

February 2, 2014. The Odisha Integrated Power Ltd (OIPL), a fully owned subsidiary of Power Finance Corporation (PFC), would pay ` 145 crore as interest on procurement of private land for the first-ultra mega power project (UMPP) in the state. The maiden UMPP with a capacity of 4,000 MW is coming up at Bhedabahal in Sundargarh district. Government land of 443.49 acres for the UMPP is being alienated in 36 cases out of which approval has been accorded to five lease cases (53.13 acres) and permissive possession has been granted in four cases (26.96 acres). The proposal for diversion of 68.88 acres of revenue forest land for non-forest use is under consideration by the regional chief conservator of forests, Rourkela. The Request for Qualification (RFQ) for the UMPP was issued on September 25 last year. OIPL has received applications from nine prospective developers- Adani Power Ltd, CLP India Ltd, Jindal Power Ltd, JSW Energy Ltd, Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T), National Hydro Power Corporation Ltd (NHPC), NTPC Ltd, Sterlite Infraventures Ltd and Tata Power Ltd. The selection of bidder is being done as per the tariff based competitive bidding guidelines issued by the Central government on design, build, finance, own and transfer (DBFOT) basis. Three coal blocks- Meenakshi, Meenakshi B and dip side of Meenakshi with combined deposit of 838 million tonne have been allocated for the UMPP. Presently, Central Mine Planning & Design Institute (CMPDI) is demarcating the coal blocks. Notification under Section 11 of Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act has been issued for the Meenakshi coal block. OIPL has submitted a revised proposal for environment clearance in October 2013. The proposal is under consideration of the Union ministry of environment & forests (MoEF). Two more UMPPs are set to come up in Odisha. It has been decided to set up the second UMPP at Bijoypatna in Chandbali tehsil of Bhadrak district and third UMPP at Narla under Kesinga sub-division in Kalahandi district. The sites have been selected after field visits by PFC. Two subsidiaries- Sakhigopal Integrated Power Company Ltd and Ghogarpalli Integrated Power Company Ltd have been formed by PFC to execute these two UMPPs. The second and third UMPPs would contribute 2,000 MW each to the state grid. (

CAG audit would ascertain the lack of funds stated by discoms: Kejriwal

February 1, 2014. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) report on discoms would ascertain the lack of funds as stated by power distribution companies. The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) announced a hike in the power tariff ranging from 6 to 8% applicable from February 1 onwards. According to the DERC, rates of BSES Yamuna were hiked by 8%, of NDPL by 7% and of BSES Rajdhani by 6%. Discom BSES Yamuna Power Ltd (BYPL) had earlier warned that it would be forced to resort to daily power cuts of up to 10 hours from February because it has no funds to pay public sector generation units for power supplies. The Reliance-backed Discom has written to Delhi government saying it could lose over 500 MW of supply if the generation units do not extend credit and give it more time to clear its dues. (

Power tariff reduction issue under consideration: Chavan

January 29, 2014. The reduction of power tariff in Mumbai is under consideration and all aspects of the issue are being studied, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said. Chavan said he has already held two meetings to work out formulas to reduce tariff. Chavan did not comment on allegations of Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam against RInfra, the power company which supplies electricity to Mumbai suburbs, made in a letter sent to him. The MP from Mumbai North was on strike seeking lowering of rates for power consumers in the metropolis, which was excluded from the recently announced cut in tariff. (




Suncor reports fourth-quarter profit as oil-sands output rises

February 4, 2014. Suncor Energy Inc., Canada’s largest energy company by market value, returned to profit in the fourth quarter and boosted its dividend as production from oil-sands projects increased. Net income was C$443 million ($399 million), or 30 cents a share, compared with a restated loss of C$574 million, 38 cents, a year earlier, the Calgary-based company said. The 2012 quarter’s results included a C$1.49 billion one-time charge related to its canceled Voyageur oil project in Alberta. Average production from Suncor’s oil-sands operations increased to a record 409,600 barrels a day in the quarter from 342,800 barrels in the year-earlier period. For 2014, average production from all its operations is expected to be between the equivalent of 525,000 barrels of oil to 570,000 barrels from an earlier estimate of between 565,000 barrels a day and 610,000 barrels. Suncor and partners Total SA and Teck Resources Ltd. agreed in the fourth quarter to move ahead with the C$13.5 billion Fort Hills oil-sands venture which will produce 180,000 barrels a day in 2018. (

Tuscany International files bankruptcy on low rig use

February 3, 2014. Tuscany International Drilling Inc., (TID) a Canadian oil-field services provider that operates in South America, sought U.S. bankruptcy protection from creditors, citing heavy competition and slow payments from customers. The Calgary-based company listed assets and debt of as much as $500 million each in Chapter 11 papers filed in Wilmington, Delaware. A Houston-based affiliated holding company also filed for bankruptcy. Tuscany, with about 1,200 employees, owns 26 drilling rigs in Colombia, Brazil and Ecuador, he said. While Tuscany will continue operations, it may undertake a “marketing process” and consider “value-enhancing proposals,” the company said. The company in December sold its business in Africa and two rigs in Colombia to Etablissements Maurel & Prom SA. Maurel & Prom agreed to pay $23 million in cash and assume $50 million in Tuscany debt, selling all its Tuscany shares. The company will seek a judge’s permission to borrow $35 million to carry it through reorganization. (

OMV says Libya production resumed at start of 2014

January 30, 2014. Austrian oil and gas group OMV said production in Libya resumed at the start of 2014 after disruptions due to port blockades, and levels were now in line with its guidance. Lower production from the North African country that accounted for 10 percent of its total before the civil war there was compensated in the fourth quarter by production from its newly acquired Gullfaks asset in the Norwegian North Sea. OMV said fourth-quarter production was 277,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, compared with 275,000 in the third quarter. Current production levels in Libya were consistent with its full-year guidance of 320,000-340,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, OMV said, and New Zealand and Pakistan were back on stream. (

