MonitorsPublished on Jan 19, 2015
Energy News Monitor | Volume XI; Issue 31

[Can the new Gas Price 2.0 drop below former APM price of $4.2/MMBtu!? Cap or floor needed?]

                             “Since the markets for energy commodities are inherently interlinked by various interconnections the ongoing downturn of crude oil price will certainly spread out with some effect to other energy markets. Particularly regarding natural gas markets it can be expected that it will trigger some more drive in an already downward spiralling gas and LNG price environment worldwide…”

Energy News


The realisation that power supply quality is important for reducing kerosene demand may be coming a bit late but it is correct!                                   


India is probably the only country which has oil producers that would end up paying refiners to purchase crude!


The Environment Ministry’s rush to become pro-industry may just make it anti-people!   




·          Can the new Gas Price 2.0 drop below former APM price of $4.2/MMBtu!? Cap or floor needed?

·          Can we avoid massive power blackouts in India?


·          State-wise Demand and Supply of Electricity from Central Generating Stations



·          Govt clears 30 O&G discoveries for production: Oil Minister

·          ONGC to start production in Nagayalanka


·          Essar plans 60 bn capex at Vadinar refinery

Transportation / Trade………………

·          IOC yet to start work on ` 51.5 bn LNG project

·          Adani Group, Woodside sign pact on LNG sourcing and marketing

·          RIL finalises 2015 gasoil and jet fuel term contracts

Policy / Performance…………………

·          Power supply quality important for a cut in kerosene to electrified households: Oil Minister

·          Govt to auction 69 small, marginal oil fields: Oil Minister

·          RIL announces ` 1 lakh crore investment in 12-18 months

·          Oil Ministry to appeal rich & powerful to opt out of LPG subsidy scheme

·          Oil regulator to submit gas premium formula by month-end

·          Govt to exempt ONGC, OIL from fuel subsidy

·          ONGC stake sale after new subsidy sharing formula: Oil Minister

·          RIL gas payments to be invested in interest bearing deposits

·          Oil price slump to bring down profits of upstream firms: ICRA



·          NTPC to invite tenders for $1.2 bn Bangladesh JV power project

·          CLP Holdings plans power plant in Gujarat with a projected cost of $2 bn

·          IL&FS plans to set up 6 GW power plants in Kutch

·          Extreme cold hits power generation in Himachal

·          MP's power generation not hit by coal workers' strike

Transmission / Distribution / Trade……

·          JSW Energy to bid for coal blocks via debt

·          Small industries down shutters over power tariff hike

·          Coal imports jump 19 per cent in 2014

Policy / Performance…………………

·          Australian delegation compliments India for progressive changes in mining sector

·          Singareni Collieries expects to commission unit in Telangana by November

·          Timing of CIL stake sale to be decided by Finance Ministry: Coal Secretary

·          Govt asks coal block bidders to fix dates for site visit

·          States asked to revisit NoC for industrial power connection

·          Coal block auction to private companies to start soon: Finance Minister

·          Shiv Sena continues to oppose 9.9 GW JNPP

·          MERC to review power tariff soon: Bawankule

·          Govt to invest ` 3 lakh crore for building power infrastructure: Goyal

·          NTPC to help revive Patratu thermal power plant in Jharkhand

·          CIL unions to make up for output loss of 1 mn tonnes: Goyal

·          Power Ministry cancels UMPP bidding

·          Power Ministry to finalise draft cabinet note on tariff policy by Jan 15

·          MIA against power tariff hike



·          Statoil plans to extend operational life of Norne oil field to 2030

·          Jereh begins production at first shale gas liquefaction plant in China

·          Petrobras and Indian partners find more oil in Brazil

·          CNOOC finds gas at Lingshui 25-1 deepwater well in South China Sea


·          China agrees to finance development projects for Iran’s Abadan oil refinery



Transportation / Trade…………

·          South Africa scuppers PetroSA’s bid to buy Petronas’s unit

·          China imports record crude as price collapse spurs buying spree

·          US oil export ban poised to loosen with Mexico request

·          British Columbia prohibits oil transport on pipelines built for LNG facilities

·          Oil trades near $48 as US stocks seen adding to global glut

·          Poland raises capacity of its gas link from Germany

Policy / Performance………………

·          Argentine oil provinces prepare for $45 crude

·          UAE sticks with oil output boost even as prices drop

·          Iraq raises Basrah crude price for Asia, follows Saudi lead

·          US drivers start 2015 with cheapest gas in six yrs

·          Egypt signs six new O&G exploration deals

·          Mexico proposes historic crude oil swap with United States

·          Thailand to raise LPG wholesale price by almost half



·          Angola to boost energy output with $1 bn power plant

·          China-backed consortium to develop 240 MW hydroelectric plant in Mexico

·          Nigeria’s power generation drops to 3 GW

Transmission / Distribution / Trade……

·          Appalachian Power plans to upgrade transmission power line

·          ABB to develop two new 220kV substations in Sri Lanka

·          Power Grid under cyber-attack every minute sees UK up defenses

Policy / Performance………………

·          Cambodia commissions 338 MW hydropower project

·          German power-price tumble echoes oil slump as utilities suffer



·          SunEdison signs MoU with Karnataka govt for 5 GW renewable energy

·          Development and environment to be balanced: Goyal

·          Modi advances solar plan for India with $4 bn plant

·          Green issues 'hijacking' growth in power sector: Arunachal CM

·          Welspun Renewables to invest ` 83 bn in Gujarat

·          India issues draft guidelines for 3 GW of solar projects

·          Environment ministry has shed its anti-industry image: Javadekar

·          Ban Ki Moon to inaugurate Narmada Canal's solar power plant

·          Suzlon Energy denies German unit sale report


·          China’s Suntech Power US unit seeks bankruptcy protection

·          Energy security in Caribbean to be focus of January US summit

·          Buffett’s MidAmerican to complete Iowa wind project by year-end

·          EU nations to discuss Latvia bid to strengthen carbon fix

·          China to cut subsidies for non-electric vehicles

·          US can reach 50 per cent renewable generation by 2030: IRENA

·          Terna Energy to complete $177 mn wind park by year-end

·          Sky Solar to partner with Sino-Century in solar energy fund

·          Protection 1 raises $250 mn for residential solar systems

·          Keystone XL ruling returns climate-energy clash to Obama

·          Turkey's wind power generation increases 11.65 per cent

·          Investec arranges $195 mn in financing for Sunrun Solar

·          Nautilus Solar Energy gets $39 mn for projects in Ontario

·          SolarReserve, ACWA win bid to build South African solar plant

·          China to boost support for NGOs that sue environment polluters





Facing Downside Risks – The Oil Price Slump and how it might affect Gas Prices (update2) - Can the new Gas Price 2.0 drop below former APM price of $4.2/MMBtu!? Cap or floor needed?

Thomas Elmar Schuppe, CIM Integrated Expert on Energy, Observer Research Foundation


eferring to recent publications on gas prices in this news letter, this article presents an update by acknowledging the ongoing slump of global oil and gas prices and what might be the consequences for formula based gas pricing.

The mere market expectations on the future oil market in contrast to the IEA's current World Energy Outlook 2014 forecast are illustrated by Figure 1 that shows the development of oil future curves from Jan. 2014 till present-day’s settlement at Jan 13th, 2015. Within the last seven months Brent crude oil price tumbled by 60% from $115/bbl as of June 19th, 2014 (orange line above) down to about $46/bbl settled at Jan 13th, 2015 (pink line below). The market signals particularly near-term oversupply concerns expressed by significantly diverging curves at the very front end, and showing up the dramatic spread of almost $70/bbl for the respective front month settlement, a destruction of far more than half of crude oil’s market value. In contrast, the assessment of the market participants was less dramatic at the back end of the curve since till Nov. 2014, the curves were converging more or less and the spread peaks off to far less than $10/bbl by the end of the decade. However, more recent settlements in Dec. 2014 and Jan. 2015 demonstrate a sharp $ 10/bbl odd slide of the entire curve, indicating an increasing mistrust of market participants in a recovery of global oil prices from then on. As opposed to this the current World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2014 from the IEA predicts a modelled crude oil price rise to about $130/bbl by 2020 in its central New Policy Scenario (blue line).[1]

Figure 1: Brent Crude Oil Futures and WEO2014 Forecast (2014-2022)

Source: Brent future front month settlements (as of dates stated) from CME (; Forecast from IEA World Energy Outlook 2014. Compiled by author.

The reasons for the ongoing oil price slump are diverse and includes supply (e.g. high tight oil output in U.S.) and demand (lower growth led by weak demand from China) side issues, or is seen to be triggered by global economic as well as political and strategic circumstances (Saudi Arabia defending its market shares at the expense of OPEC’s stability). According to EIA’s most recent short-term energy outlook as of Jan. 2015 market uncertainty surrounding oil prices is growing. [2] As illustrated in Figure 2 the 95% confidence interval for market expectations, revealed by the current values of futures and options of WTI contracts at NYMEX, widens considerably over time, with lower and upper limits of about $30/bbl and $110/bbl for prices towards the end of 2015. This bandwidth between bearish and bullish future market expectations reflects the margins of two principal development paths that the global oil market mechanism can pursue within the foreseeable future: (I) market or (II) OPEC driven.

(I) Sustained low prices will increase pain for OPEC exporters (particularly Saudi Arabia), most of them already incurring growing budget deficits, to such an extent that effective cartel pricing is going to be re-established, which will trigger price increase of up to the levels we have seen in recent years at about $100/bbl odd. However, we will have to await a strategic move, otherwise will oil keep flowing.

(II) The global oil market will evolve into regular competitive conditions (without price being influenced by monopolistic power) in which the driver of international price is the marginal cost of production that varies significantly between lower-cost conventional and higher-cost non-conventional basins, but can push global prices below $50/bbl for a quite long period of time. According to upstream specialist consultancy group Wood Mackenzie, a mere 1.6% of global oil supplies would be loss-making if crude oil prices dip below $40/bbl (mostly oil sands projects in Canada), but even this level would not necessarily spark shutdowns, since operators may prefer to continue producing oil at a loss rather than stop production (that is true especially for large projects like oil sands as well).[3] In line with this, Goldman Sachs had recently cut its 2015 forecast for Brent by 40% to $50/bbl and WTI to $47/bbl, respectively.[4] EIA slashed its forecast to an average Brent price of $58/bbl in 2015 and expects global oil inventories to continue to build in 2015, keeping downward pressure on oil prices.[5]

Figure 2: WTI Crude Oil Price and Futures and Market Expectations of Uncertainty (2014-2016)

Note: Confidence interval derived from options market information for the five trading days ending Jan. 8, 2015. Intervals not calculated for months with sparse trading in near-the-money options contracts.
Source: IEA (2015b).

Since the markets for energy commodities are inherently interlinked by various interconnections the ongoing downturn of crude oil price will certainly spread out with some effect to other energy markets. Particularly regarding natural gas markets it can be expected that it will trigger some more drive in an already downward spiralling gas and LNG price environment worldwide. As illustrated in Figure 3 the transformation in the global LNG market balance throughout 2014 has already unleashed a severe slump in Asian spot LNG prices and the spreads according to UK NBP spot gas prices has been coming down towards zero by the end of the year.[6]

Figure 3: Asian Spot LNG and UK NBP Gas Prices (2012-2014)

Source: Timera Energy (2014).

European natural gas prices have already tumbled to the lowest levels since August all over Europe’s largest traded markets (even amidst its seasonal high), because of a lower disruption risk of import flows from Russia since Ukraine has cleared some debts.[7] Apart from gas spot markets the worst is yet to come in Europe since the downturn move in crude oil will subsequently pull down all the ‑ still existing ‑ bulk of long term import contract (LTC) prices that are typically linked to oil with a six or nine month time-lag. Thus a substantial decline in European gas hub prices in 2015 might be expected. UK NBP gas futures are signalling prices at an average of about $7/MMBtu for the year to come (Figure 5 blue dotted line). Taking the border price of actual German gas imports (BAFA[8]) as an indicator for the expected evolution of oil-linked import gas prices into Europe, then – in a rough calculation based on current price data – LTC prices can be expected to plunge down by about 40% in the course of 2015 and about 30% in the years thereafter in comparison to average 2014 price.

Natural gas prices in the U.S. have dropped significantly in 2014 as well (Figure 5 black line). From its high in Feb. 2014 Henry Hub natural gas prices were almost continuously coming down to a $3.5/MMBtu in Dec 2014. The front month future for Feb. 2015 marks a low at 2.8 $/MMBtu and futures indicate prices to maintain below 3/MMBtu by Nov. 2015.[9] EIA expects spot prices to remain less than $4/MMBtu until the end of 2016. Downside risk as evaluated by the market participants (95% confidence interval) is even in the lows of under $2/MMBtu throughout 2015.

Figure 4: Henry Hub Natural Gas Prices and Forecast (2014-2016)

Source: EIA (2015a).

