MonitorsPublished on Jan 16, 2016
Energy News Monitor | Volume XII; Issue 31

[India’s Energy Security: A Plea for Retrospectives]

                             “The strategy of pursuing all possible strategies recommended in the guide books of energy security seem to have achieved little more than scattering India’s resources and capabilities. There is a need to indulge in retrospective analysis of India’s energy forecasts and energy security strategies. But it will not be easy as audits that look into the past to ask “what have we done?” are a threat. No one will want to put money into such an exercise. On the other hand, planning for an unknown and probably unknowable future for the betterment of man is far more exciting…”

Energy News


The presence of private players in coal mining will improve efficiency of the sector!                                   


Low crude prices are the result of falling aggregate demand which is not good news for anyone!


As long as investors bet on the expendability of the Indian system and not on dependability of demand, power projects will always be exposed to risk!




·          India’s Energy Security: A Plea for Retrospectives


·          The Paris Agreement (Part II)


·          14th Petro India 2016 Conference


·          Renewable Energy Achievements & Targets for year 2022



·          ONGC aims to cut operational cost on falling crude oil prices

·          RIL rejects Shah panel role in gas dispute with ONGC

·          ONGC hydrates discovery may be 4 times bigger than RIL's gas find


·          Essar Oil offers ultra-low sulphur diesel in rare move

·          IOC to spend $600 mn on Paradip refinery upgrade

Transportation / Trade………………

·          MGL looking at lower prices for late night CNG customers

·          India's 2015 Iran oil imports fall by a quarter

·          Petrol, diesel sales down 25 percent in Delhi since odd­even scheme kicked in

Policy / Performance…………………

·          Centre asks states to reduce vat on jet fuel

·          Finance Minister brainstorms with secretaries on DBT scheme

·          Oil Ministry launches e-initiative to improve LPG customer service

·          Govt waives customs duty on goods for idle fields of ONGC, OIL

·          Indian crude basket price drops below $30 a barrel mark amid China currency woes

·          Indian refiners need to invest $4.5 bn to produce Euro VI fuel by 2020: Gadkari

·          Govt likely to give oil cess relief to producers

·          Gujarat govt slashes industrial PNG rates by ` 5 per cubic meter



·          Adani Power to invest ` 115 bn in Udupi Power

·          Dabhol power generation to be scaled up to 500 MW by January

·          6 GW power projects at high risk

·          First fast reactor plant coming up at Kalpakkam

·          Lanco Infratech arm starts 371 MW unit in Andhra Pradesh

·          Coal India arm MCL crosses 100 mn tonne output milestone

·          210 MW unit of Badarpur power plant to remain functional

·          3 UMPPs to go under hammer by March: Goyal

Transmission / Distribution / Trade……

·          India may raise coal imports as 2020 output goals seen stymied

·          Sterlite Grid gets letter of intent for Odisha project

·          MP joins small club of states supplying 10 GW in peak hours

·          India's coal imports fall for sixth straight month in December

Policy / Performance…………………

·          Good news for power consumers as discoms pass on benefit of cheap sourcing

·          CERC allows increase in electricity rate for Reliance Power’s Sasan UMPP

·          Govt to review status of 32 coal blocks

·          AP govt inks pacts with SPIC & China's Sany Group

·          Govt set to allow private companies in commercial coal mining

·          BHEL commissions two substations in Afghanistan

·          Govt bats for LED bulbs again, wants mass use



·          Ithaca sees production doubling in 2016 on Stella start-up

·          Dana Gas still waiting for $1.9 bn in Iraq Kurds dispute

·          Eni starts production from Mpungi field offshore Angola

·          PetroChina, Chevron Sichuan gas project in China starts output

·          Falkland explorers confirm oil discovery with Isobel re-drill

·          Greece's fledgling oil sector steps up production

·          Shell sees BG deal working with oil at $50 for 2 yrs

·          China goes underground to expand its strategic oil reserves


·          Gazprom Neft cancels plans to acquire Vietnam's refinery

·          Europe refiners rush to make more gasoline after diesel hangover

·          Petrobras gets waiver to boost output at Brazil RNEST refinery

Transportation / Trade…………

·          Bechtel to complete building the last 2 LNG trains on Curtis Island in 2016

