MonitorsPublished on Nov 06, 2015
Energy News Monitor | Volume XII; Issue 21

[The Baptist and the Bootlegger Unite]

                             “This is not the best of times for the fossil fuel industry. It is under attack from both ends. At one end we have peak profit rather than peak oil or peak coal haunting the sector. At the other we have an evangelical mob waging war against carbon. What can it do other than cannibalise its weaker constituents just to stay alive!…”

Energy News


CIL‘s stellar performance must be congratulated even if it is coming at a time when it is least needed!                                   


High growth in carbon emissions in India at a time of low economic growth is unwarranted!   


Subsidies for rooftop solar will reduce private costs but increase social costs!




·          The Baptist and the Bootlegger Unite

·          India's Coal Sector: Unable to capitalise on falling prices



·          World Energy Markets: Prices and Variations



·          IOC says eyeing stake in Russia's Vankor Field

·          IOC wins oil block in Africa

·          ONGC to intensify exploration activities, secures more rigs


·          IOC to spend ` 18 bn for BS-IV norms implementation at Gujarat refinery

·          BPCL says in talks to sell 24 percent stake in Bina refinery

·          IOC's Paradip refinery may start commercial operations in March

Transportation / Trade………………

·          Iraq unseats Saudi Arabia as top crude supplier to India for third month

Policy / Performance…………………

·          Oil Minister pushes for better hydrocarbon ties with Africa

·          ATF price cut marginally; non-subsidised LPG rate hiked

·          Oil Minister confirms BS-VI fuel rollout target of 2020

·          Make excise rates on LPG uniform: Oil Ministry to Finance Ministry

·          Crude cess: Finance Ministry unlikely to lower rates

·          RIL regains top slot in Platts global ranking, elbows out ONGC



·          KNPP director admits to delay in maintenance work in Unit 1

·          Adani announces setting up of ` 37 bn power plant in Punjab

·          NTPC's Vindyachal plant to be country's largest power generating station

·          CIL forays into power generation

Transmission / Distribution / Trade……

·          Fuel supply contracts of steel and cement companies with CIL to continue

·          India to give 100 MW more electricity to Bangladesh

Policy / Performance…………………

·          DERC seeks more funds from govt to hire extra staff

·          Small suppliers of nuclear energy sector won't have obligation in case of liability: DAE

·          Celebrations to mark CIL’s 41 yrs

·          Reliance Power’s Sasan UMPP doesn’t require Chhatrasal coal block: Govt

·          CIL will surpass 550 mt target: Goyal

·          Power sector revival a priority: Finance Minister

·          CAG finalises draft report on e-auctions of coal blocks

·          SC to hear Bagrodia's plea on November 30

·          Goyal asks BBMB, NHPC to raise capacity to 'highest level'

·          Fourth round of coal mines auction likely in 15 days: Coal Secretary



·          Chevron begins O&G production from $2 bn Lianzi field offshore Central Africa

·          Noble to make investment decision on Israel's gas fields in 1 yr

·          Russian oil output in October hits post-Soviet high 10.78 mn bpd

·          Sonangol, Total deepwater project to add 30k bpd to Angola oil output

·          Almost a billion cubic feet of US gas shut down by low prices

·          Oil companies have cut back everything except crude production

·          CNOOC to ease spending cuts next year to save oil output target

·          Statoil delays production at Mariner oil field

·          BP will start producing gas at North Alexandria in early 2017


·          US oil refiners look abroad for crude supplies as North Dakota boom fades

·          Oil traders scouting further afield for NY diesel storage

·          ExxonMobil will expand its Rotterdam refinery

·          TonenGeneral imports Japan's second cargo of US condensate

·          Marathon Petroleum scraps oil upgrader plans for Louisiana refinery

·          Vietnam's Nghi Son refinery 60 percent complete

·          US diesel demand flat as freight growth slows

Transportation / Trade…………

·          Shell completes the sale of its Butagaz LPG business in France

·          Rosneft to supply Egypt with six fuel oil shipments by end 2015

·          Petrobras oil workers begin strike, seek to block asset sales

·          South African trade gap narrows as lower oil curbs imports

·          OPEC October oil output falls led by Saudi, Iraq

·          Iran seen jolting oil market with 90 day supply after sanctions

Policy / Performance………………

·          Yergin sees oil price near bottom as US output set to fall

·          Egypt's giant Zohr gas field aims to start output in 2017: Oil Minister

·          BP sees technology nearly doubling world energy resources by 2050

·          Israel's long-stalled gas plan extricated from impasse

·          Ukraine looks to shed dependence on Russian LPG

·          Magufuli wins Tanzania presidency with gas to tax reform vow

·          Equatorial Guinea to launch new bidding round for offshore blocks in 2016

·          PetroChina profit plunges to record low on oil price rout

·          Hess slashes 2016 drilling budget 27 percent on oil swoon

·          Singapore plans to set up a domestic gas trading market



·          Entergy to close FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in New York

·          Exelon defers decision on Clinton nuclear power plant for one year

Transmission / Distribution / Trade……

·          PPL plans 345 kV power line to connect PJM and NYISO systems

·          Wolverine to purchase power from Exelon’s 153 MW Michigan Wind 3 project in US

·          EVN commissions 500 kV Son La - Lai Chau transmission line

Policy / Performance………………

·          Indonesia's coal exports may fall by 17 percent in 2017 due to low prices

·          EBRD grants €200 mn loan to help improve power sector in Serbia



·          ACME wins 50 MW solar project in Uttarakhand

·          Swedish companies to become partner in Punjab's renewable energy sector

·          Bharat Light ties up with Europe’s largest renewable energy generator

·          Gamesa bags 200 MW wind power order from Ostro Energy

·          Propose to have cities buy power generated from waste: Goyal

·          India’s energy emission growth at 8.2 percent, highest globally: PwC

·          Katra solar project to save ` 10 mn energy bill for Railways

·          SCB to begin solar power generation

·          Govt may turn to FIs to restart stalled biomass projects

·          VPT to generate 10 MW solar power

·          India to introduce Euro-VI emission compliant fuel by 2020

·          India likely to propose special session on solar energy in Paris

·          Rays Power bags ` 3 bn order from NHPC

·          Rooftop solar panels policy to be before Cabinet soon: Goyal


·          Nigeria targets 2 GW of renewable power capacity by 2020

·          Goldman Sachs targets $150 bn in clean-energy deals by 2025

·          Statoil secures Scottish govt consent for floating offshore wind farm

·          SEC signs $667 mn deal to build green power plant

·          Hanwha Q Cells to build solar power plant in Texas

·          France’s Fabius says UN report shows climate goal attainable

·          China said to mull wind, solar power tariff cuts through 2020

·          World set to exhaust 75 percent of `carbon budget' by 2030, UN says

·          Morocco builds world's largest solar power plant

·          New York City pension approves hiring adviser to weigh climate change risk



Briefing: International Energy

The Baptist and the Bootlegger Unite

Lydia Powell and Akhilesh Sati, Observer Research Foundation

Carbon Constraints


he announcement by ten large oil companies (BP, BG, Eni, Repsol, Saudi Aramco, Shell, Statoil, Petroleos Mexicanos, Reliance Industries and Total) who together account for almost 20 percent of the world’s oil and gas output that they will back policies consistent with the goal of keeping the increase in average global temperatures to within 2 degrees Celsius was embraced by climate Baptists as the ultimate endorsement of their agenda. The approach of the ten company group labelled oil & gas climate initiative (OGCI) to co-opt the enemy is not new. The Bootleggers colluded with the Baptists in the United States to ask for prohibition on alcohol as it helped the cause of the Baptists and the business of the bootleggers. In think tank language this ploy is celebrated as a move that makes ‘strategic sense’. The statement by OGCI follows a letter in June by European gas companies BP, Eni SpA, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA, Statoil and BG urging governments to agree to carbon pricing at the United Nations’ COP21 climate change summit starting in Paris in December. These gas companies appear to be looking at a market opportunity for gas if an agreement in Paris calls for a reduction in carbon emissions. Once a global declaration against carbon is made, coal fired power plants are likely to be the first targets for attack which will clear the way for gas.

Exxon Mobil that is not part of the collation against coalis in the middle of a controversy over allegations that it hid conclusions of its own research on climate change as it had ramifications for its business. Judicial activism against perceived corporate evil is not new in the United States but what the activist judges may not have realised is that fossil fuel is nottobacco. All are implicated when it comes to fossil fuel use unlike tobacco. When judges punish fossil fuel companies they will also punish themselves – either by imposing higher burden on their wallets (more tax or more money for energy use) or by having to live with complicated energy.

Meanwhile Toyota announced that it will transform its product line with hybrid vehicles that run on fuel cells. The result according to Toyota will be a 90 percent reduction in emissions compared to emission from its automobiles in 2010. This surprise move away from battery driven vehicles appears to be driven by concern over recharging time for batteries that Toyota thinks is detrimental to adoption of electric vehicles world-wide.

Hydrocarbon Markets

Last month continued to be depressing for oil prices but there were some positive signs. Early in October the dollar weakened which pushed up the price of crude. US production continued to contract even as its oil demand continued to increase. Escalating conflict in the Middle East made a small contribution to pushing oil prices up but Goldman Sachs held on to its prediction that the market was oversupplied and that prices will remain lower for a longer period. The repeal of the ban on oil exports from the United States did not make progress.

As it is often the case in the United States, unrelated commitments such as funding renewable energy and land conservation projects were supposedly being considered as sweeteners by the export lobby. The US department of interior cancelled two lease sales in the Arctic effectively ruling out drilling in the near future. A notable setback in the shale region was reported in October as Occidental Petroleum decided to pull out of Bakken.

Source: The World Bank

Saudi Arabia reduced prices for November oil sale to Asia and the USA to keep its supply competitive with rival supplies. Speculation on Russia’s position in stabilising the oil market continued. There was even talk of Russia joining the OPEC but it appears to be far-fetched. Russia continued to increase supplies driving down prices. The war for market share is said to be raging between Saudi Arabia and Russia with China as the primary battleground. Meanwhile Iran is fine tuning its oil E&P contract terms to make it more attractive for potential investors. The country is said to be targeting an investment of $100 billion for developing the oil and gas industry. Iran is also said to have lined up buyers for 500,000 barrels of new oil. BP and CNPC announced a partnership agreement during the Chinese President’s visit to London this month. The two companies already have a successful partnership in developing the Rumalia field in Iraq and they now seek to put it to use in developing the shale resources in China.

The future of these investments hinges on things brightening up in a bleak market. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly report that oil markets will be oversupplied in 2016 as it expected demand growth to slow down. The regulator at the Bank of England asked British Banks to disclose their exposure to commodity assets as concerns over the financial system’s exposure to collapse in commodity prices grew. The energy information administration (EIA) reported that US crude oil storage levels were close to 80 year highs at 476 million barrels. According to IMF estimates, if oil prices stay low, Middle Eastern oil producers stand to lose $1 trillion budget hole. 

Notwithstanding IHS Global’s observation that only one in twenty LNG projects around the world will be developed by 2025, Malaysia’s Petronas reaffirmed its commitment to the LNG project in Canada’s pacific coast. The French company ENGIE (formerly GDF Suez) announced a deal to import LNG from Cheniere Energy of USA from its Sabine Pass and Corpus Christi export terminals. The deal could facilitate EU diversifying away from Russian gas. However prospects for LNG do not look bright as growth in demand in China is lower than expected. Japan’s return to nuclear power is unlikely to help. 

This is not the best of times for the fossil fuel industry. It is under attack from both ends. At one end we have peak profit rather than peak oil or peak coal haunting the sector. At the other we have an evangelical mob waging war against carbon. What can it do other than cannibalise its weaker constituents just to stay alive!

