MonitorsPublished on Apr 17, 2015
Energy News Monitor | Volume XI; Issue 44

Local Pollution and the Politics of Outrage (part II)]

                             “The elite in India may dismiss this point of view as rambling of the left or non-sense from the ill-adjusted. What they may be failing to see is that when they stand as negotiators of climate response mandates in global multilateral platforms, they will be the ill-adjusted and economically challenged party seeking priority for development and poverty alleviation over controlling carbon emissions. They will be labelled as climate criminals because they are seeking to avoid emission mandates…”

Energy News


Crossing the 1 trillion unit mark in power generation is a significant milestone for the power sector!                                   


300 million Indians do not have power because we failed to give them purchasing power!


The sooner we realise that coal woes cannot be auctioned off the better it would be for the economy!




·          Local Pollution and the Politics of Outrage (part II)

·          Key Requirement for Setting up Coal Washeries on Coal Company’s Land in India


·          The German Energiewende turns around Industry’s Business Models (Part IIIa)


·          Average cost of Electricity Supply in India



·          Essar plans exploration drilling in two offshore blocks in India, Vietnam

·          Shanghvi may pump $1.5 mn into gas fields

·          ONGC's acquisition in Mozambique gas field saw seller reap $1.5 bn profit

·          After dipping for 7 yrs, ONGC oil production inches upwards


·          IOC spend on petrochemical plants

Transportation / Trade………………

·          GGCL, GSPC Gas to set up network in Thane, Dadra and Nagar Haveli

·          Ennore to get networked to gas grid in 2017

·          Enforce order on LPG supply: Kerala HC

Policy / Performance…………………

·          Demand for petroleum products likely to rise

·          India requires $100 bn per year investment for energy needs: IEA

·          LPG cash transfer plan takes commercial cylinder sales up

·          India to invest $6 bn more in Mozambique gas block: Oil Minister

·          Oil Ministry submits proposal on premium for difficult gas fields

·          KCCI seeks LNG handling facilities at New Mangalore Port

·          Oil Minister to visit Mozambique



·          India to produce about 1,100 bn units of power in 2015-16

·          BHEL commissions 600 MW thermal unit in Chhattisgarh

·          Essar Power commissions the first unit of Paradeep Power Plant

·          NTPC to soon appoint MDOs to develop 5 re-alloted mines

·          NPCIL and France’s AREVA sign PEA for Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project

Transmission / Distribution / Trade……

·          Coal imports jump 34 percent in 2014-15

·          GVK’s Alaknanda hydropower project synchronised with Northern Grid

·          Canada, India in advanced talks on nuclear fuel supply

·          Delhi's power distribution companies seek to explore open market

·          Post coal auction worries for power sector

·          Karnataka to oppose privatisation of power distribution

·          Investment in T&D sector in next 4 yrs to be ` 3 lakh crore: Goyal

Policy / Performance…………………

·          SC grants time to Centre for assessing 18 hydro power projects

·          Aim to save 200 bn units of electricity in 5 yrs: Goyal

·          States to get 85 percent of electricity from projects set up by central utilities

·          Maharashtra CM’s plea: Don’t oppose nuclear project

·          280 mn Indians don't have power connection: Goyal

·          Will examine Margherita thermal power project proposal: Goyal to Gogoi

·          J&K govt demands transfer of Dulhasti and Uri hydropower projects

·          Centre to invest ` 100 bn in northeast power sector

·          TN asks for additional coal block allocation

·          Good news for TN as power project secures funding

·          Nuclear fuel production hits a record

·          Haryana approves 800 MW unit at Panipat plant



·          Statoil makes gas find near Aasta Hansteen field

·          Saudi’s oil output projected at 9.8 mbpd this year

·          Total's Skirne East well finds gas offshore Norway

·          'Significant' oil discovery made in Britain

·          Shell in ‘advanced’ talks to buy BG for LNG, Brazilian oil


·          Refiner Delek to buy Alon Israel' 48 percent stake in Alon USA

·          Shell sells 185 UK petrol stations as retail divestments continue

·          Total to present French refining restructuring plan

·          KBR secures contract for Corpus Christi West refinery expansion in US

Transportation / Trade…………

·          Western Australia hopes to expand LNG ties with Singapore

·          ConocoPhillips to launch US asset sales

·          Australian manufacturers fear Shell-BG deal may hurt gas market

·          Lithuania considers re-exporting LNG as Russian gas gets cheaper

·          2nd major gas pipeline would link Pennsylvania, Northeast

·          Dodge & Cox increases stake in Italy's Saipem

·          Oil holds advance as recovery in Iran crude exports seen delayed

·          Pakistan takes first LNG cargoes as list of importers grows

·          Gazprom bid for second China deal seen challenged by crude slump

Policy / Performance………………

·          Russia sees Europe relying heavily on its gas for next 25 yrs

·          Obama sets rules for offshore oil wells 5 yrs after BP

·          Dutch court will rule in Groningen gas suit

·          Saudi Arabia’s plan to extend the age of oil

·          US begins formal review of shell's arctic drilling plan

·          TAPI construction to begin this year: Turkmen President

·          Japan March LNG spot price rises slightly to $8 per mmBtu

·          Saudi Arabia sees crude price rising as it boosts oil production

·          Iran to commission 11 new petrochemical units to boost production

·          Ghana state oil company cuts borrowing plan in half on oil price



·          Nepal clears $1.6 bn hydropower project by China's Three Gorges

·          Trans-Asia Oil eyes doubling power generation to 1.2 GW in 5 yrs

·          $800 mn power plant planned for Carroll County

·          Power China to build power plant outside Karachi

·          Turkey's Limak to invest $1 bn in power generation in 2015

Transmission / Distribution / Trade……

·          GBPC signs supply deal with Iloilo power co-ops

·          American Transmission plans $25 mn Franklin-to-Mukwonago power line project

Policy / Performance………………

·          PPL secures NRC approval to transfer nuclear power plant licenses

·          More German power plant projects not viable: BDEW

·          Coal fired power plant in Neno awaits US$600 mn loan approval: Malawi

·          Poland to explore FDI opportunities in agriculture, power sectors

·          Japan-Indonesia power plant to break ground in Java

·          Japan bets on nuclear, and coal, for future power



·          India will set Climate Change conference agenda: PM Modi

·          Three month action plan to combat air pollution in Delhi-NCR

·          NITI Aayog to bring integrated energy policy soon: Panagariya

·          Chinese firm keen to invest in AP

·          Assam to give 800 bigha land for solar power facility: Goyal


·          Hanergy Thin Film outlines solar cells on vehicles plan

·          Scrap fossil fuel subsidies now and bring in carbon tax: Kim

·          California utility to make gas from solar for pipeline storage

·          US EPA strikes deal on biofuel blending targets with oil groups

·          Brazil to launch $6.5 bn fund to boost renewable power generation

·          Vancouver commits to run on 100 percent renewable energy

·          Japan to pledge 20 percent greenhouse gas cut

·          China’s pollution assault boosting solar, electric vehicles




Local Pollution and the Politics of Outrage (part II)

Lydia Powell and Akhilesh Sati, Observer Research Foundation

Continued from Volume XI, Issue 43


rawing on the hypothesis of the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC), last week’s column ended with a rather sceptical observation that the problem of local pollution in Delhi is getting disproportionate attention because it is being raised by the articulate elite. It also questioned the argument of the elite that it is out of concern for the poor (who were likely to develop health problems or die because of urban pollution as the elite claim) that they are raising the issue of urban pollution (Please refer ORF Energy News Monitor Volume XI, Issue 43). These sweeping statements need to be qualified.

Let us begin by looking at the history of urban air pollution from cities in developed countries. In the winter of 1930, the highly industrialised parts of Belgium experienced high levels of   pollution, particularly sulphur-di-oxide (SO2) which is claimed to have caused ill health among 6000 people and presumably also killed 60 people. In 1948, a similar situation in Pennsylvania USA is said to have killed 20 people and made 6000 people seriously ill.  In 1952, over 4000 deaths were attributed to a dense fog in London over a two week period.  

Studies that suggested a strong casual link between pollution levels and health in the above cases used statistical and graphical techniques dependent on questionnaire based surveys conducted among a small group of people. These studies essentially established the link between the health of urban dwellers and urban pollution levels by pointing out that the number of visits to the Doctor or events of death were above normal during the periods of pollution. Critiques of such studies point out that the procedures used in these studies are inadequate to establish a clear link between pollution and health problems and that extreme care was required when interpreting such small sets of data. Studies also questioned the use of questionnaires and other voluntary responses to measure the effect of air pollution. They argued that as awareness of high pollution levels is increased by news media, survey responses were likely to be influenced by the nature of news coverage.  Some studies also pointed out that people who ‘died’ of pollution would have to have a serious prior illness and that pollution would have merely hastened death by a few days. 

The idea of presenting the above detail is not to argue that nothing should be done about urban pollution. Pollution at the local and global level is a problem that the industrial society has failed to come to terms with and it needs to be addressed. What we are trying to highlight is how issues are framed politically to grab disproportionate attention. As Pratap Bhanu Mehta pointed out in a recent column outrage (for example, over urban pollution) is more about ‘us’ (the rich who are less affected by pollution) than about ‘them’ (the poor). There is sufficient evidence that the number of deaths increases during times of extreme summer or winter weather in Delhi. Most of those who die are poor, old and homeless. The articulate elite rarely get outraged about the loss of these lives as they do about presumed loss of life on account of urban pollution. Headlines in the English media rarely scream for action against lack of homes with electricity for cooling or heating to save these poor lives. Urban pollution, unlike winter and summer, is a negative environmental externality that the economic elites cannot manage without government intervention and they know how to get it. History has shown them that they have disproportionate political power even in democratic countries where everyone is supposed to have equal voice. 

Nobel Laureate Dani Rodik quotes a study by Gilens and Page to show that when the elite manage to frame issues (such as immigration or pollution) as concerns of the poor (such as presenting the impact of immigrants on entry level jobs and wages or linking pollution to health) it has a strong positive influence on the government response. He cautions that this could give a misleading positive impression of the representativeness of the government especially over policies on strong national defence or a healthy economy where interests of the economic elites and the economic destitutes converged. Rodik points out that one of the tests in the study by Gilens and Page showed that when the preferences of the economic elite and the economic destitute diverged, it was economic elites that counted. Rodik also highlights conclusions of the study by Gilans and Page on the powerful impact of well-organised interest groups (which only economic elites and business groups can afford) on government policy. 

Gordon Tullock, who pioneered work on lobbying for rent-seeking said that the influence of lobbyists came from their ‘ability to become an essential part of the policymaking process by flooding understaffed, under-experienced and overworked government offices with enough information and expertise to help shape their thinking’. This is essentially what seems to be shaping policy making in India with respect to the environment.  Tullock’s partner in research, James Buchanan, a Nobel Laureate, coined the term ‘politics without romance’ which  essentially said that politicians and bureaucrats are rational actors who strive to do what is in their best interest just as market actors do. What is in their best interest is to follow the elite. 

The elite in India may dismiss this point of view as rambling of the left or non-sense from the ill-adjusted. What they may be failing to see is that when they stand as negotiators of climate response mandates in global multilateral platforms, they will be the ill-adjusted and economically challenged party seeking priority for development and poverty alleviation over controlling carbon emissions. They will be labelled as climate criminals because they are seeking to avoid emission mandates. 

Technological solutions to limit or avoid carbon emissions that pollute the global atmosphere are not very different from solutions proposed for reducing urban pollution – phasing out of cheap inefficient cars, ban on burning, strict enforcement of pollution emission payments etc. These don’t matter if you are part of the economic elite because you don’t have to burn anything in your backyard to make a living or drive cheap two-wheelers and cars to cover long distances between your home and work place. What you consume, be it large quantities of electricity for heating or cooling or litres of petroleum products for your comfortable cars and colourful plastic products are all produced by burning fuels far away from your borders – some products such as air conditioners are made as far away as China. China can be held responsible for the pollution, not you. 

The politics of synthetic outrage (over local pollution or incidents of rape) works on this sentiment as it is branded and sold as a call for justice in an unjust society. But as Pratap B Mehta puts it elegantly outrage often comes out of collective narcissism more than identification with the victims. What the outrage against urban pollution is seeking is clean air during walks in the park, not better lives for everybody. 


Views are those of the authors                    

Authors can be contacted at [email protected], [email protected]



Key Requirement for Setting up Coal Washeries on Coal Company’s Land in India

Ashish Gupta, Observer Research Foundation

Quality Parameter of Ministry of Coal

Ø  Develop India coal industry in an eco-friendly, environmentally sustainable and cost effective manner to support various associated industry.

Ø  Facilitate state of the art technology for optimisation of coal resources of the country.

Ø  To promote compliance of all the quality management systems.

Ø  To promote transparent governance system.

Setting up of washery

Ø  Any consumer company with Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA) or a long term linkage can set up a coal washery for its own consumption.

Ø  Any public or private company can set up a washery or operate on behalf of a coal company on the land of any of the subsidiaries of Coal India Ltd (CIL).

Ø  If the land is acquired under Coal Bearing Areas Act, 1957 and the rights are vested with a coal company, the land can be leased for a maximum period of 30 years.

Ø  In case the land is not utilised for the coal washing, the land will be given back to the coal company.

Ø  The lease rent needs to be approved by the Board of the Coal Company.

Qualifying Parameter

Ø  Operator should have a Memorandum of Understanding with coal consumer or group of consumer who have FSA or long term linkage.

Ø  Should have a financing plan for erecting coal washery supported with a comfort letter from financial institution or banks.

Life of the washery

Ø  The life should not be less than 20 years.

Maximum throughput

Ø  For optimum utilisation, the throughput of the washery should not be less than 2 Million Tonnes/ Per Annum.


Ø  It should be selected on the basis of coal quality in such a way that it may produce less rejects with minimum heat value and dumped or stacked as per the Environment Management Plan (EMP).

Environment Management Plan

Ø  The operator should prepare EMP as per the government guidelines and on regular basis shall get the same approved by the concerned authority.

Ø  The operator shall ensure close water circuit operation so that no effluent is discharged in the natural streams.

Utilities Provision 

Ø  During the construction phase, water and electricity can be provided by the coal company at one point on chargeable basis.

Ø  The washery operator can also obtain water and electricity on his own.

Railway siding

Ø  The siding facility will be provided by the coal company to the washeries or their operators on chargeable basis.

Monthly Reports

Ø  Details of the parties for whom washing was undertaken.

Ø  Quantity and quality of receipts of raw coal.

Ø  Quantity of raw coal processed.

Ø  Quantity of washed coal dispatched to the consumers.

Ø  The quantity of rejects generated, dumped, stacked or disposed off.


Ø  During the operation of the washery the coal companies shall have the right to access the plant to ascertain the suitability and maintainability of the plant.

Washery of CIL under Build Own Operate mechanism

Ø  Entire raw coal produced from the identified mine will be linked to the concerned washery for supply of washed coal to the consumers as decided by the company.