Indian natural gas price has recently been determined by a gas price formula 2.0 that links the gas price to Henry Hub, Alberta and NBP as well as to the wild card of the Russian gas price term. Therefore the new gas price formula seems to be not that much oil price-prone as the previous proposal (according to the Rangarajan Committee). However, since gas prices all over the world are expected to tumble downwards further on (as we have seen in the expectations for European and North American markets above) one might expect the Indian gas price 2.0 to follow soon.

Henry Hub prices were noted on average at $4.4/MMBtu in 2014, down to probably $3/MMBtu in 2015, which would mark a probable decrease by more than 30%. At about the same scale we can expect European gas prices to fall this year compared to 2014. Since the notation of Russian gas prices is not yet published and Russian gas exporters have always been among the most hard-liners in defending oil-linked gas pricing schemes, one can tentatively suppose also Russian prices to dip by that scope. Transferring these calculations to the actual price level of the Indian gas price 2.0 at $5.6/MMBtu, will mean that even a mere 25% deduction (instead of 30% odd) will already imply a plunge below the former administered gas pricing regime (APM) that had fixed the price of specified domestic production at $4.2/MMBtu (indicated by green line in Figure 5).

Figure 5: Sensitivity of Rangarajan Gas Price Formula to Crude Oil Prices Changes (2014-2020)

Source: Own assumptions and calculations based on oil and gas futures as of Jan 13th, 2015 (and 19th June, respectively).

Besides that, some speculations have been recently reported that the government is mulling over a cap in the gas pricing formula to protect consumers from global price volatility.[10] However, according to what was determined in the analysis above, this sounds quite like a farce, since capping low prices in an already global low price environment across most energy commodity sectors is even worse than having an administered gas price mechanism (because this would come through the backdoor) and might even lead to mistrust and scaring away of potential (international) investors in Indian upstream sector. Based on the reflections above, the need for setting a floor for gas prices to avoid the failure of the much aspired makeup of indigenous gas production in India becomes greater. In a formula like the 2.0 gas price formula, one cannot expect too much volatility as per the definition, because it is supposed to change only every half year. If a formula is known and is transparent in its terms, the companies can easily hedge against volatility by using their own middle office skills since Henry Hub and NBP are traded liquidly in futures and OTC. The joker remains Russia, however, even that can be dealt better with to release it to the market than restrict the formula by administration. Beyond that, suppose that a capped gas price set in this low price period area (low HH US prices, falling European prices (spot and LTC), low oil prices, Russia conundrum) will be immediately pushed out of the market once the markets are going to rebound, which might be triggered by a mere move of Saudi Arabia towards re-establishing OPEC power.

Notwithstanding that, since the details of the new gas price formula 2.0 are not yet fully known, in lieu thereof the robustness of a gas price formula like the proposal from the Rangarajan Committee (RC) against oil price volatility is illustrated in Figure 5: based on recent market assessments the domestic RC gas price formula at high/low oil prices (yellow/red line) as well as the spread between these (grey area) is plotted (and gas price 2.0 is indicated in a green sketch for its first known half-year period as a reference point). The divergence in the course of those two RC gas price curves can be largely explained by the historic Brent oil volatility during the last half year and changing Brent future curve shape. The largest exposure of almost $5/MMBtu can be observed in the 2nd quarter of 2016, representing the large spread of the Brent crude futures at the front end of the curves (about US-$ 70/bbl) and the concomitantly arithmetic of the RC gas price formula (set up of three months time-lag and creation of twelve months average).

The computed RC gas price might have fallen to below $5/MMBtu by 2016. It would have been significantly below the validated gas price 2.0 that by now is only known to be at about US‑$ 5.6/MMBtu until April 2015. (Please refer ORF Energy News Monitor Volume XI, Issue 23/24/27)


Bloomberg (2015), Gas Falls to Four-Month Low in Europe Amid Reduced Ukraine Risk, by I. Almeida, Jan 2, 2015; .

The Economic Times (2015), Cap in gas pricing formula in the works to combat global volatility, By R. Jayaswal, 30 Dec, 2014;

EIA (2015a) [U.S. Energy Information Administration], Short-Term Energy Outlook, Release Date: January 13, 2015;

EIA (2015b) [U.S. Energy Information Administration], Market expectations of oil price uncertainty have increased in recent months, Today in Energy, Jan. 14, 2015;

Reuters (2015a), Only 1.6 percent of world's oil production at risk at $40: WoodMackenzie, Jan 9, 2015;

Reuters (2015b), Goldman Sachs slashes oil price forecasts, Jan 12, 2015;

Timera Energy (2014), Market interconnectivity and the next 6 months, Posted on December 1, 2014;


Views are those of the author                    

Author can be contacted at [email protected]


Can we avoid massive power blackouts in India?

An overview of the interconnected power network in the backdrop of blackouts in July/Aug 2012

Shankar Sharma, Power Policy Analyst


wo power blackouts in the North and Eastern parts of the country on 31st July and 1st August 2012 have thrown up many issues to our society. The second blackout impacting three regions (Northern, Eastern and North Eastern regions) and covering 21 states was preceded by another blackout the previous day impacting fewer states in the northern region. The media have reported that about 600 Million people were affected by the larger blackout. Many sections of the media have termed this blackout as the most sever blackout in the history; certainly it can be termed as one of the severest power outage events in independent India.

Though power blackouts impacting one or more districts/states at the same time are not rare in our country, what has caught the attention of the media is the effect of this blackout on 21 states during the day time impacting millions of people in one way or the other. Many knee jerk reactions have suggested that massive addition to the power generating capacity is the solution. A dispassionate analysis of the power sector in the country keeping the possibilities of such blackouts in future can throw up deeper malaise than the “inadequacy of generating capacity” as being advocated in some parts of the print media. With the ever growing complexity and expansion of power network to nooks and corners of the country, it is reasonable to assume that the power blackout cannot be entirely eliminated, but can be minimised if necessary steps are taken on a war footing.

In recent years an advanced economy such as US too has seen increasing number of annual outages. It is reported that whereas between 1965 and 2000 there was on an average of one major blackout every two years, between 2001 and 2011 this figure was one major blackout every six months. There have been examples of blackouts in other countries also. With the increased complexity of the network a fault in one part can spread out to other parts quickly. Chronic deficit situation in India can only aggravate the problem. 

Some of the major blackouts in recent history are:

(i)             Auckland, New Zealand (20.2.1998) affecting 70,000 people for four weeks;

(ii)            Brazil (11.03.1999) affecting 70% of the territory

(iii)          India (02.01.2001) affecting 220,000,000 people for 12 hours

(iv)          US (north-east) + Canada (central) (14.08.2003) affecting 50,000,000 people for four days

(v)            Italy (28.09.2003) affecting 56,000,000 people for 18 hours

(vi)          Spain (29.11.2004); 5 blackouts within 10 days affecting 2,000,000

(vii)         South West Europe (parts of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Spain and Portugal,

04.11.2006) affecting 15,000,000 for 2 hours

(Source: ) 

In the Indian context we can look at two credible options to minimise such blackouts. 

Option I entails the following:

Ø  Massive additional investments in power sector

Ø  Build huge redundancy in the network

Ø  Create huge surplus in generating  capacity by massive additions to conventional power plant capacity

This option will invariably lead to huge social and environmental impacts due to conventional power plants, which will add to Global Warming impacts. It would also mean diversion of scarce natural resources such as land, water, minerals etc. from other priority sectors such as poverty alleviation, health, drinking water, irrigation, education etc. The question is whether a poor and densely populated country like ours can afford the associated economic, social and environmental impacts on our communities?

Option II entails the following:

Ø  Reduced reliance on the grid quality power, and strengthen the relevance of micro / smart grids 

Ø  Increased reliance on distributed renewable energy sources (RES): solar, wind and bio-mass

Ø  Shifting of all smaller loads on to distributed RES

Ø  Focus on strengthening distribution system requiring much higher efficiency, reliability & accountability

Ø  Effective feed-in- tariff for distributed power sources such as roof top solar power or community based bio-mass plants etc. will lead to reduced investment by STATE.

This option will assists in accelerated rural electrification & development. It will lead to vastly reduced pressure on the existing integrated grid, and increased reliability due to the resultant redundancy.  It is evident that this option is sustainable & environmentally friendly leading to improved reliability of the existing grid. It also can be termed as highly sensible option leading to overall welfare of the society.

This option will also minimize the widespread outages/damages which can also be credible due to Solar Storms or an act of terrorism on the integrated grid.

Salient features of Indian Power Sector which are contributing to chronic power cuts and frequent blackouts are:

Ø  Conventional Power sources concentrated in few areas; requires massive infrastructure of transportation of either the fuel and/or transmission of electricity

Ø  Complete absence of holistic approach / long term perspective

Ø  Gross inefficiency at all levels of the power sector; true cost the society are not recovered fully

Ø  Many power plants are not found to be operating economically

Ø  Discernible absence of concern on overall welfare needs; focus only on producing electricity instead of the consideration of overall welfare

Ø  Mostly new merchant power plants for profit motive are being planned

Ø  True costs and benefits to society of conventional power plants never determined

Ø  Rehabilitation & Resettlement of the displaced people and environmental compliance has been abysmally poor; insensitivity to civil society’s views; absence of public consultation.

There are many serious issues with the continued overreliance on integrated grid based power supply.

Ø  Massive investment needed to expand the network to cover all villages/communities

Ø  Ever increasing complexity; huge scope for massive blackouts

Ø  Gross indiscipline on part of the constituent companies

Ø  Absence of the much required professionalism

Ø  Political considerations instead of technical & economic reasoning

Ø  Unscientific pricing and subsidy regimes

Ø  Massive economic and social implications  from blackouts

Ø  Cannot ensure connection to all villages; energy inequity will continue

Ø  Perceived need for more of large size conventional power plants

Ø  Social & environmental implications of large conventional power projects will be exacerbated.

In the overall context of how the power sector can contribute to the true welfare of our communities due importance must be given to the recommendations of many credible reports at national and international levels.

Ø  The latest synthesis report (AR5) from IPCC and the Emissions Gap  Report 2014 from UNEP have taken pains to emphasise the urgency in taking action to minimise the GHG emissions in order to save the humanity from climate catastrophe.

Ø  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says in a stark report
that most of the world's electricity can - and must - be produced from low-carbon sources by 2050. If not, the world faces "severe, pervasive and irreversible" damage.
In this context the UN has said inaction would cost "much more" than taking the necessary action.

Ø  Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Year 2012 report "Climate Risk and Adaptation in the Electric Power Sector" has discussed how Climate Change is likely to impact the electric power infrastructure on the costal areas in as applicable to Asian countries. Transmission lines can be the most vulnerable assets.

Ø  Planning Commission in its Integrated Energy Policy (IEP) has said that CO2 generated from energy use can be reduced by 35% through effective deployment of efficiency, DSM measures and renewable energy sources

Ø  IEP also considers “relentlessly pursue energy efficiency and energy conservation as the most important virtual source of domestic energy”.  Business as usual scenario with the present practice of grid based large size conventional power sources cannot lead to vastly reduced losses in the system.

Ø  Bureau of Energy Efficiency has concluded that at the prevailing cost of additional energy generation, it costs a unit of energy about one fourth the cost to save than to produce it with new capacity.

Ø  International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that by 2050 about 22% of the global energy (totaling various forms of commercial energy) can be met by solar power alone.

Ø  Greenpeace report “energy {R}evolution, A SUSTAINABLE INDIA ENERGY OUTLOOK“: estimates reduction of about 38% in electricity demand by 2050; “by 2030 about 35% of India's electricity could come from renewable energies" AND "by 2050, 54% of             primary energy demand can be covered by renewable energy sources".

Ø  IPCC report ‘Special Report Renewable Energy Sources (SRREN)’ has projected that renewable energy could account for almost 80% of the world's energy supply within four decades.

Ø  “A path to Sustainable energy by 2030”, Stanford University study of 2009 estimates that solar, water and wind technologies which are available at commercial scale now can provide 100 percent of the world’s energy by 2030

India has a huge potential in harnessing its renewable energy. Germany and Japan are planning to replace nuclear power with RES. During May 2012 Germany was reported as having met 50% of its afternoon peak demand through RES. Energy co-operatives, equipped with micro/smart grids, are getting more popular for the reasons of local control and the desire to become carbon neutral.  In 2012 Germany’s 51% of the renewable energy capacity were reported to be with 586 private co-operative societies, making public the most important stake holders, and in removing energy injustice. By the end of 2013 more than 880 energy co-operatives were reported to be operating satisfactorily in Germany, increasing at the rate of about 3 per week. In Germany, citizens not only put Solar Photo Voltaics on their own roof, but also come together to bundle resources for larger projects, such as small wind farms, local biomass units, and large solar arrays. There is even a National Office for Energy Cooperatives catering to more than 150,000 people. This concept of “Energy co-operatives” along with micro grids is eminently suitable to Indian conditions where poor/middle class people can pool their resources together to contribute for larger projects of vast benefit to them.