Views are those of the authors                    

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



India's Coal Sector: Unable to capitalise on falling prices

Ashish Gupta, Observer Research Foundation


he coal sector has witnessed a lot of turmoil in the recent past. In 2010-11 the price of coal reached an all time high but now it is crawling at low level. The single most important reason for the rise and fall of coal prices is China.  

Source: Various coal prices index 

As one can see from the graph above until 2009, the price differentials did not favoure imported coal use in China. But after that the situation changed dramatically. China which was self reliant in coal became a net importer of coal in 2010-11. China emerged as an importer not because of coal availability deficit but because it wanted to take advantage of the arbitrage opportunity. The reason was that transporting domestic coal to south east China was expensive on account of insufficient rail and road network. Coal had to be first transported to the east on rail lines (Da-Qin & Shuo-Huang) and then to eastern ports (Quinhuangdao, Hunaghua and Rizao) and then loaded onto boats and finally shipped south via sea routes. The length of the voyage and the price were the key disadvantages. The landed price in the southern markets was comparable to the price of imported coal in the same ports. The arbitrage opportunity allowed Chinese coal buyers to take the advantage of price differentials between domestic Chinese coal and international coal prices. This role reversal strategy helped China to gain on both the fronts financially as well as strategically but India is at the receiving end as prices continue to fall.

When global coal prices were too high as compared to Indian coal prices, it made no commercial sense for the power sector to go for higher imports. But the recent collapse of global coal prices has changed the whole cost dynamics.

China had always played an important role in shaping global trade flows and increasing price fluctuations in world coal markets. When China’s import demand increased it created over-capacity in coal exporting countries which turned into oversupply when prices collapsed in the global market. This behaviour does not imply that that Chinese demand for coal has come down but the same demand is now satisfied with domestic coal. A shoft towards efficient power plants also means that China can generate the same quantity of power from less coal.  China can therefore move on to the next level of efficiency and save a lot on the coal consumption front signifying its continued progress in the sector.

Source:   &

From the above graph, it is  evident that the price of coal from Coal India (CIL)  are now on par with global coal prices level (prices calculated for distance at 1000 km, 1300 km, 1600 km & 1900 km) specially the low quality coal that is supplied  to power plants. But the question remains whether the decline in global coal price will bring any advantage for India? Unfortunately, the answer is .no’. Though imported coal is of high quality the appetite of Indian power plants are full. The extra-ordinary performance of CIL has created an oversupply of coal in the country in an environment of low demand from the power sector. Most of the power plants have more than adequate coal stocks.

However there may be some benefit for power projects running on imported coal as coal prices slide. With imported coal prices plummeting, returns of such projects are expected to improve. But the number of such projects are small and therefore it will not have a country-wide impact There will also be some saving on foreign exchange reserves which will benefit the economy. Apart from this coking coal importers may also reap some benefits. power projects based on domestic coal may also benefit, as they can increase blending of imported coal and boost utilisation rates. Overall India is not in a position to take advantage of a favourable situation in the coal market.

Views are those of the author                    

Author can be contacted at [email protected]



“Can Coal Block Auctions Be The Path To Modernize Coal Mining?”

to be held on 23 November 2015, 10:30 AM To 2:00 PM, at ORF, New Delhi

to confirm participation please contact

[email protected], [email protected]



World Energy Markets: Prices and Variations

Akhilesh Sati, Observer Research Foundation


Crude Oil in $/bbl

Coal (Australian) in $/mt

LNG (Japan)- $/mmBtu

























2015 Jan




2015 Feb




2015 Mar




2015 Apr




2015 May




2015 Jun




2015 Jul




2015 Aug




2015 Sept




2015 Oct





Source: The World Bank




IOC says eyeing stake in Russia's Vankor Field

November 3, 2015. Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) wants to buy a stake in Rosneft's Vankor field in Russia, as the country's top refiner aims to source at least 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) oil through its own assets by 2020. India imports about 80 percent of its crude needs and has mandated its oil firms to acquire oil and gas assets overseas in a bid to cut an oil import bill running in billions of dollars. ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) in September bought a 15 percent stake in Vankor in Siberia to secure access to about 66,000 bpd of oil production. IOC has not decided on the size of any stake. IOC recently submitted a bid to buy 100,000 bpd of sweet oil in the latest annual tender issued by Nigerian state oil firm NNPC. (

IOC wins oil block in Africa

October 29, 2015. Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has partnered Delonex Energy, a new Africa-focused oil and gas explorer led by former Cairn India chief Rahul Dhir, to win its maiden oil block in Mozambique. IOC and Delonex were awarded onshore Block P5-A in southern Mozambique. Russia's Rosneft and ExxonMobil have won rights for three offshore blocks. Other companies that have been awarded areas as operators include Italy's Eni and South Africa's Sasol. Delonex would operate the 9,988 square km Area P5-1 in the Palmeira basin, while IOC will hold 20 percent interest. Mozambique's national oil company ENH will hold the remaining 10 percent. The partners have committed $20 million in first phase of exploration, which will last three years. Dhir has got private equity firm Warburg Pincus to commit up to $600 million for the oil and gas explorer he had floated. (

ONGC to intensify exploration activities, secures more rigs

October 28, 2015. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is expected to increase its upstream capital expenditure by 10 percent next year and intensify its exploration activities, taking advantage of the current depressed global energy market. Rig rates are down by 30-40 percent on the year and other exploration services rates are down by 40-50 percent, ONGC said. Industry sources at the gala event said more and more rigs were being laid off while services companies seeking new contracts at discounted rates. According to ONGC is increasing its 2016 capital expenditure to about ` 36,000 crores, up by about 10 percent from the current ` 33,000 crore. ONGC said that value of any exploration and production company increases through exploration activities. (


IOC to spend ` 18 bn for BS-IV norms implementation at Gujarat refinery

November 3, 2015. Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) will be spending an estimated ` 1800 crore for a 100 percent BS-IV fuel norms implementation by 2017 at its Gujarat Refinery in Vadodara district. The move is part of the central government's Auto Fuel Vision & Policy-2025 which has called for supply of BS-IV fuels across India from April 2017 onwards. As part of the upgradation project for implementation of BS-IV fuel norms, Gujarat Refinery is revamping its diesel treating units including diesel hydrotreating unit (DHDT), diesel hydrodesulphurisation unit (DHDS) and vacuum gas oil hydrotreating unit (VGO-HDT) in a short time. Also, in order to be total BS-V compliant by the year 2020 new units including DHDT, gasoline sulphur treatment unit and hydrogen generation unit along with allied facilities will be set up. The quality upgradation project will enable Gujarat Refinery to supply 100 percent BS-IV diesel and petrol. (

BPCL says in talks to sell 24 percent stake in Bina refinery

October 29, 2015. Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) is in talks with foreign companies to sell a 24 percent stake in its 120,000 barrels per day Bina refinery in India's Madhya Pradesh state. The refinery is a joint venture with Oman's state oil firm. The company wants to boost the capacity of the refinery by about 30 percent. (

IOC's Paradip refinery may start commercial operations in March

October 28, 2015. Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is expected to start commercial operation at its new 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) Paradip refinery around March 2016. When the refinery reaches full capacity, it could temporarily cut the refiner's dependence on gasoline imports, Mathew C. George, Chief Manager of Petrochemicals-Exports, said. When the Paradip refinery hits full capacity, IOC would cut its gasoline imports but that would last a year or a year-and-a-half, after which it would have to rely on imports again as demand would outgrew its supplies, George said. India has surplus refining capacity, mainly because of Reliance Industries and Essar Oil, but IOC on its own is lacking in gasoline supplies for now and importing the fuel is more economical. IOC was not a regular gasoline importer until February this year. It has sought over 900,000 tonnes of gasoline for March to December delivery to various ports including Kochi and Paradip. IOC operates a naphtha cracker in Panipat which has a capacity of more than 800,000 tonnes of ethylene a year. It is currently running at full capacity, George said. The unit consumes over 2 million tonnes of naphtha produced at IOC's Gujarat, Mathura and Panipat plants. (

Transportation / Trade…………

Iraq unseats Saudi Arabia as top crude supplier to India for third month

October 28, 2015. Iraq overtook Saudi Arabia as the top crude exporter to India in September for the third time in 2015, according to tanker data, as the two biggest OPEC producers battle for market share in leading Asian buyers. Saudi Arabia also lost its top spot in China last month, with Russia overtaking the world's biggest crude exporter as the main supplier for the second time this year. Traders attributed the shift to a hike in Saudi's official selling price (OSP) of crude. India imported 640,300 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Saudi Arabia last month, about 30 percent lower than in August and the weakest in a year, the data showed. The figure was still up 12.8 percent from a year ago. While Saudi's market share in India is shrinking, Iraq is expanding its hold over one of the world's fastest-growing markets by offering attractive pricing. India shipped in about a fifth of its imports from Iraq in September, while Saudi Arabia's share dropped to 17 percent from about 22 percent in August. In the first half of India's fiscal year running from April to September, Saudi Arabia supplied nearly 19 percent more oil to India at about 776,000 bpd, while volumes from Iraq surged 36 percent to about 676,000 bpd. India is stepping up purchases from Africa, where more crude is available after China raised shipments from Russia and the United States began processing its own shale oil. India imported nearly 27 percent more African crude in April-September, mainly from Angola and Nigeria. India, which is Iran's second-biggest customer behind China, bought about 17 percent more oil from Tehran in the April-September period, the data showed. Overall oil imports by India slipped 7.4 percent last month from August as Essar Oil, which rarely buys Saudi oil, shut its 400,000 bpd refinery for a month from mid-September for maintenance. (

Policy / Performance………

Oil Minister pushes for better hydrocarbon ties with Africa

November 2, 2015. India, which imports nearly 18% of its crude oil requirement from African producers, is working towards further expanding ties with the energy-rich nations from Africa. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan stressed upon intensifying hydrocarbon cooperation with the African countries on upstream, midstream and downstream areas. At present, India imports about 33 million tonne crude oil from Africa. Indian PSU oil and gas companies have invested about $8 billion in oil and gas assets in Mozambique, Sudan and South Sudan. Pradhan, along with top officials from his ministry and heads of PSUs — IOC, OIL, EIL and OVL, conveyed to the leadership of the African countries that India is keen to graduate to a stronger energy partnership with the African nations. (

ATF price cut marginally; non-subsidised LPG rate hiked

November 2, 2015. Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) or jet fuel price has been cut marginally while rate of non-subsidised cooking gas LPG has been hiked by ` 27.50 a cylinder in line with global trends. ATF price in Delhi has been cut by ` 142.56 per kilolitre, or 0.3 percent, to ` 43,041.61 per kilolitre, oil companies announced. The reduction comes on the back of 5.5 percent or ` 2,245.92 per kilolitre increase in ATF price on 1 October. Rates vary from airport to airport depending on the local sales tax or value-added tax (VAT). Jet fuel constitutes over 40 percent of an airline's operating costs and the price cut will bring marginal relief to the cash-strapped carriers. Simultaneously, the oil firms have also raised prices of non-subsidised LPG, which consumers buy after exhausting their quota of subsidised cooking fuel, by ` 27.5 per 14.2-kg bottle. Non-subsidised cooking gas (LPG) costs ` 545 in Delhi. The hike in rate comes on back of four straight monthly reduction. Non-subsidised LPG price was last cut on October 1 by ` 42 to ` 517.50 in Delhi. Prior to that, rates were cut by ` 25.50 on 1 September, ` 23.50 on 1 August and by ` 18 per cylinder to ` 608.50 on 1 July. Non-subsidised or market-priced LPG is one that consumers buy after exhausting their quota of 12 bottles of 14.2-kg each at subsidised rates in a year. Subsidised LPG costs ` 417.82 per 14.2-kg cylinder in Delhi. The three fuel retailers - Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum - revise jet fuel prices and non-subsidised LPG rates once a month. (