Views are those of the author                    

Author can be contacted at [email protected]


The German Energiewende turns around Industry’s Business Models (Part IIIa)

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

Continued from Volume XI, Issue 34


he ongoing Energiewende in Germany (“energy turnaround”) is not only turning around the basic structure of the energy market and prices – particularly in the power generation sector ‑ but also requires considerable transformation of the utilities’ business models. This series of articles about the world’s experimental laboratory in the effort to green the energy industry intends to catch up with recent (I) structural and (II) legislative developments that tackle German electricity markets. It will - in this current edition - focus on the shift in (III) corporate business models, which might also serve as a template for any other energy market in motion towards more decarbonised and smarter energy systems.

Since 2000, Germany has triggered the Energiewende, an ambitious restructuring program of the German energy industry with the aim to decarbonise the energy system in the long-run. Additionally the German government has decided to phase out nuclear power plants finally by no later than 2022, as a consequence of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011. The Energiewende is widely regarded as an ongoing showcase project in experimental mode, worth of being narrowly observed around the globe.

The restructuring process is challenging numerous and diverse market players in the German energy industry that are continuously forced to react and adapt their business models to the ongoing change in the structural and economical market conditions in order to safeguard their investments and appreciate shareholder value. Both risks and opportunities matter: on the one hand the odds are long for the conventional players like the ‘big four’ ex‑incumbent electricity producers E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall. On the other hand is the chance for several smaller players to enter into the evolving energy market with smart and innovative ideas in the course of shifting towards a more renewable based, decentralised and smarter as well as interconnected market structure.

The intended structural changes are particularly hammering the core business of the incumbent utilities: the double whammy of Energiewende regulations towards a higher share of renewables and lower lignite and hard coal power stations as well as the gradual phasing-out of nuclear power is going to little by little eliminate the business model that they hitherto used to run: For decades some large utilities have dominated the German electricity sector by legally established, regionally demarcated and vertically integrated monopolies. Some of these companies could successfully survive the consolidation process resulting from the ongoing liberalisation process of the German (and European) energy market that took off in the mid nineties and maintain its dominating positions regionally: e.g. RWE in the industrially important Rhine-Ruhr region, EnBW in Baden-Wurttemberg and Vattenfall in the eastern parts of Germany.

It is widely said that the German utilities have relied too long on an obsolete business model that was profoundly based on large scale and long term investments in centralised base-load power generation plants fired by fossil fuels (first and foremost lignite/coal) and nuclear. Having overinvested in gas- and coal-fired plants before the financial crisis, the two largest players E.ON and RWE were building up too much capacity in the subsequent downturn while the subsidy-incentivised new and “green” competitors were upsetting the market. On top of that the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor in 2011 has triggered an unprecedented turnaround manoeuvre by the German government that decided - just few months after having granted some lifetime extensions – to downturn eight out of 17 nuclear power stations in short term and the complete decommission of nuclear power in Germany by 2022, bringing forward the enormous decommissioning costs to the operators. Wholesale power prices have been deteriorating due to the rapid expansion of heavily subsidised renewables with low running costs and have additionally worsened the financial conditions for the big four even more, since they largely blew their chance of entering into green energy markets.

The Economist (2013) has put the rigorous situation for European utilities already out 2013 by titling “How to lose half a trillion euros - Europe’s electricity providers face an existential threat”: At their peak in 2008 the top 20 European energy utilities were stated to be worth about 1 trillion Euro. Till late 2013 they were losing half of their value. As illustrated in Figure 1 the share price of the two German top dogs E.ON (red line) and RWE (blue line) tanked till 2014 and have not recovered one jot since then. The sheer magnitude of the massive value destruction at the capital market becomes very clear by paying attention to the widening gap between the utility’s market value and the German blue chip stock market index DAX that has almost doubled within the last three years (grey line).

Figure 1: Share Price of selected German Utilities vs. DAX 2006-2015 (Index May 2006 = 100%)

Source:, accessed March 13, 2015. Compiled by author.    

Casting a glance on the generation mix of RWE in Germany already reveals a lot of the dire straits the large utilities are actually facing. Figure 2 illustrates that more than half of RWE’s German power generation in 2013 was from lignite with hard coal accounting for another 20%; thus more than two-thirds of RWE power generation in 2013 was coal fired (and 59% capacity, respectively). Even if generation from indigenous lignite was thriving again in recent years, this is widely deemed as a temporary phenomenon. Currently the political pressure on that vastly available and cheap but most carbon-intensive type of fossil fuel is definitely on the rise: Since the German government firmly seeks to realise its intended carbon reduction targets the economy ministry has drafted a legislation that might urge the utilities to cut emissions by at least an extra of 22 mt CO2 by 2020. Accordingly a kind of new climate levy of about 18‑20 EURO/t CO2 is supposed to tackle the oldest and most carbon-intensive power stations meaning that several coal-fired power stations may be closed down. These are bad news particularly for RWE that alone runs four of the biggest lignite power stations. Besides, nuclear power stations are accounting for more than one fifth odd in RWE’s generation mix, yet another end-of-range model.

On the other hand E.ON is not that much dependent on lignite, however, nuclear power make up almost one third of its overall generation capacity in Germany, even if already two reactors were forced to shut down in 2011, right after the Fukushima disaster. Another reactor in Grafenrheinfeld is planned for being decommissioned by May 2015. Vattenfall is profoundly involved in lignite mining and generation in the Eastern parts of Germany; the Swedish state company has recently announced to offload all its German lignite assets. More or less the same picture can be drawn for the fourth big player EnBW that has large stakes in nuclear as well as coal/lignite power generation.                    Figure 2   

What is more, even natural gas fired power stations that are much required for overall (technical) system stability needs have been widely mothballed in recent years due to losses resulting from longer lasting negative clean spark spreads. Therefore - as one aspect of the so-called ‘Energiewende-Paradox’ (higher CO2-emissions despite higher share of renewables) – natural gas power stations are continuously squeezed out of the market by cheaper coal-powered blocks. Quite recently E.ON has officially announced the closedown of its just two years old, most efficient state-of-the-art natural gas fired blocks 4 and 5 at the Irsching power plant in Bavaria with due effect on April 2016 because of its expected ongoing poor economics. Up to now these blocks were put under a so-called redispatch agreement for two years until March 2016 under that the plant operators are reimbursed from the grid operator TenneT (yet still the regulator can prohibit the closure for operational network security reasons).

Even the formerly most lucrative chunk of power generation in Germany has been thwarted by the rise of renewables since at peak hours in the middle of the day there’s no big profit to cash in anymore on sunny days, because massive solar power generation tends to significantly control the profitable price spread between peak-hour and base-load prices. 

In a nutshell, the big four altogether suffer from the break-off of their core business, the centralized large-scale power generation. On the downside, the big four’s stakes in renewables is partly nominal as can drastically be seen in Figure 2 looking at the marginal share of renewables in RWE’s generation portfolio in Germany (that is only slightly higher on company-wide international scope). The data from RWE’s quite recently published annual report 2014 reveals that the group-wide power generation from renewables decreased by 27% year-on-year to a lousy 10 TWh in 2014 (due to closure of a biomass combustion plant in UK), that is less than 5% in RWE’s overall power generation mix. The share of RWE’s power generation from renewables in Germany itself is yet lower; it fell from 0.7% in 2013 to poor 0.5% in 2014. On a first glance E.ON seems to be better invested into renewables, however, far more than 90% of renewable generation and capacity can be attributed to hydro. E.ON’s renewable power generation fell in Germany from 2013 to 2014 by 22%; in 2014 renewables (i.e. hydro) made up about 7% in E.ON’s overall German power output. 

Figure 3

Therefore, the big four have bet not only too long on discontinued fossil fuel and nuclear power stations on the one hand, they even seem to have missed the opportunity of investments into the booming sector of renewable energy. According to the Federal Network Agency’s (2014) recently published monitoring review the big four utilities’ aggregated market share of power generation capacity in Germany has collapsed another 11%-age points within only three years 2010-2013 down to 68%. Their combined share in overall power generation in Germany has fallen from 84% to 74%, respectively, primarily due to the generation attributed to E.ON, that went down by 38%. As a result, one can state that over the course of the Energiewende restructuring process the ownership profile of the power generation assets has been broken up from only a handful of former incumbents led by E.ON and RWE towards a wide variety of smaller and independent power producers like private citizens and farmers (together owning almost half of the renewable generation in Germany), followed up by project developers as well as industry and banks. And even the approx. 800 so-called Stadtwerke are yet playing vital role in the German energy companies landscape, gaining from their potential of local power production and particularly from options in co-generation plants. (The Stadtwerke currently stage a comeback with numerous municipal new establishments after a large wave of privatisation during the 1990s.) The corresponding power sale market shares for Germany (as shown in Figure 3) are highlighting the same deconcentrating trend, as the former incumbents’ stake in the sales market is plunging (to a combined share of 67% in 2013) as well, particularly E.ON but RWE, too.

The bottom line is that the big four are getting more and more into the red due to the insidious breakup of the utilities’ longstanding fossil fuel and nuclear driven business model. E.ON has recently announced a huge loss of more than 3 bn Euro (over 2 lakh crore rupees) for its business year 2014, the second one in the company history after 2011 (see Figure 4). RWE already faced a similar loss in 2013 due to strong depreciations. Besides the falling power prices and falling business volume, E.ON is troubled by other problems including its Russian subsidiary suffering from the weakness of the ruble as well as trade sanctions, its Brazilian power producer Eneva filed for bankruptcy protection at the end of 2014, mistaken asset investments in Spain that were again offloaded end of 2014 and last but not least the massive oil price drop. Not that long ago E.ON experienced some bonanza years with annual profits of 6-8 bn Euro.

Figure 4: Profits of selected German Utilities 2007-2014 (Earnings after tax in bn. Euro/a)

Source:, accessed March 25, 2015. Compiled by author

Looking at the steadiness of dividends (i.e. the returning value for shareholders) that serves as a performance benchmark for the attractiveness of long-term investments, one can as well observe a clear and steady downswing (Figure 5). For example, RWE cut its current dividend by half to 1 euro that is only a fraction of the 4.5 Euro they paid some years earlier. Starting in 2015, RWE will no longer calculate dividends on recurrent after-tax profit but will base the payments on operating cash flow, debt and earnings. However, reliable dividend payouts are particularly important for RWE since the biggest single shareholder is a group of highly indebted towns and cities in North-Rhine-Westphalia that seeks a stable income to settle their budgets.

Figure 5: Dividends of selected German Utilities 2003-2014 (in Euro/kWh)

Source:, accessed March 25, 2015. Compiled by author. 

Those days of high profits and dividends are over, and probably never to return. Even worse, the utilities management is blamed for having failed to cope appropriately with the market challenges; a recently published study on behalf of Greenpeace (2015) ascribes severe strategic flaws, first of all, that reactions were not timely and decisive enough to change course:

·         The big four have banked too long on their high margins and profits from market power and didn’t realize the need to bring business in line with the successive market changes;

·         They have unilaterally focussed on lifetime extensions of their nuclear power stations, which turned out to be faulty after the phase-out decision in the wake of the Fukushima disaster;

·         They simply missed the investment options in the upcoming renewable energy sector.

About one year ago, when the CEO of RWE had to announce a historic loss, Spiegel-Online (2014) has headlined: ‘conceptless RWE CEO: lamenting as a strategy’. The critique was that the company’s strategy was built up too much on the hope that the government might take pity on them while ignoring entrepreneurial solutions. Hereof two big ideas surrounding state compensation and supply risks are repeatedly floated towards the policymakers:

·         The first strategy is to increase the pressure in relation with the decommissioning of the German nuclear energy sector. The big four have filed several lawsuits against the decision to terminate the lifetime extension and the immediate shutdown of eight nuclear power plants as well as against the nuclear fuel tax regime. According to Reuters (2014) E.ON is said to claim about 8 bn Euro, RWE more than 2 bn Euro and Vattenfall 4.7 bn Euro. Furthermore, the creation of a kind of “bad bank” to hive off the four nuclear operators’ provisions of about 36 bn Euro for plant decommissioning and disposal of nuclear waste is at issue.

·         Strong lobbying in order to achieve a market redesign in favour of the so-called “power capacity market” that shall help to uphold investment in power plants that provide back-up capacity, which otherwise might be mothballed due to negligible load and/or profit. So far the government is refusing to consider the creation of service payments like this, however, neighbouring markets like the UK have already acknowledged and implemented that concept by implementing capacity auctions.

Nonetheless, the utilities’ lobbyists in Berlin have forfeited their immense power of successfully influencing the policymakers in the recent years. Therefore large rationalisation programs have been rolled out, incorporating large scale reduction in employment, organisational streamlining, outsourcing of non-core assets business areas and closing of unprofitable power plants (the start of RWEs most recent profound cost-cutting programme “Lean Steering 2.0” was heralded only a couple of days ago at mid April). The tense debt situation is pressuring to sell off assets, as quite recently the oil/gas exploration and production unit RWE Dea. RWE, E.ON and EnBW are altogether singing renewable power expansion praises now and furthermore strengthen their investment in infrastructure and smart energy products and services. Their announced mission statement obviously still lives on the credit of the old conventional energy world (see as an example RWE’s mission statement in Figure 6).

Figure 6: RWE’s Mission Statement 2015

Source: RWE Annual-Report 2014.

While RWE seems to head on strategically by muddling through, the most comprehensive strategic approach is pursuit by E.ON and Vattenfall. On the one hand Vattenfall has started to prepare its market exit by announcing to sell its lignite generation plants and mines in eastern Germany. On the other hand E.ON desperately tries to change track and decided to perform its second comprehensive strategy swing within a couple of years after 2010 when the management has opted to enter new international markets like Brazil. However, the most radical strategic step was announced in Nov. 2014 as Germany’s largest utility surged forward to offload its complete fossil fuel and nuclear based power generation business as well as global trading unit and it’s upstream into the so-called “New Company” (Figure 7). The new company will generally incorporate E.ONs former core business including struggling Brazil and Russia operations. The divestiture would leave E.ON to focus on environmentally friendly renewable-energy sources and is intended to become an energy network and solutions provider; E.ON’s 31 bn Euro net debt will retain with this larger part of E.ON. E.ON has repeatedly reaffirmed that the spin-off company would have sufficient financial strength to cover the liabilities associated with the decommissioning of nuclear energy in Germany; the company’s accrued liabilities for the nuclear phase-out of currently about 14.5 bn will remain with the nukes in the new company. By all means, E.ON’s restructuring agenda has startled politicians because of fears coming up in public discussion that E.ON might be creating a 'bad bank' for its seven nuclear plants that will have to be bailed out by the German taxpayer as a leading member from the Green Party has put it bluntly. (Overall provisions of the big four are about 36 bn. Euro for plant decommissioning and disposal of nuclear waste; however, there is an ongoing debate whether there are sufficient funds).

Figure 7: Planned Spin-Off Company Structure of E.ON (incl. data from 2014)

Source: Der Spiegel (2014b). Compiled by author.

The second part on evolving business models dealing with new and future concepts at the energy markets will be published in the next issue of the Energy New Monitor.                                                       to be continued.......

