MonitorsPublished on Dec 18, 2015
Energy News Monitor | Volume XII; Issue 27

[Paris Outcome: Guarantee for Sustainable Green Careers]

                             “The fact that paying the price of a prospect with negligible probability further reduces the probability of the prospect is not of concern to anyone. The Paris agreement (or Treaty as the lawyers say it is) does not guarantee an equitable, prosperous and sustainable world. What it guarantees are prosperous and sustainable green careers and green markets that will ensure that the world remains inequitable and troubled as it has always been…”

Energy News


Benefits of low oil prices will pass to consumers if government uses oil tax take for high quality public transport!                                   


Among India’s key green weapons is poverty; this is nothing to be proud of!


State utilities auctioning coal mines makes as much sense as accountants building nuclear plants!   




·          Paris Outcome: Guarantee for Sustainable Green Careers

·          Coal in 2015: A Round Up



·          Govt gets 6 months to take decision on extending Cairn India’s Barmer PSC

·          Govt to auction 28 oil, gas fields off Mumbai

·          Cairn to launch world's largest oil recovery project in Rajasthan

·          ONGC losses ` 85 bn on bad rig management: CAG


·          IOC to invest ` 1.75 lakh crore in expansion projects

·          Strong GRMs may help RIL operating profit cross $1 bn in December quarter

Transportation / Trade………………

·          Work on ambitious $7.6 bn Tapi pipeline starts

·          IGL can refuel 5 lakh more CNG vehicles every day

Policy / Performance…………………

·          Oil Ministry pitches for ad-valorem levy of oil cess

·          India seeks reasonable, responsible oil pricing from OPEC

·          Petrol price cut 50 paise per litre, diesel 46 paise per litre

·          India's fuel demand rose 6.4 percent y/y in November

·          Pass on benefits of low oil prices to common man: Congress

·          Cairn Energy to seek $700 mn compensation from govt

·          Cut-off date for CNG licence bidding pushed back to 15 January



·          Reliance Power's Sasan UMPP pulls off highest load factor at 98.2 percent

·          Vedanta’s ` 80 bn power project in limbo

Transmission / Distribution / Trade……

·          India's coal imports may see first drop in 5 yrs on output jump

·          Madhya Pradesh posts record electricity supply

·          Siemens wins order worth ` 1 bn for power transmission system in West Bengal

·          Bihar may get cheaper power from Barh plant

·          ADB to lend $1 bn to PGCIL

·          Over 49 lakh LED bulbs distributed in Rajasthan: EESL

·          Discoms debt to fall by ` 60 bn: Rajasthan Power Minister

Policy / Performance…………………

·          VAT exemption for LED bulbs in UP

·          Modi govt to seek Cabinet nod to allow commercial mining of coal by state utilities

·          SC notice to BSES on paying current dues of power generation firms

·          Govt to provide LED bulbs at cheaper rates

·          Govt prepares draft policy on underground coal gasification

·          Indo-US N-deal could be implemented in 2016: Verma

·          Gujarat joins UDAY scheme

·          India, Japan sign MoU on peaceful use of nuclear energy

·          PM Modi to dedicate hydropower projects in HP next year: Dhumal

·          PM Modi’s Russia trip set to boost nuke plan

·          Electricity consumers increased to over 50 lakh in 2014-15



·          UK fracking group calls for exploratory drilling to start

·          Production begins from Moho Bilondo Phase 1b project offshore Congo

·          Production starts at $25 bn Australia Pacific project

·          BP, Chevron back $2 bn North West Shelf development phase

·          Wintershall makes minor oil discovery in North Sea

·          PetroChina, Sinopec 2015 shale output said below China goal

·          Pemex shallow-water oil finds to produce 40k barrels a day


·          Indonesia's Pertamina looks to cut refining costs more than 10 percent by 2019

·          Shell completes Philippines refinery upgrade

·          Pemex plans to invest $23 bn to upgrade refineries in Mexico

Transportation / Trade…………

·          Kinder Morgan files final argument for Canadian pipeline expansion

·          Russia's Nord Stream gas pipeline threatens EU unity

·          Energas will relinquish control of gas pipeline operator

·          Poland mulls gas link with Lithuania

·          Japan seeks 22k tonnes LPG for national reserves

·          Bulgaria, Greece sign natural gas pipeline investment agreement

·          Saudi Arabia cuts January Extra Light crude supply to Asia

·          PetroChina plans big gas grid stake sale under reform push

Policy / Performance………………

·          China's NDRC plans domestic fuel pricing reform amid low crude

·          Moody's cuts 2016 oil price outlook by $10 to $43 for Brent

·          Argentina to boost gas prices to spur production

·          Canada's Encana slashes dividend, cuts capex

·          Hedge funds add to record bearish positions in oil

·          Russia sees oil price staying below $60 for at least 7 yrs

·          ConocoPhillips, Chevron seek to sell stakes in Indonesia O&G block: Energy Ministry

·          After almost 105 yrs shell mulls New Zealand exit amid review

·          Israel says will not forgo $1.8 bn compensation in Egyptian gas dispute

·          Statoil seeks Tanzanian clarification on impact of new oil law



·          Chinese state-owned enterprises want to build power plant in Brazil

·          Nigeria can boost power generation by 2 GW in 15 months: Fashola

·          GE and partners to provide project financing for 1 GW power plant in US

·          Russia halts work in Turkey's first nuclear power plant after spat

Transmission / Distribution / Trade……

·          Beloyarsk-4 FBR nuclear reactor connected to the Russian grid

·          Bulgaria starts test trading at its new day-ahead power exchange

·          Nigerian states will take over 30 percent in 11 privatised power distributors

Policy / Performance………………

·          Indonesia cancels nuclear plans until at least 2050

·          UK electricity auction awards nearly half of capacity to gas plants

·          US NRC approves 20 year license extension for Davis Besse reactor

·          Ghana approves 59 percent hike in power tariffs



·          Japan's SoftBank bags first solar power project in India

·          India's 'green weapons' to cut emissions

·          India's share to green house gases is mere 2.5 percent: Goyal

·          Odisha seeks greater cooperation from US in climate change

·          India's environmental targets fulfilled at Paris: Javadekar

·          Almora school leads by example, cooks midday meal using solar cookers

·          Natural gas use may get a boost in Delhi over pollution concerns

·          Triton Solar to set up $100 mn manufacturing unit in Karnataka

·          UNFCCC nod for Tata Power’s Zambia project

·          PM Modi's book about India's efforts to mitigate climate change

·          NTPC mulls launching solar plants in UP

·          Nod to phase out 4 thermal power units in Panipat

·          KSEB to go for solar power plant on concrete floaters

·          Inadequate budget may impact renewable energy target: Panel

·          RattanIndia Solar wins 10 MW rooftop solar projects


·          Canadian oil sands' greatest asset now worst with carbon curbs

·          Germany's 3rd auction for 200 MW solar PV projects oversubscribed

·          Kuwait's Shagaya renewable energy park sees construction begin

·          Paris paves way for global carbon price: Ex-Australia PM

·          Japan Bank provides loan for Icelandic geothermal power plant

·          US, Japan, Germany among 18 nations to build carbon markets

·          Historic climate change agreement signed in Paris

·          Ford to invest $4.5 bn in electrified vehicles by 2020

·          Japan ranks among worst performers in climate change efforts

·          Mitsui Engineering unit wins order for UK biomass power plant

·          China offers bonus to coal power plants to meet emissions rules

·          US pledges $400 mn for climate to close rift with India

·          China needs $389 bn a year for climate pledge



Paris Outcome: Guarantee for Sustainable Green Careers

Lydia Powell, Observer Research Foundation

Key decisions and quick comments

  • Limiting global temperature increase well below 2 degrees Celsius, while urging efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees

Why should man think that he is in control of the global thermostat?

  • Establish binding commitments by all parties to make intended nationally determined contributions’ (INDCs) and to pursue domestic measures aimed at achieving them

What is the cost of not meeting the commitment? What if commitments are set on the basis of what would happen anyway? There may not be any ‘additionality in the jargon of CDM.  As the world in general and China in particular are undergoing major structural shifts away from energy (coal) intensive manufacturing, emissions are expected to peak in 2016 without the aid of a Paris treaty

  • Commit all countries to report regularly on their emissions and progress made in implementing and achieving their INDCs, and to undergo international review

Is this called the greening of sovereignty? When international technocracy is given the licence to influence domestic policy, will it not amount to a compromise on democracy?

  • Commit all countries to submit new INDCs every five years, with the clear expectation that they will represent a progression beyond previous one

When achievement of targets is a factor that will be evaluated internationally then will targets not be intentionally set at low levels?

  • Reaffirm the binding obligations of developed countries under the UNFCCC to support the efforts of developing countries, while for the first time encouraging voluntary contributions by developing countries too

Spreading climate guilt equally among 9 billion people will reduce per person guilt and consequently per person cost for the wealthy; Why not also think of spreading per person wealth equally?

  • Extend the current goal of mobilizing $100 billion a year in support by 2020 through 2025, with a new, higher goal to be set for the period after 2025 with public private partnerships

What is the cost of not meeting this commitment? Will business investment now be counted as green aid?

  • Extend a mechanism to address ‘loss and damage’ resulting from climate change, which explicitly will not ‘involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation’

Isn’t limited liability restricted to the commercial world? Under international environmental law should not the polluter pay for damages caused?

  • Require parties engaging in international emissions trading to avoid double counting;
  • Call for a new mechanism, similar to the Clean Development Mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol, enabling emission reductions in one country to be counted toward another country’s INDC

What is the rationale for revival of failed schemes from the Kyoto era? Will it not provide an incentive for developing countries to increase emissions so that they can be paid to reduce emissions as it in the past? Or is the real motive to re-industrialise the west through the creation of a sustainable green industry and along with it millions of secure and sustainable green jobs?

  • Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development

Is this a weapon of mass destruction that targets coal? If so what is the alternative and who will pay for it?

The Paris agreement is hailed as a giant leap for mankind in the history of climate change negotiations. This is certainly true for certain sections of mankind who fought to equalise the unequal world in all climate forums held in the last two decades. The Paris agreement equalises the unequal world by driving the final nail on the coffin that began to be assembled in Durban to bury principles enshrined under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) such as common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) and historic responsibility of developed countries in causing climate change.  The ‘other’ larger sections of mankind were counting on these principles for extracting some degree of fairness and equity in any agreement on climate change. The terms annex I countries, non-annex I countries, historic responsibility etc that captured the differences between countries have been eliminated from the text. Though some of the developing countries believe that differentiation is preserved in the Paris text, they would well advised to get themselves the best lawyers who can dig out differentiation in the current text. 

What the Paris agreement has done is to demolish opposition raised at Copenhagen over the same issues by developing countries using a sense of procedural justice to cover for the destruction of distributive justice in the agreement. Given that reaching an agreement, irrespective of its quality, is portrayed by the media (and accepted by most people who have come to see the media as the only arbiter of knowledge) as the answer to the complex problem of climate change, the Paris agreement may be labelled as an achievement. The credit for convincing 200 countries to agree to something clearly goes to deft diplomacy by the French who maintained a sense of transparency and ownership of the final text. The French did not replace the official text produced by the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) process with a text of their own as the Danes did in Copenhagen. This helped the process, but according to many observers of the negotiating process, the procedure in Paris was less transparent than the process at Copenhagen.  In place of broad and open representative meetings, the French Presidency held consultative meetings with individual countries based on which the negotiating text was altered several times. Though many sections of the final text were new to the delegates, they accepted it as they felt that they had made a contribution to it.

Overall, the Paris agreement seeks to bring the whole world into a rule institutional mechanism based on unequal market relations similar to most other international institutional mechanisms such as the WTO. It will impose identical prescriptions for carbon emission reduction on all countries regardless of local conditions.  Developing countries will be expected to accept all western prescriptions or risk withholding of aid and finance.  Energy choices will be set by fluid carbon (financial) markets that will be motivated by profit rather than local country or community interest. The final architecture is likely to be non-reciprocal and will be an ideological weapon used to regulate the development of developing countries. This will be couched in feigned concern for Indian or Chinese lungs that are supposedly being congested by local pollution (which has little to do with carbon emissions) or the concern over brown and black bodies being washed away by rising sea levels. Those who dare to ask why there is no concern for the same coloured folk who live under inhuman conditions and die premature deaths in much larger numbers on account of poverty will be consigned to the margins of Marxism.   