The summary of all these discussions is that India has no other option than to adopt a paradigm shift in the way we look at electricity demand and supply, by resolutely moving towards distributed renewable energy sources supported with micro/smart grids. True costs & benefits to society should be at the focus while determining the suitable technology/method to meet each MW of electricity demand.


Views are those of the author                    

Author can be contacted at [email protected]


State-wise Demand and Supply of Electricity from Central Generating Stations

Akhilesh Sati, Observer Research Foundation

Megawatts (MW)


Peak Demand











Himachal Pradesh



Jammu & Kashmir









Uttar Pradesh












Madhya Pradesh






Daman & Diu



Dadar & Nagar Haveli






Andhra Pradesh









Tamil Nadu















West Bengal






Arunachal Pradesh





















Source: Rajya Sabha, Un-starred question no. 3226.




Govt clears 30 O&G discoveries for production: Oil Minister

January 12, 2015. The government has cleared 30 projects of firms like Cairn India and ONGC to help monetise about 2.6 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the government has approved a policy framework for relaxation, extensions and clarifications in timelines that will grant operational flexibility to help produce oil and gas from several discoveries that are mired in contractual disputes. Operational flexibility has been provided in enforcing contracts by way of relaxing some of timelines prescribed for discoveries so that E&P activities do not suffer on account of excessive rigidity in decision making. The Production Sharing Contract (PSC) between the government and the explorer has rigid timelines for each stage of exploration and actions have been initiated against firms even if deadlines are missed by a day. Three-to-six month extension in the current 18-60 month timeframe for submission of declaration of commerciality (DoC) of discoveries, a prerequisite before investment plans can be finalised, has been approved. Also, the deadline for submission of investment plan for the discoveries too would be extended by up to six months. The PSC provides for time period for submission of field development plan (FDP) for hydrocarbon discovery after DOC. There is no provision in the PSC for extension of this time period and non-acceptance of FDP due to late submission results in non-monetisation of discoveries. Also, upstream regulator DGH has been given flexibility to accept discoveries for which operators had failed to provide prior notification to the government. Pradhan said the Policy Framework for Relaxations, Extensions and Clarifications at development and production stage under PSC will help early monetisation of hydrocarbon discoveries. Discoveries, mostly of Cairn, ONGC and GSPC were stuck because of lack of flexibility in timelines. These included 10 finds of Cairn in Rajasthan which have not been endorsed by DGH. Besides, FDP approvals for more than two dozen finds are held up for some or the other reason. Fifteen discoveries lie abandoned in areas that have been relinquished by operators. (

ONGC to start production in Nagayalanka

January 9, 2015. The joint venture of public sector oil major ONGC Ltd and Cairn India which struck huge oil and gas reserves at Nagayalanka and other villages in Krishna district, is all set to commence production. A Field Development Plan (FDP) will be submitted by the month-end. Besides, the ONGC is gearing up to start production in Mandapeta in East Godavari and Malleswaram oil and gas reservoirs in Krishna district explored over a year ago. The Mandapeta gas field will be developed on a fast-track mode for a yield of 2.5 lakh cubic metres of gas a day within a year while efforts are on to produce 250 tonnes of oil a day from Malleswaram plant within two years. Executive Director of ONGC, Rajahmundry Asset, Debashish Sanyal said that once the FDP was approved, a sum of $ 700 million to $ 750 million would be invested on the block in five years. The investment would include creation of production facilities, Sanyal said. As per the Declaration of Commerciality (DoC) documents, the Nagayalanka field has oil resources of about 320 million barrels, of which about 40 million barrels can be recovered. There are also small amounts of gas with recoverable reserves of around 70 billion cubic feet, Sanyal said. In phase I, five exploration wells were drilled and the Nagayalanka-1z well resulted in the Raghavapuram discovery. In phase-II, the Nagayalanka-SE-1 exploration well was drilled and resulted in discovery of hydrocarbons. On future development plans, Sanyal said 20 wells would be drilled in the next three years. ONGC would undertake cluster drilling (drilling of more than one well from a single point) in four clusters with each cluster having five wells. (


Essar plans 60 bn capex at Vadinar refinery

January 13, 2015. Essar Group plans to invest ` 6,000 crore over three years towards brown field expansion of its existing oil refinery at Vadinar near Jamnagar in Gujarat. Essar Group announced an investment of ` 6,000 crore for expansion of the company's Vadinar refinery, which has an existing capacity of 20 million tonnes per annum. The Jamnagar refinery handles diverse range of crude - from sweet to sour and light to heavy crude oil. (

Transportation / Trade…………

IOC yet to start work on ` 51.5 bn LNG project

January 12, 2015. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) said it is yet to commence work on a ` 5,150 crore liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal at Ennore in Tamil Nadu. IOC had approved setting up a 5 million tonne LNG project at Ennore through a joint venture company. IOC would hold 45 per cent stake in the project while Tamil Nadu government enterprise, TIDCO will have 5 per cent holding. Balance 50 per cent will be held by financial institutions. As the project activities progress, the strategic joint venture partners would be identified and inducted as equity partners. Ennore will be the third LNG terminal on the east coast with state-owned GAIL India Ltd building a facility at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh and Petronet LNG Ltd setting up a 5 million tons facility at Gangavaram in Andhra Pradesh. LNG is a gas that is cooled down to liquid form and takes up just 1/600th of the volume in its gaseous state, thereby easing transportation by sea. IOC plans to lay a 1,175 km of pipelines to transport the gas imported at Ennore LNG terminal to customers. It has made an application to sector regulator Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) for laying natural gas pipeline from Ennore to Nagapattinum in Tamil Nadu with spurlines to Madurai, Tuticorin and Bengaluru. The company, however, did not give timelines for completion of the projects. (

Adani Group, Woodside sign pact on LNG sourcing and marketing

January 11, 2015. Adani Group has signed an agreement with Australian energy major Woodside for sourcing of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as well as cooperation in oil and gas exploration and production. The MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) was signed by Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani Woodside Energy CEO Peter Coleman. The two companies will jointly explore opportunities in sourcing of LNG, supply and purchase arrangements for India, LNG marketing, investment in upstream activities such as oil and gas exploration, production and liquefaction plants, knowledge sharing, training, joint technology studies, technology workshops and connecting local R&D institutions and universities with each other. (

RIL finalises 2015 gasoil and jet fuel term contracts

January 8, 2015. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has finalised its 2015 gasoil and jet fuel term contracts at lower premiums than last year, traders said. The company agreed to sell 500 ppm sulphur gasoil at a premium of about $1.30 a barrel above Middle East quotes, lower than the $2.25 to $2.50 a barrel negotiated for last year, they said. It also agreed to sell the 10 ppm sulphur diesel at a premium of about $2 a barrel above Middle East quotes, lower than the $2.50 to $3 levels it achieved for 2014 term contracts, they said. For jet fuel, Reliance finalised its 2015 term at a premium of $1.85 a barrel to Middle East quotes, lower than the $2 a barrel it negotiated last year, they said. (

Policy / Performance………

Power supply quality important for a cut in kerosene to electrified households: Oil Minister

January 13, 2015. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said power availability was an important point in deciding whether subsidised kerosene should be supplied to such households. Kerosene is used by rural and urban poor for both lighting and cooking. Under current policy, the Union government reduces the quota of kerosene sold through the Public Distribution System in proportion to domestic gas penetration in a state. This is done on the assumption that consumers move from kerosene to LPG for cooking. The minister agreed the government had not passed on all the benefits of the steep decrease in global oil prices to the consumer by reducing that of diesel. (

Govt to auction 69 small, marginal oil fields: Oil Minister

January 12, 2015. The government plans to auction 69 small and marginal oil and gas fields to private firms on a new revenue sharing model, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. As many as 63 discovered oil and gas fields are being surrendered by Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) as they were found to be uneconomic for a large firm with huge overheads to develop or bring to production. Smaller firms with a fraction of operating cost can develop them at much faster and economic rate. Oil India Ltd (OIL) has surrendered 6 marginal fields. Under the revenue sharing model, bidders will have to upfront state how much oil and gas they will share with the government. The firm offering maximum win the right to explore and produce from the field. This is a shift from the much-criticized Production Sharing Contract (PSC) regime where blocks were allocated to firms that bid highest amount of work in the area. It allowed the firms to recover all their cost before sharing profits with the government, a regime which was criticized by CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India) as one that provides incentive to operators to keep raising cost so as to postpone government share. Pradhan said the policy regime for the 10th exploration licensing round is under discussion. (

RIL announces ` 1 lakh crore investment in 12-18 months

January 11, 2015. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani announced ` 100,000 crore investment across businesses in the next 12-18 months and said India was on the path to become the world's fastest growing economy. The investments will be in expanding petrochemical production capacity as well as in launch the much-awaited 4G broadband services while contributing to Make in India and Digital India initiatives. Ambani, the world's richest energy billionaire, speaking at the 7th Vibrant Gujarat Summit, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's clarion call for boosting domestic manufacturing and job creation through Make in India campaign and Digital India initiative "have energised India and its enterprises". Ambani said as part of the investment programme, RIL will partner and enable thousands of small businesses and Gujarati entrepreneurs to create virtuous cycle of prosperity. RIL is investing in raising polyester capacity by some 60 per cent in aggregate across four locations, a new 1.5 million tonnes refinery off-gas based petrochemical cracker and downstream units in Jamnagar, enhancing refining profitability via petcoke (petroleum coke) gasification and reducing feedstock costs for petrochem by importing cheap US ethane. (

Oil Ministry to appeal rich & powerful to opt out of LPG subsidy scheme

January 10, 2015. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has decided to use market-priced cooking gas in his home, endorsing a campaign by the oil ministry and sending a strong message that the affluent should stop consuming subsidised LPG, which is meant for the poor. Oil company executives had stopped purchasing subsidised cooking gas last August, after which the "opt out of LPG subsidy scheme" was extended to the general public. It has attracted over 21,277 consumers. Customers get cooking gas at a subsidised rate of ` 417 per 14.2-kg cylinder, which costs ` 708.50. Each household is entitled to get 12 subsidised cylinders a year. The government estimates that about 1 crore rich customers can stop using subsidised cooking gas as the annual subsidy of ` 4,000 is not a major saving for them. After allowing petrol and diesel to be priced at market rates, the government aims to reduce cooking gas subsidy by selling LPG at market prices and directly transferring reimbursements to the bank accounts of customers. The LPG subsidy was ` 46,458 crore in the previous financial year, the oil ministry said. The direct transfer of LPG subsidy will reduce its diversion, the oil ministry said. (

Oil regulator to submit gas premium formula by month-end

January 9, 2015. Upstream oil regulator DGH (Directorate General of Hydrocarbons) will by the end of the month submit a formula to determine the premium over and above the recently hiked price to be paid for natural gas produced from difficult fields. The government while raising natural gas price by 33 per cent to $5.61 per million British thermal unit, had announced that gas discoveries made in deepwater, ultra-deep sea or high-temperature and high-pressure fields will be given a premium. The regulator has already collected comments and feedback on the proposed mechanism from industry players. The Cabinet headed by prime minister Narendra Modi had in October approved a revised natural gas price and stated that discoveries made after this announcement in difficult regions would be given a premium as exploration and drilling is costly and challenging. DGH will suggest if there should be a uniform premium or different rates for deepwater, ultra-deep sea and high-pressure and high-temperature (HPHT) fields. Also, it will suggest if the premium should be a percentage of the existing gas price or a fixed rate or a completely new formulation. Oil secretary Saurabh Chandra said the relaxation in the implementation of the production sharing contract (PSC), granted by the Cabinet at the same meeting in October, has led to 30 oil and gas projects being cleared by the DGH. In a bid to make it easier to produce oil and gas, the Cabinet had granted operational flexibility to help firms like Cairn India and ONGC start producing oil and gas from several discoveries that are mired in contractual disputes. A policy framework for relaxation, extension and clarification in timelines for development and production of oil and gas under the PSC was approved, he said. (