Views are those of the author                    

Author can be contacted at [email protected]


Average cost of Electricity Supply in India

Akhilesh Sati, Observer Research Foundation

A)    From Power Generating Stations to Power Utilities (for year 2012-13)


B)    From Power Utilities to Consumers (for year 2013-14)

 Source: Rajya Sabha, Q. No. 1213 (answered on 09/03/15) & Q. No. 1640 (answered on 08/12/14)




Essar plans exploration drilling in two offshore blocks in India, Vietnam

April 14, 2015. Essar Energy plans to press on with exploration drilling at its blocks in India and Vietnam in September-October as the firm steps up efforts to increase its crude oil production even as energy companies reduced capital expenditure in response to the slump in global oil prices that began in the second half of last year, the company said. The plan to proceed with exploration drilling at the two blocks comes after joint venture partners completed mapping the prospects based on 3D seismic data for these offshore blocks. Essar Energy has a 30 percent stake in shallow water exploration block MBOSN-2005/3, located near the Mumbai High field offshore Mumbai, while Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) holds the remaining 70 percent interest. (

Shanghvi may pump $1.5 mn into gas fields

April 14, 2015. Dilip Shanghvi's Sun Oil & Natural Gas, an associate company of Sun Petrochemicals and Sun Pharmaceuticals, signed a deal for the transfer of Interlink Petroleum's interest in the Modhera and Baola fields. Sun Oil & Natural Gas could invest $1-1.5 million in the oil and gas fields. Once the assignment is complete, Sun Oil & Natural Gas will invest to raise production and monetise the reserves. Interlink Petroleum is prospecting two oil and gas fields in Gujarat, Baola and Modhera, both blocks awarded in round one of bidding of the New Exploration Licensing Policy. Last year, the company supplied around 80,000 standard cubic meters of natural gas from its Baola field before production was suspended as water flowed into the well. The Modhera field is yet to start production. (

ONGC's acquisition in Mozambique gas field saw seller reap $1.5 bn profit

April 12, 2015. Oil and Natural Gas Corp's (ONGC) acquisition of 10 percent stake in a giant Mozambique gas field had helped the seller make a neat profit of $ 1.5 billion or over 62 percent of the purchase price. ONGC had in June 2013 bought 10 percent stake in the Offshore Area 1 from Videocon Group for $ 2.475 billion and followed it up with another 10 percent stake buy from US energy major Anadarko Corp for $ 2.64 billion last year. Anadarko said it made a "gain" of $ 1.5 billion from the sale of 10 percent interest in Offshore Area 1. ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) had split the 10 percent stake it bought from Videocon for $ 2.475 billion with Oil India Ltd (OIL) in 60:40 ratio. So, OVL has 16 percent stake in Offshore Area 1, which holds as much as 75 Trillion cubic feet of gas reserves. OIL has 4 percent and a unit of Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) another 10 percent. Gas from the block is to be converted into liquefied natural gas (LNG) for transportation by ships to markets like India. Indian firms will have access to 30 percent of 60-80 million standard cubic meters per day of planned gas production from the block. About $ 18.4 billion will be required to bring the first set of finds to production and convert it into LNG. The Area-1 consortium is focused in looking at bringing first gas by 2019. (

After dipping for 7 yrs, ONGC oil production inches upwards

April 8, 2015. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has reversed a seven-year decline in its crude oil production, showing a marginal increase in output in 2014-15. ONGC produced 22.263 million tons (MT) of crude oil during April 2014 to March 31, 2015, up from 22.247 MT in the previous fiscal, the company said. This is the first increase in production since 2007-08 when the slump started. ONGC had produced 26.05 MT of crude oil 2006-07, which dipped to 25.94 MT in the following year. ONGC, which produces 59 percent of India's crude oil output, has been under critical scrutiny ever since the BJP government took office 10 months back. Oil Ministry has been on a monthly basis monitoring ONGC's performance. ONGC's production fell to 25.37 MT in 2008-09, 24.67 MT in 2009-10, 24.42 MT in 2010-11, 23.71 MT in 2010-11 and to 22.56 MT in 2012-13. Offshore production rose to 16.196 MT from 15.541 MT in 2013-14 but onshore output was lower at 6.067 MT in 2014-15 as compared to 6.706 MT of the previous year. For 2015-16, ONGC is targeting a total of 26 MT of oil production - 22.732 MT from its own fields and another 3.268 MT from joint venture fields like Barmer block in Rajasthan. During 2014-15, joint venture fields produced 3.682 MT of crude oil, taking its total oil to 25.945 MT. Natural gas production was however lower at 17.27 billion cubic meters in 2014-15 as against 17.96 bcm output in the previous fiscal, the company said. The increase in offshore production was mainly due to early monetisation of marginal fields such as D-1, B-193 and CL-7 in western offshore with the help of floating platforms and other innovative technologies, the company said. These fields will continue to boost output in 2015-16 as well, the company said. Offshore production in 2015-16 is likely to rise to 16.61 MT. (


IOC spend on petrochemical plants

April 8, 2015. Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the country's largest refiner and fuel retailer, is set to spend about ` 45,000 crore over three years to build petrochemicals plants and LNG terminal, lay pipelines and upgrade its refineries, aided by a deregulation of fuel sales and oil price crash that have helped slash its debt. The state-run firm is also likely to benefit from a rise in crude oil prices since January without much price fluctuations. Inventory loss — a result of sharp fall in prices between June 2014 and January 2015, when refiners were forced to sell products at less than their cost — destroyed profits at most refiners in the quarter to December. A large inventory loss mainly contributed to IOC's losses during the three-month period. Lower crude oil price, coupled with deregulation of fuel at home, has also slashed the company's working capital requirement, reducing the need to borrow. Petrochemicals, gas and pipeline will be the focus areas for IOC's future expansion. The company plans to spend about ` 15,000 crore in 2015-16 and a similar amount in each of the two succeeding financial years. (

Transportation / Trade…………

GGCL, GSPC Gas to set up network in Thane, Dadra and Nagar Haveli

April 13, 2015. GSPC Gas Company Ltd and Gujarat Gas Company Ltd (GGCL) will set up city gas distribution network in Union Territory (UT) Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Thane in Maharashtra. The two companies under GSPC Group received authorisation from the market regulator, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) to set up the gas network. Gujarat energy minister Saurabh Patel informed that the two companies will invest a total of around ` 1,400 crore to set up the gas network which will provide gas for domestic users, auto and small industries in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Thane. The gas pipeline will supply gas to about 10.76 lakh households. After the competitive bidding process by PNGRB, the GSPC Gas won the bid to set up gas network in Union Territory Dadra and Nagar Haveli, while Gujarat Gas won the bid for gas network in Thane in Maharashtra.

As per the authorisation provided by the regulator, GSPC Gas will cover the areas of Sili, Silvassa, Naroli, Samrvarni, Masat, Saily, Khanvel and Sindoni in Dadra and Nagar Haveli. This will require an investment of ` 222 crore, which will cover 76,500 households under the gas pipeline network. While GGCL in Thane will cover the areas of Talsari, Dahanu, Palghar, Vikramgarh, Javhar, Mokhda, Vada, Vasai, Bhivandi, Shahpur, Kalyan, Marbad and Amba Math where about 10 lakh households will be covered with an approximate investment of ` 1,207 crore. Also, the gas will be used for small and medium industrial units as well as for auto CNG. Currently, the three state-run CGDs of the GSPC Group namely, GSPC Gas, GGCL and Sabarmati Gas put together supply gas to about 10,85,000 households in the state through pipeline. (

Ennore to get networked to gas grid in 2017

April 11, 2015. Piped gas could finally be within the reach of Chennai’s fuel-thirsty industries by the end of 2017, with a private firm winning a bid to build a pipeline connecting the city’s northern suburb of Ennore to Nellore in Andhra Pradesh. KEI-ROS Petroleum and Energy Private Limited, based in Andhra Pradesh, has won the mandate to build, own and operate for 25 years the 250-km pipeline via Krishnapatnam Port, a company representative confirmed through email on the condition of anonymity. This is the latest attempt to build a gas pipeline in the State after a few earlier ones ended in failure. One high-profile project that bit the dust was initiated by India’s biggest natural gas distributor GAIL India. Its plan — to run a pipeline from Kochi to Mangalore via Tamil Nadu — remained a non-starter with farmers in the State opposing the laying of pipes through agricultural land. Only 50 km of the pipeline to be built by KEI-ROS Petroleum will be in Tamil Nadu. Also, the company doesn’t foresee the need for agricultural land, as the plan is to run the pipeline close to the National Highway. The ` 650 crore project needs clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. The company expects groundwork to begin by June next year and the project to be commissioned by December 2017. Piped gas could benefit manufacturers of gas, ceramics, fertilizers, petrochemicals, tyres and automobiles, apart from helping CNG stations, refineries and foundries. These industries had earlier gone through the disappointments of seeing the GAIL project fail as well as seeing an alternative project — seeking to draw from Indian Oil Corporation’s LNG terminal at Ennore — getting excessively delayed. (

Enforce order on LPG supply: Kerala HC

April 8, 2015. The Kerala High Court (HC) directed the State Government to strictly enforce the order that brings the service of transportation and supply of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) under the purview of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA). The court observed that the Chief Secretary was fully justified in taking the decision to make the supply of LPG under provisions of the Essential Services Maintenance Act. The government pointed out that the strike called by employees and the truck owners supplying LPG cylinders would adversely affect the distribution of LPG. (  

Policy / Performance………

Demand for petroleum products likely to rise

April 14, 2015. India's annual demand for oil products is expected to grow 3.3 percent next financial year, according to the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC), India's energy data body. The country is expected to consume 167 million tonnes of refined fuels in 2015-16, against an estimated 162 million tonnes in 2014-15. With the Indian economy projected to grow close to 7.4 percent in 2014-15, the growth in demand for diesel, is set to rise 4.1 percent to 71.32 million tonnes. Diesel accounts for about 40 percent of refined fuel consumption. Demand for petrol is expected to grow 7.2 percent to about 19.7 million tonnes. The slump in crude oil prices, down 50 percent to $53.64 per barrel from its peak levels of $109 per barrel in June 2014, has made petroleum products cheaper. Petrol prices are down 11 times since August 2014 and diesel prices seven times since October 2014. On April 2, petrol prices were cut 49 paise a litre and diesel ` 1.21 when international oil rates recovered from a fall. Prices of LPG cylinders (non-subsidised domestic) have gone down by 35 percent. According to PPAC, the consumption of all petroleum products grew 2.7 percent till January, 2015, compared to that by January 2014. (

India requires $100 bn per year investment for energy needs: IEA

April 13, 2015. India needs an investment of USD100 billion a year to meet its growing energy needs, a task which requires right pricing and legal framework, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. India is the third largest energy consumer in the world after China and US. Its energy use will continue to increase, IEA chief economist Fatih Birol at a workshop on India Energy Outlook said. Three important factor that are needed to support India's growth prospects are "investment, investment and investment", Birol said.

Foreign and private investors, he said, were ready to come and invest "but for that, conditions need to be right. Right pricing signals and right legal framework". A quarter of Indian population is without electricity and there are concerns over air quality and other environmental indicators, Birol said. Birol said global oil prices are likely to continue to remain low in near future because of adequate supplies. Middle East, despite geopolitical issues, will remain the most important oil supplier to the world and a critical source for India, Birol said. India imports 77 percent of its crude oil needs. (

LPG cash transfer plan takes commercial cylinder sales up

April 13, 2015. The government's direct cash transfer drive for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) consumers has begun accomplishing its key objective of stopping the diversion of subsidised cylinders to commercial use, the data shows. There's been rapid growth in the sale of commercial cylinders even as demand for subsidised cooking gas has slowed, according to data provided by Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the country's largest LPG retailer, with almost half the market share. With 82% of cooking gas customers getting subsidy directly from the government, there is hardly any room for unscrupulous dealers to supply cheap cylinders to commercial customers.

In March, the pace of growth of subsidised LPG consumption for domestic purposes fell to 3.1% from 5.8% in February and 12.2% between April 2014 and February 2015. To be sure, the higher growth between April and February was also due to the addition of 1.4 crore LPG subscribers. Non-domestic consumption of LPG cylinders jumped 28.2% in March, accelerating from 26.9% in February. Demand in this category had declined 4.6% during April-February. Similarly, auto LPG, or the gas consumed by cars, grew by 9.8% in March and 15.9% in February and had declined 17.5% during April-February. The data show that the rapid implementation of the Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG (DBTL) scheme by fuel retailers such as Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum has borne fruit. The growth slide in domestic consumption, even with many fresh subscribers, is mainly due to the weeding out of fake subscribers with the adoption of DBTL. Subsidised domestic consumption makes up 92% of the LPG used in the country. (

India to invest $6 bn more in Mozambique gas block: Oil Minister

April 13, 2015. In addition to the $6 billion already invested, Indian oil companies are slated to invest another $6 billion in stages by 2019 in Mozambique's Rovuma Area 1 offshore block, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), Oil India and Bharat Petroleum Corp have bought 30 percent stake in this Mozambique gas block and will also participate in the LNG project.

Describing Mozambique, situated on the eastern coast of Africa, as an important destination from the standpoint of India's energy security, the oil minister said a joint working group, which was decided to be set up in November 2014, met in Mozambique during his visit. On liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from Mozambique, Pradhan said the first shipments are expected to come by 2019, and the operator consortium has already begun talks with Indian utilities like GAIL regarding supplies. Mozambique plans to produce 34 million tonnes of LNG annually from its biggest gas field. Ten LNG terminals are likely to be set up, each with a yearly capacity of five million tonnes of gas. (

Oil Ministry submits proposal on premium for difficult gas fields

April 8, 2015. The Oil Ministry has submitted a proposal to the Finance Ministry for paying a premium to natural gas producers for difficult fields. A formula, based on recommendation of the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, has been approved by Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and it has now been forwarded to the Finance Ministry for vetting.

The government, while approving a new gas pricing formula based on international hub rates in October last year, had decided that new gas discoveries in deepwater, ultra-deep sea or high-temperature and high-pressure fields will be given a premium over and above the approved price. Gas price, according to the formula, was USD 5.05 per million British thermal unit till March 31 and has subsequently been cut to USD 4.66 in line with international movements. The premium to gas from difficult fields will be over and above this rate.

DGH had in January submitted a formula for calculating the premium on such projects. 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. (

KCCI seeks LNG handling facilities at New Mangalore Port

April 8, 2015. The Mangaluru-based Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has requested the Union Petroleum Ministry to set up LNG handling infrastructure at New Mangalore Port. A KCCI delegation led by its president Nigam Vasani met the Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, during his recent visit to Mangaluru and made a plea in this regard. Vasani said the proposal for setting up an LNG terminal at New Mangalore Port has been pending for over a decade. Requesting the government to sanction a floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) to handle LNG at New Mangalore Port, he said the economic justification for the same was already established. There is a demand for over 5 million tonnes of LNG in Karnataka. In fact, the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi have a demand of 2.5 million tonnes. Karnataka, which has no energy resources of its own, requires special attention, he said. Stressing the need for importing methane-rich LNG, Vasani said methane can be used as feedstock for fertilisers and clean power. (

Oil Minister to visit Mozambique

April 8, 2015. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan will conduct a three-day official visit to Maputo, where he is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with his Mozambique counterpart. Pradhan will also captains of the oil and gas industry and other associated sectors in Mozambique. He will be accompanied by a business delegation, led by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which will explore ways to strengthen business to business ties with Mozambique.