The rhetoric of equality under the global institutional governing mechanism for climate change will not be matched by developed country behaviour. The last minute wrangling over the words ‘shall’ and ‘should’ in the final text of the Paris agreement by the United States is instructive in this regard. The United States essentially did not want the Paris text to reflect the spirit of the Ten Commandments in which each commandment categorically declares ‘thou shall not steal’ or ‘thou shall not commit adultery’. Instead the US wanted the Paris text to say ‘thou should not steal’ which means that the option of stealing is not completely ruled out. The final text of Article 4.4 said that:

‘Developed  country  Parties should continue  taking  the  lead  by  undertaking  economy-wide  absolute  emission reduction  targets. Developing  country  Parties  should  continue  enhancing  their  mitigation  efforts,  and  are encouraged  to  move  over  time  towards  economy-wide  emission  reduction  or  limitation  targets  in  the  light  of different national circumstances’

This means that not undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets is an option for developed countries. There is nothing new in the Paris agreement that is not present in other international agreements. All are equal as long as all are under the same rules is the underlying premise. According to the Paris agreement a family living under a plastic sheet on the streets of Mumbai has the same responsibility in addressing climate change as that of a family living in a palace in London. The rationale is that the family under the blue plastic sheet has a non-zero probability (even if of negligible magnitude) of becoming rich, moving into a palace, consuming energy and emitting carbon of the same volume as that of the family in a palace in London and must therefore start paying the price. The fact that paying the price of a prospect with negligible probability further reduces the probability of the prospect is not of concern to anyone. The Paris agreement (or Treaty as the lawyers say it is) does not guarantee an equitable, prosperous and sustainable world. What it guarantees are prosperous and sustainable green careers and green markets that will ensure that the world remains inequitable and troubled as it has always been.         

Views are those of the author                    

Author can be contacted at [email protected]


Coal in 2015: A Round Up

Ashish Gupta, Observer Research Foundation

Coal Imports

India's annual coal imports are set to fall for the first time in five years as domestic output has surged. India's November imports sank to 11.6 million tonnes, down 49 percent from the year before, while for April-November it was down 12 percent at 112 million tonnes. This would be the first fall since 2010/ 11 and the second since 2002/ 03. The fall in thermal coal imports can be attributed to sluggish coal demand.

Australian and South African imports are still needed since they mainly export high-quality coking coal used to make steel.

Coal Production

When Mr. Anil Swarup was appointed as an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in October 2014, he was given the task of ‘reviving the coal sector so that the entire economy can rebound’. Since then Coal India Ltd (CIL) has shown a tremendous improvement in production. The data for the core sector in May, 2015 shows the coal sector as one of the best performing sectors, with 7.8 percent growth on a year to year basis. In the month of May 2015, CIL produced 40.9 Million Tonnes (MT), registering a growth of 11.8 percent and in June, 2015, growth continued at 12 percent. While operational success was really impressive a major contributor to this growth was the easing of land acquisition and environmental hurdles. If the growth rate is maintained, the sector may be on track to achieve the production target of 1 billion tonne/ year by 2020. Unfortunately the demand for coal from the power sector, its prime consumer appears to be falling. Discoms are unwilling to buy additional power. Coal producers may be hoping for a revival of demand but producing 1 billion tonnes when demand is falling will not be considered an achievement.   

Coal Auction

Till now, the government concluded two rounds of auction for captive use by power producers, cement, iron and steel etc. The conclusion for these two rounds led to 66 coal blocks being successfully auctioned, with a peak production of about 50 million tonnes per annum. Unfortunately only 6 coal blocks are operational and the auction outcome of some blocks is being contested in court. The data for auctions is given below:

No. of Blocks





Pvt. Sector


Key disputed cases: Gare Palma IV/2 and IV/3, Tara, Chitarpur and Parbatpur Central




Status not in public domain


Pvt. + PSU



Source: MSTC

Though the government is crediting itself for bringing transparency in the allocation process transparency has not contributed to coal productivity. It is also not clear whether all the coal blocks will come online as the premiums paid by the bidders for these blocks are so high that they may turn into non-performing assets.

Changing Auction Methodology

The government is planning to do away with the current coal auction methodology. It is planning to allocate coal blocks to the state distribution companies that will auction or invite bids from the existing power plants. In this process the price of power generated using this coal rather than price of coal to be auctioned will be the decision criteria. The government is hoping to minimise risk of cost recovery through this method. Whether the move will bring any fruitful result or lead to further complications is an open question.

Release of INDC Report

In the month of September as agreed in earlier climate negotiations, India has submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) document. Measures on mitigation and adaptation that India is undertaking currently and plans to undertake in the future are described in detail. Improving efficiency of coal based plants is well recognised in the report and priority is given to efficient use of coal resource by declaring coal beneficiation (washing) mandatory.

Coal & Climate Change Deal

A landmark climate change deal was achieved in Paris with the approval of India, China and the US, after days of tough negotiations that seeks to limit the global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. The Indian government came out with a statement that dependence on coal cannot be ruled out totally and coal will continue to be main source for India's energy needs. Though many criticised India’s stand its commitment to use coal with minimum damage to the environment is commendable and is in line with the government’s broad vision to provide affordable energy access to all.

Views are those of the author                    

Author can be contacted at [email protected]





Govt gets 6 months to take decision on extending Cairn India’s Barmer PSC

December 15, 2015. The Delhi High Court (HC) gave the government six months to take a decision on extending Cairn India’s production sharing contract (PSC) for the Barmer oil fields in Rajasthan. Cairn India, a subsidiary of UK-based Vedanta group, in its plea said that it was being forced to sell the sweet crude to domestic private players at a much lower price than global rates. The contract for Barmer oilfields may expire in 2020, but the company has plans to invest ` 300 billion in the oilfield in next few years, which makes it necessary for the company to get a confirmation on extension of the contract. Cairn said that commercial proposal requirements were irrelevant as it has technically satisfied ONGC. Cairn, which produces 1,76,000 barrels of oil every day, sought a 10-year extension for its PSC for which the commercial operations began in 2009. It said that $10 billion investment is hauled up due to government’s indecision and extension of PSC was mandatory as commercial production has already begun. (

Govt to auction 28 oil, gas fields off Mumbai

December 14, 2015. As many as 28 oil and gas fields out of the 69 small and marginal fields of state-owned firms that the government plans to auction to private players are in Mumbai offshore, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. Of the 69 idle oil and gas fields of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) which are to be auctioned, 28 are in Mumbai Offshore while another 14 are in the prolific Krishna Godavari (KG) basin, he said. As many as 10 discoveries in the Assam shelf are also on offer. The discoveries, which Pradhan said were given up by the two oil companies, include ones made as late as 2012-13. Giving details of the fields to be offered in the round, he said, seven marginal discoveries of ONGC date back to less than five years, with 2012-13 Koravaka gas field in KG basin being the youngest. An equal number of finds were made between 2005-06 and 2008-09. The biggest discovery among the lot is the D-18 in Mumbai Offshore that along holds 14.78 million tons of inplace oil reserves. Among the gas discoveries, the largest is ONGC's B-9 find in the offshore Kutch basin that has an inplace reserve of 14.67 billion cubic meters (bcm). While ONGC has surrendered 63 discoveries, OIL has given up six all of whom are in Assam Shelf. (

Cairn to launch world's largest oil recovery project in Rajasthan

December 13, 2015. Cairn India is to launch the world's largest enhanced oil recovery programme in the Rajasthan desert using polymer injection technology for recovering more oil at its processing terminal. The world's largest oil well discovered in 2004, Mangala-1 was the company's first discovery after many 3D seismic explorations. Cairn India said the breakthrough gave birth to the "Rajasthan Project" -- a vision that has stood the test of time and has been an enabler in bringing India a step closer to energy security. The successful polymer flood pilot project in Mangala produced incremental oil of nearly 11 percent. The company's Central Polymer Facility (CPF) will, by end of the current fiscal, cover the entire Mangala field spread over 3,111 sq. km. west of Barmer town. Since the first barrel produced in 2009, the block has delivered more than 300 million barrels. Cairn has a total of 141 oils wells in Rajasthan -- 117 injector wells and 24 producers. (

ONGC losses ` 85 bn on bad rig management: CAG

December 9, 2015. At a time when crude oil prices plunged to seven-year low, India’s flagship explorer ONGC has met losses to the tune of ` 8512.27 crore during FY11 and FY14 due to poor rig management programmes, delay in tendering and higher degree of inefficiency, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India said. CAG said that due to idling of rigs the government-run explorer suffered production deferment of at least ` 5,117 crore of oil and gas. CAG, which audited ONGC rigs between FY11 and FY14, found that the company failed to make proper estimates of requirement of rigs and their timings. This had led to rigs remaining idle and out of cycle for prolonged periods and increase in drilling costs. Drilling activities are key to hydrocarbon production and reserve accretion and constitute the single most significant operation of an upstream oil exploration company. ONGC’s non-productive time or idling time of rigs ranged between 19 and 23% over 2010-14. Moreover, four out of six owned offshore rigs outlived their economic usable life of thirty years. CAG also brings to limelight the safety lapses in drilling and testing operations. It utilised even after one anchor of its rig Sagar Vijay had snapped. As a result, another anchor of the rig snapped, which caused drifting of the rig from its location. Consequently, the well had to be closed and abandoned. As a result, expenditure of ` 1,577.27 crore incurred by ONGC on drilling of the original location and drilling of a relief well by using another rig proved avoidable. (


IOC to invest ` 1.75 lakh crore in expansion projects

December 13, 2015. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) will invest ` 1.75 lakh crore over the next seven years on expanding refinery capacity, building petrochemical plants and laying pipelines. The plan includes spending ` 34,555 crore in the 15 million tons a year Paradip oil refinery in Odisha that has recently started producing fuel. Besides, the refinery expansion projects planned include raising Panipat refinery capacity to 20.2 million tons from 15 million tons currently at a cost of ` 15,000 crore as well as raising capacity at Koyali, Mathura and Barauni units by 2020, the company said. Paradip has started producing fuel and helped IOC regain the top refinery slot in the country, the company said. Prior to Paradip, its eight refineries had a cumulative capacity of 54.2 million tons of crude oil. Paradip helped IOC overtake Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), which has twin refineries at Jamnagar in Gujarat with a capacity of 62 million tons. Essar Oil is the only other private refiner having a 20 million tons a year unit at Vadinar in Gujarat. (

Strong GRMs may help RIL operating profit cross $1 bn in December quarter

December 10, 2015. When a company's overall earnings outlook is hazy, investors' attention typically turns towards divisions that have been traditionally cash generators. This is the case with Reliance Industries (RIL), India's largest private company by profits and the owner of world's largest refinery at single location, a company whose refinery segment earnings are closely monitored by investors. The refinery segment contributed 62% to RIL's operating profit and 70% to revenues for the quarter ended September. Even though investor interest in the stock is lacklustre, there is a distinct possibility that this could change with RIL's gross refining margin (GRM) — the difference between the value of petroleum products sold and the cost of processing crude — remaining buoyant for the past few months. This could pave the way for the refinery division's operating profit crossing $1 billion for the first time in the December quarter. This would raise the division's contribution to the company's overall operating profit to 76%. RIL posted GRM of $10.6 in September. Globally, GRMs have sustained with crude oil prices falling faster than those of petroleum products — a trend that benefits refiners. (

Transportation / Trade…………

Work on ambitious $7.6 bn Tapi pipeline starts

December 13, 2015. Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and top leaders from Turkmenistan and Afghanistan broke the ground for the ambitious $7.6 billion Tapi pipeline project which will provide energy-hungry India gas to run its power plants. Ansari flew to the ancient city of Mary, 311 km from the capital Ashgabat, which was part of the old Silk Route, to attend the ground-breaking ceremony of the 1,800-km-long Tapi (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India) gas pipeline in the presence of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. The leaders pushed a button which started the welding process of pipes. They later signed the pipe and a document which was put in a capsule and placed under the ground. At the ceremony in the Turkmen desert, Berdimuhamedow hoped that the project would get operationalised by December 2019. He said the project proves that Turkmenistan can carry such huge amount of gas to places where it is required. The Tapi pipeline will have a capacity to carry 90 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) gas for a 30-year period. India and Pakistan would get 38 mmscmd each, while the remaining 14 mmscmd will be supplied to Afghanistan. Nawaz Sharif said the Tapi project will prove to be a trailblazer and open doors for similar such projects to connect Central Asia with energy starved South Asia. Turkmenistan’s state company Turkmengaz will lead the consortium for building the pipeline carrying gas from the former the Soviet state to India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Tapi will carry gas from Turkmenistan’s Galkynysh field. (