Govt to exempt ONGC, OIL from fuel subsidy

January 9, 2015. The government is likely to exempt Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) from payment of fuel subsidy during the rest of the fiscal due to steep decline in global oil rates to around $50 per barrel. Upstream producers ONGC and OIL made good nearly half of the revenue loss or under- recoveries that fuel retailers incurred on selling cooking fuel and diesel until recently at government controlled rates. This subsidy contribution was by way of discount on crude oil they sold to the downstream firms and it was capped at $56 per barrel in 2013. But with global oil prices tumbling to its lowest level since April 2009, the continuation of the subsidy-sharing formula would mean that ONGC will not just have to sell crude oil to refiners like Indian Oil Corp (IOC) for free but also pay another $6 per barrel from its pocket. In such a scenario, the government is considering exempting ONGC and OIL from payment of subsidy during reminder of the current fiscal, sources privy to the development said. Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan had stated that the government was reworking the subsidy-sharing formula. Subsidy burden on upstream oil companies has increased from ` 32,000 crore or 30 per cent of the total under-recovery in 2008-09 to ` 67,021 crore (48 per cent of the total under-recovery) in 2013-14. In 2013-14, ONGC paid a record ` 56,384 crore subsidy. This has significantly constrained the capacity of these companies to increase their exploration efforts in difficult areas, thereby adversely affecting the country's domestic oil production. Under-recoveries during current fiscal are pegged at around ` 73,000 crore. Of this, about ` 51,000 crore have already been accounted for in first half where ONGC paid ` 26,841 crore subsidy, OIL ` 4085 crore and GAIL ` 1000 crore. Government provided cash subsidy to cover the rest of it. For the remainder of the fiscal, another ` 21,000-22,000 crore of under-recoveries are estimated which can easily be met by government subsidy from budget and sparing ONGC, they said. The oil ministry is of the view that unless sufficient funds are available for increased oil recovery and enhanced oil recovery schemes from the ageing oil fields, the country may notionally lose more than 70 million tonnes of indigenous crude oil production during next 10 years. This may increase the import bill by ` 3,33,000 crore. However, if this crude is produced indigenously, it will cost only ` 112,000 crore resulting in a substantial saving of ` 2,21,000 crore. (

ONGC stake sale after new subsidy sharing formula: Oil Minister

January 8, 2015. Government will go for its stake sale in ONGC after finalising a new subsidy sharing formula as it would help in fetching better price in the market. The Department of Disinvestment will take a call on time of divestment of ONGC, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said after meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. During the meeting, also attended by senior officials, discussions focused on selling of government stakes in oil companies other than ONGC.  The Cabinet has approved 5 per cent stake sale in ONGC, which could fetch an estimated ` 11,500 crore to the exchequer. Government holds 68.94 per cent in ONGC. The Oil Ministry is reworking the fuel subsidy sharing formula to cut ONGC payout by a quarter through adjustment of statutory oil cess against its share. The move to lessen the subsidy burden is expected to give a fillip to government's plan to sell 5 per cent stake in Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC). Upstream producers like ONGC met nearly half of the revenue loss or under-recoveries that fuel retailers incurred on selling cooking fuel and diesel until recently at government controlled rates. In 2013-14, ONGC paid a record ` 56,384 crore subsidy, which this fiscal is likely to come down to around ` 32,000 crore. (

RIL gas payments to be invested in interest bearing deposits

January 7, 2015. After Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) demanded interest on KG-D6 gas payments flowing into gas pool account operated by GAIL, the state-owned firm has agreed to invest the receivables in short-term interest bearing deposits with public sector banks. GAIL has written to Oil Ministry saying it will invest monthly accruals in the gas pool account in 271 days deposits of four empanelled banks - State Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and Corporation Bank. The government had in November hiked domestic natural gas prices by 33 per cent to USD 5.61 per million British thermal unit. In case of RIL's main gas field in KG-D6 block, it, however, ordered buyers to pay the firm old rate of USD 4.2 and deposit the balance USD 1.41 in the gas pool account. The incremental USD 1.41 would become due to RIL if it can legally prove that Dhirubhai-1 and 3 gas output dropping to a tenth of projected 80 million cubic meters per day was due to geological reasons and not because of hoarding. RIL has written to the Oil Ministry saying it is entitled to get the principal amount together with market interest rate in case it wins the case. As interest rate on 271 days to 1 year deposits is higher, the accruals in the gas pool account are invested in such term deposits. RIL and its partners are paying the government statutory levy of royalty at the rate of 5 per cent on the USD 4.2 gas price they got and GAIL pays the same from the gas pool account on the remainder payments of USD 1.41. (

Oil price slump to bring down profits of upstream firms: ICRA

January 7, 2015. The 55 per cent slump in global oil prices will result in material decline in profits of crude oil producers like Cairn India, but will help oil marketing companies cut their fuel losses, ratings agency ICRA said. Global crude oil prices have declined from USD 112 per barrel in June 2014 to USD 50 now, primarily due to significant increase in supply with a record US crude oil production, demand slowdown in Europe, Japan and China. Lower crude oil prices would materially impact profits of crude oil producers in India, it said. The operating profit of Cairn India could decrease by about 35 per cent in 2014-15. ICRA expected ONGC/OIL's subsidy discount to decline from USD 59 per barrel in FY14 to USD 40-45 in FY15. If crude oil prices sustain in the range of USD 50-55 a barrel, the extent of discount for upstream companies would be a key driver of profits in FY16. Further, cash generation of overseas ventures of ONGC Videsh Ltd, OIL and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) would decrease significantly. The significant decline in crude oil prices, if sustained, will lead to reduction of capital spending of global E&P companies due to lower realizations and deferment of development of complex fields due to poor economics, it said. (



NTPC to invite tenders for $1.2 bn Bangladesh JV power project

January 13, 2015. NTPC, India's biggest electricity generator, will invite tenders this month for the construction of a $1.2 billion, joint venture (JV) power project to be built in Bangladesh. The coal-fired 1,320 MW plant, expected to become operational by December 2018, is aimed at meeting Bangladesh's growing energy requirements. The company has appointed Fichtner Consulting Engineers and is selecting a consultant to help in sourcing coal for the project. The plant is likely to use about 8 million tonnes of imported coal every year. The plant is being built by Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company, an equal venture between Bangladesh Power Development Board and NTPC. The first project of this venture is the 1,320 MW Maitree Project at Rampal in Bagerhat district. NTPC will set up two 660 MW units at the location on land provided by the Bangladesh government. The utility's expertise will be used to run the plant. At present, demand for power in Bangladesh is about 7,500 MW, which is barely met with its own generation capacity as well as 500 MW sourced from India. By 2021, demand is expected to touch 24,000 MW while in 2030, it is estimated to be about 40,000 MW. At least half of this demand will be met by coal based thermal power generation sources. NTPC supplies 250 MW to Bangladesh at present. (

CLP Holdings plans power plant in Gujarat with a projected cost of $2 bn

January 12, 2015. Hong Kong-based China Light & Power (CLP) Holdings Ltd is planning a 2,000 MW coal-based power plant in Gujarat at a projected investment of $2 billion (` 12,400 crore), adding to its operational gas-based 600 MW power plant in the state. CLP Holdings CEO Richard Lancaster said the company is undertaking a feasibility study for the power plant that is most likely to be fuelled by imported coal. The project cost for the 2000 MW coal-based power plant is estimated at around $2 billion. The company is also keen on developing renewable energy, especially in the form of solar and wind farms in India. The global CEO community is trying to understand how the investment environment in India will be playing out in near future, he said. (

IL&FS plans to set up 6 GW power plants in Kutch

January 8, 2015. Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) is set to invest about ` 35,000 crore for setting up 6,000 MW of power generation capacities in Kutch – Gujarat, the company said. IL&FS Group has already laid out plans for a multi-product Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Kutch and two power generation facilities combining 6,000 MW capacities in the SEZ. IL&FS Group company, IL&FS Maritime Infrastructure Company Ltd (IMICL) is undertaking the day-to-day project development activities for an Integrated Maritime Complex comprising a Shipyard and a multi-product SEZ at Nana Layja where IL&FS is the co-developer, the company said. The Project site is located at the mouth of Gulf of Kutch and is 95 km from Kandla Port and 65 km from Bhuj. However, the company declined to have any fresh proposal for investments to be announced in the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, 2015. Meanwhile, the Kutch district collector has recently announced big ticket investment plans from the power and cement sectors. (

Extreme cold hits power generation in Himachal

January 8, 2015. Extreme cold conditions have frozen glaciers in the state, resulting in acute power shortage in "power surplus" Himachal Pradesh with generation at hydro power projects dipping by 80-85%. To meet the rising demand for power during peak winter season, the state government is relying on banking supply from neighbouring states of Punjab, Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The state electricity board said that, at present, daily demand for power is 260 lakh units while availability is 120 lakh units. To fill the gap of 140 lakh units, power on banking is drawn from the neighbouring states. Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Ltd (HPSEBL) owns 126 MW Larji hydro power project, 120 MW Bhaba hydro power project and 300 MW Baspa power project. Besides, it takes around 300 MW power from small power projects in addition to 330 MW power from Nathpa Jhakri power project in lieu of its share and 12% free power. It also draws 12% power from Chamera and BBMB projects, but there is shortage despite this. During peak summers in June-July, generation reaches 1,300 MW, but these days it has decreased to around 600-700 MW from all the sources. To meet the demand during winters, HPSEBL is drawing its full share from Nathpa Jhakri project while 100 MW is drawn on banking from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to be returned in summer. HPSEBL said that all rounds efforts are being made to ensure that people do not feel the shortage. (

MP's power generation not hit by coal workers' strike

January 7, 2015. The coal industry workers' strike has not affected Madhya Pradesh's power generation capacity and the state has enough stock of the vital fuel to run its thermal power stations unhindered, Madhya Pradesh Power Generation Company said. The recent drizzle across the state has brought down the power demand to around 6,000 MW from nearly 8,000 MW a couple of days back, the company said. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade…

JSW Energy to bid for coal blocks via debt

January 8, 2015. JSW Energy plans to bid for coal blocks in the upcoming auctions and is upbeat about the fall in the dry fuel's price in the international market as it helps boost the company's financials. But the company is concerned about subdued demand for power in the country. JSW Energy to bid for coal blocks via debt, internal accruals. The company will bid in the upcoming first round of coal block auctions. If it wins, it will finance the purchase of the block with "a combination of debt and internal accruals". Mines are being auctioned after the Supreme Court cancelled previous allocations which it found "arbitrary and illegal". Experts say that merchant power rates are also low, in the range of ` 3 per unit, down from ` 5-6 in the past. This adds to the woes of power producers. JSW Energy meets 65% of its fuel requirement with imported coal. Its plants at Vijayanagar in Karnataka and Ratnagiri in Maharashtra are run on imported coal, while the one at Barmer in Rajasthan is fuelled by its captive Kapurdi lignite mines. JSW Energy sells about half its power produced under long-term power purchase agreements and the other half on the spot market. JSW Energy's power sales rose in the half year through September -by 23% in the merchant market and 34% under long-term agreements. The company has been reducing the share of sales in the merchant market, which now 50% compared with 64% in 2011-12. (

Small industries down shutters over power tariff hike

January 8, 2015. Nearly 20,000 micro and small industries in the district downed their shutters protesting against the 15% increase in the power tariff, even as the strike by power loom job workers in Coimbatore and Tirupur districts entered the second day. Responding to a call given by the Kovai and Tirupur District Micro and Cottage Entrepreneurs Association (KOTMA), the industries closed their units and several members joined to observe one day hunger strike, to bring the attention of the Government on their plight. The government either has to withdraw the hike or bear the entire increase, by considering it as subsidy to the industries, KOTMA said. (

Coal imports jump 19 per cent in 2014

January 7, 2015. Coal shipments to India, the world's third-largest importer, rose 19 per cent to 210.6 million tonnes last year driven by an even bigger jump in purchases of the variety used in power generation, online trader mjunction said. Imports have risen over the past four years as India adds capacity to supply round-the-clock power to its 1.2 billion people. Lower-than-expected output from state giant Coal India is also boosting imports. At 163 million tonnes, imports of thermal coal used by power companies jumped 22 per cent in 2014. Coking coal, a steelmaking raw material, saw a 4 per cent rise to 37 million tonnes, according to the provisional data from mjunction. Anthracite coal, met coke and pet coke made up the rest of the shipments. Imports fell slightly in December to 15.30 million tonnes as good weather helped Coal India ramp up supply. Coal India may not maintain the pace in January: workers at the world's top coal producer began a five-day strike in protest at PM Narendra Modi's move to allow private companies to mine and sell the fuel for the first time in 42 years. The government does not regularly release coal import figures. (

Policy / Performance………….

Australian delegation compliments India for progressive changes in mining sector

January 13, 2015. An Australian delegation led by Andrew Robb, Trade and Investment Minister, met union minister for steel & mines, Narendra Singh Tomar. During the meeting, which was attended by senior government officials from India and Australia and CEOs from the countries, Mr Robb complimented the new government for bringing in forward-looking and progressive changes in the mining sector. Incidentally, Around one-third of the 450-strong delegation that has come to India, represent mining sector. The Australian minister commended the stable policy regime, that would help attract investors to India. Tomar invited Australian mining companies to be a partner in developing the mining sector in India. While highlighting issues of concern, he mentioned reducing the high waiting time for ships at the coal loading ports in Australia, improving availability of rail and port capacities for transporting coking coal to port and creating opportunities for sale or investments in the equity of good coking coal assets in Australia. (

Singareni Collieries expects to commission unit in Telangana by November

January 13, 2015. The first unit of 2x600 MW power plant, being developed by the State-owned Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL), is expected to be commissioned by November this year. The recently-appointed Chairman and Managing Director of Singareni Collieries, N Sridhar, held a meeting with NTPC, BHEL and McNally Bharat — all part of the project coming up in Adilabad district of Telangana. While NTPC is the consultant for the project, BHEL is the Boiler-turbine-generator component executing agency and McNally Bharat is the balance of plant provider for the coal fired thermal plant. The meeting was convened by SCCL to take hands-on information on the project status, contingency plans for compressing time and completing the project ahead of schedule as desired by the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who had visited the plant site in December to oversee its progress.