The minister is expected discuss ways to expand and strengthen energy cooperation between New Delhi and Maputo. In November 2014, Mozambique Foreign Minister OldemiroBaloi and Pradhan had signed an memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the oil and gas sector. (



India to produce about 1,100 bn units of power in 2015-16

April 14, 2015. The government has set a target of generating close to 1,100 billion units of electricity during the current financial year as the coal supply at thermal power stations has eased. This target is over seven percent of the previous fiscal’s target of 1,023 billion units (BUs). The actual generation numbers for the fiscal gone were not available. According to the latest report by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the government has set a target of producing 1,098 BUs of power during 2015-16. The central sector plants will contribute 411 BUs and state sector 401 BUs to the total targeted capacity. Another report by CEA said that the fuel supply at thermal power plants has improved. Only 9 projects had less than seven days of coal supply at their disposal, of which 4 projects had stockpiles for less than four days, on April 9. This is an improvement from last month (March 9), when 12 stations had less than seven days of fossil fuel. Of the total 1,098 BUs that the government aims to generate in the current fiscal, 965 BUs will come from thermal power and the remaining from hydel plants (133 BUs). As many as seven hydro projects, which are likely to come up during the current financial year, will contribute 2,766 million units of electricity to the total generation. The peak power deficit, or the shortfall in electricity supply when the demand is maximum, stood at 2.8 percent in February this year. (

BHEL commissions 600 MW thermal unit in Chhattisgarh

April 13, 2015. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) said it has commissioned another 600 MW unit of a thermal power project in Chhattisgarh. The unit was commissioned at Dainik Bhaskar Power Ltd's (DBPL) upcoming 2x600 MW thermal power project located at Dhabra in Janjgir Champa district ofChhattisgarh, BHEL said. This is the second unit of the power project, commissioned by BHEL, BHEL it said. The first 600 MW unit was commissioned by the company last year. With a cumulative installed capacity of 11,40O MW, the share of BHEL stands at 68 percent of the total installed capacity in the state. (

Essar Power commissions the first unit of Paradeep Power Plant

April 13, 2015. Essar Power, one of India’s leading private sector power producers, commissioned the first unit of 30 MW power at its 120 MW captive Paradeep Power Plant in Odisha. In the coming months, the balance 90 MW (3 X 30 MW) would be commissioned in phases. The company’s 120 MW coal fired power plant will meet the power requirement of Essar Steel’s12 million tons per annum integrated pelletization facility in Odisha, comprising of a pelletisation plant at Paradeep and a beneficiation plant at Dabuna, connected through a 253 kms slurry pipeline. Upon completion, Essar Steel would have access to cheap and reliable power supply, thereby improving its competitive edge. The 220 kV transmission line from plant switchyard to Main Receiving Sub Station (MRSS) of steel plant has already been commissioned for power evacuation. The company is one of India’s leading private power producers with over 14-year operating track record and owns and operates power plants in India and Canada with a total generation capacity of 6,700 MW. (

NTPC to soon appoint MDOs to develop 5 re-alloted mines

April 12, 2015. NTPC will soon appoint firms to start production from five coal mines that were recently re-alloted to it. NTPC will soon appoint Mine Developer and Operators (MDOs) for the development of all mines recently alloted to it. NTPC is committed to beginning coal output from the mines in another two years. The five mines are Kerandari, ChattiBariatu, ChattiBariatu (South) in Jharkhand, Talaipalli in Chhattisgarh and Dulanga in Odisha. The state-owned power generation company was re-allotted five coal blocks that were cancelled last year by the Supreme Court. It had said the blocks alloted to it will help boost power production. The government had last allotted 38 mines to central and state public sector units including power major NTPC, DVCand steel giant SAIL. (

NPCIL and France’s AREVA sign PEA for Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project

April 12, 2015. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL), a PSU under the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India, and M/s AREVA of France have entered into a Pre-Engineering Agreement (PEA) on April 10, 2015 in connection with the proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project for setting up of two EPR (Evolutional Pressurised Reactor) rectors of 1650 MWe each to be set up in collaboration with France. The PEA will facilitate NPCIL to obtain details of the EPR technology, make a detailed safety assessment of the plant and take up the licensing process with Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), as soon as the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project is taken up for implementation. The PEA will also contribute to explore the most efficient and cost-effective pathways for project implementation, and to maximise the scope of localisation of different components of the power plant, with a view to not only make the project economical, but also enhance India’s domestic capabilities in line with the campaign for “Make in India”. These preparatory steps are going to be necessary whenever the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project is taken up, thus saving precious time and cost in the implementation of the project. The signing of PEA with AREVA is an important reflection of India’s abiding interest in partnering with France in the civil nuclear power sector. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade…

Coal imports jump 34 percent in 2014-15

April 14, 2015. Coal imports into India, the world's third largest buyer, jumped 33.5 percent in the last fiscal year to 242.4 million tonnes as lower purchases by China depressed prices and helped consumers elsewhere, preliminary data from online trader mjunction showed. Indian power companies typically depend on imports for about 15 percent of their annual needs but that figure looks set to climb thanks to a continuous fall in prices, which has raised the appetite for foreign coal. Imports in March were estimated to have risen 80 percent to 24.73 million tonnes, according to mjunction data based on information from shipping companies, ports and other sources. Government data on imports generally comes with a lag and varies with those from private firms like mjunction, which collects data from a greater number of ports and includes additional coal grades. Coal Secretary Anil Swarup estimated imports of 200 million tonnes for 2014/15 and 160 million tonnes for the 2015/16 fiscal year. According to data, India imported 168.4 million tonnes in 2013/14, while mjunction put the figure at 181.58 million. (

GVK’s Alaknanda hydropower project synchronised with Northern Grid

April 12, 2015. The first Unit of GVK’s 330 MW Alaknanda Hydro Power Company's project at Shrinagar in Uttarakhand, was synchronised with the Northern Grid on the April 10 and tested to generate the full rated capacity of 82.5 MW. A thorough inspection of the machine shall now be carried out before starting commercial production from April 13. The remaining three units will be sequentially synchronised by the end of June, and full-fledged operations will commence soon after. GVK’s 330 MW hydropower project consists of four units of 82.5 MW each, and is situated on the river Alaknanda at Shrinagar in Tehri-PauriGarhwal, Uttarakhand. A power purchase agreement has been signed with Uttar Pradesh, and 12 percent output will be given free to Uttarakhand. (

Canada, India in advanced talks on nuclear fuel supply

April 11, 2015. Canada’s biggest uranium producer Cameco is in advanced talks with India on a deal to supply it fuel for nuclear power plants and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit is likely to provide impetus to clinch the agreement, a media report said. Stewart Beck, who was Canada’s high commissioner to India between 2010 and 2014, said energy security ranks high for India. Modi has made it clear that obtaining a commercial supply of uranium from Canada’s Cameco Corp is a major goal for him as he gets ready to visit Canada on April 14-16. Nuclear power is at the heart of a rapprochement between India and Canada in recent years. Canada banned exports of uranium and nuclear hardware to India in the 1970s after New Delhi used Canadian technology to develop a nuclear bomb. The two countries turned the page with a deal that took effect in 2013. A commercial deal to export Cameco’s uranium to feed India’s reactors would be another sign to the world that India is recognised as a safe, responsible nuclear power despite its refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. (

Delhi's power distribution companies seek to explore open market

April 9, 2015. If power distribution companies have their way, Delhi could be heading towards complete modification of electricity acquisition. Discoms have floated a proposal to surrender power from various central sector generating units so that they can seek 'cheaper' alternatives from the open market. A list of recommendations on reducing costs made by Delhi Power Procurement Group (DPPG) has been sent to Delhi government. If it is accepted, then the issue will be taken up with the Centre. DPPG, which is constituted by the three discoms, MES, NDMC, Transco and SLDC, recently held a meeting on the issue of reallocation of power from various generating stations. The recommendations included shutdown of Rajghat power house and surrendering electricity from NTPC Badarpur station as well as from Dadri, Anta and Auraiya plants. It was decided that Rajghat power house will be closed after summers, from September 30. The forum recommended that Tata Power decommission its 108 MW plant in Rithala that has been defunct for over two years due to gas shortage. The group discussed diverting gas from Pragati power station to the newer and more efficient Bawana plant. (

Post coal auction worries for power sector

April 8, 2015. The winning of captive coal mines by power generation companies in the recent auction might even stoke the sector's fund problem, given the large-scale lack of power purchase agreements (PPAs) with state governments. The fear is that the price to be paid for the blocks won in the auction will, with the lack of supply agreement, lead to losses. Around 75 percent of projects which won captive mines in the auction don't have any PPA. The capacity affected is about 10,000 MW. Around 29,000 MW of total thermal power generation capacity is estimated as stranded, since states are not issuing any new tender for long-term purchase. The calculation is that a six million tonne a year coal consumption would mean a payout in the first year of ` 1,541 crore for the winners in the recent auction, including repayment of debt amount, yearly loss and the project cost. Sector experts are concerned at the many projects with untied power sales which have won coal blocks. Apart from a tender by Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), there has been no major power purchase contract bid call since March 2013. KSEB called for bids for 400 MW in two tranches and received bids in the range of ` 3.6-7.29 a unit. Distribution companies across the country are financially distressed, incapable of buying expensive power. ICRA, the ratings agency, has estimated the aggregate unrecovered revenue gap at ` 25,300 crore from rate petitions filed by distribution utilities in 11 states. (

Karnataka to oppose privatisation of power distribution

April 8, 2015. The state government has decided to oppose the Centre’s move to allow privatisation of power distribution. Karnataka Energy Minister D K Shivakumar is set to convey the state’s stand against the proposal to amend the Electricity Act to allow the entry of private companies to bid for the distribution of power in specific regions. Shivakumar said he would urge the Union government to convene a meeting of all chief ministers to discuss the issue. (

Investment in T&D sector in next 4 yrs to be ` 3 lakh crore: Goyal

April 8, 2015. The transmission and distribution (T&D) sector is expected to see investments of nearly ` 3 lakh crore over the next four years, the Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy Minsiter Piyush Goyal said. The Minister said that the ` 3 lakh crore investment from the private sector in transmission and distribution will be supported by over ` 1 lakh crore ($18 billion) from the Government through schemes such as the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana and Integrated Power Development Scheme. Goyal said that last year 20,000 circuit km of transmission lines has been added in 2014-15, which is the highest ever in the country. (

Policy / Performance………….

SC grants time to Centre for assessing 18 hydro power projects

April 13, 2015. The Supreme Court (SC) granted two more weeks to the Centre for filing "comprehensive" environment and ecological impact report of 18, out of total 24 hydroelectric power projects, to be set up on Alaknanda and Bhagirathi river basins in Uttarakhand. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has given a report that six, out of 24 hydroelectric power projects in the state, have substantially complied with legal requirements. Meanwhile, the counsel for Uttarakhand told the bench that the state is incurring losses due to delay on the part of MoEF. The court has fixed the case for further hearing on May 5 and asked the Centre to file its affidavit on April 29. Earlier, the court had granted time for filing comprehensive environment and ecological impact report of 24 hydroelectric power projects to be established on Alaknanda and Bhagirathi river basins. It had asked the MoEF to come out with a "concrete proposal" after scrutinising projects including the hydropower projects of PSUs -- National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and Tehri Hydro Development Coporation (THDC). (

Aim to save 200 bn units of electricity in 5 yrs: Goyal

April 13, 2015. The government aims to bring down transmission losses to save 200 billion units, or 10 percent of the power consumption achieved, in the next five years, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said. Goyal said the government plans to scale up the contribution of renewable energy. Pointing out one-fourth of the country's population still does not have access to electricity, he said that India is one of the lowest per capita carbon emitters in the world. (

States to get 85 percent of electricity from projects set up by central utilities

April 13, 2015. A new power equation appears to be emerging between the Centre and states. The power ministry is willing to allow states, which approach central generation utilities for projects in their territory, to retain 85 percent of electricity from such units. The new approach is expected to galvanize state governments into walking the extra mile for the projects. Higher share of power is expected to make state governments cooperate and expedite land acquisition, environmental and forest clearances, water allocation, relief and rehabilitation of displaced persons as well as support in maintaining law and order situation at the project site. All these issues have emerged as roadblocks for big projects. The fresh approach has the potential to immediately benefit West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. All of them have separately approached NTPC, NHPC and SJVN for setting up large power plants and demanded 85 percent to 100 percent power from these projects for themselves. The ministry was not in favour of making any changes in the Gadgil formula, an arrangement for allocation of central resources among states. States that are planning projects with central utilities can approach the ministry on a case-by-case basis. Under the present power-sharing formula, host states where central generation projects are located are entitled to 10 percent of generation. The Centre keeps 15 percent for itself, while 75 percent is distributed among states in the region as per their consumption and central plan assistance in the preceding five years. This formula was drawn up years ago when central generation projects used to be set up with budgetary support. This has changed over the years. The central utilities now operate as commercial entities and most of the projects are set up with a debt-equity ratio of 70:30 and do not enjoy any budgetary support. Bihar would benefit from three projects of 1,320 MW each — at Lakhisarai, Pirpainti and Buxar — under the new formula. Bengal would benefit from the 1,320 MW project at Katwa in Burdwan district. Andhra would benefit from the 4,000 MW Pudimadaka project and Telangana from Ramagundam Stage IV of 1,600 MW and another phase of 2,400 MW. Telangana would have the additional benefit under the AP Reorganization Act of 2014, entitling it to 100 percent power from these projects. (

Maharashtra CM’s plea: Don’t oppose nuclear project

April 12, 2015. Maharashtra Chief Minister (CM) Devendra Fadnavis welcomed the Indo-French agreement on fast-tracking the Jaitapur nuclear power plant. He said that the proposed project is in the interest of the nation and appealed to parties not to oppose it. BJP’s partner in the state government, Shiv Sena, is the only major political party in Maharashtra that is opposing the project. The project, where French company Areva is to set up six nuclear reactors with the total power generation capacity of about 10,000 MW, is stuck for long because of differences over the cost of electricity to be generated. Sena, which is part of the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra, has opposed the project, saying it poses a threat to the local environment and population, and had organised protests against it. (

280 mn Indians don't have power connection: Goyal

April 12, 2015. Around 280 million people in the country do not have basic electricity connection, Minister for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal said. Around 280 million people in India to this day do not have electricity connection at their homes. Till date, they are denied the basic thing like power, Goyal said while addressing the graduating class of the Indian School of Business (ISB). He said his ministry was focusing on energy efficiency in a big way. Goyal asked the ISB to come up with a proposal for an innovative laboratory on energy conservation for which his ministry was ready to provide funds. (

Will examine Margherita thermal power project proposal: Goyal to Gogoi

April 10, 2015. Minister for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal assured Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi that his ministry will examine on a priority basis the state government's proposal to set up a 600 MW Super Critical Thermal Project at Margherita. Goyal said he would speed up action on the pending proposals of Assam for increasing the supply of gas to the state owned generating stations at Lakwa and Namrup by taking up the matter with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. Goyal said he would look into the proposal for the final clearance of the pending Kopili Hydro Electric Project. Referring to the Lower Subansiri Hydro Electric Project, the Chief Minister said his government would provide assistance for the project including security of equipment and manpower and also support all efforts of the Centre in implementing the project. Gogoi said the state government was keen to set up a solar power project with assistance of the Centre at Amguri in Sivasagar district. The Chief Minister requested Goyal to expedite the commissioning of Bongaigaon Thermal Power Project under the NTPC and also to increase Assam's share from the project. (

J&K govt demands transfer of Dulhasti and Uri hydropower projects

April 10, 2015. The Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) government asked the Centre to transfer Dulhasti and Uri hydropower projects from NHPC to the state administration besides ensuring a share in the firm's profits accruing from the state's waters. Apart from this, the state wants a share in profits of NHPC emanating from Jammu and Kashmir's waters and a revision of all royalty agreements, Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister and In-charge of Power Ministry, Nirmal Singh said. The Minister further asked the Centre that formal process of the modalities for return of the two power projects to the state should be put into place without further delay.