Shell pledges spending cuts, asset sales to restore profit

January 30, 2014. Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden promised to slash capital spending and accelerate asset sales to revive earnings at Europe’s largest oil producer. Shell, which made its first profit warning in a decade this month, dropped targets for cash flow, postponed plans to drill off Alaska and pledged to restructure its shale operations in North America, it said. Van Beurden is trying to win investor confidence after the company’s fourth-quarter profit fell to the lowest since 2009. Unprofitable shale investments in North America, weak margins from oil refining worldwide and dud exploration wells all cut earnings as the rising cost of developing fields saw total capital spending reach a record $46 billion last year. Unprofitable shale investments in North America, weak margins from oil refining worldwide and dud exploration wells all cut earnings as the rising cost of developing fields saw total capital spending reach a record $46 billion last year. The combination of rising costs and stagnant oil prices has curbed profits throughout the oil industry. Chevron Corp. and BG Group Plc have also warned investors fourth-quarter profits would be lower than expected. Exxon Mobil Corp., the biggest U.S. oil company, reported a 16 percent drop in earnings in the fourth quarter, the biggest decline in four years, on lower output. Shell had planned to invest $130 billion and generate $200 billion in cash flow in the period 2012 to 2015. It will reduce spending including acquisitions by 20 percent to $37 billion this year, the company said. The Anglo-Dutch company said profit excluding one-time items and inventory changes plunged 48 percent from a year earlier to $2.9 billion in the fourth quarter on exploration expenses and lower production. That matched the drop Shell forecast also because of losses in the Americas, lower refining margins and production disruptions in Nigeria and elsewhere. Oil and gas production fell about 5 percent to 3.25 million barrels a day, it said. Shell also took a $631 million exploration charge in the fourth quarter. (


SRC invests over $500 mn in gasoline, power units

February 4, 2014. Singapore Refining Co (SRC) said it will invest more than $500 million to build gasoline and power generation units at its refinery on Jurong Island. The project is aimed at meeting higher gasoline specifications in the region, SRC said. The company will add a 26,000 barrels per day gasoline desulphurisation unit, an amine treating unit, a 32,300-bpd heavy naphtha splitter and a two-train co-generation unit with a total power output of 72 MW, the company said. Construction will begin in February and the company expects to commission the new facilities by the first half of 2017, the company said. SRC operates a 290,000 barrels per day refinery and the company is a 50:50 joint venture between Chevron Corp and Singapore Petroleum Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of PetroChina International Co. (

Husky Energy to spend $269.1 mn on Ohio refinery revamp

February 3, 2014. Husky Energy Inc, Canada's No.3 integrated oil company, said it is going ahead with a C$300 million ($269.1 million) project at its 160,000-barrel-per-day refinery at Lima, Ohio, that will boost its ability to process heavy Canadian crude oil. The company said the work will allow the refinery to process up to 40,000 barrels per day of Western Canadian crude while maintaining its ability to handle lighter varieties of oil. The company is one of a number of Midwest refiners revamping their operations in order to process more Canadian crude, which typically trades at a discount to U.S. grades. BP Plc completed a $4 billion refurbishing of its 405,000 bpd refinery in Whiting, Indiana, to raise its capacity to refine heavy crude to 350,000 bpd from 85,000 bpd. (

Transportation / Trade

Exploding oil trains push states to create response plans

February 4, 2014. States from California to Maine are hiring rail inspectors and oil-spill experts as they draw up emergency plans after trains carrying crude derailed and burst into fireballs, including a crash in Quebec that killed 47. In California, Governor Jerry Brown is proposing a 15 percent funding boost for his response agency. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered five departments to create spill disaster plans and wants to double the number of train inspectors. The July derailment in the Canadian town of Lac-Megantic was followed in December by BNSF Railway Co.’s 400,000-gallon explosion in North Dakota. Oil shipments by train have grown 400 percent since 2005, the American Railroad Association says. Crude pumped from North Dakota’s Bakken formation and Texas’s Eagle Ford shale is set to propel the U.S. past Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest supplier in 2015. Even if TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline is completed, hundreds of thousands of barrels will still need to travel by rail to refineries and ports. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx met with officials from the railroad and oil industries, who agreed to spend 30 days examining steps to improve safety. U.S. Transportation Department said the department welcomes proposals. (

Venezuela oil sales to US at 1985-low shows China cost

February 1, 2014. Venezuelan oil sales to the U.S. are approaching 28-year lows as the country turns to China amid a shale boom that’s flooding U.S. refineries. Now a Canada-U.S. pipeline threatens to further curb its Gulf of Mexico access. Venezuelan exports of crude and petroleum products to the U.S. averaged 792,000 barrels a day in the first 11 months of 2013, which would be the lowest annual rate since 1985. State-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA, which oversees the world’s largest oil reserves, is sending hundreds of thousands of barrels a day to China to pay back government loans. At the same time, refiners along the U.S. Gulf Coast are sourcing more domestic supply as a surge in drilling shale rock sends output to the highest in a quarter-century. A proposed pipeline to transport Canadian crude from oil sands in Alberta to U.S. refining centers could further restrict Venezuela’s access to profitable export markets. Venezuela receives more for oil sold on the U.S. East Coast than it gets from China, as transport costs and country risk used to calculate loan interest rates push down the price. The country is exporting about 1 million barrels a day to India and China, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said. (

California getting record volume of Canadian oil by rail

February 1, 2014. California, the third-largest oil-refining state in the U.S., is bringing in a record volume of oil from Canada by rail as it faces shrinking supplies from Alaska and within the state. The most populous U.S. state received 709,014 barrels of crude from Canada by rail in December, a 4.9 percent increase from November and up from zero a year ago. Canada made up 67 percent of the state’s total oil-by-rail receipts. North Dakota, where fields in the Bakken formation are producing a record volume of crude, shrank to a 5.9 percent share. U.S. West Coast refiners from Valero Energy Corp. to Tesoro Corp., lacking pipeline access to the glut of shale oil in the middle of the country, have been turning to rail to counter declining supplies in California and Alaska. California brought in a record 2.83 million barrels of oil by rail in the fourth quarter from all sources, almost double the amount from the three months prior, the state said. Alaska North Slope crude, which made up 12 percent of California’s oil slate in 2012, has traded an average $27.73 a barrel above Western Canadian Select, a heavy sour blend, over the past month. Bakken oil has traded $16.09 a barrel above Western Canadian. Oil-by-rail receipts from Wyoming totaled 221,793 barrels in December, making up the second-largest share of the state’s volume at 21 percent. North Dakota sent 62,325 barrels and New Mexico 12,927. Alaskan oil output has declined every year since 2002 as the yield from existing wells shrinks. Alaska North Slope crude production averaged 567,600 barrels a day in December, down from 582,150 a year earlier. (