IGL can refuel 5 lakh more CNG vehicles every day

December 10, 2015. Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL), the near-monopoly supplier of natural gas as automotive fuel in National Capital Region (NCR), has enough spare capacity to refuel 4-5 lakh additional vehicles in case there is a sudden rush of CNG-run automobiles in anticipation of exemption from the Delhi's government's proposed oddeven norm. According to the Delhi government's proposal, only vehicles with odd number as the last digit in their number plate would be allowed to ply on odd dates. Similarly, only even numbered vehicles would ply on even dates. A section of Delhi policymakers are seeking exemption for CNG-run vehicles, since the fuel is considered `green'--an euphemism for least polluting. If that happens, it is expected to work as an incentive for motorists to convert their cars or opt for CNG vehicles altogether. IGL has an installed compression capacity of dispensing 68 lakh kg per day and sells 22 lakh kg every day through 324 stations. It can ramp up the servicing rate by another 12-13 lakh kg with the existing capacity. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had asked IGL and state-run fuel retailers to add 200 more CNG stations to their network in the NCR with a view to boosting efforts to clean up Delhi's sky. IGL can set up 50 stations immediately since the company has the inventory of compressors and other equipment. IGL has identified the spots in Delhi and given a list to the Delhi authorities. (

Policy / Performance………

Oil Ministry pitches for ad-valorem levy of oil cess

December 15, 2015. The Oil Ministry wants the Finance Ministry to cut cess on crude oil and make it ad valorem in view of the slump in global oil rates, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. Pradhan made a case for levy of ad-valorem rate of cess, which results in higher payouts when prices are high and lower when rates fall. Currently, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) pay a cess of ` 4,500 per tonne on crude oil they produce from their allotted fields on a nomination basis. Cairn has to pay the same cess for oil from the Rajasthan block. With oil prices dropping to an 11-year low of under $35 per barrel, the cess translates into one-third of the realisation going away in just one levy. The Ministry wants cess to be levied at no more than 8 percent of the price of crude realised. The Oil Industry (Development) Act, 1974, provides for collection of cess as a duty of excise on indigenous crude oil. Cess incurred by producers is not recoverable from refineries and thus, forms part of cost of production of crude oil. The cess was levied at Rs 60 per tonne in July 1974 and subsequently revised from time to time. The finance ministry will take a view on the issue considering the overall finances of the government and the requirements of the economy. The producers say the current cess rate constitutes about one-third of the oil price, which has severely impacted several small discoveries and marginal fields, making many of the projects unviable. In the low oil price environment, several countries including the UK, the US, and China have changed fiscal systems to increase production and promote investments. Most of crude oil produced in India comes from pre-NELP and nomination blocks and is liable for payment of cess. While New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) blocks like Reliance Industries’ KG-D6 are exempt from payment of cess, pre-NELP discovered blocks like Panna/Mukta and Tapti and Ravva pay a fixed rate of cess of ` 900 per tonne. (

India seeks reasonable, responsible oil pricing from OPEC

December 15, 2015. India asked OPEC for a "reasonable and responsible" oil pricing to support developing economies even as the cartel that accounts for 40 percent of the world output said rates will rebound from around 11­year lows within a year. At the first institutional dialogue between the world's fourth­largest oil importer and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan gave the cartel a perspective of an importing county and sought moving beyond buyer­seller relationship to a more participative partnership. OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al­Badri on his part said OPEC too was "looking for a reasonable price." With low oil prices making several projects unviable, non­OPEC production will decline by 4,00,000 barrels per day (20 million tonnes a year) by 2016. (

Petrol price cut 50 paise per litre, diesel 46 paise per litre

December 15, 2015. Petrol price was cut by 50 paisa and diesel by 46 paisa a litre, much lower than an anticipated decrease as oil companies left cushion for the government to mop up gains accruing from global oil prices dipping to multi-year lows. Petrol will cost ` 59.98 in Delhi as against ` 60.48 per litre currently. A litre of diesel will cost ` 46.09 as compared to ` 46.55 now, Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) said. The rate of basket of crude oil that India buys hit a 11-year low of $34.39 per barrel, but the average for the fortnight which is taken into account for calculating new prices, was $4-5 more.

Acting as a counter balance was the rupee that fell to ` 66.99 to a US dollar as against average of ` 66.21 in the second half of November for the previous cut. In the previous four hikes between November 2014 and January 2015, totalling ` 7.75 per litre on petrol and ` 6.50 a litre on diesel, it had mopped up about ` 20,000 crore in additional revenue to meet fiscal deficit targets. The government had collected ` 99,184 crore in excise collections from the petroleum sector in 2014-15. This was ` 33,042 crore in the first quarter of the current fiscal. Oil firms had last cut petrol price by 58 paise per litre and diesel by 25 paise on 1 December. State-owned fuel retailers—IOC, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL)—revise petrol and diesel prices on 1st and 16th of every month based on average imported cost and rupee-dollar exchange rate in the previous fortnight. (

India's fuel demand rose 6.4 percent y/y in November

December 14, 2015. India's fuel demand rose 6.4 percent in November compared with the same month last year, driven by higher sales of gasoline as discounts and festive season buying boosted passenger vehicle sales. Consumption of fuel, a proxy for oil demand, totalled 14.8 million tonnes, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the oil ministry showed. The rise in India's fuel demand is in contrast with sagging oil consumption in China, the world's second biggest economy. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said India would be the most important driver of energy demand growth in the world in the years to come. India's federal government ended subsidies on diesel sales in October last year and since then frequent changes in retail prices have narrowed the pricing gap with gasoline. Consumption of gasoil or diesel, which makes up about 40 percent of refined fuels used in India, grew at its lowest in five months, rising 1.6 percent to 6.1 million tonnes. A temporary ban on diesel vehicles and plans to ration road use in the Indian capital is likely to hit consumption. Sales of gasoline, or petrol, were 17.2 percent higher from a year earlier at 1.77 million tonnes as passenger car sales in the month rose a little more than one-tenth. Cooking gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sales increased 2.8 percent to 1.62 million tonnes, while naphtha sales surged 39.7 percent to 1.05 million tonnes. Sales of bitumen, used for making roads, were 2.1 percent lower, while fuel oil use edged up 0.4 percent in November. (

Pass on benefits of low oil prices to common man: Congress

December 14, 2015. With international prices of crude oil falling to record low in 11 years, Congress demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi pass on the benefit to common man. Party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said "Regrettably", Modi government is indulging in "profiteering" by imposing "unprecedented" taxes in shape of excise and customs on crude oil. He said once prices of petroleum products are reduced, it will automatically lead to reduction in prices of food products. Rail fare, bus fare and all other transport fares will automatically go down. Entire country would be benefited, he said. International prices of crude oil have fallen to an unprecedented low level of 36 US dollar per barrel which is lowest in 11 years equivalent to year 2004 crude oil prices. (

Cairn Energy to seek $700 mn compensation from govt

December 10, 2015. British energy firm Cairn Energy has said it will seek about $700 million in compensation from the government for the loss of value of its shareholding in Cairn India suffered since their attachment nearly two years ago over a tax dispute. In a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Cairn disputed the ` 10,247 crore tax notice sent to it on alleged capital gains made on a 2006 internal reorganisation of its India business saying no tax was due even if the retrospective amendments to Income Tax Act are applied. The Income Tax Department says Cairn Energy allegedly made a capital gain of ` 24,503.50 crore in 2006 while transferring all its India assets to a new company, Cairn India, and getting it listed on the stock exchanges. Cairn Energy, which had in 2011 sold majority stake in its Indian unit to mining group Vedanta for $8.67 billion, still holds 9.8 percent stake in Cairn India. But it has been barred by the I-T Department from selling this stake. The company has initiated arbitration seeking quashing of the tax notice and compensation for the loss of value of its holding in Cairn India. (

Cut-off date for CNG licence bidding pushed back to 15 January

December 9, 2015. Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has extended by one month the last date of bidding for CNG retailing licences in 34 cities, including Amethi in Uttar Pradesh and Ahmedabad in Gujarat. Bids for the cities offered for bidding in the sixth city gas distribution (CGD) licensing round were to close on 14 December. While it is yet to award licences for previous rounds of bidding in June this year, PNGRB had in October invited bids for development of CGD network in 34 cities in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab and Goa. In Gujarat, bids have been invited for allowing retailing of CNG to automobiles and piped cooking gas to households in Dahod, Patan, Banashantha, Amreli, Dahej-Vagra taluka, Ahmedabad, Anand and Panchmahal. Licences for Auraiya, Nainital, Baghpat, Amethi, Etawah, Saharanpur, Raebareli, Mainpuri and Ramabai Nagar in Uttar Pradesh are up for grabs. Besides, licences for Bhiwani, Yamunagar, Rewari and Rohtak in Haryana are on offer. Bids have also been invited for CGD licences for Jhabhua, Dhar, Rewa and Shahdol in Madhya Pradesh, Ahmednagar in Maharashtra, Chitradurga and Gadag in Karnataka, Bhatinda, Rupnagar and Fatehgarh Sahib in Punjab and North Goa. PNGRB divided the cities into lots of five each and fixed technical bid opening dates from 15-25 January. Clarifying on the Oil Ministry’s draft guidelines of March 2015 that provide for automatically giving a CNG retailing licence to any entity that has invested ` 500 crore in oil and gas infrastructure, PNGRB said. The 5th round of CGD licence bidding had received lukewarm response, with no bids being received for eight out of the 20 cities on offer, while single bids came in for two others. Indian Oil Corp-Adani Gas combine has bid for a licence to retail CNG in five cities. State gas utility GAIL (India) Ltd, through its subsidiary GAIL Gas, bid for three. Bidders have to quote the tariff they will charge for the pipeline network to be laid in the city and the compression charge for dispensing CNG (compressed natural gas) over 25 years. (



Reliance Power's Sasan UMPP pulls off highest load factor at 98.2 percent

December 15, 2015. Reliance Power's 3,960 MW Sasan ultra mega power project (UMPP) recorded the highest plant load factor (PLF) -- 98.2 percent -- in November this year among private thermal power generation plants in the country. According to the IDFC Securities report, power generation came in flat in November 2015 after a strong growth of 10.8 percent and 8.8 percent in September and October this year, respectively. The overall generation in November 2015 was 85.3 billion units. The generation target for 2015-16 is 1,136 billion units, which implies a year-on-year (yoy) increase of 8.4 percent and PLF of coal-based TPS (161 GW) declined by 338 basis points yoy to 61.4 percent in year-to-date 2015-16. Apart from Sasan UMPP, Tata Power's Maithon Power operated at 88.5 percent PLF while Adani Power's Mundra ran at 84.3 percent. (

Vedanta’s ` 80 bn power project in limbo

December 10, 2015. Work on a ` 8,000 crore, 1,800 MW thermal power project that a Vedanta group company is developing in Punjab is in limbo, with its developer and Chinese construction contractor getting into a legal dispute. The dispute arose after Talwandi Sabo Power, a joint venture between the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and Sterlite Energy of the Vedanta group to set up the project, claimed a delay in construction by Sepco Electric Power Construction Corp and moved to encash $206 million (` 1,375 crore) of bank guarantees furnished by the Chinese giant. Sepco approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court alleging it was forced to leave the project site when 98% of the work got completed. It accused Sterlite of delaying payment even after pre-agreed project milestones were reached. Sterlite Energy was selected as the developer of the project under a tariff-based competitive bidding process. Under the agreement, the project would supply electricity to Punjab for 25 years. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade…

India's coal imports may see first drop in 5 yrs on output jump

December 14, 2015. India's annual coal imports are set to fall for the first time in five years as domestic output surges under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's push to expand domestic mining and eventually stop thermal coal imports by 2017. Shipments into the world's third-largest coal importer nearly halved in November versus a year ago and should decline this month, leading to an overall annual decline, Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said. Record production from state-owned producer Coal India has driven the turnaround. The company's April to November output rose 9 percent to 321.4 million tonnes, as it opens a mine a month to double output to 1 billion tonnes this decade. Modi has made boosting the coal mining sector a key program of his government in order to provide electricity to all 1.2 billion people in the country. Toward that, the government has fast-tracked environmental clearances, making land purchases easier. Swarup said it was difficult to predict a figure but imports could fall to 170 million tonnes or less this fiscal year ending March 31, from about 212 million tonnes last fiscal year. That would be the first fall since 2010/11 and the second since 2002/03. India measures imports by a fiscal year starting on April 1. India's November imports sank to 11.6 million tonnes, down 49 percent from the year before, while for April-November it was down 12 percent at 112 million tonnes. Indonesian imports have suffered the most as Indian domestic production has increased since the majority of their production is thermal coal. The country accounts for more than half of India's total coal imports. Australian and South African imports are still needed since they mainly export high-quality coking coal used to make steel. India, which wants to triple its steel capacity to 300 million tonnes by 2025, does not have enough reserves of coking coal. (