The state government has presented a separate Power Budget for 2015-16 after detailed debate and deliberations as development of this sector holds the key to fiscal autonomy, he said. Singh said that the Centre should consider funding the development of roads leading to key hydropower projects coming up in the Chenab basin as these would require substantial investment. The state demanded allocation of a new coal block with good reserve for generation of thermal power as well as a share in the thermal power to be produced from the Ultra Mega Power Projects announced in this year's union budget, among others. (

Centre to invest ` 100 bn in northeast power sector

April 9, 2015. The Centre will invest ` 10,000 crore in the power sector of the eight North Eastern states, including Sikkim, Union Power, Coal and NRE Minister Piyush Goyal said. The Centre has already approved a scheme for strengthening the transmission and distribution system in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim with an outlay of ` 4,754 crore. The government has also approved another North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project for the other six states in the region with an outlay of ` 5,111 crore, including budgetary support of ` 2,600 crore, the minister said. (

TN asks for additional coal block allocation

April 9, 2015. The Tamil Nadu (TN) government has urged the Centre to allocate one more coal block to in order to expedite the transmission system and reduce the reliability margin to 500 MW. TN had applied for allocation of one coal block and has now sought one more. Electricity Minister Natham R Viswanathan urged the coal ministry to allocate Mahanadi and Machchakata coal blocks since GarePelma Sector II coal block had already been allotted to Maharashtra State Power Generation Corporation Limited.

The allocation will help meet the ongoing and upcoming five thermal projects in Tamil Nadu. The minister sought immediate environment clearance for the commissioning of Tangedco-NLC JV at Tuticorin 2x500 MW. Viswanathan said Tamil Nadu has been the leader in the generation of wind energy with a capacity of more than 7300 MW. He said Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission has fixed a tariff of ` 7.01 per unit and the state is planning expeditious addition in solar generation capacity of 3000 MW on present tariff within this financial year (2015-16). (

Good news for TN as power project secures funding

April 9, 2015. Coastal Energen, which is putting up a thermal power project near Tuticorin, southern Tamil Nadu (TN), has secured ` 1,950 crore funding from a SBI-led consortium of banks, the Founder President and CEO, Ahmed Buhari, said. The funding is a combination of working capital and term loans, he said. This is good news for the state of Tamil Nadu because Coastal Energen will now be able to move faster towards the completion of its second of the two units of the thermal project. Both units are of 600 MW capacity each, and the first began generating electricity in December 2014. The working capital part of the loan will make it easier for the company to operate the Unit-I, Buhari said. Coastal Energen’s ` 7,600 crore coal-based power project is the only one that has come up in Tamil Nadu in over a decade. The company has won a mandate, through a bidding process, to sell power to the state’s electricity generation and distribution utility, TANGEDCO, for 15 years for a price of ` 4.91 a kWhr. Commenting on securing the funding, Buhari said it was a “big milestone” and that the company would now aim towards completing the Unit-II by the end of the year. Coastal Energen has lands of over 1,080 acres at the site which can accommodate 5,000 MW of power projects. The company has previously said that it would expand capacity beyond 1,200 MW. (

Nuclear fuel production hits a record

April 8, 2015. The Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC), the sole supplier of uranium to the country’s nuclear energy programme, has achieved a record production of 1,252.3 tonnes of fuel bundles during 2014-15. This is an increase of nearly 290 tonnes over the previous year’s 961.22 tonnes. It meets the fuel demands of all the 18 operating pressurised heavy water reactors and two boiled water reactors at Tarapur, Maharashtra. Each tonne of fuel bundles translates to ` 3 crore, which means the NFC supplied ` 870 crore worth of material to ensure that Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), which operates the power plants, generates more nuclear power, said N Saibaba, Chief Executive of the Hyderabad-headquartered unit under the Department of Atomic Energy. Saibaba said the judicious mix of indigenous sources of uranium and imported ones to meet the expanding nuclear power programme of the country was very practical. The NFC had established technical expertise to deal with the latest fuels and needs of the newer types of reactors. The Tummalapalle uranium mines in Andhra Pradesh have huge reserves, he said. In the next few months, production will begin. It will substantially add to the indigenous resources to make the fuel bundles and feed the upcoming reactors. NPCIL has at least five 5 large reactors under various stages of construction. At present, the company has established a total capacity of 5,780 MW. The ` 2,400-crore plant with an annual capacity of 500 tonnes, being established in Kota, Rajasthan, will be ready in the next couple of years, to meet future needs, Saibaba said. (

Haryana approves 800 MW unit at Panipat plant

April 8, 2015. The Haryana government has approved setting up of 800 MW super-critical unit at Panipat thermal power plant after the Union Government gave its nod to transfer coal for the proposed unit. Haryana Chief Minister ManoharLal Khattar approved the project during a review meeting with the senior officers of Panipat Thermal Power Station at Panipat. Khattar suggested that the cost of per unit production of electricity could be reduced by making improvement in the production techniques and by reducing the line losses. The Chief Minister said that during his visit to Badhra Assembly Constituency recently, the people have assured him that they would pay their power bills on time. Expressing concern that loss of power utilities on account of non-payment of electricity bills and line losses have reached about ` 5,500 crore, he said, "this is our responsibility to reduce it." (



Statoil makes gas find near Aasta Hansteen field

April 13, 2015. Energy firm Statoil made another gas find near its Aasta Hansteen field in the Norwegian Arctic, further raising the gas resource in one of its biggest ongoing projects, it said. Statoil found between 2 and 7 billion cubic metres of gas and together with a discovery announced earlier this year, it has increased the field's resource by about a quarter, it said. Aasta Hansteen, earlier thought to contain about 47 billion cubic metres of gas, is expected to start up in 2017, pumping gas through a new 480-kilometre pipeline. The field was earlier estimated to cost 32 billion Norwegian crowns ($4 billion) while the Polarled pipeline was expected to cost 25 billion crowns. Partners in the new discovery include Statoil (42.5 percent), Centrica (20 percent), Norwegian state holding firm Petoro (20 percent), BASF subsidiary Wintershall (10 percent) and Atlantic Petroleum (7.5 percent). (

Saudi’s oil output projected at 9.8 mbpd this year

April 12, 2015. Saudi Arabia’s oil production is projected to rise to 9.8 million barrels per day (mbpd) this year from 9.6 mbpd, as the Kingdom tries to win back market share in its oil price war with US shale drillers, according to the latest Quarterly Oil Market Review released by Jadwa Investment, headquartered in Riyadh. Saudi crude continues to face intense competition in key foreign markets which will keep exports at similar levels to last year, at around 7 mbpd. The kingdom will be pumping 9.8 mbpd of oil, around 300,000 barrels more than its output measured by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, according to a Review. (

Total's Skirne East well finds gas offshore Norway

April 10, 2015. Northern Europe-focused junior explorer Faroe Petroleum reported that the Total-operated Skirne East exploration well in the Norwegian North Sea has found gas. The well encountered a net 33-foot gas column in the high-quality Middle Jurassic Hugin formation, Faroe reported. The gross estimate of the size of the discovery is between three and 10 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent. The reservoir properties were found to be "excellent" and extensive data gathering has been conducted, the firm said. (

'Significant' oil discovery made in Britain

April 9, 2015. A "significant" oil find has been made in Britain, with a British oil exploration firm saying that up to 100 billion barrels of onshore oil could be lying beneath southern England. The firm UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) drilled a well at Horse Hill, near Gatwick airport last year, and analysis of that well suggests that the area could hold 158 million barrels of oil per square mile. However, UKOG admitted that only a fraction of the total reserve of 100 billion barrels of oil would be recovered. The North Sea has produced about 45 billion barrels in 40 years. UKOG said that the majority of the oil lay within the Upper Jurassic Kimmeridge formation at a depth of 2,500 feet to 3,000 feet. Compared with similar geology in the US and West Siberia, UKOG estimated that 3 to 15 percent of the oil could be recovered. Oil has been produced onshore in southern England for decades. There are currently around a dozen oil production sites across the Weald, a region spanning Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire counties. Last year, a report for the government by the British Geological Survey estimated that the region may have shale oil resources in the range of 2.2 to 8.5 billion barrels, with a central estimate of 4.4 billion barrels of oil. (

Shell in ‘advanced’ talks to buy BG for LNG, Brazilian oil

April 8, 2015. Royal Dutch Shell Plc is in talks to acquire BG Group Plc in what would be the largest energy deal this year. The source asked not to be identified discussing private information. Buying BG would be Shell’s largest acquisition since the 40.7 billion-pound ($60.3 billion) merger of its Dutch and U.K. parent companies in 2005, according to data compiled. It would unite the U.K.’s first- and third-largest natural gas producers. Shell, Europe’s largest oil producer, operates in more than 70 countries with 94,000 employees. BG Group, with a market value of $46 billion, was formed in 1997 as an offshoot of the U.K.’s state-owned utility. The Hague-based Shell had $21.6 billion in cash and near-cash items at the end of last year. Shell, which invented the oil tanker in the 1890s to haul Caspian Sea crude to European markets, will swell its reserves of untapped oil and natural gas by 28 percent with the addition of BG’s assets, according to data compiled. Shell is struggling to reverse years of slumping output from its wells. Its worldwide production dropped to the equivalent of 3.08 million barrels a day in 2014, the lowest in at least 17 years. (


Refiner Delek to buy Alon Israel' 48 percent stake in Alon USA

April 14, 2015. Refiner Delek US Holdings Inc said it would buy Alon Israel Oil Co Ltd's 48 percent holding in Alon USA Energy Inc for about $572.4 million, giving it a stake in convenience stores and more refineries in the United States. Delek said it would pay $200 million in cash, 6 million in stock and issue Alon Israel an unsecured $145 million promissory note maturing in January 2021. The deal is expected to close in the second half of May. Delek said that it was in talks to buy some or all of Alon Israel, one of Israel's largest fuel station and convenience store operators. Delek has refineries in Tyler, Texas and El Dorado, Arkansas. Alon USA has refineries in Texas, California and Louisiana and also operates nearly 300 7-Eleven convenience stores in Central and West Texas and New Mexico. (

Shell sells 185 UK petrol stations as retail divestments continue

April 13, 2015. Shell has agreed to sell 185 service stations across Britain to two independent dealers, it announced, further reducing its presence in the European retail energy market. Shell announced downstream and retail divestments last year in countries including Italy, Norway and Germany as part of cost cuts prompted by weak oil prices. Shell has agreed to sell 90 of 185 stations to Motor Fuel Group, which already manages BP-branded service stations, while the sale of 68 others has been agreed with Euro Garages, the company said. Shell said it expected to sign contracts for the remaining stations in the coming weeks. The stations will continue to operate under the Shell brand and will sell the oil firm's products for at least five years following the conclusion of the sales. (

Total to present French refining restructuring plan

April 13, 2015. French oil major Total will present its French refining restructuring plan to unions. Under the plan, Total would shut all crude oil refining activities at its La Mede refinery near Marseille and will also invest in its Donges refinery on the Atlantic coast to make it profitable. Total, Europe's biggest refiner, is the latest oil company to resort to closures in an industry that has struggled with overcapacity, poor gasoline demand, growing competition and low margins for several years. (

KBR secures contract for Corpus Christi West refinery expansion in US

April 13, 2015. KBR has received a reimbursable contract from Flint Hills Resources for modification and expansion of its Corpus Christi West refinery. The $600 mn project aims to boost processing capabilities for light crude oil production at the 230,000-b/d Corpus Christi West refinery, which is located Corpus Christi, Texas, US, Penn Energy reports. Under the modification and expansion three-year contract, KBR will be responsible for construction management and direct hire construction services at Flint Hills Resources' Project Eagle Ford. KBR has designed or constructed more than 1,000 refining units across the globe, for more than 50 years. (

Transportation / Trade……….

Western Australia hopes to expand LNG ties with Singapore

April 13, 2015. Western Australia hopes to boost supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Singapore and collaborate with the island-state on gas projects. Western Australia intends to tap on the state's enormous gas resource to step up its economic cooperation with Singapore as the Southeast Asian country harbors hopes of becoming a liquefied natural gas trading hub in Asia Pacific, according to a senior state government official. Colin Barnett, premier of Western Australia, eyes Singapore, where he is currently on an official visit, as a market for the state's growing supply of LNG as projects under construction come into production.