RWE expands LNG to US gas trade as banks exit commodities

January 31, 2014. RWE AG is building its trading operations from New York to Singapore in a bid to gain market share as banks exit physical commodities markets. The trading arm of Germany’s second-biggest utility plans to buy and sell U.S. natural gas from its New York office and may increase staff from 10 people currently. The Essen, Germany-based company opened offices in Jakarta and Mumbai and hired traders in Singapore for liquefied natural gas, coal and Australian power. RWE joins companies including Glencore Xstrata Plc and Vitol Group in expanding energy trading as banks from Deutsche Bank AG to Bank of America Corp. retreat from commodities amid increased scrutiny from regulators. RWE is building trading operations abroad after Germany’s renewables boom cut volatility and power prices at home. Global LNG exports fell 3.5 percent from a year earlier to 316 billion cubic meters in the 12 months through November, according to Poten & Partners Inc. data. Exports will rise to 251.8 million metric tons in 2015 from 236.3 million in 2014, 231.9 million in 2013 and 240.3 million in 2012, Energy Aspects Ltd., a London-based consultant, said. Bank of America and Deutsche Bank have shut European power and gas trading units in the past two years as regulators seek to toughen financial market rules and curb speculation. Glencore started an LNG trading desk in September after hiring four traders from Morgan Stanley. Mercuria Energy Group Ltd., a closely held trader, hired Roger Jones from Barclays Plc in 2012 to lead non-oil trading in Geneva. (

Repsol sells stake in Peru pipeline to Enagas

January 31, 2014. Spanish energy company Repsol says it has agreed to sell its 10 percent stake in a gas pipeline in southern Peru to Spain's Enagas SA for $219 million. The deal will be completed in the coming months. TGP transports natural gas and liquids from Camisea fields inland to the Peru LNG liquefaction plant in Pampa Melchorita, 110 miles (170 kilometers) south of Lima. (

OPEC to trim shipments as demand declines, Oil Movements says

January 30, 2014. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will reduce shipments through to mid-February as western demand falls with the end of winter in the northern hemisphere, according to Oil Movements. OPEC, supplier of about 40 percent of the world’s oil, will reduce sailings by 90,000 barrels a day, or 0.4 percent, to 23.72 million barrels in the four weeks to Feb. 15, the researcher said. That compares with 23.81 million in the period to Jan. 18. The figures exclude two of OPEC’s 12 members, Angola and Ecuador. Global oil demand typically falls toward the end of the first quarter with the end of winter in the northern hemisphere. Brent futures traded near $108 a barrel in London after falling about 6 percent in the past year. Still, crude shipment levels are about 270,000 barrels a day higher than last year, when global demand was lower, according to Oil Movements. Middle Eastern exports will decline by 1 percent to 17.28 million barrels a day in the month to Feb. 15, compared with 17.46 million in the previous period, Oil Movements said. These figures include non-OPEC nations Oman and Yemen. (

ConocoPhillips unit asks for LNG export permit from Alaska

January 29, 2014. A subsidiary of ConocoPhillips has requested an authorization to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Alaska to countries that do not have free trade agreements with the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). ConocoPhillips Alaska Natural Gas Corp (CPANCC) said it wants the government to give approval for the equivalent of up to 40 billion cubic feet of natural gas in total over a two-year period. The LNG would be exported from facilities located in the Cook Inlet near Kenai, Alaska, the DOE said. The request is subject to a public comment period that ends on Feb. 28. CPANCC and its predecessors have long exported LNG from the Kenai facility to Japan and other Pacific Rim countries. The company let its most recent authorization lapse in March 2013 amid perceived uncertainties about whether supplies in the Cook Inlet region were adequate to meet regional needs, the DOE said. (

Shell sells stake in offshore Brazil oilfield for $1 bn

January 29, 2014. Royal Dutch Shell Plc sold part of its stake in an offshore Brazil oilfield as Europe’s largest oil company steps up disposals to offset capital spending. Shell agreed to sell a 23 percent stake in the Parque das Conchas field, or BC-10, to Qatar Petroleum International Ltd. for about $1 billion, it said. The Hague-based company will retain a 50 percent stake and will continue to operate the field, it said. The BC-10 field is currently producing about 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day. The second phase of the project, adding 35,000 barrels at peak production, started in October. The final investment decision on the third phase was approved and will add 28,000 barrels a day at peak production, Shell said. (

Texas vies with Saudi Arabian oil in California shipments

January 29, 2014. Texas is poised to join Saudi Arabia as a supplier of oil to California as the mounting glut of crude on the U.S. Gulf Coast makes the trade profitable. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, the pipeline operator that’s buying U.S. oil tankers, said it’s in talks to ship Texas crude to California through the Panama Canal. The 4,500-mile voyage would cost about $10 a barrel, broker Poten & Partners Inc. estimates, making Texas crude competitive with imports traveling 11,400 miles from Saudi Arabia, the West Coast’s largest supplier. Until now, a U.S. law that makes domestic shipping more expensive left Californians buying oil from the Middle East instead. If a shortage of qualifying ships can be overcome, Texas crude will become affordable on the West Coast as the highest domestic output in a quarter century creates a surplus of light oil and drives down prices. (

Policy / Performance

Kuwait oil workers' strike "inevitable": Union

February 4, 2014. Kuwait’s oil workers are threatening to go on strike over a pay dispute. The Kuwait Oil Workers Union said talks with Oil Minister Ali Al Omair and Kuwait Petroleum Corporation had “failed” after the government rejected the union’s demands. A strike was now “inevitable”, the union said, but added any industrial action was not imminent. The dispute also involves the payment of bonuses. Until late last year, KPC had paid employees a bonus according to the profits made above projections. KPC claims the payments were exceeding the maximum allowed under Kuwaiti law. Al Omair is expected to outline a contingency plan in the case of a strike. (

Brazil's oil, gas output in Dec highest in nearly 2 yrs

February 3, 2014. Brazilian output of oil and natural gas rose to its highest level in nearly two years in December as new fields came on line to replace declining output from older areas, the country's oil regulator ANP said. Forty-six companies produced 2.62 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) from Brazilian on-shore and offshore fields in the month, the highest daily average since February 2012, the ANP said. Output was 1.5 percent more than a year earlier and 1.7 percent higher than in November. Production was aided by a record output of natural gas in the month, the ANP said. Brazilian output has stagnated in recent years as state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, was forced to perform maintenance on some of its older platforms and new fields were delayed coming on line. Petrobras, which owned 87 percent of Brazil's output in December, expects output in 2014 to rise as it brings new production ships on line. (

Egypt forecasts gas shortage next fiscal year

February 3, 2014. Egypt's energy woes are likely to worsen in the next fiscal year as gas production fails to meet surging domestic demand, according to government estimates. The petroleum ministry has forecast that gas production will be 5.4 billion cubic feet (bcf) per day and consumption 5.57 bcf/day in the fiscal year that begins July 1. In the current fiscal year by comparison, gas production is still estimated to exceed consumption at 5.31 bcf/day versus 4.95 bcf/day, the ministry said. The growing population of 85 million and generous subsidies have kept energy demand increasing to the extent that it has cut into exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) previously promised to foreign firms. Egypt has two LNG plants, Damietta and Idku, for converting gas into liquid for transport by ship, and a gas export pipeline. (