Oil Minister confirms BS-VI fuel rollout target of 2020

October 30, 2015. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan confirmed that his Ministry still aimed to implement introduction of the cleaner Bharat Stage-VI fuel in the country by 2020, notwithstanding the substantial resistance to the proposal from automakers. While the earlier plan was to implement BS-V by 2020 and BS-VI by 2024, the Petroleum Ministry sought to skip BS-V and directly implement BS-VI standards by 2020. This has met huge resistance from the automobile industry. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) had written to the government explaining that the technology in BS-VI engines was substantially different from that in BS-V engines making it unviable to skip the BS-V stage entirely. Each stage of new technology had to be validated over 6-7 lakh kilometres, and could not be developed simultaneously, SIAM said. (

Make excise rates on LPG uniform: Oil Ministry to Finance Ministry

October 29, 2015. Oil Ministry has asked the Finance Ministry to make excise rates uniform for different categories of domestic cooking gas (LPG), Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. There is no excise duty on a 14.2-kg of subsidised LPG cylinder, but a similar sized non-domestic bottle attracts 8 percent levy. Besides, while a subsidised domestic cylinder is exempt from customs duty, a 5 percent import duty is levied on non-domestic LPG cylinder. LPG or domestic cooking gas, is sold in different pack sizes - 5 kg, 14.2 kg and 19 kg. A household customer is allowed 12 cylinders of 14.2-kg each or 34 cylinders of 5 kg each during a year at subsidised rates. Any requirement beyond this has to be bought at market rate. The subsidised LPG cylinders are exempt from excise as well as customs duty but not the other categories including 19 kg commercial cylinders. This anomaly has led to diversion or black-marketing of subsidised cylinders for other uses. Government plans to increase LPG cover to 75 percent of the households in the country in next four years from the current coverage of 60 percent. Pradhan said India is seeking to increase import of crude oil as well as raise its level of energy engagement with Africa. India is looking at acquiring oil and gas fields as well as taking up refinery, pipeline and gas distribution projects in Africa. (

Crude cess: Finance Ministry unlikely to lower rates

October 29, 2015. The Finance Ministry has decided to turn a deaf ear for the time being to the demand made by the Ministry for Petroleum & Natural Gas to calculate cess on domestic crude oil at the cost of production. Currently, the cess is levied at a fixed rate – 4,500 a tonne. The cess rate constitutes about 20 percent of the Brent. But, if it is made ad-valorem (or at cost) it will become market linked. While the cess amount has increased with the rise in crude oil prices, it has not reduced accordingly. The cess is not a pass through and therefore has to be borne by the producers. The Finance Ministry said that this demand is always made by the domestic oil producers whenever the crude oil prices are low. The Finance Ministry’s decision on cess is also influenced by the fact that at present the government’s maximum earnings are coming from the savings on account of fuel subsidy and earnings from the increased duties – both customs and excise – on crude oil and petroleum products. The country’s oil subsidy bill has come down by at least 20,000 crore due to lower crude oil prices, and excise duty almost doubled to 80,208 crore by August end. Led by Cairn India, the domestic oil producers have been seeking reduction in cess amount to 2,500 a tonne from the current 4,500 a tonne. The government levies cess on domestic crude oil production as a duty of excise. The current level of cess was imposed in the Budget of 2012-13, when the crude price was over $ 100 a barrel. The crude price has since dropped significantly. When the government had doubled the cess amount, Cairn had approached the then Prime Minister’s office seeking review as it was only the Rajasthan block production sharing contract which was materially affected by this increase. While the Petroleum Ministry had then agreed that it would adversely affect Cairn, it had left the private sector explorer to fight its own battle. NELP (New Exploration Licensing Policy) PSCs are exempted from cess. For most other blocks offered before the licensing rounds and producing crude oil like Ravva and Panna-Mukta-Tapti joint venture fields, cess is fixed at 900 a tonne. (

RIL regains top slot in Platts global ranking, elbows out ONGC

October 28, 2015. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has regained the top slot among Indian energy companies on the Platts global list by surpassing Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in the rankings for this year. In all, 14 Indian energy companies made it to the 2015 Platts Top 250 Global Energy Company Rankings, a financial performance roster of publicly traded companies with assets greater than USD 5 billion. The company improved its overall ranking to 14 from 22 in 2014. ONGC too improved its position to 17 from 21 previously. Rankings are based on assets, revenues, profits and return on invested capital for the prior fiscal year. Global giants Exxon Mobil Corp, Chevron Corp and Royal Dutch Shell plc occupied the top three slots while Chinese firm CNOOC Ltd for the first time broke into top five at No.4. PetroChina was a close fifth. India, the second largest Asian demand power house, saw its energy consumption hit an all-time high. With the fastest growth in energy consumption for the last five years, more coal, LNG and oil were required. (



KNPP director admits to delay in maintenance work in Unit 1

October 31, 2015. Admitting to a delay in undertaking maintenance work in Unit-I of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) its director R S Sundar said it would be over by November this year and power generation would begin by that month end or December. Sundar said maintenance of turbines was over and work on the reactors was being done now. Sundar said power generation in Unit II was also being delayed due to the maintenance work and expressed confidence that Unit II would start generating power by February 2016. He said preliminary work on Units 3 and 4 were going on in full swing. Referring to the fifth and sixth units, he said talks were going on. The first unit of the Indo-Russian Joint Venture has been operational commercially since December 2014. It had attained criticality in July 2013 after much delay, largely due to protests against the project by anti-nuclear activists, spearheaded by People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, in areas around the complex. (

Adani announces setting up of ` 37 bn power plant in Punjab

October 28, 2015. Adani Enterprises chairman Gautam Adani announced setting up of a ` 3700 crore power plant in Punjab during the ongoing Progressive Punjab Summit in SAS Nagar. The government has fulfilled five promises made during the first edition of the summit, which included providing ease of doing business, 24x7 supply of power, connectivity, establishment of industrial parks, and urban development. (

NTPC's Vindyachal plant to be country's largest power generating station

October 28, 2015. NTPC's Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power Station (VSTPS) will become country's largest power generating plant with the commissioning of another 500 MW unit. Overall, the total commercial capacity of VSTPS, NTPC and the NTPC Group will become 4,760 MW, 38,442 MW and 44,443 MW respectively. VSTPS will also become the largest operating power station in the India, the company said. The power plant is located in district Singrauli of Madhya Pradesh. The beneficiary states of the project are Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Daman & Diu and Dadar Nagar Haveli. (

CIL forays into power generation

October 28, 2015. Coal India Ltd (CIL) will soon make foray into thermal power generation with its first plant to be set up by subsidiary Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) in Sundargarh district of Odisha, MCL's chairman-cum-managing director-designate Anil Kumar Jha said. Besides its plans to set up the 1,600 MW (2x800) power plant, MCL is gearing up to meet a target of producing 150 million tonnes of coal production during the current fiscal, according to Jha.  CIL has set for itself a target of 550 million tonnes (mt) during 2015-16 up from last year's 494 mt. Mahanadi is to ramp up its production from current 121 mt to 150 mt making up for more than 25% of the CIL production. At the same time most of the 28 washeries that CIL is setting up will come under MCL area for providing better quality coal with lesser ash content. According to Jha the best coking coal is available in Jharia area of Dhanbad coal belt. But the area is thickly populated and only a complete rehabilitation of population can help in increasing output there. A draft rehabilitation plan is ready. Once it is implemented so much coking coal can be taken out there will be no necessity for imports. Jharia has vast reserves of high quality coking coal. India last year imported coal worth ` 93,000 crore, much of it coking coal used in steel industry. He lauded Union shipping and transport minister Nitin Gadkari's proposal for using waterways to transport coal. If coal is transported through sea and river routes it would go a long way in overcoming congestion of rail traffic, non-availability of dedicated freight corridor and rakes to transport coal. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade…

Fuel supply contracts of steel and cement companies with CIL to continue

November 3, 2015. The fuel supply contracts of steel and cement companies with Coal India Ltd (CIL) will not be discontinued for auction. This comes as a big relief to the companies as the government had earlier announced that all the coal supply agreements between CIL and non-power firms will end on June next year. The government said the fuel supply agreements of companies in non-power sectors like steel and cement are not proposed to be ended prematurely. The government will wait for the contracts to end and then auction them. This is a change from the government’s earlier stance to discontinue the agreements and auction them afresh next year. Most fuel supply contracts of CIL are set to lapse in 2017. The government is expected to auction about 28 million tonne of coal supply pacts to unregulated sectors next year. The coal ministry has finalised the policy for auction of CIL contracts to unregulated sectors like steel and cement that will be tabled before the Union Cabinet for approval within a month. The private steel and cement firms will have to indicate their coal requirement and their enduse projects to the coal ministry before bidding for supply from CIL. The coal ministry has committed to reserve coal for auction to the unregulated sectors like steel and cement out of CIL’s incremental production every year. This has been done to avoid desperate bidding by private firms in the upcoming round of bidding for coal supply from CIL. As per the proposed mechanism, CIL will invite bids from companies for supplying a fixed quantity of coal at a floor price. Once bids are received, the state-run miner will increase the floor price till the demand and supply reach the same level. (

India to give 100 MW more electricity to Bangladesh

October 31, 2015. India will start transmission of fresh 100 MW electricity from Tripura to Bangladesh by January and the government-owned company is working round-the-clock to erect the transmission line by December. The Indian government-owned Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) is working round-the-clock to erect the 47-km transmission line from western Tripura to southern Comilla (in eastern Bangladesh) by December this year. Electricity-starved Bangladesh will begin receiving 100 MW of power from Tripura to meet the energy crisis in the eastern part of the country. The 100 MW power will be in addition to the 500 MW Bangladesh already receives from the West Bengal and a like amount that is on the cards from the State, as the two neighbours enter a new phase of bilateral cooperation for regional benefit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the power supply from Tripura with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina during Dhaka-visit last June. He had declared that India would enhance the supply of power to Bangladesh from the existing 500 MW to 1,100 MW. Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar had earlier said that after completion of a new 101 MW gas-based power projects at Monarchak (10 km from the Bangladesh border) in western Tripura, at least 200 MW of power would be surplus in Tripura.  The Central government-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has commissioned its biggest ever 726 MW commercial power project at Palatana, 60 km from Agartala, while the state-run North East Electric Power Corporation is setting up a 101 MW project at Monarchak in western Tripura, 70 km from Agartala. The gas based Palatana project, which supplies power in seven of the eight northeastern states, is a hallmark of the cooperation between India and Bangladesh, which ensured the smooth passage of heavy project equipment and turbines to Palatana through its territory by road and waterways from Haldia port in West Bengal. India had begun supplying 500 MW of power to Bangladesh in 2013 after the government-run Bangladesh Power Development Board and India's NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVN), a subsidiary of NTPC, signed a deal Feb 28, 2012, following an agreement signed during Hasina's visit to New Delhi in January 2010. (

Policy / Performance………….