·          Gazprom says Russian gas exports to Europe up 8 percent in 2015

·          Grand Mesa plans open season for Colorado-Oklahoma oil pipeline

·          Repair work completed on China's gas pipeline destroyed by landslide

·          Traders eye Alaskan oil exports to Asia as shipping ban ended

·          Ukraine doubled its gas imports from European Union in 2015

·          TransCanada seeks US$15 bn compensation for Keystone XL denial

·          Israeli firms in talks to buy natural gas from Leviathan

·          California governor declares LA-area gas leak an emergency

Policy / Performance………………

·          Pakistan seeks second LNG import terminal for 2017

·          Iran expects South Pars project to be fully operational by March 2018

·          Mexico regulator approves Pemex plan to drill new deepwater wells

·          US sees no relief from swelling oil glut until late 2017

·          Poland mulls O&G mergers to avoid hostile takeovers

·          Norway's Oil Minister says low price could trigger Lofoten exploration

·          Bolivia's YPFB says Argentina pledges to pay overdue gas bill



·          Norwegian company pulls out of power plant project in Nepal

·          US coal production declined by 10 percent in 2015 to 900 mt

·          ‘Nigeria has over 155 GW power generation deficit’

·          Egypt's Orascom construction says wins $420 mn power plant contract

·          New 1.4 GW coal-fired power project proposed in Chile

·          Colombia's El Quimbo hydro-power plant back in operation

·          PT PLN orders turbines for 880 MW CCGT project in Java

·          Southern encounters challenges in starting Kemper coal plant

Transmission / Distribution / Trade……

·          DTE Energy to install 90k advanced meters in St. Clair County

·          Germany's RWE sells Lynemouth power plant to EPH

Policy / Performance………………

·          New Brunswick govt says tests complete at nuclear power plant

·          Tanzania plans to list 49 percent of national power utility in 2016

·          Egypt grants conditional approval for 4.4 GW of coal-fired projects



·          India, Japan to focus on clean energy: Goyal

·          Suzlon Group bags second order from IPP in AP

·          Solar sector funding drops to $25.3 bn in 2015

·          Suzlon to enter solar energy sector in FY16

·          HC ruling puts state's solar power policy under scanner

·          Biogas mission proposes to take ‘green fuel’ to urban homes

·          Will exceed ` 36 bn loan disbursement this fiscal: IREDA

·          BSES discoms to call for reverse auction to procure renewable power

·          India needs to make silicon for solar power


·          US drivers may pay for next step in fight against climate change

·          Indonesia plans to create renewable special corporate body

·          Germany announces solar PV tariffs in third round of tender

·          EDF commissions 400 MW wind capacity in the US

·          RWE and DEWA sign deal for renewable energy innovation

·          US renewable energy mandates bring down fossil fuel use, power costs

·          UK wind power generation sets record in 2015



India’s Energy Security: A Plea for Retrospectives

Lydia Powell, Observer Research Foundation


he concept of energy security as it is used and interpreted in India and elsewhere is based on the epistemological assumption that energy will remain scarce, expensive and unreliable. The energy security strategies of India designed to address these ‘threats’ are therefore offensive in nature as they seek to maximise benefits in relation to other actors (nations). These strategies are not necessarily the direct consequence of these threats but the political interpretations of the treat (a process that is defined as securitisation in international relations theory).  They are essentially non-linear responses to the perceived threats. 

Recommendations by government and non-government agencies made in the last two decades towards building an energy secure India are largely responses to the threat of scarcity and uncertainty (in securing energy resources) derived from a wide range of academic theories. The recommendation to build relationships with oil producing countries and the recommendation to make equity investments in energy resources of producing countries (primarily oil & gas and to a lesser extent coal) are derived from realist approaches of international relations theory. The recommendation to invest in institutions such as regulatory bodies is from rational choice theories that argue that norms and regular practices build the basis for stability and security in economic relations. The recommendation to liberalize the sector and allow the market to set the price of energy is derived from liberal economic theories which see the market as the best means of mediating imbalances in supply and demand of scarce resources such as energy. The recommendation to strengthen maritime forces in order to secure sea lanes of transport of energy is derived from critical (non-liberal) theories that see energy primarily as a weapon of national security.    

Econometric models that are used for energy planning in India are also based on the premise that energy resources will remain scarce, expensive and unreliable. They forecast energy demand as a function of the growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) and then proceed to recommend ways and means to secure the scarce, expensive and unreliable energy resources in the light of exponential growth in demand for energy. The underlying cornucopian assumption of uninterrupted growth and progress is embedded in these strategies.  