Norway's $810 bn fund excludes two Israeli, one Indian firm

January 30, 2014. Norway's finance ministry has told its $810 billion oil fund, the world's biggest sovereign wealth fund, to stop investing in two Israeli firms and one Indian company on ethical grounds. The ministry instructed the fund for a second time to exclude Africa Israel Investments and its construction subsidiary Danya Cebus from its investments and also said it should not invest in Sesa Sterlite, India's biggest zinc and aluminium maker. The fund, which invests Norway's surplus oil revenues, is not allowed to invest in firms involved in severe environmental damage, "serious and systematic human rights violation", such as forced labour, the worst forms of child labour, murder or torture. (

BP continued suspension from new US contracts sought

January 29, 2014. BP Plc.’s suspension from new government contracts and oil leases after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill should continue because, government lawyers argued, the company hasn’t demonstrated it’s a responsible contractor. BP is fighting a 2012 ban imposed on 20 affiliates by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which prevents all BP entities from bidding on any new government supply contracts or oil leases. The suspension, which doesn’t affect BP’s earlier government contracts, was imposed after the agency determined the London-based company hadn’t fully corrected problems that led to the fatal explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and the worst offshore spill in U.S. history. BP pleaded guilty to 11 counts of felony seaman’s manslaughter, two pollution violations and one count of lying to Congress in connection with the 2010 oil spill. The company pleaded guilty in 2007 to one felony air pollution violation and agreed to a $50 million fine after a 2005 explosion at its Texas City, Texas, refinery killed 15 workers. BP was still on probation for the Texas City blast when the Deepwater Horizon burned and sank. BP claims the EPA is unfairly punishing it in violation of U.S. law, by failing to consider improvements made after the Gulf spill and the refinery explosion. Both disasters resulted in BP pleading guilty to U.S. environmental crimes. The government continued to do business with BP after the convictions and repeatedly found it to be a responsible contractor, Geoff Morrell, BP said. (



Sembcorp to acquire 45 pc stake in NCC-Gayatri power project

February 4, 2014. Singapore's global utilities giant Sembcorp agreed to buy a 45% stake in NCC Power Projects, a joint venture between NCC and Gayatri Projects, for ` 848 crore. NCC Power Projects is setting up a 1,320 MW coal-fired power project at Krishnapatnam along the coast of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh at a cost of ` 7,000 crore, which is expected to be operational by early 2016. NCC holds 55%, while Gayatri owns the rest in the joint venture. Sembcorp dropped plans to buy the 55% stake of NCC in the joint venture, owing to regulatory issues, but will instead buy the 45% holding of Gayatri. Sembcorp said the deal marks its second investment in the Indian power sector, doubling its power generation capacity. (

Nigeria power generation sector to receive boost

January 31, 2013. Transcorp Ughelli Power Ltd (TUPL), the power subsidiary of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp), and General Electric (GE) have signed an agreement to expand the capacity of TUPL’s Ughelli power plant by 1000 MW over the next 3 to 5 years. Both parties have also signed a separate agreement to rehabilitate the damaged GT 15 turbine at the Ughelli plant, which will add 115 MW to the plant’s output. Currently, the Transcorp Ughelli power plant generates 360 MW of electricity, up from 160 MW on November 1, when Transcorp took ownership of the plant. With the additional 115 MW, as well as other rehabilitation works planned at the plant, output at Ughelli will increase to 700 MW by December 2014. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade

Europe links 15 power markets in biggest shift since 1990s

February 4, 2014. Power markets across 15 European nations from the U.K. to Finland were linked in their biggest transformation since liberalization in the 1990s. Prices in the first next-day power auction held by network operators and energy exchanges across countries that account for 75 percent of Europe’s electricity supply ranged from 35.98 euros ($48.58) a megawatt-hour in Germany to the equivalent of 53.88 euros in the U.K. The move is intended to smooth price differences between nations through better control of cross-border flows, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, or ACER, said. The process, known as market coupling, is the biggest step in a push to integrate electricity markets by the end of this year across the 28-nation European Union, which forced utilities to open up their business to competitors in the 1990s. Linking supply and demand through trading may save consumers as much as 4 billion euros a year by enabling electricity to flow efficiently to markets where it is most needed, according to the European Commission, the bloc’s regulator. (

NPPD educates public on proposed transmission line

January 30, 2014. Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) representatives were pleased with the public interest and the public was satisfied with the information provided about a proposed electric transmission line from Scottsbluff to the Stegall area south of Highway 92. According to NPPD, the Scotts Bluff County 115,000-volt electric transmission line is necessitated by the region’s existing and future electrical load. According to NPPD information and preliminary plats, the 23-mile transmission line will be built from the existing Scottsbluff Substation to a new substation approximately five miles south of Stegall. The near $39 million project is expected to be completed in 2017. (

Policy / Performance

FG defends $1.3 bn cost of Zungeru power plant

February 4, 2014. The Federal Government (FG) has defended the $1.3 bn cost of constructing the 700 MW Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant in Niger State. According to the government, the cost of the project is very competitive, contrary to reports that the plant is being constructed at a high cost. The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said the project was competitively tendered for in 2007 but its implementation was stepped down as a result of paucity of funds. According to the minister, the Federal Government is confident that it has secured excellent value for the nation. (

Fukushima wash-up fears in US belie radiation risks

February 4, 2014. Seaborne radiation from Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant will wash up on the West Coast of the U.S. this year. That’s raising concerns among some Americans including the residents of the San Francisco Bay Area city of Fairfax, which passed a resolution on Dec. 6 calling for more testing of coastal seafood. At the same time, oceanographers and radiological scientists say such concerns are unwarranted given existing levels of radiation in the ocean. The runoff from the Japanese plant will mingle with radiation released by other atomic stations, such as Diablo Canyon in California. Under normal operations, Diablo Canyon discharges more radiation into the sea, albeit of a less dangerous isotope, than the Fukushima station, which suffered the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. At Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi station, where three reactors melted down after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, about 300 metric tons of contaminated groundwater seep into the ocean each day, according to Japan’s government. Between May 2011 and August 2013, as many as 20 trillion becquerels of cesium-137, 10 trillion becquerels of strontium-90 and 40 trillion becquerels of tritium entered the ocean via groundwater, according to Tokyo Electric. Water exposed to radiation from the Fukushima plant would reach the U.S. at levels at least 100 times lower than the U.S.’s drinking water threshold, Nuclear Regulatory Commission said. (