As per plans, it is proposed to light up the boiler by May 2015. Boiler light up is an important milestone wherein a boiler will be ignited using light diesel oil. This ensures major completion of the boiler works and, thereafter, the boiler preparation activities such as steam blowing are readied. All the contractors have assured SCCL to speed up the approval of plans and procurement of materials to meet the timelines. The synchronisation of the first unit is expected by November. During the meeting, issues relating to water supply, land acquisition for rail connectivity, among others, which are part of Singareni Collieries, were sorted out. (

Timing of CIL stake sale to be decided by Finance Ministry: Coal Secretary

January 13, 2015. The Coal Ministry said the timing of stake sale in Coal India Ltd (CIL), which may fetch the exchequer about ` 24,000 crore, will be decided by the Finance Ministry. Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said the Coal Ministry has already signed an agreement with trade unions of CIL and addressed their grievances aptly. The comments by the Coal Secretary comes a day after the Finance Minister said the divestment programme would be pursued on priority and involve more than one PSU during this period. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the government would sell stakes in state-owned companies before the end of the financial year in March. Coal workers, which were protesting against disinvestment in CIL, had called off their nationwide five-day strike after two days, as the government assured trade unions that the Coal India will not be privatised and the employees' interest will be protected. (

Govt asks coal block bidders to fix dates for site visit

January 13, 2015. The government has invited bidders to come up with dates to visit the coal blocks besides inspecting land documents of the mines. The invite notice to the bidders by the Coal Ministry is for the 23 producing coal blocks to be auctioned next month. For site visit, the government has kept five days (January 16, 19, 20, 21 and 22), while for inspection of land documentation document, the ministry has fixed four days (January 16, January 19, January 20 and January 21).  The government on December 25 last year kick-started the auction process for cancelled coal mines with the launch of a portal for electronic bidding. The Union Cabinet had earlier approved re-promulgation of the coal ordinance and necessary guidelines for mine allocations. E-auction of 23 coal mines announced for qualified bidders earlier will be held from February 14-22. The entire mine allocation process for Schedule II (in production) coal mines will be completed by March 23 with the signing of Coal Mine Development and Production Agreement, the government had said earlier. (

States asked to revisit NoC for industrial power connection

January 13, 2015. Concerned over new industrial projects hit due to delay in getting electricity connection, the Centre has asked state Pollution Control Boards to revisit the mandatory requirement of 'No Objection Certificate (NoC) for such projects for improving 'ease of doing business'. The requirement of 'NoC' or 'Consent to Establish (CTE)' certificate has been mandated by many states on their own although such a condition has not been specified under any guidelines of the Central Pollution Control Board, said a latest order issued by the Union Environment Ministry. In many states, Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) and Pollution Control Committees have made it mandatory to obtain the CTE certification as a pre-requisite for getting the industrial electricity connection for establishment of new industries/projects. The NDA government has been taking several measures to remove green hurdles that have been blocking many development projects in the country. (

Coal block auction to private companies to start soon: Finance Minister

January 12, 2015. Government said the much-awaited auction of coal blocks to private companies will begin soon. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that clearing up the entire mess in coal and power sectors is one important step the government was taking. The government invited bids for 24 mines. It later dropped one block from the list of 24 due to "technical reasons". After dropping Namchik Namphuk mine in Arunachal Pradesh, 23 mines will be available in the first tranche. The coal blocks also fall in the Schedule-II coal mines. Schedule II coal mines are 42 producing blocks out of 204 cancelled by the Supreme Court. The Union Cabinet had earlier approved re-promulgation of the coal ordinance and necessary guidelines for mine allocations. The government kick-started the auction process for coal mines cancelled by the Supreme Court with the launch of a portal for electronic bidding. (

Shiv Sena continues to oppose 9.9 GW JNPP

January 12, 2015. Notwithstanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's strong push for nuclear energy which he wants trebled by 2024, ally Shiv Sena said it will continue to back those opposed to the 9,900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) in Maharashtra. Locals and anti-nuclear activists have been holding protests against the proposed plant over "scientific and environmental" concerns and Shiv Sena has been actively backing them. The project is proposed to be set up in collaboration with French company Areva in the coastal Jaitapur village in Ratnagiri district. It will have six units of 1650 MW each built with Areva's European Pressurised Reactor technology. JNPP would be one of the costliest nuclear power plant projects considering its sheer size and the new technology. After three years of negotiations, India and France had in March last year agreed on the cost of power that will be generated, clearing a major hurdle in the path of the project. The two sides had agreed on ` 6 per unit, down from ` 9.18 per unit quoted by Areva initially which was strongly opposed by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and NPCIL. Senior Shiv Sena leader and state's Industries Minister Subhash Desai said the previous UPA government had failed to convince the locals about the safety aspects of the project. India is seeking to conclude a civil nuclear cooperation pact with Japan negotiations for which started in 2010. Inking a pact with Japan is critical for India to operationalise civil nuclear power pacts already concluded with other countries. According to US Secretary of State John Kerry, on India visit to attend the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, cooperation in civil nuclear energy is likely to figure prominently in talks between Modi and President Barak Obama when the latter arrives in New Delhi to attend the Republic Day celebrations as chief guest. (

MERC to review power tariff soon: Bawankule

January 12, 2015. The Maharashtra government has taken several measures to lower electricity rates and soon state power regulatory commission MERC (Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission) will review tariffs, state Power Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule said. The government had taken several decisions to minimise the coal transport cost, distribution losses and to ensure procurement of quality coal for state-run power plants by introducing third-party sampling mechanism, he said. Bawankule said state-run power plants were not getting good coal, which led to a dispute between Coal India and the Mahagenco. But Coal India has agreed to the proposal of testing coal samples at third-party laboratories, he said. All these initiatives would lower the tariff, he claimed. The government was also planning to revise the present power tariff, the minister said. He said the state had proposed to reduce the open access surcharge by ` 1.50 per unit for the industry in Vidarbha. The government would also come out with a solar power policy and would encourage solar pumps for the agriculture which would help the farmers in the drought-affected areas, he said. (

Govt to invest ` 3 lakh crore for building power infrastructure: Goyal

January 10, 2015. An amount of ` 3 lakh crore would be invested in building infrastructure for transmission and distribution of power in the country, Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal said. This would facilitate a 24x7 power supply, the minister said. Goyal said the eastern states would get lakhs of crores of rupees through auction of coal blocks. Goyal said that the Centre had set a target to double coal production by 2019, thereby doubling power generation. He said the states could benefit from coal blocks auction in other ways too like progress in industrialisation, high revenue generation and business environment and others. Goyal said, the auction of coal blocks would ensure transparency in the deal. (

NTPC to help revive Patratu thermal power plant in Jharkhand

January 9, 2015. NTPC will assist in reviving the struggling Patratu thermal power station, run by the Jharkhand government. The 840 MW Patratu thermal power station is located near Patratu town in Ramgarh district in Jharkhand. It is operated by the Jharkhand State Electricity Board. Due to paucity of time, NTPC has been selected to revive the plant with the state government over selection of bidder through the tendering process where the private sector also gets the opportunity to participate. Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said he is hopeful that the process of inviting bids will start in the next three to six months. The minister also hinted at reviving Tenughat Vidyut Nigam Ltd (TVNL). The company is engaged in improving its technical performance with reference to national benchmarks by adopting the best available practices and absorbing the best available technologies subject to its financial constraints. (

CIL unions to make up for output loss of 1 mn tonnes: Goyal

January 8, 2015. Coal India Ltd (CIL) trade unions have assured the government that they will try to make up for the loss in production of about one million tonnes on account of workers strike which was called off, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said. He said this while presenting the report card on first 200 days of the working of the ministries of Coal, Power and Renewable Energy. Coal workers had called off their five-day nationwide strike after two days following the intervention of the government. Goyal said that the unions have also assured complete cooperation in the future as well. The government had assured trade unions that CIL will not be privatised and the employees' interest will be protected. Nearly five lakh coal workers had gone on a strike after five major trade unions, including BJP-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, gave a call for the biggest ever industrial action in four decades against what they called attempts for "disinvestment in Coal India and denationalisation of coal mining". (

Power Ministry cancels UMPP bidding

January 8, 2015. The government has abandoned the bidding process of two ultra mega power projects (UMPPs) in Odisha and Tamil Nadu and will soon set up a committee to move it forward. The private firms, which had participated in the first round of bidding for both the projects, withdrew their bids citing difficulties in securing finances for these projects. For the Tamil Nadu UMPP, the private companies in the fray were Adani Power, CLP India, Jindal Steel & power, JSW Energy, Sterlite Energy and Tata Power. Of these, four bought the Request for Proposal document but decided not to go ahead further in the process. The Odisha UMPP saw nine interested bidders, including Adani Power, CLP India, GMR Energy, Jindal Steel and Power, JSW Energy and Sterlite Energy. After the private companies pulled out, only NTPC and NHPC were left for bidding. UMPP is a coal-based power project of 4,000 MW generation capacity. (

Power Ministry to finalise draft cabinet note on tariff policy by Jan 15

January 7, 2015. Power Ministry is drafting a Cabinet note proposing amendments to the Tariff Policy for enabling greater competition in the sector. The Cabinet note proposing certain amendments to the Tariff Policy, which was incorporated in 2006, is under preparation and the Ministry of Power will be ready with a draft by January 15. The amendments are being proposed mainly with the purpose of giving emphasis to competition and creating feasible conditions for the same in the sector. After receiving responses from other concerned ministries on the draft note, the Power Ministry will send the final note to Cabinet for approval. As part of the amendment to the Tariff Policy, the ministry has sought extension of Section 62 - under which electricity regulatory commissions have been empowered to determine tariffs - beyond the financial year 2017 and keep the hydro projects under this section, enabling the continuation of the cost plus tariff structure. Under the cost plus tariff structure PSUs like NTPC and NHPC charge cost plus tariff -- a lump-sum fee as well as a per-unit charge from the distribution companies or discoms. Another suggestion is to have a formula which would ensure that variation in fuel and power purchase cost is recovered by the power generating firms. (

MIA against power tariff hike

January 7, 2015. Mysore Industries Association against power tariff hike Mysore, Jan 7 (KNN)  Mysore Industries Association (MIA) representing industries of Mysore, Mandya and Chamarajanagar Districts has opposed the Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Company (CESCOM) proposal of power tariff hike of 80 paise/per unit to all consumers including tiny, small, medium and large industries. As per CESCOM tariff revision application to KERC (Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission), there is a substantial decrease in consumption of power by industries due to global recession, the association said. Pointing out that a lot of industries have been either closed, sick or turned into non-performing assets (NPA), MIA has strongly opposed the proposal of hike. CESCOM has also proposed to convert self-employed tailors, auditors, beauty parlours, home tutorials, DTP typing, paying guest, goldsmith, astrology and other micro self-employed service activity undertaken in residential houses into commercial category with Rs three per unit which is an additional burden to all small scale units, MIA said. MIA is planning to file its objection effectively against this power tariff hike with the help of both technical and legal expertise. It has requests all consumers, industrialists, auditors and legal experts to advise and contribute towards the expenditure incurred for filing the objection. MIA President P Vishwanath and General Secretary Suresh Kumar Jain have asked all consumers to file their objection directly in six sets duly notarized to KERC before February 2, 2015. MIA will provide soft copy of tariff revision application of CESCOM by email. (



Statoil plans to extend operational life of Norne oil field to 2030

January 12, 2015. Statoil is considering to extend the operational life of the Norne oil field in the Norwegian Sea to 2030. Located around 80km north of the Heidrun oil field in the Norwegian Sea, the field was initially planned to be decommissioned in 2014, after producing around 700 million barrels of oil equivalent. The main Norne field's current recovery factor is 56.5%, which is a top worldwide result for production from subsea fields. Production flows from a full 15 subsea templates and 26 exploration wells, which have been drilled in the Norne licence alone, including five successes: the Norne, Stær, Svale, Dompap and Fossekall fields. In addition to launching a project in 2017 with the scope and time of investments, Statoil will apply for an extended technical life for Norne by 2021. (

Jereh begins production at first shale gas liquefaction plant in China

January 12, 2015. Jereh Group has completed construction and commenced operations of the first shale gas liquefaction plant in China. The plant is being developed in two phase with the first phase, which is complete, expected to produce 2,470,000 cubic feet of LNG per day. Construction is scheduled to commence shortly on the phase two of the project, which is capable of producing up to 10,590,000 cubic feet of LNG per day. (

Petrobras and Indian partners find more oil in Brazil

January 9, 2015. Brazil's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) and its Indian partners have found more light crude oil in the Sergipe Basin off Brazil's Northeast coast. The discovery in the BM-SEAL-11 exploration block is one of several in recent years in an area believed to hold more than 1 billion barrels of recoverable oil, or enough to supply all needs in the United States for nearly 2 months. Petrobras owns 60 percent of BM-SEAL-11 and is the operator. IBV Brasil SA owns the rest. IBV is a 50-50 joint venture between India's Videocon Industries Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corp. Drilling in the 9-BRSA-1280D-SES well on the Farfan prospect found a new 28-meter column of oil. It also confirmed the presence of light crude at density of 37 to 40 degrees on the American Petroleum Institute Scale first announced in 2013. The discoveries also include natural gas. Farfan is located 107 kilometers east of Aracaju, the capital of Brazil's Sergipe state. Petrobras has said it plans to start producing oil in the area in 2018. (

CNOOC finds gas at Lingshui 25-1 deepwater well in South China Sea

January 7, 2015. China's CNOOC Ltd announced that the company has successfully made a new mid-to-large sized natural gas discovery at the Lingshui 25-1 deepwater exploration well in Qiongdongnan Basin in the South China Sea. The Lingshui 25-1-1 prospect, drilled and completed at a depth of about 13,123 feet, encountered the oil and gas pay zone with a total thickness of around 239 feet, with well test producing approximately 35.6 million cubic feet of natural gas and 395 barrels of oil per day. Lingshui 25-1 is the second mid-to-large sized natural gas discovery following the Lingshui 17-2 find as CNOOC pursue deepwater exploration offshore China independently. (


China agrees to finance development projects for Iran’s Abadan oil refinery

January 12, 2015. China has signed an agreement to finance development projects for Iran in Abadan oil refinery, located in Abadan near the coast of the Persian Gulf. The refinery maintenance has been financed by the Chinese credit line. For the implementation of refinery development project, approximately €2,600 bn is required, Khosravani said. In 2013, trade between the two nations was estimated at $45 bn. National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC), as one of the major subsidiaries of the Ministry of Petroleum, aims to address the increasing energy needs of the country. (

Transportation / Trade……….