The Singapore LNG Terminal, which commenced operations in May 2013, currently has a throughput capacity of 6 million tons per annum (Mtpa), will have a capacity of 11 Mtpa when construction of Phase 3 Expansion of the terminal is completed by 2017. Singapore is also looking into the possibility of building a second LNG terminal in the eastern part of the island. Western Australia currently produces about 15 Mtpa of LNG, around 6 percent of global supply. The production level could rise to more than 50 Mtpa by the end of the decade as new LNG projects, presently under development, in the state come into operations. Two of these Western Australian projects are operated by Chevron Corp. The Gorgon project, located on the Northwest Shelf, is now more than 90 percent complete, with first LNG shipment expected later this year. Wheatstone is the other project -- located off the Pilbara coast -- with start-up targeted for 2016. (

ConocoPhillips to launch US asset sales

April 13, 2015. ConocoPhillips is preparing the sale of noncore oil and gas producing acreage in the United States (US), in the latest sign that oil majors are becoming more accepting of lower oil prices. While the world's oil and gas companies have been looking to buy assets on the cheap since oil prices plummeted, epitomized by Royal Dutch Shell Plc's agreement to buy BG Group Plc for $70 billion, they have been reluctant to sell assets in case oil prices recover and they can fetch more. ConocoPhillips has hired Wells Fargo to sell some of its noncore U.S. assets. These assets include oil and gas properties in the Rockies, East Texas, South Texas and Northern Louisiana. While the value of the assets up for sale could not be learned, industry sources said they expected ConocoPhillips to sell between $1 billion and $2.5 billion worth of noncore assets in the United States. ConocoPhillips' asset sale would be the largest U.S. acreage sale by a major U.S. oil and gas company so far this year. It follows a 50 percent drop in the price of oil since last June, which halted dozens of similar asset sales. A couple of other big companies have also started to explore a sale. Anadarko Petroleum Corp has put a few hundred million dollars worth of East Texas acreage up for sale with Citigroup Inc. (

Australian manufacturers fear Shell-BG deal may hurt gas market

April 13, 2015. Some of Australia's biggest manufacturers fear a planned $70 billion takeover of BG Group Plc by Royal Dutch Shell could potentially worsen what they see as a lack of competition in the country's eastern gas market. Manufacturing Australia, a lobby group whose members include world no.2 explosives maker Incitec Pivot Ltd and steel maker Bluescope Steel Ltd, warned that gas users seeking long term contracts were facing higher costs due to a limited number of suppliers. The group has yet to decide whether to make a submission to a review of Shell's bid that will be carried out by Australia's competition watchdog. Concerns about soaring gas prices in eastern Australia have come to a head with the start of exports from three liquefied natural gas plants (LNG) plants in Queensland, including BG's Queensland Curtis plant which opened late last year. A report last year by Deloitte Access Economics found that manufacturing output could shrink by as much as A$120 billion ($91 billion) by 2021 due to rising gas prices as LNG exports ramped up. Estimates of gas price rises have been based on assumptions that Australia's LNG exports would fetch $14-16 per gigajoule (GJ), although spot LNG in the Asia Pacific is trading at around $7 LNG-AS following the collapse in oil prices. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it would begin an inquiry into the competitiveness of wholesale gas prices and the structure of the industry. The inquiry, due to be completed by April 2016, will be run separately and over a longer timeframe than the merger review, the commission said. The review of the gas industry in eastern and southern Australia comes amid concerns raised by big manufacturers that suppliers are hoarding gas for export, and offering only limited amounts at high prices for domestic users. Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said the BG deal would face anti-trust scrutiny but was unlikely to lead to forced asset sales. Shell and BG together own gas reserves in eastern Australia and offshore Western Australia as well as stakes in LNG plants on both sides of the country. (

Lithuania considers re-exporting LNG as Russian gas gets cheaper

April 13, 2015. Lithuania is considering allowing its liquefied natural gas import terminal to re-export LNG to global markets during summer when local demand declines, the facility's operator said. The Independence terminal, which opened last year, was built to reduce Lithuania's total reliance on pipeline supplies from Russia's Gazprom, by giving it access to global LNG supplies. Since the terminal opened, Gazprom has cut the price of gas supplies to Lithuania by 20 percent to maintain market share, while Lithuania has signed a deal to buy LNG from Norway's Statoil. Mantas Bartuska, CEO of Klaipedos Nafta, which operates the terminal, said that Russia's price cut has prompted the industry and the government to consider amending Lithuanian regulations that prohibit the re-export of imported LNG. Litgas, the state-run gas trading arm of Lithuanian energy holding company Lietuvos Energija, signed a five-year LNG supply deal with Statoil late last year for 540 million cubic metres of gas annually. If the regulations are changed, the terminal could reload Norwegian LNG cargoes and re-sell them for profit to other buyers, Bartuska said. (

2nd major gas pipeline would link Pennsylvania, Northeast

April 13, 2015. New York landowners along the planned 124-mile Constitution Pipeline are getting details of a second major natural gas pipeline proposed to cut through their property, this one a 325-mile link from Pennsylvania to New England. Construction workers in economically distressed southern New York are ecstatic about the job possibilities, but landowners who have been fighting the first pipeline for three years are dismayed at the prospect of going through the whole process a second time. (

Dodge & Cox increases stake in Italy's Saipem

April 13, 2015. U.S. investment company Dodge & Cox has increased its stake in Italy's Saipem, strengthening its position as the oil contractor's second-largest shareholder at a time when main owner Eni is looking to sell down its holding. State-controlled Eni, which owns 43 percent of Saipem, plans to sell down its stake in its troubled subsidiary to get debt of around 4.4 billion euros ($4.7 billion) off its balance sheet to help fund growth. (

Oil holds advance as recovery in Iran crude exports seen delayed

April 13, 2015. Oil held gains after a fourth weekly increase as skepticism among U.S. lawmakers over a nuclear deal with Iran signaled a recovery in the OPEC producer’s crude exports may be delayed. Futures were little changed in New York after rising 5.1 percent. President Barack Obama is dispatching three cabinet members to brief lawmakers as a Senate committee prepares to take up a bill that will give Congress 60 days to review any final agreement with Iran. Drillers in the U.S. reduced the number of active rigs seeking oil to the fewest since December 2010, according to Baker Hughes Inc. Oil capped its longest run of weekly increases since February 2014 amid speculation a rebound in Iranian shipments won’t be imminent.

The government in Tehran reached a preliminary pact with world powers on April 2 that would trade nuclear restrictions for a lifting of economic sanctions, with a final accord planned for June 30. Prices are still down almost 3 percent this year as near-record U.S. output boosted stockpiles to the highest level in more than three decades. Iran could boost crude exports by 1 million barrels a day within a few months of sanctions being lifted, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said. Its shipments have fallen by half to about 1 million barrels a day after sanctions were imposed in mid-2012. The Persian Gulf nation tied Kuwait last month as the third-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, a survey showed. (

Pakistan takes first LNG cargoes as list of importers grows

April 9, 2015. Pakistan has received its first two shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) at a recently completed import terminal, becoming the latest of a growing list of importers benefiting from a more than 50 percent drop in prices for the fuel. Pakistan, with 180 million people and insufficient domestic gas output of its own, is looking to LNG to help tackle serious energy shortages and frequent power cuts. The first shipment arrived from Qatar, the world's biggest liquid gas exporter, to Bin Qasim port in late March on the Excelerate Exquisite vessel, according to Qatargas. The commissioning cargo of 147,000 cubic feet was bought at a spot price of about $8 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) on a free-on-board basis. The second shipment unloaded around April 1 on the Norgas Conception vessel, ship tracking data shows. Elengy Terminal Pakistan Ltd, wholly-owned by Pakistan's Engro Corp, completed the import terminal at Bin Qasim port in less than a year - a sign of the urgency of the country's energy needs - at a cost of around $150 million, according to Engro. LNG is being shipped to the terminal under a deal between state-owned fuel importer Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and Qatargas. While details of the contract remain unclear, industry sources said in February that Pakistan was in final talks with Qatargas on a deal to buy 3 million tonnes of LNG annually for 15 years. Pakistan has also awarded a contract for a second LNG terminal to state-controlled Sui Southern Gas Company, and is considering building two more, Minister of State for Petroleum Jam Kamal Khan said. Japan, South Korea, China and India still account for almost 70 percent of total LNG imports, but the number of importers is growing fast, having doubled over the last decade to nearly 30. Besides Pakistan, five other buyers are expected to emerge this year - Egypt, Jordan, Philippines, Poland and Uruguay. The increased demand comes just as a wave of new Australian supply in the second half of this decade is expected by some to create an oversupply in the global market. Asian spot LNG prices LNG-AS have more than halved since last year to around $7.50 per mmBtu. (

Gazprom bid for second China deal seen challenged by crude slump

April 8, 2015. Russia’s $400 billion gas-supply deal with China in 2014 took almost a decade to pull off. While state-run exporter OAO Gazprom pushes to cement ties, lackluster energy markets suggest a second agreement may be slow to follow. Crude oil, the main component of Russia’s gas-pricing formula, has tumbled almost 40 percent in six months, weakening Gazprom’s bargaining power. The slump has reduced the funds available for a second Russian pipeline to China. Last May, Russian President Vladimir Putin reached his first deal to supply natural gas to China through a new East Siberia link for 30 years, marking a milestone in relations between the world’s largest energy producer and the biggest consumer. The Asian accord followed a deterioration of relations with the U.S. and Europe as the Ukraine crisis deepened. In November, Russia and China signed a framework agreement on a second 30-year gas contract, which would involve building a pipeline from West Siberia. That link would deliver as much as 30 billion cubic meters of gas a year, adding to the 38 billion cubic meters agreed on in the first contract, making China Gazprom’s largest customer. (

Policy / Performance…………

Russia sees Europe relying heavily on its gas for next 25 yrs

April 13, 2015. The European Union (EU) will rely heavily on Russian gas for at least 25 years despite plans by members of the 28-nation bloc to curb its neighbor’s grip over energy supplies, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said. Relations between the two sides worsened last year after the EU and U.S. imposed sanctions over Russia’s role in a deadly conflict in Ukraine. The EU sought to cut reliance on Russia after supplies of gas piped across Ukraine were earlier disrupted because of conflicts between the two nations. Russia, which supplied about 30 percent of EU gas last year, sees the country increasing its share, Alexey Miller, chief executive officer of OAO Gazprom said. In December, Russia ditched the planned $45 billion South Stream gas pipeline bringing the fuel directly to Europe under the Black Sea because of EU opposition. Russia then said it would build a new link to Turkey, creating a hub at the border with Greece, where Europe can take its gas if it wishes. Gazprom plans to switch all the fuel currently crossing Ukraine to the new route from 2020, when a transit contract expires, the company said in January. If there’s no will in the EU to prepare a new network to receive the gas, Russia would find new markets for the fuel, Miller said at the time. Russia then began talks with Turkey and southeastern EU states including Greece and Hungary, offering a price discount to take part in the pipeline. Gazprom plans to clinch a deal with China this year to supply gas from fields in West Siberia currently serving its European customers. Miller reiterated that increased cooperation with Asian nations allows the company to diversify exports. (

Obama sets rules for offshore oil wells 5 yrs after BP

April 13, 2015. The Obama administration proposed tighter rules for the offshore drilling equipment designed to be a last line of defense against oil-well blowouts, five years after the fatal BP Plc spill off Louisiana fouled the Gulf of Mexico. The proposal by the Interior Department builds on standards industry has set for so-called blowout preventers since the April 2010 disaster on the Deepwater Horizon rig, and establishes schedules for maintenance and repair. If adopted, the rules would mandate outside audits of equipment, require each device to have a backup shear to cut a pipe, and call for real-time monitoring onshore for heat and pressure at the well. Offshore drilling safety has gained additional political significance as President Barack Obama has proposed opening up areas along the Southeastern U.S. coast for oil drilling for the first time. The Interior Department also is grappling with the application by Royal Dutch Shell Plc to explore in Alaska’s Arctic seas, and has proposed separate standards for drilling in those harsh northern conditions. The rule would cost the industry an estimated $88 million a year over the next 10 years, with the steepest costs in 2015 of $165 million. Drillers and other outside groups will have 60 days to comment on the plan beginning April 15, and Jewell didn’t set a timeline for issuing the final regulation. The rule would take effect three months after it’s finalized, with a three-year phase-in for the monitoring capability and five years for use of the double shears. (

Dutch court will rule in Groningen gas suit

April 13, 2015. A Dutch court said it plans to issue a provisional ruling on April 14 in a lawsuit challenging the government's gas production policy at the Groningen gas field, Europe's largest. The Council of State said it would publish the written ruling on its website. (

Saudi Arabia’s plan to extend the age of oil

April 13, 2015. Last fall, as oil prices crashed, Ali al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s petroleum minister and the world’s de facto energy czar, went mum. He still popped up, as is his habit, at industry conferences on three continents. Yet from mid-September to the middle of November, while benchmark crude prices plunged 21 percent to a four-year low, Naimi didn’t utter a word in public. For 20 years, Bloomberg Markets reports in its May 2015 issue, the world’s $2 trillion oil market has parsed Naimi’s every syllable for signs of where supply and prices are heading. Twice during previous routs—amid the Asian financial crisis in 1998 and again when the global economy melted down 10 years later—Naimi reversed oil’s free fall by orchestrating production cutbacks among members of OPEC. This time, he went to ground. At the cartel’s semiannual meeting on Nov. 27 in Vienna, Naimi shot down proposed output reductions supported by a majority of the 12 members in favor of a more daring strategy: keep pumping and wait for lower prices to force high-cost suppliers out of the market. Oil prices fell a further 10 percent by the end of the next day and kept going. Having averaged $110 a barrel from 2011 through the middle of 2014, Brent crude, the global benchmark, dipped below $50 in January. Naimi dominated the debate at the November meeting, according to officials briefed on the closed-door proceedings. He told his OPEC counterparts they should maintain output to protect market share from rising supplies of U.S. shale oil, which costs more to get out of the ground and thus becomes less viable as prices fall. In December, he said much the same thing in a press interview, arguing that it was “crooked logic” for low-cost producers such as Saudi Arabia to pump less to balance the market. (

US begins formal review of shell's arctic drilling plan

April 10, 2015. The U.S. Interior Department said it has received a plan by Royal Dutch Shell PLC to explore drilling opportunities in the Arctic. The company's plan envisions "exploration drilling in the shallow waters of the Chukchi Sea Outer Continental Shelf, off the northwest coast of Alaska." The Obama administration upheld a 2008 Arctic lease sale, clearing an important hurdle for Shell. The Interior Department will consider the company's drilling plan, which could take 30 days. (

TAPI construction to begin this year: Turkmen President

April 9, 2015. Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov has committed to deepen ties with India and begin construction of the USD 10 billion TAPI gas pipeline project this year, as the two countries sought to step up collaboration in the energy sector and fertiliser production. President Berdymuhamedov committed to strengthen ties with India during a meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at the presidential palace. Swaraj, who co-chaired the fifth India-Turkmenistan Inter-Governmental Joint Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation with her Turkmen counterpart Rashid Meredov, termed it as a "preparatory" meeting for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first visit to this country in July. During the minister's maiden visit to the Central Asian country, the two nations agreed to collaborate in the energy sector and discussed key bilateral and regional issues, including defence cooperation. Plans are afoot to set up a urea manufacturing facility in Turkmenistan and opening a representative office by ONGC Videsh Ltd in Ashgabat. Swaraj and Meredov agreed on joint efforts to expedite the implementation of the TAPI pipeline project. India and Turkmenistan also discussed bilateral cooperation in the oil and gas sector, specifically fertilisers and petrochemicals, and agreed to expedite mutually beneficial cooperation in this field. The Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India (TAPI) gas project is an over 1,800 km pipeline with design capacity to supply 3.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per annum from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. It is expected to be operational by 2018. TAPI will carry gas from Turkmenistan's Galkynysh field that holds gas reserves of 16 trillion cubic feet. From the field, the pipeline will run to Herat and Kandahar province of Afghanistan, before entering Pakistan, where it will reach Multan via Quetta before ending at Fazilka in Punjab in India. Turkmenistan possesses the world's fourth-largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources. The Galkynysh gas field has the second-largest volume of gas in the world, after the South Pars field in the Persian Gulf. (