Madhya Pradesh posts record electricity supply

December 13, 2015. Madhya Pradesh (MP) has surpassed its own record by supplying over 21.62 crore units of electricity on December 11 as against the demand of 10,580 MW power, Madhya Pradesh Power Management Company said. As compared with the last year, the company was able to supply 166.49 lakh units in the State. At present, MP Poorv Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company, comprising (Jabalpur, Rewa and Sagar) registered a demand of 2,823 MW, Madhya Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company Ltd (Bhopal and Gwalior) 3,413 MW and Paschim Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company Ltd (Indore and Ujjain) 4,344 MW, the company said. The State met the growing demand by drawing 2,932 MW power from MP Power Generation Company’s thermal and hydro power plants totalling, 972 MW from Indira Sagar and Sardar Sarovar Hydro Power Project, 2,809 MW from Central Sector and Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), 2,591 MW from independent power producer (IPP), 977 MW from power banking system and 402 MW from other sources, the company said. The power demand remained above 10,000 MW and the company found no difficulty to meet requirement. (

Siemens wins order worth ` 1 bn for power transmission system in West Bengal

December 10, 2015. Siemens Ltd announced that it has won an order worth approximately ` 102 crore to supply a 400 kV Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS) Substation to West Bengal State Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (WBSETCL). The 400 kV GIS solution is being manufactured at Siemens Ltd’s manufacturing plant at Aurangabad. As the State Transmission Utility provider, Transmission Licensee and State Load Dispatch Centre, WBSETCL is responsible for transmitting electricity from generating sources to load centres through a transmission network spread across West Bengal. (

Bihar may get cheaper power from Barh plant

December 10, 2015. Bihar is likely to get cheaper power from NTPC's Barh super thermal power plant soon. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between NTPC and the Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL) for regular supply of adequate amount of coal from Banaghat in Jharkhand. The Centre recently fixed a standard rate of coal for coal-based power plants. With the reduced rate of coal, power tariff would also go down to ` 3.50 from the current rate of ` 5.10 per unit. Normally, power in the open market is available at around ` 4 per unit. Earlier, the CCL used to fix its coal price. Now, the ministry of power has made a policy to make regular supply of coal to power plants at a notified rate. Under the notified price, cost of per tonne of coal would drop by nearly 50%. Barh power plant has been getting one-and-a-half rake of coal daily, which is equivalent to nearly 4,000 tonnes. As against the earlier price of ` 3,200 per tonne, coal would be available to power plants at less than ` 1700 per tonne. Due to the huge rate of power tariff, West Bengal and Sikkim surrendered their share of power from the Barh plant. Currently, Bihar has been getting 429.5 MW power from unit 1 of stage II of Barh plant. Unit V of stage II of the plant is ready to generate power any day from next month after getting a green signal from the Centre. Once it takes off, Bihar would get additional 423 MW of power from Barh plant. (

ADB to lend $1 bn to PGCIL

December 10, 2015. Multilateral lending agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $1 billion loan to central transmission utility Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) for renewable energy transmission and grid expansion in India. The funds will be used to build and upgrade high voltage transmission lines and substations in Rajasthan and Punjab, as part of government's Green Energy Corridor initiative. Earlier this year, India announced ambitious plans to achieve a national renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022. About 90 percent of this is expected to be generated from solar and wind sources which are concentrated in a few Indian states. Investment in efficient, inter-state transmission infrastructure that can address the intermittency and timing differences of renewable energy is therefore critical in supporting expansion and optimal use of renewable energy in India. (

Over 49 lakh LED bulbs distributed in Rajasthan: EESL

December 10, 2015. Over 49 lakh LED bulbs have been distributed at discounted price in various circles of Rajasthan under the Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP). Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a Super Energy Services Company under the Union Ministry of Power, said. With distribution of over 49 lakh LED bulbs, people of Rajasthan have come forward in encouraging numbers to make their homes and in turn state energy efficient, EESL said. LED bulbs under the DELP scheme are available at ` 100 per bulb, which is just one-third of the market price (a 7W LED bulb has a market price of around ` 300). The DELP scheme is now implemented in all districts of Rajasthan through eMitra Kiosks at -- Churu, Nagaur, Bikaner, Ganganagar, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bundi, Barmer, Jalore, Pali, Sirohi, Rajsmand, Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara, Pratapgarh, Chittorgarh, Bhilwara, Kota, Jhalawar, Baran, Tonk, Sawai Madhopur, Ajmer, Dhlolpur, Karauli, Bharatpur, Dausa, Jaipur, Alwar, Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Hanumangarh. EESL provides free of cost replacement for all technical faults for three years. And the replacements shall be done through the distribution centres or designated retail stores. During the distribution, replacements can be done through any of the distribution counters that are operating within the city. (

Discoms debt to fall by ` 60 bn: Rajasthan Power Minister

December 10, 2015. The debt burden of three power distribution companies has witnessed a significant fall in the last two years and is expected to come down to ` 9,500 crore by the end of this fiscal, a total dip of ` 6,000 crore since 2013-14, Rajasthan Power Minister Pushpendra Singh said. The debt burden of three power distribution companies was about ` 15,645 crore in 2013-14 and it came down to ` 12,473 crore in 2014-15. The total debt is likely to stand at around ` 9,500 crore by the end of this fiscal year, the Minister said. (

Policy / Performance………….

VAT exemption for LED bulbs in UP

December 15, 2015. The Uttar Pradesh (UP) government has decided to exempt LED bulbs from value added tax (VAT). Pointing out that the use of LED bulbs was a good way to minimise power demand and consumption, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has instructed concerned departments to roll out the exemption soon. The state government has been distributing LED bulbs free of cost, through special camps, to the people of the state. Aiming to reduce pressure on conventional power sources, Uttar Pradesh has been promoting the use of LED bulbs and solar energy. UP faces acute power supply shortage every summer, and the state purchases power from power surplus states, taxing the limited financial resources of the state. (

Modi govt to seek Cabinet nod to allow commercial mining of coal by state utilities

December 14, 2015. The government is poised to undertake the next big-ticket reform in the coal sector by allowing state utilities to commercially mine the fuel, after which it will finalise protocols for opening the door to private companies. The coal ministry has approached the Cabinet seeking approval for allotment of mines to state government utilities for non-captive use. The move will lead to resumption of commercial mining by state corporations that was barred by the Supreme Court in October 2014. The government is holding a second round of consultations with private companies to arrive at a methodology for allowing them to mine and sell coal. After consulting industry, the government will draft the rules and publish them online for consultations. The first round of talks was held on June 23. The coal ministry will try to resolve two key questions during the discussions the basis on which auctions are to be held and eligibility criteria for companies. The coal ministry is considering two auction models revenue sharing and lump sum payment. In the first, companies that pledge the highest share of revenue with the government will win. The second will be determined by the highest amount bid. (

SC notice to BSES on paying current dues of power generation firms

December 14, 2015. The Supreme Court (SC) issued notice to power discoms BESES Rajdhani and Yamuna on a plea by Delhi government's power generation companies Indraprastha Power Generation Company Ltd, Pragati Power Corporation Ltd and Delhi Transco Ltd seeking direction for payment of their current dues. The power generation companies in their application have sought direction to the discoms to make the payment of current outstanding dues of ` 823.35 crores and keep paying their current dues on a monthly basis. The discoms have said that the Delhi Electricity Regulation Commission (DERC) has admitted in its affidavit in the Supreme Court that around ` 10,000 crore is owed to BSES discoms. DERC has also admitted in Supreme Court that ` 4,500 crore would be due to BSES discoms on account of APTEL judgements. Power sector experts hold that the cost of buying power by the discoms has increased by around 300 percent, and around 85 percent of total discom cost is power purchase cost, over which is uncontrollable by discoms. (

Govt to provide LED bulbs at cheaper rates

December 14, 2015. Domestic power consumers in Bihar will get LED bulbs at cheaper rates soon. Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) has cleared the Domestic Efficient Lights Programme (DELP) for distributing LED bulbs among the domestic consumers in the state. BERC said the scheme is optional for the consumers. It will be started on pilot basis at the district headquarters only. A similar scheme has already been launched in many states, including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Puducherry. Both South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (SBPDCL) and North Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (NBPDCL) have been directed to file petitions containing details of actual project cost, price of LED bulbs through competitive bidding process, the amount to be charged from consumers in instalments, etc. The distribution companies will submit detailed procedure and plan in consultation with the Energy Efficiency Service Limited (EESL) and put in place a mechanism for easy replacement of LED bulbs becoming defective within the warranty period of three years. The BERC has directed both the distribution companies to provide an appropriate payment mechanism for this programme in favour of the EESL to the extent of monthly recovery of instalments against this scheme only. It has directed both the companies to finalize the energy service agreement on mutually agreed terms with the EESL. The project cost is likely to be around ` 34.57 crore. There are 30,60,000 domestic consumers and each one will be charged ` 113 per bulb. It is proposed to collect ` 10 upfront per LED bulb and the balance amount is to be realized in 12 monthly fixed instalments. The BERC has also observed that the DELP proposals are in line with the objects of Electricity Act, 2003, and Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (Demand Side Management) Regulations, 2014. The domestic consumers may also reduce their energy consumption by using LED bulbs which will result in reduced electricity bill. Excess payment recovered from the consumers, if any, will be refunded as per section 62 (6) of the Electricity Act, 2003. (

Govt prepares draft policy on underground coal gasification

December 14, 2015. A draft policy for the development of underground coal gasification (UCG) from unexplored coal and lignite bearing areas in the nation has been formulated, Parliament was informed. UCG is a clean coal technology and provides for extracting energy from the coal seams which cannot be mined through known mining technology. Successful testing and implementation of this technology in Indian conditions would help in providing energy security, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said. Further, Goyal said, UGC is one of the notified end uses for allotment of coal blocks through bidding. Five lignite blocks and two coal blocks have been identified earlier for UCG purposes. Besides, CIL has also identified two coal blocks or UCG in their command area, the minister said. The government had earlier said that India should explore using coal gasification as feedstock to produce chemicals and petrochemicals in order to increase domestic output of these energy products. (

Indo-US N-deal could be implemented in 2016: Verma

December 13, 2015. The long awaited Indo-US civil nuclear deal is likely to be implemented next year as most of the pre-requisites of the historic agreement have either already happened or are likely to materialise soon, US Ambassador to India Richard Verma said. The India-US contact group, which was set up in January, last met in Washington in November. The Ambassador said that nuclear power is not fast in terms of time lines. After India had passed domestic nuclear liability law in 2010, the foreign suppliers of nuclear reactors including the US had expressed concerns over what they interpreted as unlimited financial burden under the legislation. (

Gujarat joins UDAY scheme

December 12, 2015. Power Minister Piyush Goyal said all Indian states have expressed strong desire to join Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) even as Gujarat became the 10th state to join the scheme aiming to improve financial and operational efficiency of power distribution companies. He congratulated Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel as the western state joined Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Punjab and Rajasthan in the scheme. (

India, Japan sign MoU on peaceful use of nuclear energy

December 12, 2015. India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japan on peaceful use of civil nuclear energy and announced that the deal was not just about commerce and clean energy but also a sign of mutual confidence and partnership for a secure world. The MoU was inked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Delhi. PM Modi announced that India will extend 'visa-on-arrival' to Japanese citizens including for business purpose from March 1, 2016. (

PM Modi to dedicate hydropower projects in HP next year: Dhumal

December 11, 2015. Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi will visit Himachal Pradesh next year to dedicate three hydropower projects and lay foundation of some other important projects in the state, BJP leader and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said. PM Modi would visit Himachal Pradesh in last week of January or first Week of February next year to dedicate the Kol Dam (800 MW), Parvati Stage-III (520 MW) and Rampur (412 MW) hydropower projects, commissioned during past two years, and also lay the foundation of some other important projects, he said. (

PM Modi’s Russia trip set to boost nuke plan

December 10, 2015. Expansion of the country's nuclear programme is expected to be prominent on Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi's agenda when he visits Russia later this month. Minister of state for PMO Jitendra Singh said the earlier visits of the PM to various countries were also marked by signing of agreements to procure uranium and boost the nuclear programme. Singh said the pacts signed during Modi's foreign visits included an agreement with Canada in April for procuring 5,000 metric tonnes of uranium. He said during Modi's visit to the US, a deal was finalized for the construction of nuclear reactors in Gujarat and during the visit to France, a deal was finalized with Areva, the world's leading nuclear power company. The minister described introduction of the Atomic Energy Bill, 2015 in Lok Sabha as a "historic step", saying for the first time in the history of independent India, the government had sought to amend the Atomic Energy Act of 1962. (