South Africa scuppers PetroSA’s bid to buy Petronas’s unit

January 13, 2015. South Africa’s National Treasury said it denied a request from state-owned oil company PetroSA to borrow internationally to buy Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s stake in the nation’s biggest fuel retailer. Petronas, as the Malaysian state oil company is known, pulled out of the 18 billion-rand ($1.6 billion) deal because of a lack of funding. The Treasury was concerned that PetroSA’s balance sheet won’t be able to carry the debt. The purchase would have given PetroSA, which operates a 45,000 barrel-a-day refinery at Mossel Bay on the southern coast, the ability to sell directly to consumers. Engen Petroleum Ltd has a 135,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Durban on the east coast, according to the company. (

China imports record crude as price collapse spurs buying spree

January 13, 2015. China’s crude imports surged to a record in December after a buying spree in Singapore by a state-owned trader and as the government in Beijing accelerated stockpiling amid the collapse in global oil prices. Overseas purchases increased to 30.4 million metric tons last month, according to the General Administration of Customs data. That’s about 7.19 million barrels a day, up from the previous high of 6.81 million in April. For 2014, crude imports rose to 310 million tons, also an all-time high. Chinese demand is shoring up the global oil market as the country expands emergency stockpiles amid crude’s slump to the lowest level in more than five years. The Asian nation’s consumption is forecast to climb by 5 percent in 2015, while the government is set to hoard about 7 million tons of crude in strategic reserves by the middle of this year, predicts ICIS-C1 Energy, a Shanghai-based commodities researcher. China National United Oil Co., a unit of the country’s biggest energy company known as Chinaoil, bought 47 cargoes on a Singapore trading platform that were to be delivered last month, according to data from Platts, which operates the system. (

US oil export ban poised to loosen with Mexico request

January 9, 2015. The 40-year old ban on most U.S. crude exports is set to be loosened after Mexico’s state-owned oil company asked for an exception. Petroleos Mexicanos is in talks with the U.S. Commerce Department to import 100,000 barrels a day of light crude to increase Mexico’s gasoline production and improve refining. Pemex, as the world’s ninth-largest oil producer is known, would send its heavy oil to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries in exchange. Oil producers including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Continental Resources Inc. have called for the U.S. to end the restrictions, saying booming domestic output reduces the need to keep supplies at home. U.S. oil supply has increased by 66 percent in the past five years, and a majority of that growth is in light oil from shale rock. (

British Columbia prohibits oil transport on pipelines built for LNG facilities

January 8, 2015. The province of British Columbia has established a new regulation forbidding the transport of oil or diluted bitumen on pipelines constructed specifically for liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities. The new regulation, which will be applied under the Oil and Gas Activities Act, prohibits the BC Oil and Gas Commission from allowing any conversion of a natural gas pipeline delivering an LNG facility. Currently, British Columbia has 18 LNG proposals for export operations and is operating over 40,000km of provincially regulated pipelines. The potential supply is expected to support domestic and international project operations for more than 150 years. (

Oil trades near $48 as US stocks seen adding to global glut

January 7, 2015. Oil traded near $48 a barrel amid speculation expanding U.S. inventories will exacerbate a global supply glut that’s driven prices to the lowest in more than five years. Futures were little changed after four days of losses in New York. Stockpiles in the world’s biggest oil-consuming country probably rose by 700,000 barrels, a survey showed before a government report. China won’t drive a rebound in oil prices this year as growth in net crude imports will slow in 2015, Citigroup Inc. strategists including Ivan Szpakowski said in research note. Oil slumped by almost half in 2014, the most since the 2008 financial crisis, as the U.S. pumped the most crude in more than three decades and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) resisted calls to cut production. Iran has held talks with Russia to reduce output in the world’s biggest crude producer, with “no conclusion reached yet,” according to Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh. (

Poland raises capacity of its gas link from Germany

January 7, 2015. Poland has more than doubled the capacity of a link able to carry gas from the West in its drive to diversify supplies and reduce dependence on its main supplier Russia, Polish gas operator Gaz-System said. Eastern Europe's biggest economy opened its first gas link from the West in April capable of transporting supplies from Germany to help guard against potential cuts of Russian deliveries as the crisis in Ukraine esclated. The reverse flow link along the Yamal pipeline through a pumping station in the German town of Mallnow was also seen as part of wider European Union efforts to build new links and infrastructure to ensure security of supply. Poland consumes around 16 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas annually, most of which comes from Russia's Gazprom. Central and eastern European countries including the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria have all made recent strides to build new gas links with each other and to improve reverse flows. (

Policy / Performance…………

Argentine oil provinces prepare for $45 crude

January 13, 2015. Argentina’s Chubut province, the country’s largest oil exporter, is spearheading talks with peers, the federal government and crude producers to seek regulation that would help the country brace for prices below $50 a barrel. Chubut Governor Martin Buzzi, who heads the oil provincial group known as OFEPHI, initiated talks after the province lowered royalty fees paid by producers, Ezequiel Cufre, Chubut’s oil minister, said. Chubut is being hurt the most by lower oil prices more than other Argentine provinces, such as Neuquen, home to the Vaca Muerta shale formation, because it exports more crude. Still, Cufre said all provinces need to seek solutions amid expectations for Brent to hover around $45 a barrel for the next few months. The province saw its export price slide 47 percent to $52.22 a barrel, based on last year’s average price for Brent oil, the international benchmark. In Argentina, oil prices are set and regulated by the federal government. Starting Jan. 1, regulators set the price for Medanito crude at $77 a barrel, down from $83.90 in December and Escalante, which is produced in Chubut, at $67 a barrel, down from $74. To encourage production, Chubut lowered royalties paid by producers. Oil companies that increase output from 2014 will pay reduced royalty payments, while new projects will pay a royalty rate of 7.5 percent, down from the current 15 percent, Cufre said. The cuts will be made on a graduated basis in proportion to the amount of increased production, he said. (

UAE sticks with oil output boost even as prices drop

January 13, 2015. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will stick with a plan to increase oil-production capacity to 3.5 million barrels a day in 2017 even as an oversupply pushed prices to the lowest in more than five years. Oil fell to the lowest level since March 2009 after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Societe Generale SA cut their price forecasts. Venezuela called on producers in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to work together to lift prices back toward $100 a barrel. The UAE, the fifth-largest OPEC member, produced 2.7 million barrels a day last month and has a current capacity of 3 million barrels a day. Oil slumped almost 50 percent last year, the most since the 2008 financial crisis, amid a supply surplus estimated by Qatar at 2 million barrels a day. OPEC is battling a U.S. shale boom by resisting production cuts, signaling it’s prepared to let prices fall to a level that slows American output, which has surged to a three-decade high. (

Iraq raises Basrah crude price for Asia, follows Saudi lead

January 12, 2015. Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer, raised the selling price for February shipments to Asia of its main Basrah Light crude by 30 cents a barrel, after Saudi Arabia boosted its pricing to the region. Iraq set Basrah Light at a discount of $3.70 a barrel to the average of Middle Eastern benchmark Oman and Dubai grades, the country’s Oil Marketing Co. said. The announcement followed increases Jan. 5 by Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), for its main grades to Asia. Iran raised its February prices to Asia. Oil slid to the lowest level in more than five years amid speculation that a global supply glut will linger through the first half of 2015. Saudi Arabia raised the cost of its oil sales to Asia in February, prompting concern that the world’s largest exporter is retreating from using record price discounts to defend market share against North American shale drillers and other non-OPEC producers. (

US drivers start 2015 with cheapest gas in six yrs

January 12, 2015. Drivers paid an average of $2.2021 a gallon for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps, the lowest level for this time of year since 2009, according to Lundberg Survey Inc. Prices dropped 26.92 cents in the three-week period to Jan. 9 and are $1.14 a gallon below year-ago levels, according to the survey, which is based on information obtained at about 2,500 filling stations by the Camarillo, California-based company. Retail gasoline fell after crude oil prices dropped below $50 for the first time since 2009 as OPEC members said they wouldn’t reduce output to bolster prices that have dropped by more than half since June. U.S. stockpiles of gasoline at 237 million barrels were the highest since 2011 in the week ended Jan. 2, according to government data. Refineries across the nation ran at nearly 94 percent of operable capacity. Gasoline at the pump is at the lowest since April 2009, when prices were $2.0549 a gallon, Lundberg said. Over the last five years, prices averaged $3.17 a gallon in early January. The highest price for gasoline in the lower 48 states among the markets surveyed was in San Francisco at $2.66 a gallon, Lundberg said. The lowest price was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where customers paid an average $1.76 a gallon. Regular gasoline averaged $2.54 a gallon on Long Island, New York, and $2.59 in Los Angeles. (

Egypt signs six new O&G exploration deals

January 9, 2015. Egypt has signed six new oil and gas exploration contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars with foreign and Egyptian companies, the oil ministry said. The agreements provide for the drilling of some 41 discovery wells in the western desert and Gulf of Suez, the ministry said. Among the major companies selected are Shell, ENI , BP and Canada's TransGlobe Energy. Egypt has been struggling with soaring energy bills caused by the high subsidies it provides on fuel for its population of 87 million. The subsidies have turned the country from a net energy exporter into a net importer over the last few years. The government is keen to develop untapped finds to reduce its reliance on imports but has struggled to persuade companies to invest in the biggest finds, which are offshore, because the amount it pays them barely covers the investment costs. (

Mexico proposes historic crude oil swap with United States

January 8, 2015. Mexico's state oil company, Pemex, said it has proposed an oil swap with the United States, potentially ushering in the first sustained crude imports by Mexico from its northern neighbor after years of self-sufficiency. Pemex said it had set out a plan to import up to 100,000 barrels a day of light crude and condensates to mix with its own heavier crude at domestic refineries. Under the proposal, Mexico would in exchange provide the United States with heavier Mexican crude for processing at U.S. refineries, and would use the imports from the United States to boost local gasoline and diesel output, Pemex said. Pemex said the oil swap could go ahead as soon as the first quarter of this year. The proposal, which is still being negotiated with the U.S. government, does not signal an increase in Mexican oil shipments to the United States, Pemex said. (

Thailand to raise LPG wholesale price by almost half

January 8, 2015. Thailand's military-backed government will raise the wholesale price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by almost half to $488 a tonne from Feb. 2, bringing it close to import costs. The move is part of Thailand's attempt to restructure domestic gas prices to more fully reflect market prices and cut the subsidy burden on state-controlled PTT PCL, the country's sole gas supplier. The government is also considering adjusting domestic gas prices to reflect actual costs, energy minister Narongchai Akarasanee said after meeting with the energy policy committee. The new formula for wholesale LPG prices will be a weighted average of market prices to reflect costs and will affect retail prices of LPG from March, Narongchai said. PTT has shouldered losses from fuel subsidies given the energy giant has had to import LPG at global prices and sell them at the government-fixed price of $333 per tonne since 2008. Nattachart Charuchinda, chief executive officer for PTT's downstream petroleum business, said declines in global oil prices have helped reduce costs of LPG and natural gas for vehicles (NGV) to $488 a tonne from $550. Domestic energy prices in Thailand have been distorted by various populist policies under previous governments through the Oil Fund. The military government has gradually raised retail gas prices since October. The seven-year subsidy scheme for retail LPG ended in early December after the government raised LPG retail prices by 1.03 baht to 24.16 baht per kg for all sectors. (