DERC seeks more funds from govt to hire extra staff

November 3, 2015. Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) is looking at much busier days ahead after being designated as the sole authority to audit the capital's power distribution companies by Delhi high court. The commission is shifting focus on strengthening the organisation following the court's directives to investigate the three discoms. Working on an annual budget of approximately ` 10 crore, DERC is learnt to have sought additional funds from the government in the current fiscal to aid its working and bringing in additional manpower. The electricity regulator has said they are fully equipped to audit the power utilities and supported the CAG scrutiny specifically for public interest. It is learnt that DERC has sought ` 13 crore this fiscal to bring in more manpower and hire consultants for prudence checks. The government is yet to get back to the regulator as the matter is being examined by the finance department. Apart from the annual tariff exercise, DERC has started verification of physical assets of the discoms. The commission said that CAG audit would have been a second check of the discoms, in addition to the analysis already being carried out. (

Small suppliers of nuclear energy sector won't have obligation in case of liability: DAE

November 3, 2015. In a major relief to component suppliers in the nuclear energy sector, government said they will not have any "obligation" if there is any liability. However, the major suppliers, for instance companies building the reactors, will not be absolved if there is such an eventuality. India is also looking at approaching foreign market as the Domestic banks are not equipped to give the massive amount of loan required to build an atomic reactor. Sekhar Basu, Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), was speaking at the 7th Nuclear Energy Conclave organised by the India Energy Forum. Basu said that companies building the reactor will not be absolved under this. The decision comes as a major relief to small suppliers, mostly Indian companies, which had been complaining about the stringent provisions of the Civil Liability Nuclear Damage(CLND) Act 2010, which held suppliers responsible in case of any accident. Basu said the DAE is also looking for cheaper loan option outside. (

Celebrations to mark CIL’s 41 yrs

November 2, 2015. The subsidiaries of Coal India Limited (CIL) subsidiaries operating in Jharkhand celebrated the 41st foundation day of the parent company. On the eve of (CIL) 41st foundation day, the CCL, a subsidiary of CIL, said the company has registered a growth in coal production, over burden removal and dispatch till the second quarter of the ongoing financial year in comparison to the 2014-15 FY. CCL said that the company has so far performed well in terms of liquidation of coal stocks, with as much as 4.3 million ton (mt) of the 9.7 mt stocks being liquidated already till April 1. The CIL subsidiary has been upbeat after it recorded 55.64 mt production in the 2014-15 fiscal, a growth rate over 11% from the 2013-14 fiscal. This year, the company has set a production target of 61 mt target in the ongoing fiscal. (

Reliance Power’s Sasan UMPP doesn’t require Chhatrasal coal block: Govt

November 2, 2015. The government justified cancellation of one of three coal blocks allocated to Reliance Power Ltd’s Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP), saying the unit’s coal requirement could be met by the other two. Defending its decision, the coal ministry told Delhi high court that Reliance Power had on several occasions represented that its Sasan unit required only 16 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of coal which could be easily met by the Moher and Moher-Amlohri extension coal blocks in Madhya Pradesh. The ministry has said that since the two blocks could meet the requirements of the project, the third block - Chhatrasal - was deal located. It said the company also did not fulfill the allocation condition of developing the Chhatrasal block, in Madhya Pradesh, and commencing coal production from there. It said that after Reliance Power emerged as the successful bidder, it wanted to use the surplus coal from Chhatrasal for its other projects, which could not be allowed as the Supreme Court had directed that coal blocks allocated for UMPPs would be used for UMPPs only and no diversion of coal for commercial exploitation would be permitted. RPower had argued before the high court that the apex court had “specifically excluded” UMPPs while deal locating 214 coal blocks by its orders of August and September last year. (

CIL will surpass 550 mt target: Goyal

November 1, 2015. Asserting India will not have to depend upon imports, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal exuded confidence of Coal India Ltd (CIL) surpassing its production target of 550 million tonne (mt) for the current fiscal. He said the CIL was on track towards achieving its production target of one billion tonne of coal by 2019-20. Goyal said there was no shortage of power in any part of the country and credited CIL for ensuring that all power plants in the country had adequate supply of coal. Urging employees to consider themselves more as trustees of the nation's asset, Goyal exhorted them to make the CIL the world's most valuable company. (

Power sector revival a priority: Finance Minister

October 31, 2015. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government will look into the issues being faced by the power sector, after having taken steps to pull the highways and steel sectors out of distress. The minister said the main challenge in the power sector is at the last mile as many discoms are in distress. Jaitley said very soon the government will revive stalled projects, without elaborating further. (

CAG finalises draft report on e-auctions of coal blocks

October 30, 2015. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has finalised its draft report on the e-auctions of coal blocks allocated by the NDA government and is likely to table the report in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament. This would be the first report by the federal auditor on the Modi government's allocation of natural resources, a performance review of its policies like the appraisal report prepared by the auditor for UPA's 2G spectrum allocation and Coalgate. The auditor has looked into allegations of cartelisation in award of coal blocks through e-auctions. After allegations of cartelisation surfaced, the NDA government had cancelled coal blocks allocated to Naveen Jindal group on the grounds of alleged riggings. The auditor has reviewed all bidding documents and whether fair practices were adopted in allocation of mines through the new process. (

SC to hear Bagrodia's plea on November 30

November 2, 2015. The Supreme Court (SC) said it will hear on November 30 the plea of former Union Minister Santosh Bagrodia seeking parity with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for stay of criminal proceedings against him in a coal block allocation case. Earlier, CBI had opposed the stand of Bagrodia seeking parity with the former Prime Minister saying that the legal provisions challenged by both of them were different. Special Public Prosecutor for coal scam cases R S Cheema had said while in Singh's case, constitutional validity of section 13(1)(d)(iii) of Prevention of Corruption Act has been challenged, Bagrodia's case pertained to section 13(1)(d). Bagrodia, former Minister of State for Coal in Singh's cabinet, has been summoned as accused by special CBI court in a case concerning allocation of Maharashtra's Bander coal block to AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd. (

Goyal asks BBMB, NHPC to raise capacity to 'highest level'

October 31, 2015. Taking stock of operations of Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) and NHPC, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal called upon their managements to increase their efficiency and raise capacity to the highest level. Goyal said that a joint meeting of Chief Ministers of all these four states will be held here shortly to sort out the long pending issues. He directed BBMB Chairman to submit an action plan to him within a month for strengthening the public warning system to avoid accidents by immediate release of water from the dams. Goyal directed BBMB to make an inventory of all its assets, including unused vacant land within six months. (

Fourth round of coal mines auction likely in 15 days: Coal Secretary

October 30, 2015. The government is planning to auction up to 11 coal blocks in the fourth round of bidding which is likely to start in a fortnight. In another 15 days (the fourth phase of coal mines auction may start), Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said. Coal and Power minister Piyush Goyal had earlier said the process and formalities of the fourth round of auctions are at the last stage. The government is planning to auction blocks to the unregulated non-power sectors, including cement, steel and aluminium, as per sources. The first three rounds as well as allotment of mines had fetched states over ` 3 lakh crore. In the third phase of auction held in August, the government had to be content with proceeds of just ` 4,364 crore as legal and other issues forced it to put only three out of the proposed 10 mines on the block. The Supreme Court in September last year had cancelled allocation of 204 coalmines to companies without auction. (



Chevron begins O&G production from $2 bn Lianzi field offshore Central Africa

November 3, 2015. Chevron subsidiary Chevron Overseas (Congo) has started oil and gas (O&G) production from the $2 bn Lianzi development field located in a unitized offshore zone between the Republic of Congo and the Republic of Angola. Located 65 miles (105 km) offshore in approximately 3,000 feet (900 meters) of water, the cross-border project is estimated have an average production capacity of 40,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Estimated to hold proven reserves of 70 million barrels of oil, the field represents the company's first operated asset in Congo and the first cross-border oil development project offshore Central Africa. Oil produced from the field is transported to the existing Benguela Belize Lobito Tomboco host platform located in Angola Block 14. (

Noble to make investment decision on Israel's gas fields in 1 yr

November 2, 2015. U.S. oil and gas producer Noble Energy Inc said it would make a final investment decision on two large gas fields in Israel in about a year's time, a day after the country's prime minister promised to fast-track the projects. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would take control of the economy ministry - after a minister who had been holding up the plan stepped down - and give final approval to a framework deal with Noble and Israel's Delek Group. The framework deal reached in August gives control of Israel's largest gas field, Leviathan, to a consortium led by Noble and Delek. Leviathan, a massive field with reserves of 22 trillion cubic feet, was initially slated to begin production in 2018 with most of the gas earmarked for exports. Noble also owns a large stake in Tamar, another field offshore Israel's Mediterranean coast that started production in 2013 and has reserves of 10 trillion cubic feet. The company, which also operates in U.S. shale fields and offshore Gulf of Mexico and West Africa, said it now plans to spend less than $3 billion in 2015. Noble, which acquired Rosetta Resources in a $2 billion deal earlier this year, raised its fourth-quarter sales volume forecast to 385,000-405,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) from 375,000-400,000 boepd. (

Russian oil output in October hits post-Soviet high 10.78 mn bpd

November 2, 2015. Russian oil production, the world's largest, hit a post-Soviet high in October, rising 0.4 percent month on month to 10.78 million barrels per day (bpd), Energy Ministry data showed. Output reached 45.572 million tonnes versus 43.961 million in September, or 10.74 million bpd, which was at that time a post-Soviet high. The data showed that Russian oil output under production-sharing agreements, designed in the 1990s to encourage investment by foreign oil firms, jumped 6.7 percent in October from September to 1.367 million tonnes (323,000 bpd). (

Sonangol, Total deepwater project to add 30k bpd to Angola oil output

November 2, 2015. Sonangol and a unit of France's Total will break ground on a new deepwater oil pumping project that will add over 30,000 barrels a day to Angola's oil production, the state oil company said. The project, part of the offshore Rosa oil production field north of the capital Luanda, involves four multi-phase high-pressure pumps installed close to the bottom of sea and will link up with an existing subsea network for pumping crude, the company said. The project involves Total's Angola unit which operates Angola Block 17, Sonangol said. The additional pumping capacity will be a boost for the southern African nation whose coffers have suffered as a result of a sharp slide in oil prices since mid-2014. Oil output represents 40 percent of Angola's gross domestic product and over 95 percent of its export revenue. (

Almost a billion cubic feet of US gas shut down by low prices

October 30, 2015. Natural gas drillers in the U.S. Northeast have curbed production by about 900 million cubic feet a day as prices for the fuel hover near three-year lows, based on Williams Cos. estimates of curtailments on its system. Output from the Marcellus shale formation in Pennsylvania will fall 1.3 percent in November to 15.89 billion cubic feet a day, the fifth consecutive monthly decline and the biggest drop since July 2014, according to the Energy Information Administration. Spot gas prices in Pennsylvania fell to a record low in July. Curtailments of 300 million cubic feet a day from Ohio’s Utica shale region during the quarter have ended and a record 1 billion cubic feet a day was seen at the company’s hub there over the past weekend. (

Oil companies have cut back everything except crude production

October 30, 2015. A year after the bear market in crude began, oil companies have cut workers, are using fewer rigs and have less money to spend. But they’re still pumping more oil. BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Corp. and Hess Corp. are among the companies producing more crude than a year ago. In the U.S., shale explorers have focused on the most productive parts of their land, drilled faster and better wells there and negotiated lower prices from oilfield service companies. It’s helped keep total U.S. output about 1.6 percent higher than at this time last year, even as drilling rigs have fallen by 63 percent. High production all year has pushed U.S. inventories to the highest October level since 1930, helping keep prices deflated. The good news for oil bulls is that production gains may be ending soon. Hess and Whiting Petroleum Corp. are among companies that produced less in the third quarter than in the second. U.S. onshore production is expected to fall to 7.7 million barrels a day in the fourth quarter, according to Rystad Energy AS, about 100,000 less than the same period last year. Some companies have maintained production because they used financial hedges, so are still getting paid pre-crash prices for their crude. (

CNOOC to ease spending cuts next year to save oil output target

October 29, 2015. CNOOC Ltd. will ease spending cuts in 2016 after China’s biggest offshore oil and gas producer targeted a 30 percent reduction this year amid a plunge in energy prices. The global energy industry has had to slash more than $100 billion in spending and 200,000 jobs to keep pace with crude prices that have tumbled by more than half since June 2014. Oil companies are suffering from a slump in prices as producers compete for market share amid an oversupply. The company is on target to lower spending to as much as 70 billion yuan ($11 billion) this year. Revenue from oil and natural gas output was 36.3 billion yuan in the three months ended Sept. 30. The drop in revenue was narrower than the 50 percent slump in oil prices during the period while production is on track to reach the high-end of its annual target. CNOOC planned to cut this year’s spending to between 70 billion yuan and 80 billion yuan. The Beijing-based company expects to produce 475 million to 495 million barrels of oil equivalent this year, an increase of as much as 15 percent from 2014. CNOOC is targeting 509 million barrels in 2016, which would be a 3 percent increase from the high end of this year’s target. (