Electricity consumers increased to over 50 lakh in 2014-15

December 9, 2015. The total number of electricity consumers in the national capital has increased from 48.97 lakh in financial year 2013-14 to 50.44 lakh in 2014-15. According to city governments Delhi Statistical Handbook, 2015 released, out of total electricity consumers, 40.95 lakh were domestic, 8.51 lakh commercial, 52,731 industrial, 20,491 under the category of public water works and street-lighting and 25,189 under other categories which include agriculture, mushroom, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), advertisement and temporary connections. The consumption of electricity increased from 23,781 million units in 2013-14 to 24,477 million units in 2014-15. However, 21,044 million units of electricity was purchased from other states in 2014-15 as compared to 30,006 million units bought in the previous fiscal. Also, 12,386 million units of electricity was consumed for domestic purposes, 6,814 million units for commercial purposes and 3,068 million units for industrial purposes. (



UK fracking group calls for exploratory drilling to start

December 15, 2015. Shale gas can be produced safely in the U.K. and exploratory drilling should start to ascertain recoverable reserves, according to a group funded by the industry. Gas is required to meet the U.K.’s future energy needs and developing a shale industry will increase security of supply, the Task Force on Shale, a body funded by five companies including Centrica Plc and Cuadrilla Resources Ltd., said. Operators must be held to the highest standards for well integrity, allow independent monitoring of their sites and make the economic benefits clearer for local residents, it said. (

Production begins from Moho Bilondo Phase 1b project offshore Congo

December 14, 2015. Total E&P Congo and its partners have commenced production from the Moho Bilondo Phase 1b deepwater development project offshore Congo. Considered as the largest oil and gas project in the country, the $10 bn Moho Nord project involves a tension-leg platform, a floating production unit with a processing capacity of 100,000 barrels of oil per day. The Moho Phase 1b involves drilling of 11 new subsea wells, which will be tied back to exiting to floating production unit, and installation of the two subsea multiphase pumps. The Phase 1b development is expected to have production capacity of 40,000 barrels of oil per day from the southern portion of the Moho Bilondo permit area. (

Production starts at $25 bn Australia Pacific project

December 14, 2015. Australia Pacific LNG has started liquefied natural gas (LNG) production at the $25 bn project in Queensland, Australia. The company is planning to start export of first cargo by the end of 2015. Australia Pacific produces natural gas from the country's 2P coal seam gas (CSG) reserves base in Queensland's Surat and Bowen basins. The produced gas converted to LNG using LNG facility on Curtis Island. The LNG will be exported to Asian customers. (

BP, Chevron back $2 bn North West Shelf development phase

December 11, 2015. BP Plc, Chevron Corp. and the other partners in Australia’s largest oil and gas venture approved a $2 billion expansion in the project, the fourth major gas development at the North West Shelf in the past seven years. The Greater Western Flank Phase 2 off the north-west coast will develop 1.6 trillion cubic feet of gas from six fields, the operator of the North West Shelf, Woodside Petroleum Ltd., said. This project will start production in the second half of 2019, Woodside said. The North West Shelf, which accounts for more than a third of Australia’s oil and gas production, represents investments of more than $34 billion. (

Wintershall makes minor oil discovery in North Sea

December 10, 2015. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate announced that Wintershall Norge AS has made a minor oil discovery near the Vega Sor field in the north-eastern North Sea. The objective of appraisal well 35/11-18 A was to investigate the extent of the reservoir and the hydrocarbon columns. The well was drilled about 1,500 feet south of the discovery well and proved gas and oil in two Upper Jurassic sandstones with net thicknesses of 108 and 78 feet, respectively, with poor to good reservoir quality. The well encountered oil throughout the Brent group, which is 885 feet, with moderate to good reservoir quality. The well also encountered a 150 foot column of light oil in the Lower Jurassic Cook formation. Preliminary estimates place the size of the discovery between 35.3 and 105.9 million cubic feet of recoverable oil. (

PetroChina, Sinopec 2015 shale output said below China goal

December 9, 2015. China is on track to miss its shale gas production target for this year as its biggest producers throttle back output amid weakening demand growth and a collapse in energy prices. PetroChina Co., the country’s largest oil and gas company, may produce about 1.6 billion cubic meters of the unconventional gas this year, lagging behind its stated target of 2.6 billion cubic meters. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp may pump around 3.5 billion cubic meters of the fuel. The explorer plans to complete an expansion project this month that will boost capacity to 5 billion cubic meters a year. China’s efforts to copy the success of the U.S. in shale production has foundered as an economy growing at the slowest pace in 25 years curbs demand. The combined production of the two companies of 5.1 billion cubic meters in 2015 accounts for almost all of China’s commercial shale gas output. The country in 2012 announced an annual production target of 6.5 billion cubic meters for this year. PetroChina is holding back shale gas expansion at Sichuan in southwest China partly because they’re already struggling to sell conventional gas, which is cheaper to produce. Sinopec, as China Petroleum is known, will keep some of its newly added capacity at its Fuling field idle because of a lack of buyers. Sinopec announced that proved shale gas reserves at Fuling increased by 273.9 billion cubic meters to 380.6 billion cubic meters, making it the world’s second-largest shale gas field outside North America. The country’s total proven shale gas reserves are estimated at 500 billion cubic meters, according to the Chinese Academy of Engineering. In November 2014, China reduced its goal for shale gas production to 30 billion cubic meters by the end of the decade, or about a third of an earlier estimate, citing difficult geology, lack of infrastructure and limited exploration rights. ConocoPhillips ended talks with PetroChina on a shale gas development in Sichuan after a two-year study. (

Pemex shallow-water oil finds to produce 40k barrels a day

December 9, 2015. Pemex, as the state-owned oil company is known, announced two shallow-water discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico that may add 40,000 barrels a day to the company’s output, Chief Executive Officer Emilio Lozoya said. Pemex said it will invest $23 billion in the country’s six refineries to enhance clean gasoline production and improve residue utilization. The discoveries will allow Mexico to limit the loss of oil reserves and boost the company’s falling output, he said. This was Pemex’s second substantial find in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico this year. In June, it announced four discoveries with the potential for daily production of at least 200,000 barrels of oil and 170 million cubic feet of gas. Pemex’s exploration added 1 billion barrels of oil to the company’s total reserves, Lozoya said, which will allow production to stabilize. The company’s crude output is on pace to decline for an 11th consecutive year in 2015. (


Indonesia's Pertamina looks to cut refining costs more than 10 percent by 2019

December 15, 2015. Indonesia's state oil and gas company Pertamina is set to reduce its fuel processing costs by more than 10 percent over the next four years from 2014 levels by upgrading its refining capabilities. Pertamina plans to upgrade four of its existing seven refineries, and develop at least two new oil processing plants by 2023, more than doubling its domestic capacity to 2.3 million barrels per day (bpd) from 1 million bpd currently. The company, which supplies a little over half of Indonesia's fuel needs from its domestic refineries, has already reduced its fuel production costs to 102 percent of the benchmark refined fuel product prices for Asia set by oil pricing agency Platts, down from around 109 percent in 2014. Over the next four years, costs could be further cut to 97 percent of the Platts fuel product prices. The upgrades and the new units will allow the Indonesian state oil company to process a broader range of crude grades, Pertamina said. (

Shell completes Philippines refinery upgrade

December 14, 2015. Shell Philippines has completed the upgrade of its 110,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery in the province of Batangas and will be able to produce Euro-IV compliant fuels by January, the company said. The fuels have a sulphur content of 50 parts per million (ppm) compared with 500 ppm at present. The Philippines' Petron Corp finished upgrading its 180,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) refinery in Bataan to produce Euro-IV compliant fuels earlier this year. (

Pemex plans to invest $23 bn to upgrade refineries in Mexico

December 10, 2015. Mexican state oil and gas company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) has announced its plans to invest $23 bn over the next three years to upgrade its refineries. The investment plan has been announced despite the firm facing budget cuts due to plunging global oil prices. Pemex plans to invest $3.1 bn to more than double output of ultra-low-sulfur gasoline to 210,000 barrels a day at all of its six refineries as well as $3.9 bn to increase the diesel ultra low sulfur capacity in order to reduced fuel imports. A further $250 mn will be spent to develop desulphurisation plant with capacity of 30 thousand barrels per day charge at the Miguel Hidalgo refinery. About $5 bn is also planned to be invested to upgrade the crude oil processing capacity of Tula refinery to 340,000 barrels a day, making it the company's largest in terms of processing capacity. The company plans to invest $8 bn to upgrade the refineries at Salamanca and Salina Cruz. (

Transportation / Trade……….

Kinder Morgan files final argument for Canadian pipeline expansion

December 15, 2015. Kinder Morgan Inc filed its final written argument for the Trans Mountain crude oil pipeline expansion project with Canadian regulators, in a bid to gain approval for shipping more oil sands crude to the Pacific Coast. The pipeline currently ships 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude from Edmonton, Alberta, to Burnaby, British Columbia. The proposed expansion will nearly treble capacity to 890,000 bpd, providing more access to Asian markets. Lawyers for the pipeline will deliver their oral summary of the final argument to the National Energy Board in Calgary. (

Russia's Nord Stream gas pipeline threatens EU unity

December 15, 2015. Russia's divide-and-rule strategy threatens to sour summit talks in Brussels after Italy linked the extension of sanctions on Moscow to a debate of a Gazprom gas pipeline project. In theory, the European Union (EU) is pursuing a single energy market, based on the needs of all 28 EU nations. It is also meant to be united against Russia as it seeks to defend the interests of Ukraine following Moscow's seizure of Crimea in March last year. In reality, Germany's desire for secure supplies of cheap gas, Italy's interest in marketing energy major ENI's abundant new gas finds, and Baltic and eastern nations' wariness of Russian dominance make that unity fragile. Russia's Gazprom and its European partners signed a shareholders' agreement on the Nord Stream-2 project in September, which would double the amount of gas directly shipped from Russia to Germany, cutting out traditional transit route Ukraine. At the same time, it could detract from Italy's aspirations to be part of a southern gas hub. (

Energas will relinquish control of gas pipeline operator

December 15, 2015. The new government of Argentina has announced that Enargas (Ente Nacional Regulador del Gas), the regulator of the gas sector in the country, would relinquish its control over gas transmission operator Transportadora de Gas del Norte (TGN). TGN has been administrated by Enargas since 2008, after it defaulted on debt payment in dollars due to the transportation tariff freeze. (

Poland mulls gas link with Lithuania

December 14, 2015. Poland is considering creating a gas link with Lithuania in order to improve energy security of both countries, Polish Deputy Prime Minister (PM) responsible for economic development Mateusz Morawiecki said. Morawiecki said that the project is not in an advanced phase, but Poland would seek the European Union's financial support if the investment is agreed. (

Japan seeks 22k tonnes LPG for national reserves

December 11, 2015. Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) has issued a tender to buy liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for the country's national reserves. JOGMEC is seeking 22,000 tonnes of propane for a stockpiling base in Namikata in Ehime prefecture, for delivery until Jan. 31, it said. The tender will be held on Dec. 25, with offers to be evaluated the same day. Japan, which has five national LPG stockpiling bases with a total capacity of 1.5 million tonnes, plans to increase stockpiles to full capacity by the end of March 2018. (

Bulgaria, Greece sign natural gas pipeline investment agreement

December 10, 2015. Bulgaria and Greece signed an agreement to start building a pipeline linking the two countries’ natural-gas grids, which will help Bulgaria diversify its gas supply and connect Greece to the rest of the European network. Bulgarian Energy Holding and IGI Poseidon, a joint venture between Greek state-owned gas supplier DEPA SA and Italy’s Edison SpA, signed a final investment agreement, Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said. The pipeline, scheduled to become operational in 2018, is estimated to cost € 220 million ($241 million), of which the European Union will provide € 45 million. The 182-kilometer (112-mile) link will have annual capacity of 3 billion to 5 billion cubic meters and will run between the Greek city of Komotini and the Bulgarian city of Stara Zagora. Bulgaria’s government has approved state guarantees for future loans of as much as 215 million lev ($121 million) in 2016 for the project. The European Union (EU) and Bulgaria will work to develop a Balkan natural-gas hub to diversify supplies in southeastern Europe, the government said. (

Saudi Arabia cuts January Extra Light crude supply to Asia

December 10, 2015. Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude exporter, has cut the supply of January-loading Arab Extra Light crude to some buyers in Asia and replaced it with Arab Light. The move comes after Saudi Arabia increased crude loadings to Asia in the last two months of the year to meet robust demand. The change in crude type will not affect Saudi Arabia's overall contractual volumes to Asia. State-run Saudi Aramco will supply full contracted volumes of crude in January. The cut in Arab Extra Light crude supply follows a drop in light crude and condensate exports from fellow OPEC producers, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, curbing supply of naphtha-rich feedstock for Asian refiners. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has cut term supplies of Murban and Das crude by about 10 percent for January, while Qatar did not offer low-sulphur condensate for the first two months of 2016. Tighter supply of Middle East light crude in Asia has pushed spot premiums for February-loading cargoes to multi-month highs. (