Japan March LNG spot price rises slightly to $8 per mmBtu

April 9, 2015. Average liquefied natural gas (LNG) spot prices for buyers in Japan rose for the first time in five months in March, but were down 56 percent year-on-year, trade ministry data showed, in another sign of slack global demand. Spot LNG contracted in March for delivery to Japan averaged $8.00 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), up from $7.60 a month earlier, but down from $18.30 the year before, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) said. Spot cargoes booked earlier and arriving last month averaged $7.60 per mmBtu, down from $10.70 in February. Asian benchmark spot LNG for May delivery stood at $7.45 per mmBtu, down slightly from a month ago, as gas consumption stayed slack during the typically low-demand period. Incremental demand from Taiwan, India, China and Japan struggled to put a dent in ample supply availability coming from Indonesian and Australian production plants, among others. Tokyo started surveying spot LNG prices in March 2014 to add transparency to the market amid concerns about rising fuel costs in the wake of the shutdown of nuclear plants after the Fukushima crisis. The average spot price is based on around 10 percent of the nation's purchases of the super-chilled fuel. The trade ministry survey looks at samples of fixed prices for LNG sold to power companies and utilities among others, and excludes spot deals linked to benchmark prices such as the U.S. natural gas Henry Hub index. (

Saudi Arabia sees crude price rising as it boosts oil production

April 8, 2015. Saudi Arabia increased oil production in March to the highest in at least 12 years and expects crude prices to rise in the “near future,” according to oil minister Ali al-Naimi. The kingdom, which led the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) last year in refusing to cut output, produced 10.3 million barrels a day last month and will keep pumping for now at around 10 million, al-Naimi said. The March figure is the highest since at least 2002, when the Joint Organisations Data Initiative began compiling output statistics. OPEC will not cut production without cooperation from non-OPEC producers, al-Naimi said. Supply from Saudi Arabia, the biggest in OPEC, has added to a global glut that reduced oil prices by almost half since June. Russia is pumping oil at a rate close to the post-Soviet record, and the U.S. will produce the most crude since 1972 this year. (

Iran to commission 11 new petrochemical units to boost production

April 8, 2015. Iran is planning to complete and commission a total of 11 petrochemical units to boost its petrochemical production in the current Iranian year, which began on 21 March. Iran Petrochemical Affairs Deputy Oil Minister Abbas Sheri Moqaddam said that the 11 units will enter service this year as part of the country's efforts to increase petrochemical production by six million tonnes. Sheri Moqaddam is serving as the managing director of Iran's National Petrochemical Company (NPC). Over the past few years, the range and volume of the petrochemical production has been significantly expanded in the country. Although Iran is capable of producing about 60 million tons of petrochemicals annually, it produces only 68% of this capacity on average due to shortage of raw material and other reasons. (

Ghana state oil company cuts borrowing plan in half on oil price

April 8, 2015. Ghana National Petroleum Corp. will borrow less than half of what it had planned this year because of the drop in oil prices. The state company is seeking $350 million to $400 million from banks at an interest rate of about 3.9 percent, Chief Executive Officer Alex Mould said. The Tema, Ghana-based company may have to seek a longer maturity than expected because of low crude prices, he said. A decision will be made in approximately three weeks, he said. GNPC delayed raising as much as $1 billion last year after oil fell about 50 percent. The company wants to operate and own larger shares of projects that will boost government revenue as Ghana seeks to increase crude output five-fold by 2024. GNPC manages the government’s minority stake in Jubilee, its largest field, and the offshore deposits TEN and Sankofa. Tullow Oil Plc is the operator and majority owner of the Jubilee field, which is producing about 100,000 barrels of oil a day. (



Nepal clears $1.6 bn hydropower project by China's Three Gorges

April 13, 2015. Nepal`s investment board cleared China`s Three Gorges International Corp to build a long-delayed $1.6 billion new hydropower project, the single biggest foreign investment in the Himalayan country. The dam, to be built on the West Seti river in northwest Nepal, will generate 750 MW of power when complete, the board said. A Nepal parliamentary panel first approved the project in 2012 but state-owned Three Gorges had been waiting for the investment board`s clearance. Three Gorges is China`s biggest hydropower developer and operates the world`s largest hydropower plant at the Three Gorges on the Yangtze river. Nepal is estimated to have the potential to generate 42,000 MW of hydropower but produces 800 MW -- less than the demand of 1,400 MW. (

Trans-Asia Oil eyes doubling power generation to 1.2 GW in 5 yrs

April 12, 2015. Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp. (TA Oil) is looking at doubling its power-generation capacity from the current 600 MW in the next five years. To accomplish this, TA OIL President Francisco Viray said spending could reach at least $1.2 billion. Viray said project financing will be sourced from a combination of internal funding and borrowings. The company expects full commercial operations of the second unit of its coal-fired power plant in Calaca, Batangas, by 2017. The two 135 MW, coal-plant project, the South Luzon Thermal Energy Corp. (SLTEC), is under its joint venture with the Ayala group. It also holds a 25-percent stake in Maibarara Geothermal Inc., which owns and operates a 20 MW geothermal power plant in Santo Tomas, Batangas. (

$800 mn power plant planned for Carroll County

April 12, 2015. A Swiss company plans to use natural gas from the Utica shale formation to fuel an 899 million dollar power plant that will be built in Carroll County. Advanced Power AG’s new plant near Carrollton will produce enough electricity to power 750,000 homes. The plant is scheduled to start up in 2017. The project will mean 700 construction jobs and 20 to 30 permanent jobs once the plant goes online. (

Power China to build power plant outside Karachi

April 10, 2015. A subsidiary of State-owned infrastructure giant Power Construction Corporation of China Ltd (Power China) announced that it will cooperate with a Qatari company to build a $2 billion power plant outside Karachi in Pakistan to overcome local energy shortage. Total investment will be around $2.09 billion and the Chinese firm will own a 51 percent stake and its Qatari partner a 49 percent stake in the project. The Pakistan government has announced it will add 10,400 MW to the national grid with the help of China by 2017. The plant in Qasim will have two 660 MW generators and will take 32 months to complete, planning to use seaborne coal from Indonesia as fuel in the future, according to the Power China. (

Turkey's Limak to invest $1 bn in power generation in 2015

April 9, 2015. Turkey's Limak Holding plans to invest $1 billion this year to boost power generation capacity to over 5,000 MW in the next five years from the current 3,000 MW, the company said. Limak, which has assets in construction, cement and energy, already holds 35 percent in a consortium which has taken over the power distribution of 11 Turkish provinces through privatisation tenders in 2013 and 2014. The $1 billion will be used to construct a new power plant and to boost efficiency at existing plants. Turkey has no deficit in power generation capacity but it has to import almost all the natural gas needed to feed its power plants. In 2013, nearly half of electricity generation was sourced by natural gas, followed by coal and hydro. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade…

GBPC signs supply deal with Iloilo power co-ops

April 13, 2015. A Unit of Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC) has signed a 25-year supply deal with a consortium of power distributors in the Visayas. GBPC said Panay-Guimaras Power Supply Consortium (PPSC) tapped Panay Energy Development Corp. for the supply of an aggregate 24 MW at a rate of P5.05 per kilowatt-hour starting next year. GBPC said the power plant expansion -- which is already 40% complete -- is scheduled to commence operations by June 2016. The company said Panay Energy bagged the rights for the supply following a competitive bidding process. PPSC adopted the Swiss Challenge procurement process to secure the best offer that will meet the power supply requirements. The Swiss Challenge bidding process is in line with the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001’s primary objective of bringing down electricity rates by encouraging competition. (

American Transmission plans $25 mn Franklin-to-Mukwonago power line project

April 10, 2015. American Transmission Co. plans to spend $25 million rebuilding a 14-mile electric transmission line that runs between Franklin and Mukwonago. Pewaukee-based American Transmission said it expects regulatory approval of the project by this fall. Construction would begin in mid-2017 and the lines would be in-service by 2018. The company said it intends to complete the portion between Big Bend and Mukwonago in early 2018, and the portion between Big Bend and Franklin in late spring 2018. American Transmission is seeking approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for the 138,000-volt line. The proposed St. Martins-Edgewood-Mukwonago rebuild project runs from the St. Martins substation in Franklin to the Edgewood substation in Big Bend and continues on to the Mukwonago substation, American Transmission said. (

Policy / Performance…………

PPL secures NRC approval to transfer nuclear power plant licenses

April 13, 2015. PPL Susquehanna has secured the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approval to transfer the operating licenses for the Salem Township Susquehanna Steam nuclear power plant to a new spinoff company. The Susquehanna nuclear power plant is located in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, about seven miles north of Berwick. Earlier, PPL proposed a plan to transfer license of the Salem Township facility to a new, independent company, Talen Energy, a spinoff of the power generation assets of PPL Energy Supply and investment firm Riverstone affiliate RJS Power. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission also approved filings earlier related to the spinoff transaction. A review by the US Department of Justice under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act is due to be completed prior to the completion of the transaction, which is scheduled in second quarter of 2015. (

More German power plant projects not viable: BDEW

April 13, 2015. The economic viability of some 53 percent or 39 of the power plants planned for construction in Europe's largest economy by 2025 has been called into question, German energy industry association BDEW said. The association said investors were nervous because of lacking profitability for coal- and gas-fired power stations because of competing energy supplies from subsidised renewable power, and a tougher carbon emissions regime. A year ago, the BDEW had called into question 43 percent of 32 projects in the pipeline at that stage. Germany, which is due to phase out nuclear energy by 2022, could face supply bottlenecks in the next few years unless action was taken to encourage the construction of more power stations to ensure stable supply, the Berlin-based group said. Wind and solar energy have been expanding fast but are not secure as they cannot guarantee supply at all times. The government has been focusing on reforming generous support for such green energy, mainly to rein in costs for consumers. It has also sought to reassure energy companies it has no plans to shut down lignite mines that provide highly carbon polluting feed-stock for domestic brown coal, a big part of the power mix. BDEW represents around 1,800 companies active in the production, transport and sale of power, gas, water and heat. (

Coal fired power plant in Neno awaits US$600 mn loan approval: Malawi

April 10, 2015. Malawi News Agency has learnt that the construction of a Coal Fired Power Plant-CFPP at Kamwamba in Neno awaits the approval of a US$600 million loan from the Chinese Government. The construction would follow a contract agreement which Malawi signed with China Ghezouba Group Company-CGGC in June 2013. The Ministry of Mines, Energy and Natural Resources responsible for energy, Joseph Kalowekamo, said that a feasibility study had already been concluded. Kalowekamo could however not disclose the exact dates for the commencement of the project. According to Kalowekamo, the ministry plans to have the power plant operational by 2018. The project will use coal from Moatize in Mozambique to be transported by the rail currently under construction. The plant is expected to add 300 MW to the current 351 MW. (

Poland to explore FDI opportunities in agriculture, power sectors

April 9, 2015. Poland is keen to have a strong business relationship with India and will explore the possibility of foreign direct investment (FDI) in agriculture, power and mining in multiple Indian states, Tomasz Lukaszuk, Ambassador of Poland, said. Lukaszuk said Poland is keen on expanding and deepening economic ties with India and wants to be part of 'Make in India' mission. The Ambassador said that there is a lot of scope for trade and investment with Punjab and Haryana. The Republic of Poland looks forward to partner strategically with Punjab and Haryana in food processing and renewable energy sectors, he said. (

Japan-Indonesia power plant to break ground in Java

April 8, 2015. Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said a project to build a $4 billion thermal power plant project funded by an Indonesia-Japan consortium will begin at the end of April. The project in Batang Regency of Central Java province has been stalled for four years amid on-again, off-again negotiations with local residents on land acquisition. The government said negotiations were complete, paving the way for construction to begin this year. The 2,000 MW coal-fired power plant, meant to supply electricity to 13 million people in Central Java province, has been promoted by a consortium formed by the Japanese government-linked Electric Power Development Co. and trading house Itochu Corp. (

Japan bets on nuclear, and coal, for future power

April 8, 2015. Japan has a new blueprint for its energy future, one that opens the door for a controversial return of nuclear power four years after the Fukushima accident took the country’s reactors offline. But even more noteworthy is that Japan now appears set to embrace a dominant role for dirty coal in the country’s energy mix for decades to come. The plan presented to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and expected to be finalized this spring, highlights the difficult choices that developing and even developed countries must make — just months before a landmark climate conference in Paris — between cheap but dirty energy and more expensive, if cleaner alternatives. Japan’s struggles are complicated further by the political fallout of Fukushima, which forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people and has left a residue of radioactive soil and water. Abe’s blueprint envisions stable, round-the-clock power sources such as nuclear, coal, and hydroelectric growing from about 40 percent of the electricity mix to 60 percent in 2030. The rest of Japan’s electricity would come from natural gas and renewable energy like wind and solar power, complemented by increasingly aggressive efforts to boost energy efficiency. (



India will set Climate Change conference agenda: PM Modi

April 14, 2015. Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi slammed developed nations for questioning India over global warming despite it having the lowest per capita emission of gases and asserted that India will set the agenda for the Climate Change conference to be held in France in September. Underlining that India should lead the way to deal with climate change, the Prime Minister said, "India will set the agenda for the upcoming Conference of Parties (COP)" meeting to be held in Paris in September. Referring to India's traditional practices and traditions, Modi said it is the only country which has served the nature the most as Indians even treat even river as mother and worship trees. The Prime Minster said the solutions to the "crisis" on account of global warming are in India's traditions and customs. At the same time, he said India also wants solutions to the global problem of climate change. In this regard, he spoke about his government's initiatives to tap clean and renewable energy for generating 175 GW of electricity from it. Modi, who is on a three-day visit to Germany, said this country has expertise in solar energy and its partnership with India in tapping solar energy will be helpful in reducing the cost of such form of electricity. Modi said if the problem of climate change is not addressed now, it will hurt generations to come. (