UK, French Governments sign declaration on nuclear energy

February 3, 2014. The UK and French governments have signed a declaration on nuclear energy and also agreed to cooperate on climate change action. Signed before national leaders' discussions over the European Union's 2030 energy and climate policy framework, the declaration reiterates the two governments' shared view that nuclear power has a critical role to play in a cost-effective low carbon transition. Specifically, the two countries have agreed to constructively engage with the European Commission's State aid consultation on Hinkley Point C to demonstrate that the project meets state aid rules, maximize opportunities for small medium enterprises (SMEs) in nuclear supply-chains, and also to fund joint training and skills centers. UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary of State Edward Davey said the partnership between the two countries on nuclear power has already borne fruit, with the government's agreement with EDF on key commercial terms for an investment contract that would lead to construction of UK's first new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. (

Japan utilities offset idled reactor losses by lifting rates

February 3, 2014. Japanese utilities including Tokyo Electric Power Co. leaned on customer rate increases to boost their financial performances in the first nine months of their fiscal years, as idled nuclear plants kept fuel costs high. Tokyo Electric and the nation’s five other nuclear utilities that raised electricity rates returned to profit or narrowed losses in the nine months ended Dec. 31. Utilities that didn’t raise rates, including the country’s third-biggest, Chubu Electric Power Co., saw profits drop or remain unchanged. (

South Africa power from coal may fall to 50 pc by 2050

February 1, 2014. South Africa, the continent’s biggest coal producer, plans to reduce its reliance on the fossil fuel as a source of electricity to about 50 percent of its energy mix by 2050, down from more than 80 percent now. The 50 percent goal is part of an integrated energy plan under development, according to Nelisiwe Magubane, director-general of the country’s Energy Department. The shift comes as the country invests 500 billion rand ($45 billion) in its aging energy infrastructure while seeking to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. South Africa is currently building two coal-fired power plants that are expected to be the world’s third- and fourth-largest. President Jacob Zuma is also pushing to explore South Africa’s shale-gas reserves, potentially the world’s eighth-largest, and to develop more renewable energy. (

Australia permits coal port dredge dumping near barrier reef

January 31, 2014. Australia approved plans by North Queensland Bulk Ports Corp. to dump dredging waste from the expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal near the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority cleared the port to deposit as much as 3 million cubic meters (680 million dry gallons) of material. Australia’s environment minister approved the project, in the face of opposition from environmentalists concerned about the impact on the reef, one of Australia’s major tourist attractions. The reef, home of more than 1,500 species of fish, is threatened by coastal development, ports and natural gas projects, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said. Tourists spent the equivalent of about 2 million days in the 3,000-kilometer (1,875-mile) marine park in 2012, according to the park authority. Adani Enterprises Ltd., India’s biggest thermal coal importer, and Indian billionaire’s G.V. Krishna Reddy’s GVK Group both plan to build export terminals at Abbot Point to ship coal to India to meet electricity demand. Australia is the world’s second-biggest exporter of coal. Adani bought its Carmichael project in Queensland in 2010 and is seeking to start output in 2016 from the estimated $6.8 billion development, at a time of mining companies deferring projects due to falling prices. GVK’s project, a venture that includes Asia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart, is in talks to raise a total of $10 billion to build a mine, port and railroad for its operation. GVK and Aurizon Holdings Ltd., Australia’s biggest haulage company, signed an initial pact to construct and transport coal from GVK’s thermal coal projects in Australia’s Galilee basin located about 500 kilometers (310 miles) from the coast. Coal shipments from Australia, the world’s second-biggest exporter, will rise to 196 million tons this year from 184 million in 2013, according to the nation’s Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics. New mines developed during the past few years are adding to a supply glut as demand growth slows, the bureau said. (

Rio’s ERA expects uranium to start Rebounding in 2015, 2016

January 31, 2014. Energy Resources of Australia Ltd. (ERA), the uranium producer controlled by Rio Tinto Group, expects battered prices to start recovering in 2015 or 2016 on increasing demand in Japan and China. Prices have fallen 47 percent since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami led to a meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant. Japan, which has been without atomic power since September, may restart 10 reactors this year following safety reviews, setting up a possible uranium rebound. Construction in China also is expected to boost the market, Andrea Sutton, chief executive officer of the Darwin-based company, said. China, the biggest energy user, has 20 nuclear power reactors in operation and is building 28 more, according to the World Nuclear Association. (

Europe faces polar vortex flip side as power prices slide

January 31, 2014. Continental Europe will probably be warmer than average for a third month in February as the milder counterpart of the polar vortex that gripped North America helps to extend a decline in power and gas prices. Five of seven meteorologists expect most parts of Europe to be milder than normal next month, according to a survey. Electricity prices in markets from France to Scandinavia touched record lows after a mild start to the winter cut demand just as the region is emerging from its longest-ever recession. Natural-gas stocks are approaching the seasonal average after starting the winter at the lowest level in at least four years on Oct. 1. Power for delivery in February in Germany, Europe’s biggest market, fell 12 percent this month to close at 36.70 euros ($50) a megawatt-hour, according to broker data. (

South Korea approves first new reactors since Fukushima

January 29, 2014. South Korea approved construction of two nuclear reactors worth a combined 7.62 trillion won ($7.1 billion), the country’s first since a domestic scandal over faked safety documents and the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Construction of the Shin-Kori No. 5 and No. 6 reactors, both 1,400MW, will begin in September and is expected to be completed by December 2020, the energy ministry said. South Korea currently has 23 reactors with plans to build another 11, including five already under construction and the two announced. The approvals are also the first since the government released its long-term energy plan this month to raise South Korea’s nuclear reliance to 29 percent of generation capacity by 2035, from 26 percent at the end of 2012. An investigation into substandard components led to the shutdown of two reactors in May, exacerbating the regular power shortages in South Korea caused by surging demand and insufficient supply. President Park Geun Hye’s government has promised tighter regulation of the nuclear industry to boost public confidence in nuclear power following the safety scandal, in which 100 officials were indicted on corruption and bribery charges. It also cost Kim Kyun Seop his job as head of state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., operator of the country’s reactors. Sixty-three percent of respondents to a March survey by Hangil Research said they consider domestic reactors unsafe. The government’s 29 percent target for nuclear reliance, while lower than the previous 41 percent goal, represents the upper-end of a 22 percent to 29 percent range recommended by an energy ministry working group in October, which took into account public opposition to nuclear power. South Korea consumes power at almost twice the average of countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development relative to the size of its economy, according to the Hyundai Research Institute in Seoul. Demand has grown to “an excessive level” with supply failing to keep pace, Hyundai Research said. (