PetroChina plans big gas grid stake sale under reform push

December 10, 2015. PetroChina is discussing selling a stake in domestic gas pipelines worth an estimated $47 billion in total, in a move seen as a prelude to Beijing's plans to break the state giant's near monopoly and boost spending on energy infrastructure. The sale could attract domestic interest from Chinese institutions, asset managers and private equity investors. PetroChina produces two-thirds of China's natural gas and controls nearly 80 percent of the country's patchy 90,000-kilometre gas pipelines, a bottlenecked grid that has prevented greater use of a fuel with half the greenhouse gas emissions of China's biggest energy source, coal. PetroChina, which transports mostly its own gas in its pipes, is preparing to sell part of its premium domestic gas pipeline assets, worth around 300 billion yuan ($47 billion), which includes three trunk lines running from the country's far west to its eastern and southern shores. PetroChina had been debating such a plan for a while but had not yet formally hired an investment bank to manage the sale process. Any deal, which would follow the $17.5 billion sale by domestic rival Sinopec Corp this year of its fuel marketing business, could be a step toward Beijing's goal to establish one or more independent pipeline companies that would enable greater access for non-state suppliers. For PetroChina, battered by depressed oil prices and a recent plunge in gas prices, a sale would bring badly needed cash. The three lines are about 20,500 kilometers long and transport a combined 80 billion cubic meters a year, or 45 percent of China's total gas consumption. (

Policy / Performance…………

China's NDRC plans domestic fuel pricing reform amid low crude

December 15, 2015. China plans further reforms of its retail fuel pricing system, the country's central economic planning commission said, part of efforts to make prices more market-driven. The world's second-largest oil consumer has taken big steps this year in reforming the oil and gas sector. For the first time, China has allowed independent companies to import crude oil and export refined fuel, breaking the long dominance by state refiners Sinopec Corp and PetroChina. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) will "postpone" an adjustment of retail gasoline and diesel prices, it said. Instead, it plans to speed up improving the fuel pricing system under the "new environment" of lower oil prices. Dong Xiucheng, a veteran energy expert with China Petroleum University, said low oil prices and growing participation by non-state players would allow the government to bring in larger market forces to set the country's fuel prices at the pump. Refineries could be allowed to set their own pump prices when benchmark crude prices are within a certain range and the government might only intervene when oil prices are either too high or too low, Dong said. For now, the NDRC can adjust fuel prices on a bi-weekly basis under a system introduced in March 2013 that linked gasoline and diesel prices more closely to the global price of crude oil. (

Moody's cuts 2016 oil price outlook by $10 to $43 for Brent

December 15, 2015. Moody's Investors Service slashed its 2016 oil price outlook on expectations of a prolonged supply glut, saying additional production from Iran, should sanctions be lifted, would offset any slowdown in output from the United States. The ratings agency cut its 2016 Brent price assumption by $10 to $43 per barrel and its West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price forecast by $8 to $40. Prices for both benchmarks would increase by $5 per barrel in 2017 and again in 2018, Moody's said. The agency raised its forecast for growth in global oil demand, saying it would increase by 1.3 million barrels in 2016 on higher consumption in the United States, China, India and Russia. A supply-demand balance would be reached at a Brent price of $63, but only at the end of the decade, Moody's said. The agency maintained its negative outlook on the oilfield services and integrated oil and gas, exploration and production sectors. Apart from increased exports from Iran, this outlook also reflected the possibility of less demand from China due to a slowdown in its economy. Moody's also lowered its forecasts for Henry Hub natural gas prices by 50 cents per million British thermal units in each of the next three years to $2.25 in 2016, $2.50 in 2017 and $2.75 in 2018. (

Argentina to boost gas prices to spur production

December 14, 2015. Argentina will seek to increase gas prices to incentivize production, the new Energy Minister Juan Jose Aranguren said. Latin America's third-largest economy is seeking to combat its energy deficit, which is draining already-low foreign reserves. It relies heavily on imports of liquid gas. Aranguren said the new government under conservative President Mauricio Macri would maintain the shareholder structure of energy firm YPF. Since 2012, the Argentine government has held a 51 percent stake in the company. (

Canada's Encana slashes dividend, cuts capex

December 14, 2015. Canadian oil and natural gas producer Encana Corp, responding to a sharp drop in oil prices, has slashed its dividend by about 79 percent and its 2016 capital budget by more than a quarter. Encana said it expected to produce an average 340,000-370,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) next year, down from the 395,000-430,000 boepd it expects to produce in 2015. The company expects to end 2015 with around 600 fewer staff, down to 2,900 from around 3,500. Around half of this decrease is attributable to natural attrition and divestitures, in which staff transitioned to the purchasing company. The remaining half is attributable to layoffs, Encana said. The company - focused on the Permian and Eagle Ford shale fields in Texas and Montney and Duvernay shale fields in western Canada - said 95 percent of its budget for 2016 would be directed to these assets. (

Hedge funds add to record bearish positions in oil

December 14, 2015. Rather than taking profits, hedge funds continued to add to their record bearish positions after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) failed to reach agreement on a production target at the start of the month. Hedge funds and other money managers had accumulated short positions in the main West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent futures and options contracts equivalent to 364 million barrels. The combined short position in Brent and WTI was up by almost 5 million barrels compared with the previous week and 161 million barrels since the middle of October. The combined short position is easily the largest on record, dwarfing the previous records of 325 million barrels set in August and 299 million barrels in March. Hedge funds booked some profits on Brent, reducing short positions by 8 million barrels last week, but added 13 million in WTI, according to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and ICE Futures Europe. Hedge fund short positions have been strongly correlated with movements in the price of Brent and WTI throughout 2015, so it comes as no surprise that the extra shorts helped push both markers to new lows. (

Russia sees oil price staying below $60 for at least 7 yrs

December 11, 2015. Russia is preparing for the possibility that low crude prices are here to stay as competition between oil and other fuels such as natural gas intensifies. The nation, which relies on oil and gas income for about half its government budget, sees no reason for crude to rise above $50 a barrel anytime soon and predicts it will remain in a $40 to $60 range over the next seven years, Deputy Finance Minister Maxim Oreshkin said. Russia, the world’s largest oil and gas exporter, has been scrambling to adjust to OPEC’s decision to abandon its role as a global swing producer amid a supply glut. Oreshkin’s estimates are more bearish than the International Energy Agency and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), who both anticipate prices recovering to about $80 by 2020. The Russian government, rather than the oil industry itself, has borne the brunt of lower prices due to the structure of Russia’s tax system. (

ConocoPhillips, Chevron seek to sell stakes in Indonesia O&G block: Energy Ministry

December 11, 2015. Indonesia has received written requests from U.S.-listed energy giants ConocoPhillips and Chevron Corp to sell their interests in the South Natuna Sea Block B oil and gas block, the Energy Ministry said. ConocoPhillips currently holds a 40 percent operating interest in the South Natuna Sea Block B production sharing contract, while Chevron holds a 25 percent interest and Inpex holds 35 percent. According to Chevron, five fields in South Natuna Sea Block B produce natural gas, and two fields produce crude oil. Net daily production during 2014 averaged 6,000 barrels of liquids and 86 million cubic feet of natural gas. (

After almost 105 yrs shell mulls New Zealand exit amid review

December 10, 2015. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, which reported its biggest net loss in more than a decade in October and has halted projects in Canada and the Arctic, is reviewing investments in gas fields to pipelines in New Zealand. The Hague-based company made its first investment in the Pacific Island nation in 1911 and is considering options including a full country exit, Rob Jager, Chairman of Shell Companies in New Zealand said. Shell said it would take a $4.61 billion charge resulting from the withdrawal from offshore drilling in Alaska and an oil-sands project in Canada. Oil and gas companies are reviewing portfolios and undertaking the biggest belt-tightening in a generation as prices plunge. Oil is trading near levels last seen during the global financial crisis as Saudi Arabia leads the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in maintaining output and defending market share against higher-cost producers, fueling a record supply glut. Shell’s assets in New Zealand include an 84 percent stake in the Maui gas and condensate field, a half share in the Kapuni gas field and a 48 percent holding in the Pohokura gas field, Jager said. (

Israel says will not forgo $1.8 bn compensation in Egyptian gas dispute

December 9, 2015. Israel is unlikely to pass up on the near $1.8 billion awarded it in compensation for Egypt halting a natural gas supply contract in 2012, even though the two countries both want a way out of the dispute, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said. Egypt had been selling gas to Israel under a 20 year agreement but stopped supplies in 2012 following months of attacks on the supply pipeline by militant groups in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, which borders Israel and the Gaza Strip. Israel Electric Corp (IEC), which had sought $4 billion in compensation, says that with the Egyptian supplies cut it was forced to burn more expensive fuels to generate electricity. Egypt has said it still wants to import Israeli gas despite Italy's ENI discovering the even bigger Zohr gas field off Egypt's coast in August. (

Statoil seeks Tanzanian clarification on impact of new oil law

December 9, 2015. Statoil ASA is seeking clarification on Tanzania’s new petroleum law and wants to learn how it will affect companies like itself already operating in the nation. Parliament passed the petroleum legislation in July, after repeated delays, ushering in a royalty regime in which energy companies pay 12.5 percent for onshore oil and gas production and 7.5 percent for offshore. A mooted provision that put the government’s share of profits from output at as much as 85 percent wasn’t included. Under the new rule, profit-sharing rates will be negotiated with the companies. Tanzania has East Africa’s biggest reserves of natural gas after Mozambique, with new discoveries raising hopes it can become a natural gas exporter with the development of a processing plant and pipeline. The government estimates reserves at 55 trillion cubic feet. Statoil, working with Exxon Mobil Corp., has made discoveries totaling 22 trillion cubic feet of in-place volumes. The government has said those companies along with BG Group and others are involved in a plan to build a liquefied natural gas plant for exports. Statoil is focusing on moving from the exploration stage to development of its finds. (



Chinese state-owned enterprises want to build power plant in Brazil

December 14, 2015. Chinese state-owned enterprises SEPCO Electric Power Construction Corporation and Hebi Guochang Energy Development Co plan to build a coal-fired power plant in Brazil, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, on the border with Uruguay. The power plant, called Ouro Negro (Black Gold), will have an installed capacity of 600 MW, becoming the second largest coal-fired plant in Brazil, after the Pecém plant, with 720 MW in operation in the state of Ceará. The Chinese will control the operation, with two thirds of the share capital and 80 percent of the cost of construction of the plant is guaranteed by the China Development Bank. The project has already been approved by the Brazilian National Electric Energy Agency, but has yet to get environmental approval, without which it cannot compete for tenders launched by the government to hire construction of new plants. Brazil currently has 13 coal-fired power plants in operation, totalling 3389 MW of power, equivalent to 2.4 percent of all electricity available in the country. (

Nigeria can boost power generation by 2 GW in 15 months: Fashola

December 13, 2015. The present administration will embark on an aggressive intervention in the housing sector to reduce the housing deficit in the country, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said. The minister for planning and budget said capital expenditure would be doubled in 2016 versus 2015 and that a $25 billion infrastructure fund was planned. He said that the ministry would collaborate with state governors to provide land of between five and 10 hectares with title documents and access roads to the project sites. (

GE and partners to provide project financing for 1 GW power plant in US

December 9, 2015. GE has partnered with BNP Paribas, Citigroup and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group to provide financing for the construction and operation of the 1,029 MW Caithness Moxie Freedom power plant in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, US. The partners arranged $592 mn senior secured credit facilities in support of the $800 mn project, which is expected to be one of the most efficient plants in the PJM Interconnection region. PJM Interconnection is a regional transmission organization (RTO) which manages the wholesale electricity movement. Gemma Power Systems is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the combined cycle natural gas-fired power plant project, which is owned by Moxie Energy and Caithness Energy. Construction of the facility is planned to commence this year and is due to be completed in 2018. (

Russia halts work in Turkey's first nuclear power plant after spat

December 9, 2015. Russia's Rosatom has stopped construction work at Turkey's first planned nuclear power plant. Rosatom has not terminated the contract for the building of the $20 billion project and is reluctant to do so because of the heavy compensation clauses. However, Turkey is already assessing other potential candidates for the project. Turkey in 2013 had commissioned Rosatom to build four 1,200 MW reactors as Ankara has been keen to wean itself off an almost complete dependence on imported energy. Rosatom initially pledged to have the first reactor in the southern Turkish town of Akkuyu ready by 2019 but regulatory hurdles and Russia's financial woes have slowed the project's progress. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade…