Three month action plan to combat air pollution in Delhi-NCR

April 13, 2015. Measures including strict action against visibly polluting vehicles and automatic identification of overloaded vehicles at the borders, are part of a three-month action plan devised to deal with increasing air pollution in Delhi and NCR. In the meeting attended by environment ministers and officials of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, the state governments proposed various measures to combat air pollution. Delhi government proposed to launch online monitoring system to map air polluting activities in the city by June. Strict action will be taken against visibly polluting vehicles, for which special arrangements will be made in coordination with traffic police. The centers issuing Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates in Delhi will come under the scanner of government for strict compliance of rules and regulations and will be checked for using accurate equipments. Delhi government will conduct regular checking of PUC centers to ensure their equipments are not tempered with and they are using proper mechanism for issuing certificates, Union Minister of Environment Prakash Javadekar said. The problems of overloading trucks contributing majorly to air pollution while crossing Delhi late night will be specially looked into by the Delhi government. Construction and demolition waste disposal plants will be built one in East and two in South Delhi by the municipal corporations. The Corporations have issued new directions against 'no-burning at all' and will also appoint ward-wise nodal officer who will register complaints against burning waste across Delhi, the minister said. Representatives from Delhi Municipal Corporations, traffic police and NTPC also attended the meeting. North Municipal Corporation will increase the capacity of its four horticulture-to-waste plants, apart from establishing plasma gasification plant which will convert horticulture waste into energy, a first of its kind initiative in Asia. With regards to dust, corporations will purchase small mechanical sweepers for easy access to small roads of the city. Currently, around 150 km of roads are mechanically cleaned in Delhi. Traffic police has also tightened noose on violators of lane driving and PUC. NTPC's Badarpur Thermal Power Station has announced to reduce its pollution load by two-thirds in three months by retro-fitting its unit No 4 and 5 and it has prepared a plant to phase out the first three units in a time bound manner. Among the measures suggested by Haryana government, the most significant was the move to register only BS4 compliant vehicles in its districts falling under NCR, he said, asking other states to follow the initiative. With regard to dust coming from stubble burning in Haryana, the state proposed a new technological project to generate essential oil from it. FIRs are being registered against people burning stubble, which is acting as a strong deterrent against air polluting activity. Rajasthan government has prepared an action plan to check air pollution generated by industrial units in Bhiwadi by checking their fuel quality and has issued directions for non-burning of waste. Similarly, Uttar Pradesh proposed to convert 18 of its coal-based air polluting industries in NCR districts of UP into gas driven units within three months. It will also launch air quality monitoring stations in Noida and Ghaziabad. (

NITI Aayog to bring integrated energy policy soon: Panagariya

April 13, 2015. The government's think tank NITI Aayog said it will soon come out with an integrated policy to help meet massive demand for energy including solar, wind, gas and coal. NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya said that power, coal and oil ministries would be consulted while framing the policy. The move is aimed at boosting power generation in the country from various sources like solar, wind, gas, coal etc to meet the growing demand. At present, the country has an installed power generation capacity of over 2,50,000 MW from all sources, while the peak power deficit in around 3.6 percent. The government has set an ambitious target of generating 1,75,000 MW from renewable energy sources by 2022, including 1,00,000 MW solar power. (

Chinese firm keen to invest in AP

April 12, 2015. Chinese firm Sinoma International Engineering Co Ltd is keen to invest in cement and wind energy projects in Andhra Pradesh (AP). On the first day of his six-day visit to China, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu met officials of the Chinese firm, which operates in equipment manufacturing and supply and engineering sector. (

Assam to give 800 bigha land for solar power facility: Goyal

April 11, 2015. Minister for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal said the state government has agreed to provide 800 bigha land to set up a solar power facility in agreement with the Centre's thrust on harnessing renewable energy. Goyal said the target would be to generate 40 MW solar power from the facility. The Centre has promised to provide 27*7 power at affordable cost by 2019, Goyal said. He said the Centre has an ambitious target of generating 1 lakh MW solar power, 60,000 MW wind power and 10,000 MW power from biomass by 2022. Goyal said he has suggested the state government to explore the options of setting up "river-top" and "canal-top" solar panels. The minister has requested the state government for sorting out the 'right of way' issue regarding the 6,000-MW transmission line in the state. (


Hanergy Thin Film outlines solar cells on vehicles plan

April 13, 2015. Hanergy Thin Film Power Group, the solar energy company whose shares have soared more than sixfold in the past year, said its panels will be used to provide energy to catering, touring and recreational vehicles. The Chinese maker of solar equipment has started cooperating with “mobile kitchen” maker Shandong Taian Changan Catering Equipment Co., it said Hanergy will also join Suzhou Yigao Electronic Vehicle Manufacturing Co. to develop sightseeing vehicles with solar panels affixed to their roofs, it said. Panels on the catering vehicles will generate 6 kilowatt-hours of electricity a day in normal sunlight for electronics such as lighting, refrigeration and cooking, it said. The announcements are part of efforts by Hanergy to push the boundaries of what can be powered by solar. In February, Hanergy said it expects the market for thin-film cells designed for electric vehicles to total 46 GW by 2020 and another 37 GW for electronic products such as smart phones. The Hong Kong-listed unit of Hanergy Holding said that it intended to partner with vehicle designers to develop cars to be powered by the sun and that it aimed to roll out three to five models by October. The company said six designers will be involved in that project, instead of the originally announced five, though no further details were provided. Hanergy Holding in August completed the purchase of Alta Devices of the U.S. with plans to accelerate commercialization of the company’s thin-film solar technology. A thin-film solar cell is made by placing layers of photovoltaic material on a substrate such as glass, plastic or metal. (

Scrap fossil fuel subsidies now and bring in carbon tax: Kim

April 13, 2015. Poor countries are feeling “the boot of climate change on their neck”, the president of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim has said, as he called for a carbon tax and the immediate scrapping of subsidies for fossil fuels to hold back global warming. Kim said awareness of the impact of extreme weather events that have been linked to rising temperatures was more marked in developing nations than in rich western countries, and backed for the adoption of a five-point plan to deliver low-carbon growth. Kim said it was crazy that governments increased the use of coal, oil and gas by providing subsidies for consumers. He said that in low and middle-income countries, the richest 20% received six times as much from fossil fuel subsidies as the poorest 20%.

The World Bank president said the Chinese and Indian governments were coming under pressure from their populations due to heavily-polluted cities, and that appreciation of the dangers of climate change was greater in developing countries. The World Bank will be involved in the meeting in Paris in December when the UN is seeking a global pact to deal with the threat of climate change. Kim said he wanted to see the talks result in a collective agreement binding the international community to a zero-carbon world by the end of the century; individual countries coming up with their own plans; a financing package that by 2020 would provide poor countries with $100 bn (£68bn) to help them adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects and a stronger role for the private sector to use its innovative skills to find ways of reducing emissions. (

California utility to make gas from solar for pipeline storage

April 13, 2015. Southern California Gas Co. has started two pilot projects that will test the feasibility of using solar energy produced when power demand is low to split hydrogen from water and store the gas in pipelines. The projects, backed by U.S. government funding, will either ship the hydrogen for use as an automotive fuel or combine it with carbon dioxide to form methane that can be used to generate electricity when demand is stronger. The company is pitching the technology, already used in Germany with wind energy, as an alternative to battery storage. Renewable fuels must make up a third of California’s power supply by 2020, according to state law. Once put onto the pipeline network system, wholesale power prices and the price of gasoline at the pump will determine how those gases are used, said Patrick Lee, senior vice president of customer service, innovation and business strategy for the utility in Los Angeles. As part of the projects, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, will produce the hydrogen and combine it with carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas linked to global warming, to make methane with a negative carbon footprint, Jeffrey Reed, director of business strategy and advanced technology for the utility, a unit of San Diego-based Sempra Energy said. The National Fuel Cell Research Center at University of California, Irvine, will test the hydrogen for vehicle use and determine how much of the gas can be injected into the pipeline system. Initially, the projects will convert about 200 kilowatts of solar power, producing enough hydrogen to fill up five or six vehicles a day. A year later the utility plans to produce 1 megawatt, enough to fill the storage tanks at a large filling station, Lee said. (

US EPA strikes deal on biofuel blending targets with oil groups

April 10, 2015. Oil refiners who have complained that federal regulators missed deadlines to issue rules on blending renewable fuels into the nation's supply of gasoline and diesel fuel are set to get long-awaited targets from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Under a deal the EPA announced with two oil industry groups who had sued it over persistent past delays, the EPA said it will propose draft biofuel use targets for 2015 by June 1. The agency said it plans to re-propose biofuel targets for 2014 using the actual volumes of renewable fuels that were consumed last year and to issue targets for 2016. Bush administration-era legislation aimed at reducing U.S. reliance on foreign oil requires refiners such as Valero Energy Corp, Tesoro Corp and PBF Energy Inc to blend renewable substances such as ethanol, made primarily from corn, into gasoline and diesel. It requires increasing levels of biofuels to be used annually through 2022. Refiners and biofuel producers have complained that repeated EPA delays in setting renewable fuel use requirements each year have led to uncertainty and volatility in biofuel markets. The EPA blamed its tardiness on the program's complexity. Christopher Grundler, director of the agency's air quality office, said that by completing targets for 2014 through 2016 this year, the agency could get the program back on track. The agreement was reached in response to a lawsuit filed in March by the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, both industry groups. It will commit the environmental regulator to finalizing biofuel use targets for 2014 - which were proposed but not adopted - and 2015 by November 30 of this year. Oil groups and biofuel supporters welcomed the deal. The EPA is supposed to issue final targets by the end of November each year before the targets take effect, but it has not finalized 2014 blending requirements or proposed draft 2015 targets. (

Brazil to launch $6.5 bn fund to boost renewable power generation

April 10, 2015. The government of Brazil will launch an investment fund of up to $6.5 bn to increase renewable energy generation in the country's north-eastern region. This move comes in response to increasing interest from large industries to invest in wind power to meet their energy needs. The proposed fund will comprise private investors and state-owned utility Cia Hidro Eletrica do Sao Francisco, known as Chesf. Private investors will own 51% of the fund, while Chesf will own the remaining 49% stake. Brazil's National Social and Economic Development Bank will manage the fund, which will finance up to 8GW of new wind and solar capacity in the region, according to Recharge. Brazil Energy Minister Eduardo Braga will seek approval from President Dilma Rousseff for the fund, for which the final studies are nearing completion. He said that the new capacity created to supply the industrial users will allow Chesf to supply its existing generation for Brazil's hard-pressed power network. (

Vancouver commits to run on 100 percent renewable energy

April 10, 2015. Vancouver has become the latest city to commit to running on 100% renewable energy. The city of 600,000 on Canada’s west coast aims to use only green energy sources for electricity, and also for heating and cooling and transportation. Cities and urban areas are responsible for 70-75% of global CO2 emissions and that’s where “real action on climate will happen” said Park Won-Soon, Mayor of Seoul, South Korea at the ICLEI World Congress 2015, the triennial sustainability summit of local governments where Vancouver made the announcement. The 100% goal is likely to be set for a target year of 2030 or 2035 for heating/cooling, with transport taking until 2040 to 2050. These could happen sooner with national and provincial government support. More than 50 cities have announced they are on their way to 100% renewable energy including San Diego and San Francisco in California, Sydney Australia, and Copenhagen. Some are aiming for 2020, others by 2030 or 2035. Some, like Reykjavik, Iceland, are already there for electricity and heat. The entire country of Costa Rica was powered by renewables for 75 consecutive days this year. (

Japan to pledge 20 percent greenhouse gas cut

April 9, 2015. Japan will promise to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 2013 levels ahead of a global summit on climate change this year, a report said, despite uncertainty over post-Fukushima energy policy. The government will likely announce the new target at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in June in Germany. In a separate report, Kyodo News said Tokyo will set a target of cutting gas emissions "by at least 20 percent by 2030, from 2005 levels." Japan is one of the few leading polluters that has not yet declared a target on emission cuts, as the world works towards a new framework for combating climate change, to be finalised at December's COP 21 gathering in Paris. A total of 33 countries -- including the No.2 emitter the United States, the No 3 emitter the European Union, and Russia, ranked fifth -- submitted their reduction goals to the UN secretariat by the end of last month. The US has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 percent over 2005 levels within the next decade, while the EU said it will cut its pollution by 40 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels. Russia said it could drive down emissions by up to 30 percent compared to 1990 levels, subject to conditions. In earlier rounds of climate talks, Tokyo pledged it would reduce its greenhouse gas output by 25 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels. But that target was slashed to a 3.8 percent cut form 2005 levels in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, which led to idling of the country's entire nuclear stable. Amid huge public nervousness over atomic power, utilities have reverted to carbon dioxide-spewing fossil fuels to plug the gap left by the switch-off of plants that used to provide more than a quarter of Japan's electricity. The government and much of industry is keen for reactors to go back online, and several plants are moving towards restarts, possibly this year. But the issue remains politically perilous and the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has so far dragged its heels on defining how much of a role nuclear power will play in future generation. Without knowing the exact energy mix -- how much power will come from renewables, nuclear and fossil fuels -- setting realistic targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is all but impossible. (

China’s pollution assault boosting solar, electric vehicles

April 8, 2015. China’s efforts to combat pollution are gaining momentum after President Xi Jinping pledged in March at the annual session of the National People’s Congress to punish violators of the nation’s environmental laws with an “iron hand.” Here’s what’s happening and what to expect.

1. Environmental Protection Laws Tightening

Amendments to the Environmental Protection Law that went into effect on Jan. 1 allow for consecutive daily fines on polluters if they don’t improve and provide channels for whistle-blowers to make environment-related appeals. Non-government groups can also sue for environmental damage under certain conditions. The nation also plans to enact its first laws to curb soil pollution and amend laws to protect the air and water.

2. Curbs on Emissions Planned and Fake Data Targeted

Beijing is set to close the last of its four major coal-fired power plants next year. The facilities will be replaced by four gas-fired stations with capacity to supply about 2 1/2 times more electricity than the coal plants. The closing comes as China aims to cut sulfur dioxide emissions by 3 percent, nitrogen oxide by 5 percent and ammonia nitrogen by 2 percent this year. The Ministry of Environmental Protection will also launch a two-year inspection targeting faked air quality data and will hold people accountable after some local governments were found to have fabricated data.

3. Environment-Related Companies Should Benefit

Steps to clean the environment are pulling up the shares of electric car makers including BYD Co. and solar maker Hareon Solar Technology, as well as water company Anhui Water Resources Development. Desulfurization unit producers like Zhejiang Feida Environmental Science & Technology Co. and Beijing SPC Environmental Protection Tech Co. have risen by more than 50 percent and 40 percent respectively this year.

4. More Investment to Be Made in Solar Panels

Responding to a historic carbon deal reached in November between Xi and his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, China has raised its solar target for 2015 to as much as 17.8 GW. The more ambitious goal may attract as much as 21 billion yuan ($3.4 billion) of additional investment to solar projects compared with the earlier plan. Moreover, the nation of almost 1.4 billion people is targeting a more than tripling of its solar power capacity to 100 GW by 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission said.

5. Expect More Pressure on Local Government Officials

Local officials whose promotions are often tied to faster economic growth are now boasting of their environmental activism, a contrast to former years when they cared about nothing except economic expansion. Ministers have reiterated that rules to fight pollution won’t be loosened to counter slowing economic growth. Chen Guoying, head of Hebei’s environmental protection department, pledged to win the war against pollution even if the province has to sacrifice economic growth in the short term. Hebei last year cut coal consumption by 15 million tons, closed 141 mines and stopped work to improve 478 mines, Chen said in March. The municipal government of Beijing, where pollution averaged more than twice China’s national standard last year will spend 10.8 billion yuan ($1.74 billion) to combat air pollution this year.

6. More Emphasis to Be Placed on Transportation

In nine cities throughout China, including Beijing, 90 percent of all air pollution comes from vehicles, industrial production, coal burning and dust, according to a recent Ministry of Environmental Protection report. Vehicles are the major source of pollution in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hangzhou. Beijing will exempt electric cars from restrictions that prohibit drivers from taking their cars on the road on certain days. (

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