Hindustan Power Projects plan ` 320 bn investment

February 3, 2014. Bullish on the domestic sector, Hindustan Power Projects plan to invest about ` 32,000 crore for setting up electricity generation capacity of more than 5,000 MW. The company, earlier known as Moser Baer Projects, would be making the investments across solar, thermal and hydro projects in three years. Two thermal projects — in Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh — with a total capacity of nearly 4,000 MW, are already in the works. The company aims to have 1,000 MW solar power capacity. Currently, the company has an operational capacity of about 350 MW and 77.5 MW of solar power is expected to be commissioned by June. Of the total existing capacity, around 120 MW of solar assets are outside the country. These projects are in Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. The company has invested about ` 14,500 crore in three years. The company has built a balanced portfolio across renewables, coal, coal mining and hydro. The domestic power sector has been facing challenging times of late, especially on account of fuel shortages and poor financial health of electricity distribution companies. (

Nalco commissions second wind power plant

February 2, 2014. National Aluminium Company (Nalco), a navratna PSU under Union mines ministry has commissioned its second wind power plant at Ludarva in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan. The wind power project with a capacity of 47.6 MW was commissioned. The ` 283-crore project has been executed through Gamesa Wind Turbines Ltd which involved erection of 56 wind turbines. In the first phase of commissioning, 36 turbines were erected. Now, in the second phase, the remaining 20 turbines have been successfully commissioned. This is the second green initiative of Nalco towards promoting sustainable development by harnessing the unconventional and renewable energy sources, which would credit the company with incentives from the Government of India. Earlier, the company commissioned its first wind power plant of 50.4 MW capacity at a cost of ` 274 crore at Gandikota in Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh in December 2012. Besides, the company is also planning to set up the third wind power plant in its own mined out area of Panchpatmali bauxite deposits in Koraput district. (

BEE to offer ` 3.5 bn for promoting energy efficient fans

February 2, 2014. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) will provide ` 350 crore incentive to the manufactures of high energy efficient fans in the country. The BEE was created under the Ministry of Power, Government of India, under the provisions of the Energy Conservation Act. The nodal agency is encouraging the manufacturers of 35 watt fans against the makers of normal 70 watt products. In the past, BEE found that the response from consumers was tepid for 5-star rated energy efficient fans, consuming 50 watt. New products likely to be brought under mandatory energy rating are: colour television and water geysers which can be notified by March. In January, upgrade was for one star ACs and two star refrigerators. In other words, BEE wanted to bring norms for ACs that would be efficient for all weather conditions. (

Renewable energy pivotal for meeting India's demand

January 31, 2014. Energy demands of India and the UAE are expected to soar over the next couple of years, making the share of renewable energy pivotal to meet the increasing demands, according to a global growth consulting firm. With these synergies, both the countries are most likely to benefit mutually and enhance their capabilities significantly, Abhay Bhargava, head, energy and power systems practice, Middle East and North Africa, Frost & Sullivan said. On the other hand, the UAE has been able to commit substantially to areas like research and development and can hence, contribute positively to India when it comes to aspects like equipment and technology, it said. (

India fines utility head for missing renewable targets

January 30, 2014. An Indian power regulator threatened to fine a local utility ` 2,000 ($32) a day for breaking renewable energy rules, about the same as the company generated in sales every 2.3 seconds in recent years. Northern Uttarakhand state’s watchdog warned Uttarakhand Power Corp. that failure to meet obligations to buy clean electricity by March 31 would lead to the daily penalty. In India’s first such fine since its renewable program was set up three years ago, Managing Director S.S. Yadav was also told to pay a 20,000 rupee penalty, the regulator said.

India requires power distributors and large industrial companies like Coal India Ltd. and Tata Power Co. to get as much as 10 percent of their energy from renewables. Under a trading program set up in 2011, companies unable to source enough locally must purchase credits from clean-power plants. Uttarakhand is the first to levy a penalty after state regulators in Punjab, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Goa issued warnings to companies flouting the rules. (

Su-Kam ties up with Dhampur Sugar to sell solar power products

January 30, 2014. Power solutions provider Su-Kam Power Systems has tied up with Dhampur Sugar Mills to sell solar products in rural pockets across Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Su-Kam’s products would be hawked through ‘e-haats’ run by Dhampur Sugar, which is a leading integrated sugar company in India. E–haats are retail outlets present in over 350 villages in UP & Uttarakhand and is one-stop shop for agricultural equipment, bio-fertilisers, soil testing and other agri services. E-haats cover Sambhal, Bijnor, Bareilly, Rampur, Bulandshahar, Aligarh, Badaun, Gunnaur and Muzzafarnagar districts in UP. As per agreement, Su-Kam power products would be displayed in e-haats, including Brainy – the world’s first solar hybrid UPS. These products would enable customers to install solar system in homes and utilise solar energy generated from the panel to charge battery and reduce grid power consumption. (

Indian state’s solar decree overturned on power-user objections

January 29, 2014. An Indian tribunal set aside an order by the Tamil Nadu state electricity regulator that forced large energy consumers to purchase solar power. The order by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission is discriminatory, a two-man panel of the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, headed by Justice M. Karpaga Vinayagam, said. Members of a spinning mill association had challenged the regulator’s order. Large consumers of electricity such as exporters, manufacturers and telecommunications-tower operators had to source at least 6 percent of their energy requirements from solar power in addition to their existing renewable purchase obligations from 2014, the regulator had announced in October 2012, when it unveiled a new policy for solar energy. It also set a target of generating 3,000 MW of electricity from solar power by 2015. (

BHEL, 5 other PSUs to set up 4 GW solar plant in Rajasthan

January 29, 2014. As many as six state-owned companies including BHEL and Power Grid Corporation signed an initial agreement for setting up world's largest 4,000 MW ultra mega solar power project in Rajasthan. Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Praful Patel said that once completed this project will be the largest single location solar plant spread across 19,000 acres of land at Sambhar in Rajasthan. It envisages an investment of ` 7,500 crore in the first phase, BHEL said. The Department of Heavy Industry would set up a joint venture (JV) company for executing this project. The JV company will have equity participation of 26% from BHEL, 23% from SECI (Solar Energy Corporation of India), 16% from SSL (Sambhar Salt Ltd), 16% from Power Grid, 16% from SJVNL (Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam) and 3% from REIL (Rajasthan Electronics & Instruments Limited). The project will come up on surplus land available with SSL in Sambhar, Rajasthan. The equipment will be supplied by BHEL, power evacuation by Power Grid, sale of electricity by SECI, operation & maintenance by REIL and project management by SJVNL. The project will be developed in different phases in 7 to 8 years. The first phase of 1,000 MW is planned to be set up in about three years. The other 3,000 MW will be set up in subsequent phases. The Solar PV (photo-voltaic) power plant will use PV modules based on Crystalline Silicon technology. With an estimated plant life of 25 years, the 4,000 MW of the solar plant is expected to supply 6,400 million units of energy per year and consequently help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 4 million tonnes per year. (