Beloyarsk-4 FBR nuclear reactor connected to the Russian grid

December 15, 2015. Russian nuclear group RosEnergoAtom has connected the 800 MW Beloyarsk-4 fast reactor to the Russian power network. This reactor is fuelled by a mix of uranium and plutonium oxides arranged to produce new fuel material as it burns. It reached criticality in late June 2014 and has just started providing power to the Urals region of Russia. (           

Bulgaria starts test trading at its new day-ahead power exchange

December 14, 2015. Bulgaria has started test trading at its new day-ahead power exchange, launched by state-owned Independent Bulgarian Energy Exchange (IBEX) and Nord Pool Spot, and that will become operational in mid-January 2016. Bulgaria has committed to ensure that state-owned power generation companies would provide electricity for sale on the power exchange for the next five years, to settle EU antitrust charges and to comply with EU liberalisation rules. (      

Nigerian states will take over 30 percent in 11 privatised power distributors

December 10, 2015. The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) of Nigeria has announced that the central government would soon start to transfer 30% of its remaining 40% in the eleven privatised electricity distribution companies (Discos) to Nigerian states as recommended by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). (             

Policy / Performance…………

Indonesia cancels nuclear plans until at least 2050

December 15, 2015. The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia has announced that a previous plan worth US$8 bn to operate four nuclear power plants with a cumulated capacity of 6 GW by 2025 would be cancelled and that Indonesia would not resort to nuclear power to meet its 136.7 GW power capacity target by 2025 and its 430 GW target by 2050. Indonesia will continue to follow developments in nuclear technology and nuclear power could remain a last-resort option for possible use after 2050. (

UK electricity auction awards nearly half of capacity to gas plants

December 11, 2015. A British auction for backup electricity plants for 2019/20 awarded nearly half of the capacity, or 21.8 GW, to gas-fired power plants, the National Grid said. The auction awarded 1.86 GW to interconnectors which were allowed to bid for contracts in the auction for the first time. (

US NRC approves 20 year license extension for Davis Besse reactor

December 10, 2015. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) renewed the operating licence of the 894 MW Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Ohio for a further 20 years. The reactor was commissioned in 1977 and its operator, First Energy Nuclear Operating Company, applied to renew the licence (due to expire in April 2017) in August 2010. The reactor will then be allowed to operate until 2037. Davis-Besse is the 81st US nuclear unit to receive a licence renewal, and the NRC is currently in the process of reviewing 13 more renewal applications. (          

Ghana approves 59 percent hike in power tariffs

December 9, 2015. The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), Ghana's utility regulator, has approved a 59% increase in electricity tariffs, in an attempt to attract private investment in the power sector and to resolve the chronic power crisis (shortfall of up to 500 MW). The increase is also aimed at covering increasing power generation costs, as thermal power generation is progressing to the detriment of cheap hydropower. It will be implemented in a few months, to allow the PURC to sensitise the public, and is likely to fuel consumer inflation, which stood at a four-year high of 17.4% in October 2015. (              



Japan's SoftBank bags first solar power project in India

December 15, 2015. SB Energy, a three way joint venture of Japan's SoftBank Group, Bharti Enterprises and Foxconn Technology Co Ltd, has won an order to develop a solar plant in India, marking SoftBank's first foray into renewable energy. The Narendra Modi government has set an ambitious target to raise India's solar capacity five-fold to 100,000 MW by 2022. US-based SunEdison already runs solar power plants in India. State-run power producer NTPC awarded the contract to SB Energy in a tender floated to develop the 350 MW solar power plant which will have a fixed tariff of Rs 4.63/kWh for the next 25 years, SoftBank said. India, the world's third-largest carbon emitter, is dependent on coal for about two-thirds of its energy needs and has pledged to mine more of the fuel while also promising to increase clean energy generation. (

India's 'green weapons' to cut emissions

December 15, 2015. Following its pledge to reduce carbon emissions by "33% to 35% by 2030 from the 2005 levels" at the recently concluded COP21 in Paris, India has now listed out how each of its green initiatives would contribute towards achieving this target. At present, the country has three flagship programmes: AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation); Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban and Smart Cities Mission. As per estimates drawn up post a study conducted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the AMRUT project is expected to cut carbon emissions up to 107.53 million tonnes by 2021, while Swachh Bharat is likely to reduce it by another 5.35 million tonnes. The Smart Cities' contribution is pegged at 4.58 million tonnes during the same period. By 2031, India hopes this total projected drop of 116.71 million tonnes (by 2021) will shoot up to 227.52 million tonnes. (

India's share to green house gases is mere 2.5 percent: Goyal

December 14, 2015. Within days of 'historic' agreement to curb green house gases was adopted in Paris, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said India's share to GHGs is only 2.5 percent while the developed countries contributed 20 percent. India, he said, stands committed to working in participation with rest of the world to ensure that renewable energy grows. He said that the procurement cost of LED bulbs has been brought down to ` 72.60 per piece from ` 310 in 16 months without compromising on quality. He said public, private and people participation are required to ensure success of government programs on energy conservation and efficiency. After days of hectic negotiations, 196 countries adopted the 'historic' agreement to curb green house gases, in Paris. A landmark climate change deal was clinched with the approval of India, China and the US, after days of tough negotiations with the legally-binding pact seeking to limit global warming to 'well below' 2 degrees Celsius and committing USD 100 billion a year from 2020 to help developing nations. (

Odisha seeks greater cooperation from US in climate change

December 14, 2015. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik sought better collaboration with the US in climate change and industries sector. Holding a meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal, the chief minister said Odisha was one of the first states in the country to prepare State Action Plan on climate change in a participative process in 2010. The plan aims to reduce the vulnerability and enhance adaptive capacity, he said. Patnaik wanted to explore partnership between Odisha and the US in various adaptation and mitigation measures for climate change. The chief minister also sought deeper cooperation in the industries sector with the US. He said the state has a vision to increase manufacturing growth by 15 percent by 2019 by attracting new investments to the tune of ` 1.73 lakh crore and additional employment to 3.30 lakh people. (

India's environmental targets fulfilled at Paris: Javadekar

December 14, 2015. Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Prakash Javadekar said that India's environmental targets have been fulfilled at the Conference of Parties 21 (COP21) climate change meet in Paris. He said that he will brief Parliament about the developments in Paris and how it will benefit India. Meanwhile, world leaders hailed the Paris climate deal as a 'major leap for mankind' as almost 200 countries signed the historic pledge to hold global temperatures to a maximum rise of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. (

Almora school leads by example, cooks midday meal using solar cookers

December 14, 2015. As the country celebrated National Energy Conservation Day, a school in Almora district, which has been effectively utilising solar energy every day for the last few years, stands as a testimony to how alternative energy sources can be harnessed by institutions if they display adequate willpower. The government primary school in Tarikhet has four solar cookers which are deployed to cook the midday meals for the 22 children studying there. Although solar cookers were also provided to other primary schools in the area, the Tarikhet school is the one which has effectively used them, thereby drastically reducing its dependence on cooking gas and wood. In the past two years, school authorities say, they have used only 2 gas cylinders and that too, only when there was no sunlight for days due to rains and snowfall in the region. Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (UREDA), which had supplied solar cookers to 80 schools in Almora district, says that the example set by the primary school is heartening. (

Natural gas use may get a boost in Delhi over pollution concerns

December 14, 2015. Use of natural gas is likely to get a boost in Delhi owing to escalating concerns over pollution, with officials saying that state-run power producer NTPC can switch to gas turbines after its coal­based plant is shut down, while GAIL India is ready to supply gas to generate electricity and to significantly ramp up CNG operations. Delhi, which had pioneered the large­scale shift to CNG as automotive fuel, has announced that two thermal power plants in the city will be shut down to combat pollution. An NTPC executive, however, said the company has not received any communication from the Delhi government on the Badarpur plant. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee has sent a notice to NTPC asking why the plant should not be shut down. The executive said NTPC has been asked to respond to the letter by December 15. The executive said the company has invested heavily to curb emissions. The Delhi government, which has already decided to shut the Rajghat plant till mid­March, wants NTPC to either switch the Badarpur plant to a cleaner fuel or shut it to check rising pollution in the city. This decision is based on a recommendation of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). (

Triton Solar to set up $100 mn manufacturing unit in Karnataka

December 11, 2015. The leading US-based nanotechnology company Triton Solar will invest $100 million in Karnataka for setting up a nano technology powered solar panel manufacturing facility. The LoI between the company and the State government was signed in New York under the aegis of Invest Karnataka 2016. Triton Solar also supplies flexible and printed solar panels, lighting, and batteries. Minister for Large and Medium Industries and Tourism RV Deshpande said renewable energy is a high-potential area for Karnataka. He said Karnataka continues to attract futuristic companies and technologies. The investment is likely to create 250 jobs in the State. (

UNFCCC nod for Tata Power’s Zambia project

December 11, 2015. Tata Power said its 120 MW joint venture Itezhi Tezhi Hydro Power Project in Zambia has received Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) nod from United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Itezhi Tezhi Power Corporation Ltd (ITPC) is a joint venture with Zambian parastatal utility ZESCO Limited (ZESCO), is a special purpose vehicle, which has been set to build and operate a 120 MW hydro power plant in Itezhi Tezhi district on Kafue River in Zambia, the company said. ITPC is the first project in Zambia to get the CDM approval from UNFCCC. The proposed project activity involves installation of Greenfield 120 MW Hydro Power plant in the Central Province of Zambia which will be connected to Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) grid system. The total emission reductions from the project are estimated to be 5,892,480 tonnes CO2e over a 10—year crediting period averaging 589,248 tonnes of CO2e annually. (

PM Modi's book about India's efforts to mitigate climate change

December 10, 2015. Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi said his book "Convenient Action- Continuity for Change" which was released in Paris on the sidelines of ongoing climate change summit COP21, talks about India's efforts to mitigate climate change. Present at the launch were UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, French President Francois Hollande and several other world leaders. (

NTPC mulls launching solar plants in UP

December 10, 2015. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has evinced interest in setting up solar power plants in Uttar Pradesh (UP). The 'Maharatana' company is in talks with UP government for getting land to set up solar power units in the state. NTPC has already experimented with the idea in the open space available in three of its existing power plants Singrauli, Unchahar and Dadri where it has set up 15 MW, 10 MW and 5 MW of solar power units, respectively. NTPC said the PSU is in talks with the UP government for availability of land enough to set up solar power plants in the state. According to an estimate, solar power plant with an installed capacity of 1 MW would require at least 5 acres land. NTPC has projected a target of wheeling 10,000 MW power from solar plants by 2022. UP government is already looking up to the sector to fulfill the growing demand for power in the coming year. More so, with chief minister Akhilesh Yadav promising to increase power supply to 16 hours and 24 hours in rural and urban areas, respectively. Data available with New Energy Development Authority show that the state government has already installed 40 MW of solar power plants. The process for installation of another 60 MW is also in the pipeline. (

Nod to phase out 4 thermal power units in Panipat

December 10, 2015. Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar put the seal on his predecessor Bhupinder Singh Hooda's proposal of phasing out four thermal power units of 110 MW each in Panipat for setting up new units of higher capacity. CM Khattar also emphasized on increasing generation of solar power in the state, including on vacant lands of Haryana Power Generation Corporation Limited. He also directed that maximum space on rooftops of government buildings should be utilized for installing solar panels for generation of solar energy. A seminar to pace up execution of solar energy projects should be held where representatives of reputed companies and other experts should also be invited, Khattar said. While presiding over another meeting on the disposal of land of the phased out Faridabad thermal power station, which was closed down in 2010, the chief minister said that out of total available land of 341.559 acres, 103.619 acres under old ash disposal area and 151.78 acres in new ash disposal area should be utilized for setting up solar power plants. He also directed officers of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to develop the main plant area of 42.023 acres and 27.25 acres in the Thermal Colony in Sector 22, Faridabad. (

KSEB to go for solar power plant on concrete floaters

December 10, 2015. The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) is gearing up for a 500-kilowatt (KW) floating Solar Grid Interactive Photovoltaic project in the Banasurasagar dam in Wayanad. The ` 10 crore pilot project will be implemented by Adtech Systems Ltd, a Thiruvananthapuram-based company, with technical support from Vatsaa Energy Pvt Ltd, (VEPL) a young start-up in Wayanad that had worked to develop the technology. The pilot project is a scaled-up version of a 10 KW concrete floating solar power plant that has been successfully installed in the reservoir a few months ago. The government has planned to procure three to five percent of it from renewable energy sources. The project is expected to be commissioned in about 10 months. Close to 1,950 solar panels, each generating 260 watts, would be installed on the unique and indigenously developed floating structure. (