Angola to boost energy output with $1 bn power plant

January 12, 2015. Angola will build a multi-million dollar electricity generation plant in its north western city of Soyo, as it seeks to boost the country’s energy sector. The project will be undertaken by Chinese construction and engineering company, China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC). The Southern African country will expend $982 million on Soyo combined-cycle plant. The power plant, which is part of the Public Investment Programme, is of great importance to boost socio-economic development of the country. It is also included in the government project to reduce the Angolan energy deficit by 2017. The government said it will be built based on growth forecasts for electricity demand in the country, in the medium and long term. (

China-backed consortium to develop 240 MW hydroelectric plant in Mexico

January 12, 2015. Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) has selected a consortium comprising a unit of China's Sinohydro subsidiary to build a 240 MW hydroelectric power station in southern Mexico. Under the $386.4 mn contract, the consortium will develop Chicoasen II hydro power plant to provide electricity for 537,000 homes in the southern state of Chiapas. The consortium includes Sinohydro Costa Rica, Omega Construcciones, Desarrollos y Construcciones Urbanas and CAABSA Infraestructura. The project is scheduled to be built in 42 months, the CFE said. Owned by the Mexican government, CFE generates, distributes and markets electric power for almost 35.3 million customers. CFE operates thermoelectric, hydroelectric, coal-fired, geothermal and wind powered plants and facilities, as well as one nuclear power plant. (

Nigeria’s power generation drops to 3 GW

January 9, 2015. The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has said that the maximum generated electricity available for it to transmit for distribution across the country has dropped to 3,000 MW from about 4500 MW. TCN said that the unexpected drop in power generation was occasioned by a recent act of vandalism on the nation’s key gas pipeline, the Trans-Forcados gas pipeline. The country’s electricity generation, which averaged about 4,500 MW in recent times, has dropped by almost 1,500 MW. The drop will necessitate regular supply rationing because gas supply to three key power generation companies, Egbin, Olorunsogo, and Geregu had been affected by the act. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade…

Appalachian Power plans to upgrade transmission power line

January 13, 2015. Appalachian Power announced that it plans to rebuild the company’s South Bluefield-Wythe transmission power line. If the project is approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission and the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, the roughly 21-mile power line will be upgraded from a 69 kilovolt transmission line to a 138 kilovolt line. The utility said that the original line was built in 1917 and that population growth and development in the area have driven the need for a rebuild. Appalachian hopes to begin work in 2016 and complete the project in 2018. The company said it will hold a public workshop in the spring to provide additional information about the upgrade and to solicit community input. Appalachian Power, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, reports that it has about 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee. (

ABB to develop two new 220kV substations in Sri Lanka

January 12, 2015. ABB has been awarded $40 mn contract by Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to supply two new 220kV substations and upgrade an existing substation in Sri Lanka. Under the contract, ABB will construct new substations at Polpitiya in the Central Province and Padukka near the capital Colombo in the Western Province. The company will also upgrade the existing substation at Pannipitiya, a suburb of Colombo. The project is scheduled for completion in 2017. The government is planning to install additional power generation capacity of over 2,500 MW and increase the renewable energy share in the national grid to about 20% by 2020. (

Power Grid under cyber-attack every minute sees UK up defenses

January 9, 2015. The U.K. government is one step ahead of hackers trying to turn off the country’s lights -- for now. The prospect of cyber-attacks on the nation’s power network is major threat to the country’s security, according to James Arbuthnot, a member of parliament who chaired the Defense Select Committee until last year. He plans to visit National Grid Plc next month to discuss the issue. Britain’s electricity transmission network is constantly subject to cyber-attack and threats to infrastructure will remain high over the next few months, the nation’s Computer Emergency Response Team statistics show. Cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure are an increasing threat across the globe, according to Moscow-based security firm Kaspersky Lab, which advises governments and businesses. Revelations of an oil pipeline explosion in Turkey orchestrated by computer in 2008 and the attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment demonstrate the increasing ability of hackers to penetrate IT systems. An attack on the grid would be uniquely destructive since the economy would cease to function without it, Arbuthnot said. The U.S. grid was successfully hacked in November by several foreign governments -- likely Russia, Iran and China -- leaving it vulnerable to physical damage, the National Security Agency said. A report by Mountain View, California-based cyber-security company SentinelOne predicts that such attacks will disrupt American electricity in 2015. (

Policy / Performance…………

Cambodia commissions 338 MW hydropower project

January 13, 2015. Cambodia has commissioned China Huadian-developed 338 MW Russei Chrum Krom hydropower plant, which is considered to be the largest in the country. Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen said that the Chinese-built project is expected to help supply electricity for underserved villages and factories. Located on the Stung Russei Chrum River in western part of Koh Kong province, the Russei Chrum Krom project consists of 206 MW upper hydropower station and the 132 MW lower station and generates output of 1.199 billion kWh (average) annually. The project has been constructed with an investment of approximately $500 mn by China Huadian, under a 35-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreement with the Cambodian government. Power generated from the hydro project will be sold to Electricity of Cambodia at a rate of 7.35 cents/kWh. (

German power-price tumble echoes oil slump as utilities suffer

January 12, 2015. German power prices are poised to retreat to the lowest level in more than a decade, echoing the global collapse in energy costs and signaling more pain for utilities. The next-year benchmark will probably drop 5.3 percent this month to below 30 euros ($35.39) a megawatt-hour, a level not seen since October 2003, according to trading companies from Mainova AG in Frankfurt to CF Partners U.K. LLP in London. Power prices in Europe’s biggest economy fell a fourth year, sliding 10 percent in 2014 on the European Energy Exchange AG. Germany got 26 percent of its electricity from renewables such as solar and wind last year, a portion the government intends to increase to as much as 45 percent by 2025 under a plan known as the Energiewende. (



SunEdison signs MoU with Karnataka govt for 5 GW renewable energy

January 13, 2015. SunEdison has signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Karnataka government to develop 5 GW of renewable energy projects within the state over the next five years, the company said. The electricity generated by these projects will be cost competitive with coal produced electricity, without subsidies or incentives, and will ease the electricity deficit in Karnataka, the company said. SunEdison said under the agreement, the company will provide its world class technology, development and financing expertise to build a mix of solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind energy power plants across Karnataka. The renewable energy power plants will supply electricity, to be sold under power purchase agreements, to distribution companies and utilities within the state, entities of the Central Government and various other third party off-takers within and outside Karnataka, it said. The Karnataka government will explore location options with SunEdison to find suitable government land to construct the projects and facilitate construction of the infrastructure required to connect the projects to the grid, it said. The agreement includes details of an immediate plan to implement projects between 1,000 MW and 1,500 MW before December 31, 2016, it said. (

Development and environment to be balanced: Goyal

January 12, 2015. Stressing the need for doing a balancing act as far as development and environment are concerned, Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said the developing nations have been "unfairly" taken to task on the subject of pollution. Goyal also mentioned that the country's power sector will witness a investments of over USD 250 billion in the next five years of which USD 150 billion will come from renewables. The government is hopeful of receiving these investments in power generation, coal mining as well as electricity distribution and transmission sectors, which would in turn help the government increase power generation and ensure electricity supplies to all households in the country by 2019. It has also set an ambitious target of generating 1,00,000 MW of solar power by 2022. (

Modi advances solar plan for India with $4 bn plant

January 12, 2015. SunEdison Inc. will invest $4 billion to build the biggest solar panel factory in India, advancing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effort to rein in pollution by expanding renewable energy. The manufacturer based in Maryland Heights, Missouri, will form a venture with the Indian power provider Adani Enterprises Ltd to build the photovoltaic plant, with as much as 7.5 GW of annual production capacity. Construction is expected to begin this year, the company said. With some of the quickest-growing carbon dioxide emissions in the developing world, India is under pressure to join in the international fight against global warming. Modi will meet President Barack Obama in New Delhi where the two are expected to discuss climate issues following last year’s pact between the U.S. and China to coordinate pollution cuts. Modi has been ratcheting up India’s targets for renewable energy in a bid to lower coal use and bring electricity to the poor. The government set a target in November for as much as 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022, five times the previous goal. India is the third-largest source of carbon emissions behind the U.S. and China. In December, the government in New Delhi said it could spend at least $100 billion on climate-related projects. The targets have made India a fast-growing market for photovoltaics. Demand for solar power in the country this year may triple to more than 3.2 GW. The London-based researcher expects as much as 63.6 GW to be installed worldwide. Solar remains a small part of India’s energy supply, accounting for 1 percent of power generation capacity and less than that for delivered electricity, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Coal supplies 45 percent of India’s energy and about 60 percent of its electricity. Under existing energy policies, carbon dioxide emissions in India will jump 34 percent by 2020 and double by 2030, according to the IEA. The new plant in Mundra, Gujarat, will incorporate all stages of solar manufacturing, from polysilicon to cells and panels. Construction will take about three years and it will create about 20,000 jobs. (

Green issues 'hijacking' growth in power sector: Arunachal CM

January 11, 2015. Concerned over green issues "hijacking" potential growth in hydropower sector, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister (CM) Nabam Tuki has asked the Centre to take proactive steps for expediting early environmental clearance to power projects. Tuki said Arunachal Pradesh, which has the potential of producing 58,000 MW of hydropower or 40 per cent of India's total assessed potential, has harnessed only one per cent of this due to regulatory constrains arriving out of environmental concerns and laws. The Chief Minister said over the last two decades, development of hydropower sector has been faced with the controversies of environmental and social effects which need to be addressed. These competing and sometimes conflicting policy objectives need to be harmonised so as to achieve the highest levels of economic growth while ensuring equity and justice to one and all, he said. Tuki said whether it is the state, or the public or the hydropower industries - none is gaining from this tirade of negativity. One such example is the 2,000 MW NHPC Subansiri Lower HEP - the works of which have been stopped by certain organisations of Assam for many months now, he said. The Chief Minister said with India embarking on the mission 'Make in India', there is very limited time in expanding and sustainable harnessing the hydropower potential. Tuki said harnessing the potential of Arunachal Pradesh will trigger an investment of about ` 4-5 lakh crore, which will lead to increased industrial growth, employment generation, besides catering to the power requirement of the country as well as some of its neighbours. Arunachal Pradesh has eight river basins of which Subansiri, Lohit and Siang are of strategic importance, as they are closer to the border with China. (

Welspun Renewables to invest ` 83 bn in Gujarat

January 11, 2015. Welspun Renewables announced an investment of ` 8,300 crore to set up about 1,000 MW solar and wind capacities in Gujarat. Welspun Renewables committed to set up 500 MW wind and 600 MW solar capacities with Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam (GUVNL). The IPP (Independent Power Producer) signed 500 MW wind and 600 MW solar MoUs. The company started its journey with Gujarat by commissioning its first clean energy project in Anjar. Welspun Renewables has commissioned 308 MW solar capacities so far. (

India issues draft guidelines for 3 GW of solar projects

January 8, 2015. India plans to add 3 GW of grid-connected solar power projects through competitive bidding as part of the country’s National Solar Mission. Comments on the guidelines can be submitted to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy by Jan. 12, according to the draft. The guidelines suggest companies can bid through state governments at a fixed 25-year tariff. The minimum recommended project size is 10 MW, according to the draft. Selection will be based on the lowest quoted tariff. NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd., the power-trading unit of India’s largest utility, may purchase the electricity produced. The National Solar Mission seeks to deploy 20 GW of grid-connected projects by 2022 in three phases. (

Environment ministry has shed its anti-industry image: Javadekar

January 7, 2015. Union minister of state (independent charge) for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar revealed that he has cleared 850 projects in the last seven months, with 100 of them pertaining to the power ministry and 54 projects related to coal ministry. The projects were pending for one or the other technical or small reasons. Javadekar said the environment ministry had become a ministry with a negative face as it always hit the headlines whenever it restricted any project or development. He said that he has tried to change the image by clearing several projects from various other ministries, including those from defence. He said that he told the officials of his own ministry that environment ministry would have a policy statement 'Desh Bachega To Paryavaran Bachega' (environment will be saved only if the country is safe). Javadekar said that he would be handing over the list of projects cleared to union minister for power Piyush Goyal. (

Ban Ki Moon to inaugurate Narmada Canal's solar power plant

January 7, 2015. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is scheduled to inaugurate the solar power plant of the Narmada Canal on January 11. Moon will deliver a keynote speech at the Inaugural Session of the Seventh Vibrant Gujarat Summit at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. He is also expected to visit Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram as well as a solar power plant to see efforts to promote sustainable development, Gujarat finance minister Saurabh Patel said. In Gujarat and Delhi, the UN Secretary-General is scheduled to meet key Indian leaders including President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, besides Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi. He would conclude his visit to India on January 13, after his meetings with UN staff and heads of UN agencies working in India. (