Europe divided on supply security as green power gains

February 4, 2014. European Union governments and the bloc’s executive arm are splitting over how to guarantee electricity supply as the region builds more renewable power. Germany, France and the U.K. are following nations from Spain to Greece in developing programs called capacity mechanisms to pay utilities to keep plants on standby from as early as 2016. The European Commission instead plans a single market by the end of the year. Supply and demand in 15 markets was for the first time linked through a daily auction. Europe’s power market relied on intermittent wind and solar output for a record 7.4 percent of generation in 2012, a share poised to reach 18 percent by 2020. The renewable energy boom cut profitable hours at coal and gas-fired plants and IHS Inc. estimates that as much as 60 percent of the region’s gas capacity isn’t covering costs and may be at risk of closure by 2016. (

Sharp’s solar unit returns to profit on performance in Japan

February 4, 2014. Sharp Corp.’s solar business returned to profit in the third quarter buoyed by demand for large-scale solar projects in Japan. The unit had an operating profit of 5.9 billion yen ($59 million) in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with an operating loss of 1.9 billion yen in the same period a year ago, according to the Osaka-based company. Revenue rose 94 percent to 108.5 billion yen, while sales volumes rose 67 percent to 459 MW. Japan’s solar market is booming after the start of an incentive program for clean energy in July 2012 to diversify energy sources. The country is projected to add 9.3 GW to 11.8 GW this year. Japan installed as much as 6.8 GW last year. Sharp revised its forecast for the solar unit’s operating profit to 24 billion yen from 13 billion yen previously announced for the fiscal year ending March 31. Sales of solar products are projected at 2.1 GW, compared with an earlier estimate of 1.8 GW during the same period. Revenue for the unit is expected to reach 430 billion yen from a previous estimate of 310 billion yen. At the same time, Sharp has been scaling back solar panel manufacturing in the U.S. and Europe. The company said that it will stop panel production at its factory in Tennessee by the end of March. Sharp said that it will end producing panels at its U.K. plant in Wales. (

Lagarde says cooperation on climate, inequality ‘non-negotiable’

February 4, 2014. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde called on governments to build a “new multilateralism” that includes cities and companies in an effort to address challenges such as widening income disparity. While policy makers’ immediate priority is to tackle high debt levels or weak banking systems in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, they also need to address longer-term challenges, Lagarde said. That means adjusting to a growing and aging population, overcoming global warming and reducing income inequality, she said. (

China to enter India's solar-powered vehicle market

February 4, 2014. A China-based solar-powered scooter and car maker is eyeing the Indian market by showcasing its products at an auto exhibition here this week, the company said. Guangzhou Jcar Industrial Company Ltd's marketing head Monica Leung said the solar powered vehicles like scooters, three-wheelers and cars would be exhibited. The four-day Auto Expo-2014 will begin Feb 6 at the Pragati Maidan and in Greater Noida. The company has a wide network of distributors in China. She said a three-wheeler that can be used both for carrying goods and passengers. It could carry loads of up to 400 kg. A battery charge of five to 12 hours gives it a range up to 70 km and its maximum speed is 35 km per hour. The three-wheeler has four models and their motor power ranges from 500 W to 1,200 W and the life of the solar panel is 25 years. The 150 kg three-wheeler costs $1,323 (` 83,000). The solar powered four-seater car, with motor power of 1,200 W, can travel up to 70 km and its maximum speed is 30 km per hour. In the two-wheeler segment, the company has scooters that can carry loads of up to 150 kg with a speed between 40 and 60 km per hour. The motor power ranges from 500 W to 800 W. (

New technology produces biofuel from plant waste

February 4, 2014. A new technique that produces gasoline-like fuels from farm and forestry waste could open up new markets for plant-based fuels beyond existing diesel substitutes, scientists say. The process developed by chemists at the University of California, Davis makes gasoline-like fuels from cellulosic materials such as farm and forestry waste using a new process. (

UN carbon supply may rise as sellers rush to beat 2015 deadlines

February 3, 2014. Supply of United Nations carbon offsets may rise after February as owners of offsets rush to sell them before their eligibility ends in the European Union’s market in March 2015. The executive board of the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism, the offset market regulator, will issue 5.9 million metric tons of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), the lowest monthly total since July 2010, according to UN data. That’s a drop of 36 percent from the same month last year and 91 percent less than the record 63 million tons supplied last March. CERs that represent cuts in discharges made before the end of 2012 under the first phase of the UN’s Kyoto Protocol become ineligible after March 31, 2015, for use in the EU emissions-trading system, according to the bloc’s rules. From April 1, 2015, only CERs that represent reductions made after Jan. 1, 2013, will be eligible. The EU proposed to ban the use of offsets in its carbon market after 2020. Companies that operate clean-energy projects in developing countries earn one CER for every ton of carbon dioxide they cut compared to a business-as-usual scenario. The credits can be used by factories and power stations in the EU emissions market to meet some of their caps on climate pollution every year. (

Keystone XL won’t worsen climate change, US says

February 1, 2014. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline cleared a key hurdle with a government study that found its impact on the climate would be minimal, which supporters said meets President Barack Obama’s test for allowing the project to be built. In its final environmental review, the U.S. State Department found the Canada-U.S. oil pipeline would not greatly increase carbon emissions because the oil sands in Alberta will be developed anyway. The study, while not the final word, is important because Obama has said he wouldn’t approve Keystone if it would exacerbate carbon pollution. Now the pipeline’s fate comes down to broader questions about whether the project is in the U.S. national interest, weighing matters such as energy needs and diplomatic relations. The State Department is handling the review because the project crosses an international border. The environmental assessment is important because Obama said that he wouldn’t approve Keystone if it would “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” (

US wind power building boom follows 92 crash

January 31, 2014. More than 12,000 MW of U.S. wind farms were under construction at the end of 2013, the most ever, as developers raced to qualify for an expiring federal tax credit, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). That’s about 11 times the amount of wind power that went into service last year after installations plunged 92 percent to 1,084 MW, the Washington-based trade group said. Congress let the production tax credit lapse briefly at the start of last year, and uncertainty over the policy slowed wind development almost to a halt after 13,131 MW of new turbines were added in 2012. Once the credit was reinstated, it took much of the year for development activity to resume, AWEA said. Developers that signed contracts to sell wind power to utilities, and haven’t yet started construction should complete an additional 5,200 MW over the next two years, AWEA said. (