Statoil delays production at Mariner oil field

October 28, 2015. North Sea oil firm Statoil has announced it is delaying the start-up of the massive Mariner oil field. The Norwegian company has postponed production by a year, to the second half of 2018. The Mariner field lies about 93 miles (150km) east of Shetland. According to Statoil, Mariner is the largest field development on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) in more than a decade, and will be in production for at least 30 years. Statoil said the delay in starting production would not impact on jobs - although some recruitment for the £4.6bn ($7 bn) project will now be staggered. The firm insisted it was still "fully committed" to the North Sea. Aberdeen-based EnQuest said it had produced its first oil from the Alma/Galia development in the central North Sea. Alma, which was formerly known as Argyll, was the first commercially-produced oil field in the UK Continental Shelf. (

BP will start producing gas at North Alexandria in early 2017

October 28, 2015. British oil major BP plans to start producing gas from its North Alexandria concession in early 2017, i.e. a few months earlier than initially planned. The offshore gas concession is excepted to produce around 450 mcf/d in 2017; gas production will be ramped up to 1.2 bcf/d by the end of 2019. BP has recently been awarded three new offshore exploration blocks in Egypt. The company plans to invest US$229 mn in their development. These new resources are expected to improve domestic supply in Egypt, once an energy exporter, which is facing falling oil and gas production and rising demand and has to divert supplies to its domestic market. (


US oil refiners look abroad for crude supplies as North Dakota boom fades

November 3, 2015. PBF Energy Inc, one of the largest independent oil refiners in the United States (US), spent heavily in recent years to build the rail terminals at its Delaware City complex that it needed to take delivery of large loads of crude coming from North Dakota's Bakken oil fields. The sudden lack of interest in Bakken crude by PBF, which is run by Thomas O'Malley, one of the biggest names in the U.S. oil refining industry, reflects a dramatic recent change in the way East Coast refineries are sourcing the crude that they turn into everything from gasoline to heating oil and jet fuel. PBF disclosed that it is only budgeting to take 25,000 barrels a day of Bakken oil delivered by rail at its East Coast refineries in 2016. PBF's Delaware City refinery imported about twice as much crude in July as in January, bringing in cargoes from Colombia and Peru, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The company's Paulsboro, New Jersey, refinery increased its imports by 50 percent in the same period. The refiners had previously found that relying on crude from the likes of Colombia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia was unprofitable. But now it may be different provided Bakken crude remains relatively expensive and the U.S. economy doesn't head into a downturn. (

Oil traders scouting further afield for NY diesel storage

November 2, 2015. Oil traders are scouring the East Coast for places to store surplus diesel supplies, including on tankers just outside New York (NY) Harbor, as prompt prices trade at their deepest discounts since the financial crisis. Kinder Morgan, which operates roughly 165 storage terminals from Los Angeles to New York, has received interest from traders looking to lease storage space beyond New York Harbor. The winter contango in the benchmark New York Harbor diesel fuel market is the deepest since 2009, when the oil market was still emerging from the financial crisis. The Chinese-flagged Hua Lin Wan is currently being used as floating diesel storage. The ship came into the Harbor empty before filling up and idling in the New York anchorage, according to shipping data. (

ExxonMobil will expand its Rotterdam refinery

October 30, 2015. US energy group ExxonMobil has decided to expand the hydrocracker unit at its 191,000 bbl/d Rotterdam refinery (Netherlands) to upgrade heavier by-products into higher-value finished products, including EHC Group II base stocks and ultra-low sulfur diesel, to meet growing global market demand. The project’s environmental impact assessment has been approved and the site-permitting process is being finalised. Permits are expected in early 2016. Pending receipt of permits, construction is scheduled to begin in 2016 and unit startup is targeted for 2018. (

TonenGeneral imports Japan's second cargo of US condensate

October 30, 2015. Japan's second-biggest oil refiner by capacity, TonenGeneral Sekiyu, imported the country's second cargo of U.S. condensate derived from booming shale production. Trade ministry data showed 318,773 barrels (50,681 kilolitres) of processed condensate was imported to Japan in September. The Ministry of Finance data showed the same volume of crude condensate passed through Kawasaki customs near Tokyo last month. TonenGeneral Sekiyu, which operates a 258,000 barrels per day refinery in Kawasaki, declined to comment. (

Marathon Petroleum scraps oil upgrader plans for Louisiana refinery

October 29, 2015. U.S. refiner Marathon Petroleum Corp said it would cancel a planned expansion project at its 522,000-barrel-per-day Garyville, Louisiana refinery. The company had said that it would defer the final investment decision on the project to convert residual fuel to diesel using hydrogen. The decision to scrap the residual oil upgrader is expected to cost Marathon Petroleum up to $2.5 billion and comes amid a slump in global crude oil prices. (

Vietnam's Nghi Son refinery 60 percent complete

October 28, 2015. Construction at Vietnam's second oil refinery, the $7.5-billion Nghi Son plant, is more than 60 percent complete and is on track to be finished in mid-2017. The refinery will supply mainly to the domestic market and will take in crude from Kuwait. The facility is owned by Japan's Idemitsu Kosan, Mitsui Chemicals, state oil and gas group PetroVietnam and Kuwait Petroleum International. The 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) Nghi Son facility will increase the country's oil processing capacity to 330,500 bpd by 2017, but it and a smaller older plant will only be able to meet half of the nation's fuel demand at that time, PetroVietnam has said. (

US diesel demand flat as freight growth slows

October 28, 2015. U.S. diesel consumption has been flat this year after growing strongly in 2013 and 2014, mirroring a slowdown in inland freight movements and the worldwide slowdown in the raw materials sector. Diesel consumption measured by the Energy Information Administration's data on distillate supplied is closely correlated with freight movements measured by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics' transportation services index. Diesel demand has been more cyclical than gasoline, plunging during the recession of 2008/09, then rebounding more quickly in 2010/11 and 2013/14. Diesel consumption surged more than 200,000 barrels per day (bpd), almost 5.5 percent, in 2014, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). By contrast, gasoline consumption rose by just 78,000 bpd, less than 1 percent. But in 2015 the situation has reversed, with strong growth in gasoline demand and little or no increase in diesel consumption. In the first seven months of the year, diesel was essentially flat compared with the same period in 2014, while gasoline demand rose by more than 250,000 bpd, almost 3 percent. The slowdown in diesel appears directly linked to the slowdown in freight movements since the start of 2015 which is in turn linked at least in part to the ending of the energy boom. (

Transportation / Trade……….

Shell completes the sale of its Butagaz LPG business in France

November 3, 2015. Shell has completed the sale of its Butagaz LPG business in France to DCC Energy for €464 mn. Shell had received a binding offer from DCC in May 2015. Other activities in France will remain owned and operated by Shell. The sale is part of Shell's strategy to concentrate its downstream footprint on assets and markets where it can be most competitive, and to divest its LPG businesses worldwide. (

Rosneft to supply Egypt with six fuel oil shipments by end 2015

November 2, 2015. The Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation has agreed to import six shipments of fuel oil from Rosneft, Russia's largest oil producer, by the end of 2015, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said. Egypt's Oil Ministry said it had signed initial deals with Rosneft to supply benzine and bitumen, as well as 24 LNG cargoes for state gas company EGAS over two years starting from the fourth quarter of 2015. Egypt has become a big importer of gas because it needs to plug severe energy shortages that have crippled its industrial production. (

Petrobras oil workers begin strike, seek to block asset sales

November 2, 2015. Brazil’s main oil union began a nationwide strike to halt asset sales by state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) at a time the company is slashing investments to reduce the biggest debt load in the oil industry. The Oil Workers Federation, known as FUP, said the nationwide strike started on Nov. 1. Some of the FUP’s regional member unions began work stoppages. FUP wants Petrobras to resume investments in the refining network and maintain Buy in Brazil policies to protect jobs, it said. Petrobras said that a work stoppage from some units won’t affect its production or deliveries to the market. The strike is the latest in a series of setbacks for the Brazilian producer, which had its debt downgraded to non-investment grade in September as it tries to deal with a collapse in commodity prices and a widening graft scandal that has resulted in some of its suppliers seeking bankruptcy protection. Petrobras plans to continue holding talks with the union and it has offered an 8.1 percent wage adjustment, the company said. The union has been negotiating with Petrobras for more than 100 days, it said. Petrobras plans to sell $15.1 billion in assets this year and in 2016 to raise cash for investments and debt reduction. Petrobras approved the sale of a 49 percent stake in its gas pipeline unit Gaspetro to Mitsui & Co Ltd. for 1.9 billion reais ($490 million). (

South African trade gap narrows as lower oil curbs imports

October 30, 2015. South Africa’s trade deficit narrowed to 0.9 billion rand ($65 million) in September as lower oil prices curbed imports. The trade gap eased from a revised 10.1 billion rand in August, the Pretoria-based South African Revenue Service said. The median estimate of 14 economists surveyed was for a shortfall of 4.9 billion rand. South Africa’s trade outlook has improved this year as falling oil prices and weaker domestic demand curbs imports. The deficit for the first nine months of the year was 37.35 billion rand, almost half its value in the same period of 2014. That’s easing pressure on the current-account deficit and may underpin the rand after it fell 16 percent against the dollar this year. (

OPEC October oil output falls led by Saudi, Iraq

October 30, 2015. OPEC oil output has fallen in October from the previous month, a survey found, as declines in top producers Saudi Arabia and Iraq outweighed higher supply from African members. The drops are not indicative of deliberate supply cuts to prop up prices, the survey said, and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is still pumping close to a record high as major producers focus on defending market share. OPEC supply has fallen in October to 31.64 million barrels per day (bpd) from a revised 31.76 million in September, according to the survey, based on shipping data and information from sources at oil companies, OPEC and consultants. With one day left in October, the final figures could be revised. The OPEC increase has added to ample supplies, which have helped cut prices by more than half from June 2014 to below $50 a barrel. Still, with reductions in capital spending by oil companies expected to curb future supply, analysts see signs that OPEC's strategy will deliver. The biggest supply drop in October has come from Saudi Arabia, which trimmed output due to reduced use of crude in domestic power plants and refineries, sources in the survey said, despite higher exports. Saudi output, at 10.10 million bpd, remains not far below the record high of 10.56 million bpd it pumped in June. Exports from Iraq's main outlet, its southern terminals, were higher for much of October - reaching a record 3.1 million bpd in the first 27 days of the month - but have slowed since as poor weather delayed cargoes, shipping data showed. Shipments from Iraq's north by the Kurdistan Regional Government via Ceyhan in Turkey have edged lower, while those by Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organisation have fallen to zero from about 20,000 bpd in September, the survey found. Smaller increases have come from OPEC's two west African producers, Nigeria and Angola, and from Libya. Output in Iran, OPEC's second-largest producer until sanctions forced a cut in exports in 2012, continues to edge up, the survey found. A lifting of sanctions on Iran has the potential to boost OPEC output further in 2016. (

Iran seen jolting oil market with 90 day supply after sanctions

October 30, 2015. Iran may roil global oil markets with plans to sell about 45 million barrels of fuel stored in tankers in the Persian Gulf within three months of the removal of sanctions on its economy, according to analysts. Most of the stored oil is condensate that contains a sulfur compound, which complicates sales because many refineries can’t process it, Victor Shum of IHS Inc. and Robin Mills at Dubai-based Manaar Energy Consulting said. To market this large amount of oil within three months -- the equivalent of about half a million barrels a day -- Iran will have to resort to offering deep discounts, they said. The country is seeking to claw back the market share it lost under sanctions by boosting oil exports after a July deal with world powers to return to energy and financial markets. The condensate in tankers moored off its southern coast will add to a worldwide oil glut, putting more pressure on crude prices that have dropped more than 40 percent in the last year. Sanctions curbed Iran’s sales of crude and condensate to 1.4 million barrels a day in 2014 from 2.6 million in 2011, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said. Iran pumped 2.8 million barrels of crude a day in September, making it the fifth-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), according to data. It plans to boost crude production and exports by 500,000 barrels a day within a week after sanctions are lifted, National Iranian Oil Co. said. (