Studies on India’s energy security that emerged from the west in the last decade amplified threat perceptions.  The unprecedented energy demand from India and China was perceived to unsettle the global energy order hitherto dominated by the United States. Until the early 2000s, the United States was a large and growing oil market, the ultimate dream of OPEC producers. Oil imports of the United States were equal to the total imports of China and Japan. The United States was the only player others needed to interact with as it had sufficient market and military power to induce change in the energy system if necessary. China and India were portrayed as actors that could not be more different. Their demand was supposed to be growing at a time when there are perceptions of scarcity in resource availability and constraints on resource use and is therefore seen to be ‘challenging’ rather than ‘driving’ the global market. China and India did not participate in systems such as the International Energy Agency (IEA) that coordinated cooperation among oil importers. The new ‘energy silk-road’ between oil producers in the Middle East and oil consumers in Asia was said ‘unwelcome nexus’ in the industrialized world.  Some saw a resource war materialising between India and China primarily in the context of oil.  Studies from the west also argued that India will face a coal crisis around 2020 as India’s geological reserves of coal were supposedly over-estimated.  Strong recommendations arguing for a shift towards renewables and nuclear energy were made probably with the ulterior motive of weaning India away from coal.

Few if any of these threats have materialised. Energy resources are anything but scarce today. The unfolding collapse in commodity prices in general and energy prices in particular make scarcity and high prices inaccurate assumptions. The assumption that oil supply from the Persian Gulf will remain uncertain and undependable is also questionable.  In the past, political turmoil in the region similar to what is happening now on account of the growing power of non-state actors would have sent oil prices sky-rocketing. Now oil prices seem to have developed an inverse relationship with political turmoil in the region: oil prices fall as turmoil intensifies.  Furthermore, taking on India on a resource war is likely to be the last thing on China’s mind today. Lastly India does not appear to be on the verge of a crisis on coal supply as predicted. 

The current trends that contradict expectations may reverse or change course but they present an opportunity for India to revisit the underlying assumptions of scarcity and uncertainty that are embedded in its energy security strategies. India’s energy forecasts assume that underlying structural relationships in the economy will vary gradually. In reality discontinuities and disruptive events have changed underlying economic and behavioural relationships. Assumptions about human behaviour may also prove to be inaccurate.  Strategies and forecasts are captive of the time of strategizing but perhaps we do not realise it. The time of strategizing was a time of high energy prices and perceived scarcity. The supply oriented strategies that place energy in the context of scarcity seem to be misplaced in the current context. Strategies of building special relationships with oil producers or those of making equity investments in hydrocarbon resources seem to have contributed almost nothing to reducing India’s exposure to oil price volatility or facilitated a reduction in the oil intensity of its economy. The focus on gross primary energy rather than useful energy appears to have marginalised the importance of energy efficiency. The direct correlation with GDP has given rise to the feeling that any economic activity associated with GDP increases is important irrespective of its contribution to human wellbeing. The strategy of pursuing all possible strategies recommended in the guide books of energy security seem to have achieved little more than scattering India’s resources and capabilities. There is a need to indulge in retrospective analysis of India’s energy forecasts and energy security strategies. But it will not be easy as audits that look into the past to ask “what have we done?” are a threat. No one will want to put money into such an exercise. On the other hand, planning for an unknown and probably unknowable future for the betterment of man is far more exciting. It is also politically viable and will attract funding easily. However we must make an effort to look back if we want to see further into the future.       

Views are those of the author                     

Author can be contacted at [email protected]



The Paris Agreement (Part II)

Continued from Volume XII, Issue 30

Adaptation (Article 7)


n sub-paragraph 1 of Article 7, Parties agreed to “establish the global goal on adaptation of enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, with a view to contributing to sustainable development and ensuring an adequate adaptation response in the context of the temperature goal referred to in Article 2.”

Developing countries had been pushing for a long term goal or vision on adaptation to ensure that there is parity between adaptation and mitigation and to avoid having only a mitigation centric-goal linked to the temperature goal (of holding the rise in temperature to well below 2 degree C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degree C.). This goal also links the adaptation response to the temperature goal.

In relation to the global goal on adaptation, developing countries had during the negotiations proposed “an assessment of the adequacy of support” from developed countries to developing countries as well as the “recognition of increased adaptation needs and associated costs in the light of mitigation efforts…”

What eventually found way in the adaptation section (in sub-paragraph 14 of Article 7) is the reference to the global stocktake (in Article 14) which states that the stocktake “shall” “review the adequacy and effectiveness of adaptation and support provided for adaptation” as well as “review the overall progress made in achieving progress made in achieving the global goal on adaptation…”

According to sub-paragraph 3, “the adaptation efforts of developing country Parties shall be recognised…”, with the modalities to be developed for such recognition.

Developing countries during the negotiations wanted to ensure that the adaptation efforts they are undertaking with or without international support is recognised as their contribution to climate action.