SoftBank unit to enter clean energy retail business in Japan

January 31, 2014. SoftBank Corp.’s clean energy unit will enter the retail power business this year to sell renewable energy such as solar and wind. SB Power Corp. wants to start selling power to businesses in the northern hemisphere’s spring, Tokyo-based SoftBank, said. SB Power, a wholly owned unit of SB Energy Corp. which develops clean energy projects for SoftBank, registered with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as a power producer and supplier last year, according to SoftBank. The new venture is looking for customers and plans to sell clean energy produced by SoftBank or other developers, SoftBank said. The company may also get supply from power producers using natural gas, SoftBank said. SoftBank also plans to sell power to households in 2016 when the power market is wholly liberalized. No decision has been made in that regard, SoftBank said. SoftBank may consider expanding to homes later. SB Energy plans to develop 290 MW of solar and wind projects by the end of fiscal 2015, according to SoftBank. Some of the projects have begun operating and a 42.9 MW solar plant in western Japan will start. (

Foundations with $1.8 bn vow fossil-fuel divestment

January 31, 2014. A group of 17 philanthropic groups including the Wallace Global Fund and John Merck Fund with a combined asset base of about $1.8 billion has vowed to divest from fossil-fuel companies and invest in clean-energy technology. The groups are shifting their funding efforts away from carbon-based fuels amid growing international awareness of climate change. They’re encouraging other foundations to follow their example. Boston-based Trillium Asset Management LLC, founded in 1982, said it’s the oldest company to focus exclusively on sustainable investments. (

China panel makers turn solar farmers to counter glut

January 30, 2014. China’s solar-panel makers are investing more in building their own power projects, expanding sources of revenue and soaking up some of the manufacturing capacity that depressed panel prices. The push is being led by companies such as Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. and Shunfeng Photovoltaic International Ltd. Combined, China’s top five panel producers are planning at least 4.6 GW of projects this year, enough to power 5 million homes in the nation and almost quadruple the capacity completed last year. State planners in Beijing are pushing the expansion with the China Development Bank Corp. extending 7.57 billion yuan ($1.25 billion) in new loans since December, the same system the nation used to wrest control of solar panel manufacturing away from German, U.S. and Japanese companies in the last decade. The move will solidify the finances of the manufacturers after a plunge in the cost of the technology triggered losses across the industry for more than two years. China’s government in June pledged to offer easier financing. Since 2010, the China Development Bank has committed $68.8 billion of credit lines to solar, wind and other clean energy companies though the exact amount of loans disbursed isn’t known. China is stimulating domestic panel demand after prices tumbled more than 60 percent in the two years through 2012 on slower exports and a production surplus. China’s top five panel manufacturers completed 1.29 GW of solar farms last year. (

French Minister urges rapid energy cooperation with Germany

January 30, 2014. Government ministers from France and Germany will meet in Berlin to discuss ways of forging closer energy ties as the two nations embark upon major policy shifts, French Environment Minister Philippe Martin said. French President Francois Hollande called for the creation of a Franco-German energy alliance. He compared the endeavor to Airbus Group NV, the European commercial airplane maker that has operations in both France and Germany. The two nations plan to transform electricity production in the coming decade. Their leaders have pledged to reduce reliance on nuclear power and are grappling with how to fund subsidies that encourage renewable-power production. The European Commission’s proposed climate and energy policies unveiled would also be on the agenda at the meeting with German Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Martin said. The Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, is calling for a 40 percent reduction in the region’s greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030. (

German green energy push bears reluctant power suppliers

January 30, 2014. Henrik Follmann, chief executive officer of Follmann & Co., said he wants to fully focus on making printing inks and wallpaper coatings in the northern German city of Minden. To his dismay, he now finds himself building a 3.5 million-euro ($4.8 million) power plant. Follmann is one of Germany’s three million small and medium-sized companies, accounting for about half of gross domestic product, that are being squeezed by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 550 billion-euro switch to renewable energy. The so-called Mittelstand is paying a disproportionate amount to finance the project as bigger companies like BASF SE and Lanxess AG get exemptions where they generate their own electricity. Follmann paid 480,000 euros last year for the renewable-energy fee, the equivalent of 10 full-time salaries, or almost a fifth of his total energy bill. That helped drive his decision to build his own power plant. Adding to the plight of the Mittelstand, the government’s latest proposal may force these companies to pay the renewable energy surcharge regardless of whether they operate a power plant, with the rule applying to all stations built after Aug. 1. 2014. The government’s proposal to curtail the exemption in August may spark a flurry of construction before the deadline. Plants coming into operation afterward may pay 90 percent of the fee, or 70 percent if it is run on renewables or is a combined heat and power plant, according the economy ministry. New legislation, to be drafted by April, still has to pass parliamentary votes in June and July. Uncertainty on what will eventually make it into the law is causing planning headaches. (

Canadian solar supplies modules for power plant at India airport

January 29, 2014. Canadian Solar Inc. the best-performing solar manufacturer last year, supplied 2.1 MW of modules for a power plant at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. Construction on the project was completed last month, Guelph, Ontario-based Canadian Solar said. Terms weren’t disclosed. (

Branson’s Butanol heading to US as ethanol substitute

January 29, 2014. Butanol, the gasoline substitute promoted by billionaire Richard Branson, is headed for its debut at U.S. pumps as soon as next year in a challenge to ethanol’s domination of the $26 billion renewable fuels market. Like ethanol, the colorless alcohol can be brewed from corn, though it packs more energy when mixed into gasoline. Butamax Advanced Biofuel LLC, funded by DuPont Co. and BP Plc, is retrofitting an ethanol plant in Minnesota to begin making butanol in commercial volumes in 2015. Gevo Inc., backed by French oil producer Total SA and Branson through his Virgin Green Fund, already runs a distillery 60 miles away. Both say they’ve lined up clients for large-scale deliveries. The nascent industry is trying to take share from ethanol - both may be blended as a clean fuel with traditional gasoline. Companies like Butamax and Gevo are urging more producers to retrofit their plants on the technological promise that little else is needed -- the distribution networks and vehicle engines work just as well with butanol as they do with ethanol. The optimism contrasts with a series of disappointments by oil company sponsors. Several have cut or killed various types of biofuels research because they couldn’t get costs down. (

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