Policy / Performance…………

Yergin sees oil price near bottom as US output set to fall

November 3, 2015. Oil is near a bottom and global supplies look poised to close their gap with demand as investments in new production decline and consumption grows, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin. U.S. crude output, which surged to the most in more than three decades this year and triggered a price collapse, will retreat by about 10 percent in the 12-months ending April, according to Yergin, vice chairman at IHS Inc. Global oil supply and demand will begin to move into balance by late 2016 or 2017 and prices may rise to $70 to $80 a barrel by the end of the decade. Yergin joins analysts including Gary Ross of PIRA Energy Group who predict an increase in demand next year will help offset the global oversupply. PIRA forecasts demand for oil will grow 1.7 million barrels a day in 2016, while Yergin said it may increase as much as 1.3 million barrels a day. The last annual U.S. oil production decline was in 2008, according to the Energy Information Administration. Lower prices will lead to consolidation in the U.S. shale businesses as weaker companies get bought or are forced to sell assets, according to Yergin. (

Egypt's giant Zohr gas field aims to start output in 2017: Oil Minister

November 2, 2015. Egypt aims to start natural gas production from its massive offshore Zohr field in 2017, a year ahead of schedule, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said. The Zohr gas field, discovered by Italy's Eni, is the biggest in the Mediterranean, and with an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of gas it is expected to plug Egypt's acute energy shortages and save it billions of dollars in precious hard currency that would otherwise be spent on imports. Eni has said it expects to invest between $6 billion and $10 billion to develop the Zohr field. Previously, officials had said production was expected to start in 2018. Once an energy exporter, Egypt has turned into a net importer because of declining oil and gas production and increasing consumption. It is trying to speed up production at recent discoveries to fill its energy gap as soon as possible. In October British oil major BP said it would begin gas production at its north Alexandria concession in early 2017 rather than mid-2017. That should add up to 1.2 billion cubic feet of gas per day by late 2019. In July the oil ministry raised the price paid for gas from Eni to a maximum $5.88 for every million British thermal units and a minimum of $4, based on amounts produced, from $2.65. It then cut a similar deal with British Gas. The total value of Egypt's natural gas projects, excluding Zohr, is now $13.8 billion, and El Molla said the Zohr discovery had made additional investment much more likely. Current projects underway will add 2.4 billion cubic feet to the country's daily gas production by 2019, said El Molla. Current production is roughly 4.5 billion cubic feet. On the back of this, the stock of foreign oil and gas investment in Egypt is expected to increase to $8.5 billion during the current fiscal year ending next June, from $7.5 billion last year, El Molla said. (

BP sees technology nearly doubling world energy resources by 2050

November 2, 2015. The world is no longer at risk of running out of oil or gas for decades ahead with existing technology capable of unlocking so much that global reserves would almost double by 2050 despite booming consumption, oil major BP said. When taking into account all accessible forms of energy including nuclear, wind and solar, there are enough resources to meet 20 times what the world will need over that period, David Eyton, BP Group Head of Technology said. Oil and gas companies have invested heavily in squeezing the maximum from existing reservoirs by using chemicals, super computers and robotics. The halving of oil prices since last June has further dampened their appetite to explore for new resources, with more than $200 billion worth of mega projects scrapped in recent months. By applying these technologies, the global proved fossil fuel resources could increase from 2.9 trillion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) to 4.8 trillion boe by 2050, nearly double the projected 2.5 trillion boe required to meet global demand until 2050, BP said. With new exploration and technology, the resources could leap to a staggering 7.5 trillion boe, Eyton said. (

Israel's long-stalled gas plan extricated from impasse

November 1, 2015. The major obstacle to developing Israel’s natural-gas fields was swept away when a cabinet minister who had held up the plan for months agreed to resign. Economy Minister Aryeh Deri had refused to exercise an emergency regulation that would have permitted the government’s proposed natural gas blueprint to move ahead despite opposition from the Antitrust Authority. The authority’s former commissioner, David Gilo, resigned in protest over the government’s plan in June, saying it doesn’t do enough to reduce the monopoly over Israel’s offshore gas fields held by a small number of companies headed by Texas-based Noble Energy Inc. and Israel’s Delek Group Ltd. The gas discovered over the past six years off Israel’s Mediterranean coast is sufficient to meet the country’s energy’s needs for decades, with surplus for export, its developers say. They’ve signed deals to export fuel to neighbouring Jordan, and are in negotiations to ship it to Egyptian plants where it would be converted to liquid natural gas for possible export beyond the Middle East. (

Ukraine looks to shed dependence on Russian LPG

October 30, 2015. Ukraine, an important consumer of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), is tentatively turning to Western suppliers as it aims to wean itself off Russian and Belarusian imports. Political strife between Ukraine and Russia means there is a risk of disruption, or a complete halt, of Russian LPG supplies as has happened with natural gas in the past, traders said. Consumption of propane and butane in Ukraine is growing at a rate of 15 percent a year on average and analysts forecast a 60 percent increase to 1.6 million tonnes by 2020. They expect the share of imported LPG to rise to 80 percent from 60 percent now. LPG is becoming more popular with motorists as it has been 40 to 50 percent cheaper than gasoline throughout 2015, market participants said. Russia and Belarus account for over 90 percent of LPG imports but Ukraine has recently made trial purchases in eastern and western Europe, including from Poland, Hungary and the Netherlands, market participants said. Ukraine brought in small LPG cargos of up to 1,000 tonnes from Poland in 2014 and 2015, traders said. Russian commercial propane-butane mix is currently trading at $410 per tonne at the border and costs about $500 when delivered to West Ukraine. LPG from the Netherlands is estimated to cost $550-$600, including delivery by rail, market participants said. In the future, LPG may be delivered by sea to Ukraine's three terminals, said Sergei Koretsky, chief executive of a large chain of petrol stations. Russia increased LPG exports by 1.8 percent on the year in the first half of 2015 to 2.832 million tonnes, according to customs data. (

Magufuli wins Tanzania presidency with gas to tax reform vow

October 29, 2015. Tanzania’s ruling party candidate, John Magufuli, won a presidential election in Africa’s third-biggest gold producer with pledges to hasten development of the country’s nascent natural-gas industry and reforms to boost tax revenue. The newly elected president will soon announce measures to accelerate development in the nation’s gas industry, campaign director January Makamba said. Tanzania is looking to diversify its $49 billion, mostly agrarian economy, into production of the fuel, with an estimated 55 trillion cubic feet of reserves that are the biggest in East Africa after Mozambique. Statoil ASA, based in Stavanger, Norway, and the U.K.’s BG Group Plc may build the nation’s first liquefied natural gas plant at an estimated cost of $15 billion. (

Equatorial Guinea to launch new bidding round for offshore blocks in 2016

October 29, 2015. Equatorial Guinea will launch a new bidding round for all remaining deep and ultra-deep water blocks next year, the Energy Minister Gabriel Obiang Lima said. The minister said he would not approve the sale of Hess Corporation's producing offshore assets in the country to foreign bidders. (

PetroChina profit plunges to record low on oil price rout

October 29, 2015. PetroChina Co., the country’s biggest oil and gas producer, posted its worst quarterly profit as a plunge in crude prices punished revenue. The Beijing-based company relies on oil and gas production for most of its revenue and the tumble in prices since last year has taken a toll on the industry worldwide. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s biggest oil producer, reported its biggest net loss in more than a decade. Prices have slumped more than 45 percent in the past year amid a global glut that the International Energy Agency estimates will remain until at least the middle of 2016. PetroChina’s sales dropped 29 percent to 427 billion yuan in the third quarter. The company’s realized crude price fell 49 percent to $51.16 a barrel in the first nine months. Oil and gas output from January to September rose 3.6 percent to 1.1 billion barrels of oil equivalent, while capital expenditures were cut 22 percent. (

Hess slashes 2016 drilling budget 27 percent on oil swoon

October 28, 2015. Hess Corp. plans to cut spending by about 27 percent next year after its oil and natural gas business lost more than $2 million a day during the third quarter. Hess estimated its 2016 capital budget will fall to $2.9 billion to $3.1 billion from $4.1 billion this year, according to the New York-based company. Daily oil and gas output will decline to the equivalent of 330,000 barrels to 350,000 barrels next year, an 8.7 percent drop from the full-year 2015 target, based on the mid-range of those numbers. The company posted a net loss of $279 million, or 98 cents a share, compared with profit of $1.01 billion, or $3.31, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, the per-share loss was $1.03, beating the average estimated loss of $1.20 from analysts in a survey. (

Singapore plans to set up a domestic gas trading market

October 28, 2015. Singapore plans to set up a domestic gas trading market and to become a regional hub for LNG in South-East Asia, competing with Japan. It aims to create an Asian benchmark for LNG to break the reliance on oil-linked pricing. Singapore is already a global oil trading hub and bets on rising production in Australia and an increasing number of buyers (especially China and India). A domestic gas market would allow domestic gas price discovery; the city-state currently relies on imported gas for 90% of its power generation but gas supplies are covered by bilateral contracts. (



Entergy to close FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in New York

November 2, 2015. Entergy Corp. will close the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in New York in late 2016 or early 2017, the latest casualty of the shale gas boom that’s squeezing profit margins for generators. That closing follows the shutdown of the New Orleans-based company’s Vermont Yankee reactor in December. The generator said that its Pilgrim nuclear plant south of Boston will close no later than June 1, 2019. The latest decision is based on the continued deteriorating economics of FitzPatrick, Entergy said. FitzPatrick employs more than 600 workers, and began generating electricity in 1975. Cuomo’s position on Fitzpatrick, located near Oswego, New York, diverges from his position on the 2,000 MW Indian Point nuclear plant about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Midtown Manhattan. (

Exelon defers decision on Clinton nuclear power plant for one year

October 29, 2015. Exelon Corporation announced that it will defer any decision about the future operations of its Clinton nuclear plant for one year and plans to bid the plant into the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) capacity auction for the 2016-2017 planning year. MISO holds a capacity auction annually to ensure enough power generation resources are available to meet demand in its region covering southern Illinois and much of the Midwest. The next MISO capacity auction for planning year 2016-2017 is scheduled for late March 2016. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade…

PPL plans 345 kV power line to connect PJM and NYISO systems

November 2, 2015. US energy group PPL Electric Utilities Corporation (part of the PPL Corporation) has initiated the approval process for the first segment of Project Compass, a proposed 153 km electricity transmission line between Blakely, Pennsylvania, and Ramapo, New York (United States). The 345 kV line would connect the PJM Interconnection and the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), to improve the reliability of the electricity grids and save at least US$200 mn/year for New York consumers by reducing transmission congestion. The project Compass is estimated at US$3 bn to US$4 bn. The first segment, estimated at US$500-600 mn, is expected to be in service by 2023. (   

Wolverine to purchase power from Exelon’s 153 MW Michigan Wind 3 project in US

November 2, 2015. Wolverine Power Supply, a not-for-profit generation and transmission electric cooperative, has signed an agreement to purchase power from the Exelon’s proposed 153 MW wind power plant in Michigan's Thumb region, the US. Under the terms of the 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), Exelon will supply power generated from the Michigan Wind 3 project, planned to be built in Sanilac County, Michigan, to Wolverine. Exelon plans to commence construction of the project in spring 2016 while the facility is expected to enter service by December 2016. (

EVN commissions 500 kV Son La - Lai Chau transmission line

October 30, 2015. Vietnam's national power utility Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) has energised the 500 kV Son La - Lai Chau transmission line project that was launched in December 2013. The construction of the line and the expansion of the 500 kV Son La substation required an investment of more than VND 4,000 bn (US$179 mn). The 500kV Son La - Lai Chau transmission line route runs through the districts of Muong La, Thuan Chau of Son La province, Tuan Giao, Muong Cha and Muong Lay in Dien Bien province and Nam Nhun of Lai Chau province.           (

Policy / Performance…………

Indonesia's coal exports may fall by 17 percent in 2017 due to low prices

November 3, 2015. The Indonesian coal sector expects to reduce coal exports by as much as 17% in 2016, from 330-360 million tonnes (mt) in 2015 to less than 300 mt in 2015, in a context of slowing Chinese demand contributing to the global oversupply and to falling international prices. Coal exports already fell by 20% over the first nine months of 2015 and, in 2015, benchmark thermal coal has been falling by around 16% to reach a nine-year low level of US$51.84/tonne.