In sub-paragraph 7, Parties agreed to “strengthen their cooperation on enhancing action on adaptation, taking into account the Cancun Adaptation Framework, including with regard to:

(a) Sharing information, good practices, experiences and lessons learned, including, as appropriate, as these relate to science, planning, policies and implementation in relation to adaptation actions;

(b) Strengthening institutional arrangements, including those under the Convention that serve this Agreement, to support the synthesis of relevant information and knowledge, and the provision of technical support and guidance to Parties;

(c) Strengthening scientific knowledge on climate, including research, systematic observation of the climate system and early warning systems, in a manner that informs climate services and supports decision-making;

(d) Assisting developing country Parties in identifying effective adaptation practices, adaptation needs, priorities, support provided and received for adaptation actions and efforts, and challenges and gaps, in a manner consistent with encouraging good practices;

(e) Improving the effectiveness and durability of adaptation actions.”

Sub-paragraph 9 provides that: “Each Party shall, as appropriate, engage in adaptation planning processes and the implementation of actions, including the development or enhancement of relevant plans, policies and/or contributions, which may include:

(a) The implementation of adaptation actions, undertakings and/or efforts;

(b) The process to formulate and implement national adaptation plans;

(c) The assessment of climate change impacts and vulnerability, with a view to formulating nationally determined prioritized actions, taking into account vulnerable people, places and ecosystems;

(d) Monitoring and evaluating and learning from adaptation plans, policies, programmes and actions; and

(e) Building the resilience of socioeconomic and ecological systems, including through economic diversification and sustainable management of natural resources.”

Parties also agreed to in sub-paragraph 10 that “Each Party should, as appropriate, submit and update periodically an adaptation communication, which may include its priorities, implementation and support needs, plans and actions, without creating any additional burden for developing country Parties.”

Also noteworthy is sub-paragraph 11 which states that “The adaptation communication referred to in paragraph 10 of this Article shall be, as appropriate, submitted and updated periodically, as a component of or in conjunction with other communications or documents, including a national adaptation plan, a nationally determined contribution as referred to in Article 4, paragraph 2, and/or a national communication.”

According to sub-paragraph 12, “The adaptation communications referred to in paragraph 10 of this Article shall be recorded in a public registry maintained by the secretariat.” Sub-paragraph 13 provides that “Continuous and enhanced international support shall be provided to developing country Parties for the implementation of paragraphs 7, 9, 10 and 11 of this Article, in accordance with the provisions of Articles 9, 10 and 11.”

Loss and Damage (Article 8)

One major victory for developing countries is the recognition of ‘loss and damage’ as a separate article to the Paris Agreement, distinct from ‘adaptation’. Developing countries had been arguing very hard for ‘loss and damage’ to be separately recognised. (The term ‘loss and damage’ refers broadly to the entire range of damage and permanent loss associated with climate change impacts in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change that can no longer be avoided through mitigation nor can be avoided through adaptation.)

The anchoring of ‘loss and damage’ as a distinct article in the Agreement came at a costly price when a deal was sealed behind closed doors between the United States (US), European Union (EU) and some Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries (LDC) in the final hours, prior to the draft agreement being released to Parties for consideration and adoption.

The compromise reached is found in paragraph 52 of the decision text which provides that Parties agree “that Article 8 of the Agreement does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation.”

According to one source, the deal was between the US, EU, Maldives, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu. It seems that most developing countries were completely unaware of the deal being done until it was too late. According to the same source, the deal might have also been linked with getting reference to 1.5 degree C in the long-term temperature goal in the Paris Agreement in Article 2.1 (a).

In a strong retort to this compromise, Nicaraguan Minister Paul Oquist at the closing plenary of COP21 on 12 December after the adoption of the Agreement, called for the deletion of paragraph 52. Referring to the low level of ambition of the intended nationally determined contributions, the Minister said that that “this would mean giving 3 degree C temperature increase to our grandchildren and they are notable to ask for compensation and we strip them of any legal rights for legal action for the liability of other countries that caused the damage.”

The Nicaraguan Minister’s call for deletion was of course not heeded and the COP 21 President responded to say that his remarks will be noted in the report of the meeting.  According to several experts who have been following the UNFCCC negotiations, the clause in paragraph 52 on exclusion of liability and compensation does not mean that financial resources cannot be allocated through the Financial Mechanism of the Convention and the Agreement for developing countries to seek funds to address the adverse impacts related to loss and damage.

The sub-paragraphs of Article 8 are as follows:

“1. Parties recognize the importance of averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including extreme weather events and slow onset events, and the role of sustainable development in reducing the risk of loss and damage.

2. The Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts shall be subject to the authority and guidance of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement and may be enhanced and strengthened, as determined by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement.