Suzlon Energy denies German unit sale report

January 7, 2015. Suzlon Energy Ltd said that the wind turbine maker was in talks with potential buyers for an about $2.5 billion sale of its German unit was "baseless and false". The unit, Senvion SE, had drawn interest from Chinese companies and a large buyout fund. It did not name the potential bidders. Suzlon, which has been under pressure in the last few years from a slowdown in global turbine sales and its debt pile, had to restructure $1.8 billion debt after defaulting on a $200 million convertible bond redemption in 2012. Senvion, formerly known as REpower Systems SE, posted 1.8 billion euros ($2.13 billion) in revenue in the fiscal year ended March 2014, down 19 percent from a year earlier. Suzlon will pursue listing of Senvion if it cannot agree on deal terms with potential buyers. (


China’s Suntech Power US unit seeks bankruptcy protection

January 13, 2015. A U.S. unit of China’s Suntech Power Holdings Corp., once the world’s largest solar-panel maker, followed its parent in seeking bankruptcy protection from creditors after increased competition pushed down prices. San Francisco-based Suntech America Inc., an affiliate of Wuxi, China-based Suntech Power, listed more than $100 million each in assets and debt in Chapter 11 filings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. Suntech Power, following creditor demands, filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection last February in Manhattan. U.S. bondholders moved to put the company into bankruptcy on their own with an involuntary bankruptcy liquidation under Chapter 7 after it defaulted on about $541 million of their debt. The company’s main unit was pulled into bankruptcy proceedings by Chinese banks after it missed a bond payment in March 2013. Shunfeng Photovoltaic International Ltd. (1165), agreed to buy the unit for 3 billion yuan ($484 million). The company was also hurt by the U.S. government’s effort to bolster the domestic solar industry by imposing tariffs on foreign products. Also, the sale of Wuxi Suntech crippled its manufacturing ability, forcing the Suntech Group to shift to selling and distributing. Wuxi Suntech Power Co. is listed as the largest unsecured creditor, owed about $143.9 million for a former inter-company claim, according to court papers. (

Energy security in Caribbean to be focus of January US summit

January 13, 2015. The Obama administration will host a summit in Washington this month to help Caribbean nations lower their energy costs and increase their use of renewable sources of power. Vice President Joe Biden will lead the Jan. 26 meeting, which is aimed at diversifying the sources of energy available to the island countries, which now often rely on diesel fuel from Venezuela, the administration said. The discussions will focus on encouraging investment in the countries, in part by improving their regulatory frameworks and developing financing mechanisms, a White House aide said. Other countries including Canada, Mexico and Spain also may offer technical assistance to encourage new energy sources. (

Buffett’s MidAmerican to complete Iowa wind project by year-end

January 13, 2015. MidAmerican Energy Co., a utility unit at Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., expects to complete the 1,050 MW Wind VIII development in Iowa this year after finishing three of five wind farms in the fourth quarter. The Wellsburg wind farm in Grundy County was connected to the grid in December, joining Lundgren in Webster County and Macksburg in Madison County, which were completed in November. Vienna II in Marshall County was finished in 2013. Only the 495 MW Highland in O’Brien County remains. The Des Moines, Iowa-based utility, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co., provides electricity to 739,000 customers and natural gas to about 719,000. MidAmerican will have invested more than $6 billion in wind-generation projects by 2016. Wind VIII, composed of 448 turbines, is expected to cost about $1.9 billion. (

EU nations to discuss Latvia bid to strengthen carbon fix

January 13, 2015. European Union (EU) nations will discuss a proposal by the bloc’s presidency to strengthen a planned overhaul of its emissions-trading system by preventing the return to the market of permits delayed at auctions in 2014-2016. Latvia, which took over the 28-nation EU’s rotating presidency earlier this month, proposed transfering 900 million carbon allowances directly to a market-stability reserve. That would bar governments from auctioning the permits -- equivalent to almost a half of an average annual emissions cap in the EU -- to companies in 2019-2020, helping the EU’s effort to alleviate a record oversupply. (

China to cut subsidies for non-electric vehicles

January 13, 2015. China’s Ministry of Finance will reduce subsidies for “traditional” vehicles as part of government efforts to boost development and sales of renewable-energy cars. The government will also “improve” fuel-subsidy policy for buses this year. The change will also build on efforts by China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, to fight pollution and cultivate the local electric-vehicle industry, which includes BYD Co., which makes electric and hybrid cars and buses. The nation will accelerate building EV charging facilities. Chinese consumers have been reluctant to switch to EVs because of reliability concerns and a lack of charging infrastructure. BYD has said it plans to start selling vehicles in the U.S. this year. (

US can reach 50 per cent renewable generation by 2030: IRENA

January 12, 2015. The U.S. could get nearly 50% of its generation from renewable sources by 2030 with existing technologies and the right policies and investments, according to a report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The report is one of the first in IRENA’s Remap 2030 series, which explores how to double the global share of renewable energy from 18% to 36% by 2030. A previous report released in November 2014 analyzed prospects for renewable energy in China.

Reaching the 50% threshold for power generation would raise the renewable share of the overall U.S. energy mix from 7.5% in 2010 to 27% by 2030. The report claims that making the shift would result in $30 billion to $140 billion in savings for the U.S. economy from reduced health effects and CO2 emissions. The largest share of new generation would come in wind. The report envisions a fivefold increase in onshore wind capacity—most of it installed in the central U.S. plains—from 63 GW in 2014 to 314 GW by 2030. Another 40 GW of offshore wind capacity would also be needed. Solar—photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power—would also rise dramatically, from around 16 GW currently to 135 GW in 2030. About one-third of PV capacity would be distributed. Biomass and bioenergy capacity would nearly double to 84 GW, with about 40% of this being industrial cogeneration. The remaining increase would come in geothermal, with additional input from small-scale hydropower. The report projects that the new renewable capacity will largely replace coal and nuclear as its levelized cost of energy will fall below those options. Gas will remain competitive because of abundant supplies keeping fuel costs down. (

Terna Energy to complete $177 mn wind park by year-end

January 12, 2015. Terna Energy SA said its €150 million ($177 million) wind farm in southern Greece is expected to start working by the end of the year. The 73.2 MW project is being built on St. George Island off the coast of southern Greece. It will produce enough power for more than 40,000 homes, Athens-based Terna Energy said. The project is the first onshore wind park with the characteristics of an offshore project, noting that it will incorporate a sub-sea grid connection linking the island and mainland. (

Sky Solar to partner with Sino-Century in solar energy fund

January 12, 2015. Sky Solar Holdings Ltd., a Hong Kong-based solar farm developer, agreed to form a fund with Sino-Century Investment Management Co. to invest in solar power projects. The fund plans to raise as much as $200 million in first-round financing, Sky Solar said. It will operate and manage the fund with Sino-Century. The capital will be used for 100 MW of projects in Latin America and Japan, Sky Solar said. As of the end of September, Sky Solar had developed 181.7 MW of solar power projects outside China. (

Protection 1 raises $250 mn for residential solar systems

January 10, 2015. Protection 1, a closely held security company backed by private equity firm GTCR LLC, raised more than $250 million to fund its residential solar operations. Protection 1’s Brite Energy unit began offering rooftop power systems in San Diego in September, and now has six offices in “multiple U.S. states”. It’s working with MySolar IX LLC, a joint venture of Morgan Stanley and Main Street Power Co. Protection 1 has almost 2 million residential and commercial customers in the U.S., and is seeking to leverage these relationships to expand into solar power. Brite Energy typically leases systems using a model similar to those of SolarCity Corp. and Vivint Solar Inc. The financing will cover development costs. About $200 million came from Morgan Stanley and $50 million from GTCR. Less than 1 percent of U.S. homes have solar power. (

Keystone XL ruling returns climate-energy clash to Obama

January 10, 2015. A Nebraska high court ruling that cleared the route of the Keystone XL oil pipeline returns to Barack Obama one of the most contentious environmental decisions of his presidency. Obama has no deadline to decide, but he’s under increasing pressure to weigh in on a project in its sixth year of review. The Republican-led House passed a bill to strip the president of his authority and approve the $8 billion project. The pipeline, which would traverse three states before linking to a pipeline junction in Steele City, Nebraska, that connects to the Texas coast, has become a symbol of the tension between energy development and climate change that some analysts say outstrips its actual relevance to either Environmental groups like and the Sierra Club have galvanized around opposing the pipeline, drawing thousands of protesters including Hollywood celebrities to the White House. They argue Keystone will worsen climate change by promoting the development of the oil sands, which release more carbon dioxide than does the production of more conventional oil. (

Turkey's wind power generation increases 11.65 per cent

January 10, 2015. Turkey's electricity production from wind increased by 11.65 percent reaching to 8.367 million megawatt hours in 2014 compared to the previous year. According to Turkish Electricity Transmission Company, Turkey obtained 7.495 million megawatt hours of electricity from wind power plants which correspondent to 2.8 percent of the country's total electricity generation in 2013. This amount increased to 8.367 million megawatt hours in 2014, and made up 3.3 percent of the total electricity production. Turkey aims at producing its energy from indigenous and renewable resources in line with its 2023 targets. The country has over 68,000 MW of total installed capacity in electricity and aims to reach levels of 110 thousand by 2023. Turkey's aim is to supply 30 percent of its total energy demand from renewable energy including wind, solar and hydro power. The planned installed capacity for 2023 for wind power plants is 20,000 MW. Indigenous and renewable energy resources help Turkey to reduce its current account deficit as well. The 11.65 percent increase enabled Turkey to pay $850 million less for natural gas in 2014 because the country uses almost half of its natural gas imports for power generation. (

Investec arranges $195 mn in financing for Sunrun Solar

January 9, 2015. Investec Plc arranged $195 million in senior credit facilities for Sunrun Inc., one of the largest U.S. residential solar companies, helping to lower the costs of its rooftop systems. The financing “significantly reduces” the cost of capital and will cut the price of solar-power equipment it sells or leases to homeowners, San Francisco-based Sunrun said. The financing consists of $171 million in senior facilities and a $24 million subordinated facility. Sunrun closed a $150 million funding round in May. The company plans to double annual installations in 2015 for the second straight year. (

Nautilus Solar Energy gets $39 mn for projects in Ontario

January 9, 2015. Nautilus Solar Energy LLC, a Summit, New Jersey-based renewable-energy developer, arranged $39 million in financing to build 8 MW of distributed-generation power plants in Ontario. Rabobank Group is providing the construction and term loan, Nautilus said. The projects will be co-developed with Moose Power Inc. and included in Ontario’s feed-in tariff program, which guarantees above-market rates for selling energy produced from clean sources. The power projects also are backed by several community cooperatives. Community investors include Green Energy Co-operative of Ontario Inc. and Eagle Lake First Nation. North Sky CleanTech Alliance Fund LP and NewWorld Environmental Infrastructure LP also provided equity investments. Distributed-generation projects, such as rooftop solar, are built close to the customers that will use the power. (

SolarReserve, ACWA win bid to build South African solar plant

January 8, 2015. The South African Department of Energy gave the go-ahead for SolarReserve Inc. and Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power to build a 100 MW solar power plant. Acceptance of the bid means the companies can proceed to financial close, expected this year, and the signing of a power-purchase agreement with state-owned utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. The Redstone plant, near Kimberley, is expected to start working in early 2018, California-based SolarReserve said. The companies’ offer was accepted under the nation’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme that requires applicants to bid on the level of tariff, as well as value to the local and national economy. (

China to boost support for NGOs that sue environment polluters

January 7, 2015. China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, will provide more support to non-governmental organizations that sue polluters. The nation will work to reduce court charges for NGOs in public non-profit environmental litigation, according to the China’s Supreme People’s Court. Defendants will be required to pay court costs when plaintiffs win lawsuits. The world’s second-biggest economy has struggled to combat pollution, a byproduct of its rapid growth and an increasing leading cause of social unrest. China’s biggest changes to its environmental protection laws in 25 years became effective on Jan. 1. The amended law outlines plans to punish polluters more severely as leaders work to limit contaminated water, air and soil. Environmental-protection NGOs can bring lawsuits against violators nationwide, according to a judicial interpretation that was issued by the Supreme People’s Court and came into effect. Chinese courts should report litigation to relevant environmental-protection authorities within 10 days after they accept the case, according to the interpretation. NGOs using litigation for profit will face punitive actions from authorities that manage their registration, it said. ( 


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[1] All price data given are from Brent future front month settlements (as of dates stated) from the CME (

[2] EIA (2015b).

[3] Reuters (2015a).

[4] Reuters (2015b).

[5] EIA (2015b).

[6] Timera Energy (2014).

[7] Bloomberg (2015).

[8] Price of German gas imports at the German border as published German Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA); see for more information:

[9] CME, Henry Hub Natural Gas Futures settled Jan. 12, 2015.

[10] Economic Times (2015).

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