The Indonesian government has abandoned plans to ramp up coal royalties, to support the sector, as more than 60% of Indonesian coal producers are suffering from insufficient cash flow and miners are now halting production or doing "selective mining", focusing on easy-to-access coal fields. Producers are also increasingly turning to the domestic market, whose demand should increase from about 90 mt in 2015 (70 mt in 2014) to up to 110 mt in 2016. (

EBRD grants €200 mn loan to help improve power sector in Serbia

November 2, 2015. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has granted €200 mn loan to Serbian state-owned power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) to reform the country's power sector. The company will use the sovereign-guaranteed loan to restructure its balance sheet as well as to the reach long-term development objectives including commercialization, raising standards of corporate governance and improving energy efficiency. In addition to supporting further reforms in Serbia's energy sector, the financing is expected to help achieve energy market liberalization, which is expected to be an important condition for the country's aim to join the European Union. Additionally, the funding will be used to develop cross-border energy distribution and trade in order to strengthen regional integration in the Western Balkans. The program is planned to be implemented in cooperation with the Serbian government, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. (



ACME wins 50 MW solar project in Uttarakhand

November 3, 2015. Solar power generator, ACME has won contracts to set up 50 MW solar power plants in Uttarakhand. The company has bagged 29 percent of the 170 MW tender to which 97 companies had responded. The company has an existing portfolio of about 1,150 MW, including 440 MW generation capacity in Telangana, 104 MW in Punjab, 160 MW in Andhra Pradesh and 100 MW in Rajasthan. It has projects in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh. ACME aims to generate 7,500 MW by 2019. (

Swedish companies to become partner in Punjab's renewable energy sector

November 3, 2015. With the efforts of Punjab New & Renewable Energy Minister Bikram Singh Majithia, five renowned Swedish companies have decided to become partner in progress with Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) to share swedish technologies in renewable energy sector. A high level Sweden delegation led by Trade Commissioner Anna Liberg, called on Anirudh Tewari, IAS, Principal Secretary, NRE at PEDA Bhawan as part of the India Sweden Innovation Accelerator (ISIA) Programme with major focus to invest in Renewable Energy Sector. The delegation comprised of KlasSvensson, Senior Policy Advisor from Swedish Energy Agency and Senior Representatives from five Swedish technology companies namely Metrum Sweden AB (Power Transmission and Distribution), Regin (Building automation), PPAM Solkraft (Solar Panels for buildings), Torkapparater AB (Biomass) and World Thermal Service AB (Biomass). While welcoming the Trade Commissioner and the other delegates Tewari gave an overview of the Renewable Energy Activities and achievements in the State and informed them about the target of 1000 MW solar power generation in the state by the end of 2016. He also briefed them about the various key technology projects in the rooftop solar, biomass power and biogas power projects which have been facilitated by PEDA. The Swedish companies had very successful detailed B2B meetings with industry representatives present and also with various project developers especially in the area of biomass power and solar EPC companies. It was decided that further opportunities in crystallizing the application of Swedish technologies in various projects shall be explored and the interaction shall be further carried forward. It may be mentioned that this visit was part of the Punjab Invest Summit-2015 with specific focus of the companies in the field of Renewable Energy. (

Bharat Light ties up with Europe’s largest renewable energy generator

November 3, 2015. Renewable energy firm Bharat Light and Power Pvt Ltd said it had entered into a joint venture (JV) with Statkraft, a state-owned Norwegian power company, to offer solar energy solutions in India, a market witnessing increased interest from multinational firms looking to benefit from the government’s push to shift towards renewables. This is the second partnership that Bharat Light has announced in the last two months. In September, Italy’s Enel Green Power had acquired a majority stake in Bharat Light’s utility-scale wind and solar subsidiary BLP Energy, for about €30 million (` 220 crore). Statkraft, Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy, produces hydropower, wind power and gas-fired power. The JV, Statkraft BLP Solar Solutions Pvt. Ltd, will provide industrial and commercial consumers with both rooftop and ground-mounted solar solutions, the firms said in a statement. In recent months, US-based SunEdison Inc. and First Solar Inc., Russia’s OAO Rosneft, China’s Trina Solar Ltd, Japan’s SoftBank Group and Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group have either invested in or evaluated investing in the Indian renewable energy sector. The government is aiming to shift India’s energy mix towards renewables. It aims to install 100 GW of solar power and 60 GW of wind power by 2022, which would entail an investment of as much as $200 billion. The joint venture will provide a variety of financing structures, whereby consumers can convert their solar capital expenditure into a per unit cost of solar energy, enabling consumers to reduce their carbon footprint and lower energy costs. (

Gamesa bags 200 MW wind power order from Ostro Energy

November 3, 2015. Gamesa India, the Indian subsidiary of Spanish wind major, Gamesa, has entered into a twin agreement with Ostro Energy for turnkey supply, erection and commissioning of 200 MW projects to come up in Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. While the 100 MW project in Madhya Pradesh will be commissioned by February, 2017, the other 100 MW project in Andhra Pradesh will be rolled out by December, 2016. As part of the agreement, Gamesa will provide complete turnkey solutions for the dual project, which will comprise of supply and erection of 50 units each, of its popular and cutting edge wind turbine, the G97 2.0 MW with an increased hub height of 104 m, the company said. The company is the leading renewable player in the country and has attained leadership position in the wind turbine space by offering solutions and services across the wind energy value chain. (

Propose to have cities buy power generated from waste: Goyal

November 3, 2015. Local bodies in India will compulsorily need to purchase any electricity generated from city waste as per a proposal under the new tariff policy, Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal said. He said that the new tariff policy would provide incentives to renewable energy projects as well as to those power generation plants that are efficiently using conventional sources of energy. Goyal also the government has set a target of replacing regular bulbs with LED bulbs in the next three years, which will save 20,000 MW power and 10,000 crore units of electricity per annum. (

India’s energy emission growth at 8.2 percent, highest globally: PwC

November 2, 2015. India’s energy emission growth was highest in the world at 8.2 percent last year, the report by global consultancy firm PwC said. According to the report, the sharp rise in energy emission was on account of double-digit growth in demand for coal, as power consumption surged. Global emissions rose just 0.5 percent, albeit on a much lower world GDP growth of 3.3 percent, it said. It further said, India’s carbon intensity, despite rising in 2014, is about half that of China, and is still less than the global average. Ahead of the climate change summit in Paris later this month, India has pledged to curb its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 35 percent from the 2005 level. In its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in October, India announced that it aims at achieving around 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil-fuel-based energy resources by 2030. India said that it would need, as per preliminary estimates, around USD 206 billion between 2015 and 2030 for implementing adaptation actions in agriculture, forestry, fisheries infrastructure, water resources and ecosystems. Being the fourth largest emitter and expected to be the world’s fastest growing major economy, India’s carbon intensity management will play an important role in determining world’s ability to limit the global temperature rise to two degree Celsius by the year 2100, it said. (

Katra solar project to save ` 10 mn energy bill for Railways

November 2, 2015. Pitching for green power, the Railways have set up 1 MW solar power plant at Katra station, a move that can save up to ` 1 crore annually on energy bills and also significant reduction of carbon dioxide at rail premises. In keeping with the motto of 'reduce, reuse and recycle' for sustainable development and as a significant way to thwart climate change impact, we have been undertaking several green initiatives including the installation of the 1 MW solar power plant at Katra station, Northern Railway said. The solar project was commissioned in March this year and presently, out of 5,000 units produced daily by the plant, only 1,700 to 1,800 units are utilized by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Railway Station, whereas 3,200 to 3,300 units are exported to Power Development Department of Jammu and Kashmir government, Northern Railway said. The 1 MW solar power plant consists of 300 KW installed on platform 2/3, 550 KW on platform 1, 100 KW on rooftop of the station building and 50 KW on pathway shelter. The accrued benefit envisaged was reduction of 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide per annum and a saving of ` 1 crore per annum on energy bills to the Railways, Northern Railway said. In keeping with its objective to resort to more eco-friendly measures, Northern Railway has also installed a 25 kb power Solar Energy Panel at Gurgaon station as well as installation of solar power panels at Bahadurgarh railway station, Diwana (near Panipat) and at Divisional Control Building in DRM office at New Delhi. While inaugurating the Udhampur-Katra railway line of Kashmir rail link project on July 4, 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had directed to provide solar power plant at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Railway Station as a green energy initiative to be a part of national solar mission. The use of solar power is also envisaged to cut diesel and electricity consumption on trains while reducing load requirements at station premises and railway buildings. (

SCB to begin solar power generation

November 2, 2015. The Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) is setting up solar power panels to meet its energy requirements. Solar power panels are being set up on roof tops at Balamrai and Karkhana pump houses in the Cantonment area. While the installed capacity of the solar power plant at Balamrai is 80 KW, the capacity at Karkhana pump house is 120 KW. The SCB planned to take up solar power generation with a capacity of 1 MW with an outlay of ` 7 crore. Initially, it has set up solar power panels on roof tops of Karkhana and Balamrai pump houses, with a combined capacity of 220 KW. Soon solar power generation will also be taken up at other areas in SCB limits. The solar plants are already connected to Telangana State Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (TSSPDCL). Net metering is used to make sure that the power generated at these solar plants is used by pump houses for pumping water. (

Govt may turn to FIs to restart stalled biomass projects

November 1, 2015. Seeking to revive stalled biomass power projects, the government is looking to rope in financial institutions (FIs) to extend funds to developers of such plants. A number of biomass power projects are stuck due to multiple hurdles, including high costs and regulatory issues. Revival of such plants would give a fillip to the government's ambitious plan of 175 GW of clean energy generation by 2022. The government is implementing a project assisted by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE)-UNDP/GEF on 'Removal of barriers to biomass power generation in India'. The scheme to be implemented will be known as the MNRE-UNDP/GEF Biomass Power Project Refinance Scheme for revival of existing biomass projects affected due to unforeseen circumstances, the ministry said. Funds availability for the scheme is approximately ` 15 crore, it said. It's also proposed that the support will be provided to those biomass projects where there is a possibility of revival within a short period of time. As of March 31, 2015, grid-connected biomass power plant capacity stands at 1,410 MW. Many biomass projects in the recent past have been hit by uncertainty in policy and regulatory matters, including low tariffs, higher wheeling and banking charges, cancellation of power purchase agreements (PPAs), higher transmission and cross-subsidy charges, in addition to abnormal escalation of biomass fuel costs. The project viability and ability to repay the loan have also taken a beating. (

VPT to generate 10 MW solar power

November 1, 2015. The Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) is the first among the major ports in the country to take up a solar power plant and the 10 MW solar power project is likely to be commissioned by March 2016. The port issued a letter of intent to Jakson Engineer Ltd of Noida. The company would be establishing solar panels to generate 2 MW by January 15 and the rest of 8 MW by March 20, 2016. The company was also entrusted with the AMC for seven years. The total cost of the project is 60 crore. The solar panels are being set up over 50 acres of port land adjacent to the runway, where no construction is allowed. The site was identified by the experts of Solar Energy Corporation of India. The VPT, which first planned to set up a solar power project in Rayalaseema districts in view of the inherent advantage of land value and solar radiation availability, preferred to set up the 10 MW project on its idle land. (