Inadequate budget may impact renewable energy target: Panel

December 9, 2015. Inadequate budget allocation may adversely impact the target of 175 GW renewable energy capacity by 2022, a Parliamentary panel has said. Besides the 12th Five Year Plan physical target of 30,000 MW grid interactive renewable power, the government in its budget announcements for 2015-16 revised the target of renewable energy power capacity to 1,75,000 MW by 2022, the Standing Committee on Energy said. The Committee said that it would therefore like to re-emphasise its recommendation to evolve the requisite strategy in order to ensure that the allocated funds for the 12th Plan period for the sector are properly utilised. Besides, it said, sufficient thrust may be provided to ensure that paucity of funds does not come in the way of revised and ambitious development plans in the sector. The panel also expressed concerns about the reduced budgetary allocation made for 2014-15 and suggested the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to pursue with Finance Ministry for more allocation at Revised Estimate (RE) stage. As per the recommendations of Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) funds of the order of ` 5,264.42 crore are to be provided from National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) during the current fiscal, it said. The Committee further recommended that the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy should pursue with the Finance Ministry to provide with remaining funds so that the targets for 2015-16 are fully achieved. (

RattanIndia Solar wins 10 MW rooftop solar projects

December 9, 2015. RattanIndia Solar has won 10 MW of grid connected rooftop solar projects in a competitive bidding by Solar Energy Corporation Ltd. RattanIndia participated and won 5 MW of rooftop solar PV projects each in Delhi and West Bengal, the company said. These solar systems will be installed on CPWD buildings under a power purchase agreement for 25 years, it said. The list of buildings where rooftop solar PV system will be commissioned under this project, includes buildings housing key government offices such as Supreme Court of India, Udhyog Bhawan, Nirman Bhawan, Krishi Bhawan and Shashti Bhawan. RattanIndia is already executing 5 MW of rooftop projects in Madhya Pradesh. (


Canadian oil sands' greatest asset now worst with carbon curbs

December 15, 2015. Canadian oil-sands producers like Suncor Energy Inc. like to tout the long life of the world’s third-largest crude reserves as their greatest asset. That longevity may now be their biggest liability with a new global agreement to curtail carbon emissions. Alberta is one of the costliest -- and most carbon intensive -- places in the world to produce oil. With prices below $40 a barrel, oil-sands growth has already ground to a halt. Hopes of a return to the boom years are fading amid limits on emissions and the uncertainty of future fossil fuel demand. Governments from 195 countries committed over the weekend in Paris to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to head off dangerous climate change. Canada, as the Group of Seven’s largest oil exporter and with its natural resources-weighted economy, faces more risk than other industrialized nations from the limits. Canada’s fossil-fuel dependence helped ease the country through the global recession six years ago. Exports of fossil fuels from Canada have grown since 1990, the base year for the first global agreement to limit GHG emissions. For October, fossil fuels made up C$5.8 billion ($4.23 billion), or 13.5 percent of total national exports, compared with C$1.2 billion, or 9.2 percent of national exports in October 1990, according to the national statistics agency. (

Germany's 3rd auction for 200 MW solar PV projects oversubscribed

December 15, 2015. The third auction for 200 MW of large-scale solar PV projects organised by the German Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur, BNA) has been oversubscribed, with 127 bids received for a total capacity of 562 MW. The BNA has approved 43 bids totalling 204 MW and rejected 13 bids that did not meet the eligibility requirements. The BNA tendered 500 MW of ground-mounted PV capacity in 2015. It will offer a further 400 MW in 2016 and 300 MW in 2017. (

Kuwait's Shagaya renewable energy park sees construction begin

December 14, 2015. Construction work began this month on Kuwait’s Shagaya renewable-energy park, starting with a photovoltaic plant. The solar facility, being constructed by Spain’s TSK Electronica y Electricidad SA and local construction company Kharafi National, will form part of the park that’s being built about 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of the capital, Kuwait City. The photovoltaic plant will have a 10 MW capacity and should be connected to the grid in the first half of 2016, according to TSK. The park’s first phase will also include a 50 MW solar thermal plant. Kuwait has set a target of producing 15 percent of its energy needs from renewables by 2030. The Shagaya facility is being developed by the country’s Ministry of Electricity and Water and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, which in September signed a contract with Gijon, Spain-based TSK for the initial solar elements for € 362 million ($399 million). Ultimately the target is for the facility to produce more than 1.1 GW of solar thermal, in excess of 700 MW of photovoltaic and about 140 MW of wind energy, according to the institute. (

Paris paves way for global carbon price: Ex-Australia PM

December 14, 2015. The Paris climate accord will pave the way for carbon markets in Asia, Europe and the U.S. to link and form a global emissions price, according to Kevin Rudd, the former Australian Prime Minister (PM) whose climate policies helped cost him his job. The Paris deal struck won’t come into force until at least 55 nations accounting for 55 percent of the world’s emissions ratify it, potentially at a ceremony planned for April. China, the European Union and the U.S. alone produced 54.8 percent of the world’s fossil-fuel emissions last year, BP Plc data show. Eighteen nations including the U.S., Japan and Germany said they will work together to develop international carbon markets. Nations will probably begin tightening their emission limits by 2018, under a review clause in the deal to encourage greenhouse-gas output cuts, said Rudd, who is president of the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York. (

Japan Bank provides loan for Icelandic geothermal power plant

December 14, 2015. The Japan Bank for International Cooperation, known as JBIC, will provide an export loan of as much as $34 million for a 90 MW geothermal power project by Landsvirkjun in Iceland. The loan is co-financed with Citibank Japan Ltd., the Bank of Yokohama Ltd. and the Tokyo branch of Commerzbank AG, bringing the total co-financing amount to about $68 million, with Nippon Export and Investment Insurance providing insurance for the portion co-financed by the private financial institutions, JBIC said. (

US, Japan, Germany among 18 nations to build carbon markets

December 14, 2015. Eighteen nations including the U.S., Japan and Germany will work together to develop international carbon markets to help speed the pace of emission reductions under the Paris climate deal struck, according to the New Zealand government. The nations will develop standards and guidelines to ensure trading of carbon credits has environmental integrity, according to New Zealand’s climate and trade ministry. The deal by envoys from more than 190 countries gathered in Paris allows cooperation between nations to meet emission-limitation pledges. It also creates a new market to promote sustainable development, speeding carbon cuts by state entities and private companies. China plans to create the world’s biggest carbon market by 2017, about double the size of 10-year old European program, currently the largest. China and India aren’t part of the 18-nation group. (

Historic climate change agreement signed in Paris

December 14, 2015. As many as 195 countries have signed a global climate change agreement at the Conference of the Parties 21 (COP21) held in Paris, France. The deal, which is termed as 'historic', adopted a 31 page legal text to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Under the terms of the deal, governments agreed to maintain global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to limit the increase to 1.5°C. As per the deal, which is expected to steer towards a sustainable and low carbon future, the participating countries are required to meet every five years in order to review their climate plans and set more ambitious targets to meet the target. Additionally, $100 bn is planned to be invested annually by the developed countries to tackle the climate change until 2025 when a new collective goal is scheduled to launch. EU said that a robust transparency and accountability system will track progress towards the long-term goal. Non-profit organization Carbon Trust said that the deal provides businesses, investors and cities the certainty required to accelerate efforts to tackle climate change. (

Ford to invest $4.5 bn in electrified vehicles by 2020

December 11, 2015. Ford Motor Co. said it’s investing $4.5 billion in electrified vehicles, responding to regulatory pressure with a bet on technologies that have struggled to attract buyers in the U.S. as fuel prices stay low. The automaker will add 13 electric cars and hybrids by 2020, rising to 40 percent of its lineup from 13 percent now, Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields said. The plans include a new Focus Electric car with fast-charge capability, Ford said. Ford’s spending plan comes even as cheap gasoline prices crimp U.S. sales of such models. Deliveries this year through November of Ford’s C-Max, Fusion and Lincoln MKZ hybrid versions tumbled 25 percent to 59,301, according to Autodata Corp. Sales slid 12 percent for Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius models, 23 percent for General Motors Co.’s Volt plug-in hybrid and 41 percent for Nissan Motor Co.’s battery-powered Leaf. Fields said plug-in hybrids will be the fastest-growing type of electric vehicles. The planned outlays for electrified vehicles will be its largest ever in a five-year period, Ford said. (

Japan ranks among worst performers in climate change efforts

December 10, 2015. Japan ranks among the worst performers in an index comparing the emissions of 58 countries and measures to protect the climate, far below other major emitters like the U.S. and India, according to a report by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe. Japan came in at 58th, just above Australia, according to the report. Denmark tops the list, though it ranks only fourth since the first three spots have been left open, according to the report. Japan fell three places from last year in the index, which was released and looks at five categories: carbon dioxide emissions level, changes in emissions from different sectors, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and climate policy. Japan scored “very poor,” the worst category among five, in terms of emissions, efficiency, and climate policy. The country has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2030 from 2013 levels, a goal that’s been criticized by environmental groups as too weak. Meanwhile, the U.S. improved its placing to 34th from 46th. (

Mitsui Engineering unit wins order for UK biomass power plant

December 9, 2015. Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S, a wholly owned unit of Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., and Danish boiler supplier Burmeister & Wain Energy A/S won an order for a biomass combined heat and power plant in Cramlington in northern England. The 28 MW plant, to be operational by the end of 2017, will supply power and heat to two pharmaceutical companies nearby and export the excess power to the national grid, Mitsui Engineering said. (

China offers bonus to coal power plants to meet emissions rules

December 9, 2015. Getting China's cash-strapped coal-fired power industry to comply with tough emissions rules and tackle choking smog that has recently blanketed the capital and other major cities will take incentives as well as fines. In a change in tack after years of fining rule-breaking firms, the government said it will pay bonuses from Jan. 1 to those meeting coal efficiency standards. The measures reflect increasing pressure on the world's biggest consumer of energy as leaders meet in Paris to hammer out a global climate deal and a new push to encourage companies to invest in clean, efficient technology to curb air pollution. Coal-fired power accounts for three-quarters of China's total generation capacity and is a major source of pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, but the country has struggled to enforce its rules on debt-laden generators as economic growth has slowed. Plants that open after Jan. 1 and meet the government's environmental requirements will get an 0.005 yuan per kilowatt hour on top of the basic grid tariff, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said. Those already in operation will get an extra 0.01 yuan per kilowatt hour, which would equate to about 42 million yuan ($6.5 million) if all thermal power output last year had been produced at plants meeting the coal efficiency standards. The higher tariffs will take effect in January and last until the end of 2017, when the government will reassess the rate, the NDRC said. The government said the country will cut emissions of major pollutants in the power sector by 60 percent by 2020 and reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants by 180 million tonnes. Beijing has spent billions of yuan creating a surveillance system to monitor companies around the clock. In 2013, the state launched a nationwide crackdown after the Ministry of Environmental Protection accused plants of trying to cut costs by turning off or manipulating emissions control equipment. (

US pledges $400 mn for climate to close rift with India

December 9, 2015. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pledged to double funding to countries struggling to adapt to climate change to more than $800 million, part of an effort to close differences with nations such as India over who must act to halt global warming. The announcement at the United Nations global warming talks in Paris was accompanied by criticism of the view promoted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that developing nations should be able to avoid many of the rules on verifying emissions reductions that will apply to industrialized ones. The remarks brought to the surface divisions at the climate conference involving 195 nations. The discussions due to conclude on Dec. 11 are aimed at restricting fossil-fuel emissions in all nations for the first time, expanding the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that applied to rich nations only. The biggest differences are over how to help poor nations pay for adapting to the impacts of climate change -- rising sea levels and more violent storms -- ratcheting up the ambition of carbon cuts, and what sort of rules should apply to developing nations. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius issued a 29-page draft text for envoys that narrowed many differences, leaving options open on the most controversial segments. (

China needs $389 bn a year for climate pledge

December 9, 2015. China needs to invest an average of about 2.5 trillion yuan ($389 billion) a year to achieve its goal of peak carbon emissions by 2030, a study found. To reach that target, investments in climate change need to grow by more than 4 percent each year to a peak of 2.56 trillion yuan in 2020, or an amount equivalent to 1.79 percent of China’s estimated economic output at that time, according to the study by the Research Center for Climate and Energy Finance under the Beijing-based Central University of Finance and Economics. Climate finance is in focus at the moment as United Nations climate negotiations continue in Paris. In June, China pledged to cut carbon emissions per unit of economic output by as much as 65 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 and to get 20 percent of its energy from non-fossil fuels. Investment would stabilize at about 2.5 trillion yuan annually in the decade through 2030 before declining to 1.5 trillion yuan by 2050 as the spending allows China to benefit from lower costs of clean technology and large-scale application, the study wrote. China’s climate financing will come from public funds from developed countries, national financial funding, international and domestic carbon markets, charities, traditional financial markets and direct investment through enterprises, according to the study. (


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