India to introduce Euro-VI emission compliant fuel by 2020

October 30, 2015. India plans to shift to Euro-VI emission compliant petrol and diesel by 2020 to cut carbon pollution, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. Oil refineries will need to invest ` 80,000 crore in upgrading petrol and diesel quality to meet cleaner fuel specifications by 2020. Addressing a workshop on 'Carbon Emission Management', he said the fuels meeting Euro-IV or Bharat Stage (BS)-IV specifications are to be supplied throughout the country by April 2017 and BS-V or Euro-V grade fuel by April 1, 2020. But now instead of stepwise upgradation from BS-IV to BS-V and then from BS-V to BS-VI, the government is planning to switch over directly from BS-IV to BS-VI auto fuels by April 1, 2020. BS-IV fuels contain 50 parts per million (ppm) sulphur, while BS-V and BS-VI grade fuel will have 10 ppm sulphur. Currently, BS-IV auto fuels are being supplied in whole of northern India covering J&K, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, parts of Rajasthan and western UP. The rest of the country has BS-III grade fuel. From April 1, 2016, all of Goa, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Odisha, Union Territories of Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Andaman & Nicobar will get BS-IV fuel. The rest of the country will get supplies of BS-IV fuel from April 1, 2017. To reduce pollution and green house gas (GHG) emissions, use of gas as transport fuel (CNG) in cities is being encouraged. India, he said, has pledged to improve the carbon emission intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35% by 2030 from 2005 level and to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030. (

India likely to propose special session on solar energy in Paris

October 28, 2015. India is likely to propose a special session on solar energy and issues related to technology transfer to developing nations during the UN climate change summit in Paris later this year. This was conveyed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi during his bilateral meeting ahead of the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit. India in its recently-announced climate action plans or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) has pledged to achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from "non-fossil fuel" based energy resources by 2030 in which a major chunk would be solar energy. India has already put forward an ambitious solar energy expansion programme which seeks to enhance the capacity to 100 GW by 2022 and is also expected to be scaled up further thereafter. India has maintained that green technology needs of emerging economies like itself are "crucial" to fight greenhouse gas emissions and has sought financial as well as technological support from developed nations. The COP21 or the Paris Climate change conference is going to take place from November 30 to December 11 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Paris on November 30 to take part in its inaugural session. The summit will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally-binding and universal agreement on climate to keep global warming below 2°C. The conference is expected to attract close to 50,000 participants including 25,000 official delegates from government, intergovernmental organisations, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society. (

Rays Power bags ` 3 bn order from NHPC

October 28, 2015. Rays Power Experts has bagged ` 300 crore order from National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Ltd for setting up a 50 MW solar power project at Sattur in Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu. As part of this order, Rays Power will implement the Engineering Procurement & Construction (EPC) Contract for development of 50 MW solar power project in Tamil Nadu. The Company recently bagged a 12 MW solar power project in Madhya Pradesh. The company already has strong presence in various states of Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka as well as renowned clients including NDMC, Haldiram, DMRC, and NMMC (Mumbai). (

Rooftop solar panels policy to be before Cabinet soon: Goyal

October 28, 2015. The policy to encourage rooftop solar power panels is ready and will soon be placed before the Union Cabinet for consideration and approval, Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal said. The policy will have detailed guidelines about installing rooftop solar panels on various buildings including government schools, colleges and other intuitions. Government has set an ambitious target of having 100 GW of solar power generation capacity by 2020 including 40 GW of rooftop solar. The policy will contain technical specification and other financial incentives for encouraging roof top solar projects. (


Nigeria targets 2 GW of renewable power capacity by 2020

November 3, 2015. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has approved a new regulation, 'feed-in tariff regulations for renewable energy sourced electricity in Nigeria', to stimulate investments in renewable energies and to boost renewable power supply by up to 2,000 MW in the next five years. The NERC expects that at least 1,000 MW will be operational by 2018 with the balance realised by 2020. The new regulation expects electricity distribution companies to cover 50% of their electricity volumes with renewable electricity, with the Nigerian Bulk electricity Trading Company (NBET) procuring the remaining 50%. The new regulation will focus on renewable power plants between 1 MW and 30 MW. (

Goldman Sachs targets $150 bn in clean-energy deals by 2025

November 2, 2015. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. set a goal of arranging financing or investments in $150 billion worth of clean-energy projects by 2025, part of a promise to “harness market-based solutions” to address climate change. The new target almost quadruples the $40 billion goal Goldman Sachs set in 2012. The New York-based investment bank said it expects to spend $2 billion to make its operations more environmentally friendly and will seek to get all of its own electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The goal was part of Goldman’s guidelines for evaluating environmental impact in its financing decisions. (

Statoil secures Scottish govt consent for floating offshore wind farm

November 2, 2015. Norwegian company Statoil has secured marine license from the Scottish Government for the development of 30 MW floating offshore wind project in the North Sea. The project, which involves installation of five floating 6 MW turbines at 25 km off the coast of Peterhead, is said to be the largest of its kind in the world. Planned to be operational in 2017, the proposed Hywind Scotland facility is designed to have an annual generation capacity of around 135 GWh and power up to 19,900 houses. Statoil intends to commence onshore construction work in 2015-16, followed by offshore construction in 2016-17. Statoil has been operating a single floating offshore turbine, Hywind, in Norway since 2009. (

SEC signs $667 mn deal to build green power plant

November 2, 2015. Saudi Electricity Co. (SEC), the Gulf's largest utility, contracted two companies for 2.5 billion riyals ($667 million) to build and operate the Green Duba power plant. Spanish solar firm Inteq Energia and the Saudi Services for Electro Mechanic Works (SSEM) won the bids for the 605 MW plant, which will produce 43 MW of solar energy. Green Duba, planned to be built near Tabuk on the Red Sea coast, will be Saudi Arabia's first fossil-fuel fired power plant to incorporate solar energy production to boost efficiency - known as an integrated solar combined cycle (ISCC) plant. ISCC plants reduce emissions of climate-warming carbon by increasing the amount of steam available for driving power generation turbines, without having to burn more gas or oil. The solar portion of the plant will save the equivalent of 3 to 4 million barrels of fuel over the life of the project and reduce carbon emissions by between 40 thousand and 50 thousand tonnes per year, SEC said. Saudi Arabia, already one of the world's largest carbon emitters per capita according to the World Bank, faces surging demand of 6 to 8 percent per year for energy as its population increases rapidly and the economy grows. (

Hanwha Q Cells to build solar power plant in Texas

November 2, 2015. Hanwha Q Cells, a leading solar energy firm, said that it will build a solar power plant in Texas. The company said Hanwha Q Cells USA signed a solar purchase power agreement to build a 170 MW solar power plant on a tract of land in Texas nearly double the size of Yeouido. The generated electricity, equivalent to power 1 million households, will be sold to Austin Energy. The company plans to complete construction by 2017 and start the operation then. It will build the utility-scale solar project in the solar-intensive West Texas region and connect to new high voltage transmission systems. The company's prowess in the solar power field has been earning global recognition. It received the Indiana Governor's Environmental Award last month for its 10.9 MW solar farm project in Maywood, Indiana, where it transformed contaminated land into a solar power facility that can generate clean, eco-friendly energy. (

France’s Fabius says UN report shows climate goal attainable

October 30, 2015. French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius said that a report released by the United Nations (UN) shows that the Convention on Climate Change’s goal of limiting global warming to a range of 1.5 degrees Celsius to 2 degrees can be reached if additional effort are made over time. (

China said to mull wind, solar power tariff cuts through 2020

October 30, 2015. China is considering cutting the preferential rate it offers wind and solar power developers because the surcharges slapped onto electricity bills to pay for clean-energy subsidies aren’t high enough. The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planning agency, plans to cut the tariffs annually in the five years through 2020 to make electricity from clean sources more competitive compared with coal power, according to the document. China proposes reducing tariffs for wind farms by as much as 5.8 percent in 2016 from current levels and by another 19 percent in 2020 from the 2016 tariff levels. Reductions for solar power projects will be as much as 5.6 percent in 2016 and another 15 percent in 2020, according to the document. The mismatch between surcharges and what the government pays out to developers of renewable projects is threatening the nation’s plans to use clean energy as part of efforts to combat climate change. (

World set to exhaust 75 percent of `carbon budget' by 2030, UN says

October 30, 2015. The world is set to use up three quarters of a theoretical carbon budget that would limit global warming to safe levels within 15 years, the United Nations (UN) said. The world will pump out 748 gigatons (748 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide from 2012 through 2030, the world body said in a report that analyzed emissions pledges by 146 nations. Exceeding 1,000 gigatons means the world risks a temperature increase since preindustrial times of more than 2 degrees Celsius (35.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Beyond that, scientists say the effects of global warming, including melting ice caps, rising seas and stronger storms, may become unmanageable. The pledges will be included in a deal that 195 nations aim to seal in Paris in December, for the first time binding all countries to limit their emissions. While the aggregate falls short of the targeted 2-degree cap on temperatures, the UN said it provides a foundation to build from. The UN analyzed plans received by Oct. 1 from nations accounting for 86 percent of greenhouse gases. Because not all plans included every sector of the economy, coverage was about 80 percent of global emissions, it said. Together, they would slash emissions in 2030 by 3.6 billion tons in 2030, That’s roughly equivalent to eliminating the annual emissions of Russia, Germany and the U.K. Even so, many of the plans include reductions from a “business as usual scenario” that would still allow emissions to rise over the next 15 years. Total annual global emissions would rise to 56.7 gigatons in 2030 from 48.1 gigatons in 2010, the UN said. Because of population growth, per-capita emissions in 2030 would decline by 5 percent from 2010 levels, an indication of more efficient economies. (

Morocco builds world's largest solar power plant

October 29, 2015. The country of Morocco plans on using the vast desert land near the city of Ouarzazate to create what will eventually become the world's largest solar power plant. The new plant, which will combine solar, hydro and wind power, is all part of a plan by the country to provide over 50 percent of its power to its citizens via renewable energy by the year 2020. Currently, Morocco spends a lot of time and money importing fossil fuels into its country, but after considering that much of its land is desert, the country decided that solar power offers a better opportunity as an energy option for the future. The construction of the power plant has four phases. During the first phase, the country will install over 500,000 mirrors that attach to a pipeline. The pipeline combines the sun's heat with water, creating steam, which in turn, powers turbines that will create energy. Eventually, the power plant will deliver over 500 MW of electricity, enough to power around 1 million homes. However, Morocco has thought even bigger, and believes it possible to eventually transport energy to Europe, although that would require a means to transport that power from their country to European countries. For now, though, Morocco plans on keeping its focus at home, hoping that it can eventually become less dependent on fossil fuels by providing a source of energy from within its own borders to its citizens. (

New York City pension approves hiring adviser to weigh climate change risk

October 28, 2015. New York City’s $55 billion civil-employees’ pension approved hiring a consultant to evaluate the risk climate change poses to its investments, seeking to avoid losses that could result from the ripple effects of rising temperatures. The retirement systems’ board also directed the Bureau of Asset Management in the Comptroller’s office to measure and disclose the “carbon footprint” of the portfolio, according to the text of a resolution approved by trustees. New York City has five public pension funds with assets totaling about $164 billion as of July 31. A study released Oct. 21 and co-authored by economists at Stanford University and the University of California Berkeley estimated that average global incomes would be reduced by about 23 percent by 2100 if warming continues unchecked. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called for all five of the city’s pension funds to sell about $33 million of investments in coal companies. The mayor, a Democrat, has set a goal for the city to reduce total carbon emissions 80 percent by 2030. (












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