3. Parties should enhance understanding, action and support, including through the Warsaw International Mechanism, as appropriate, on a cooperative and facilitative basis with respect to loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change.

4. Accordingly, areas of cooperation and facilitation to enhance understanding, action and support may include:

(a) Early warning systems;

(b) Emergency preparedness;

(c) Slow onset events;

(d) Events that may involve irreversible and permanent loss and damage;

(e) Comprehensive risk assessment and management;

(f) Risk insurance facilities, climate risk pooling and other insurance solutions;

(g) Non-economic losses;

(h) Resilience of communities, livelihoods and ecosystems.

5. The Warsaw International Mechanism shall collaborate with existing bodies and expert groups under the Agreement, as well as relevant organizations and expert bodies outside the Agreement.”

to be continued.......

Courtesy: Third World Network



14th Petro India 2016 Conference

“Oil Price Volatility: Consequences & Policy Responses”

to be held on 2 February 2016, 8:30 AM To 6:00 PM, at Hotel Shangri La, New Delhi

to confirm participation please contact

Mr. Akhilesh Sati

Observer Research Foundation, 20, Rouse Avenue, New Delhi- 110 002

Tel: 011-4352 0020 Extn. 2102, Fax: 011-4352 0003

Email: [email protected]


Renewable Energy Achievements & Targets for year 2022

Akhilesh Sati, Observer Research Foundation

Region-wise Targets (in MW) for 2022





Biomass Power




















North Eastern



All India*





*It also includes A & N Islands, Lakshadweep & Other (New States).

Achievements & Targets (in MW)

^It also includes Waste to Power (127 MW).

Source: Ministry of New & Renewable Energy.




ONGC aims to cut operational cost on falling crude oil prices

January 12, 2016. With oil prices sliding to 12-year low, Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) plans to cut operational cost by at least 10 percent by prioritizing activities and putting off the less-important ones to future. ONGC plans to hire a consultant to suggest cost cuts and controlling operating expenditure as Brent falling to $31 per barrel almost equals to the company's cost of production of every barrels of crude oil. The company's cost of producing every barrel of crude oil is $36 and after including return on investment as well as taxes and levies, the cost comes to $51.52 per barrel. The slump in oil prices to 12-year low will means that ONGC pays less royalty and assuming the government lowers its ` 4,500 per tons burden of cess, the cost of production will come to about $30 per barrel. This compares to realisation of $30-32 per barrel in the current quarter, just about squaring off the cost. ONGC produces 24 million tons of crude oil annually which is sold at international parity price. It loses ` 900 crore in revenue on every $1 per barrel drop in oil price. The company had planned a capital expenditure of ` 36,249 crore in the current fiscal and another ` 34,000-35,000 crore in the next. ONGC's gross billing for crude oil it produced in the first half of the current fiscal was $57.33 per barrel as compared to $105.75 for the first half of last fiscal. The net realisation after subsidy payout was $53.72 per barrel. In the third quarter, its gross billing was about $43 per barrel. ONGC is hoping to get exempted from paying subsidy on LPG and kerosene after the oil price drop. Upstream firms like ONGC sell crude oil to refiners at a discount so as to allow them to sell cooking fuel at government controlled rate. ONGC is also hoping that the ` 4,500 per ton cess on domestically produced crude oil is made ad valorem to help cut the statutory outgo by $6 per barrel to $8-9. (

RIL rejects Shah panel role in gas dispute with ONGC

January 11, 2016. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has disputed the one-man AP Shah Committee constituted by government to decide on the firm's KG gas dispute with ONGC, saying the panel has no legal basis and only arbitration can decide on such disputes, as per the contract. RIL said the committee cannot quantify the compensation to be paid to ONGC for alleged gas flow of the state-owned firm's KG blocks to neighbouring fields of RIL and decided not to cooperate. State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), on the other hand, is cooperating and wants the panel to fix compensation and penalty for the natural gas that flowed from its Krishna Godavari basin blocks in Bay of Bengal to neighbouring KG-D6 fields of RIL. It rejected contentions that the cost incurred by RIL in setting up production facilities at KG-D6 will have to be first deducted before any money is due to it, saying the private company had invested money on the basis of discovered and producible gas resources it projected in its block. None of the investments made was for producing ONGC gas. Moreover, all that investment incurred has been recovered by RIL since April 2009 from sale of gas, 15% of which has now been established by an independent consultant to have come from ONGC's blocks. RIL feels the defined process in law is not being followed in the current matter and that disputes under the signed Production Sharing Contract (PSC) have to be referred to arbitration. (

ONGC hydrates discovery may be 4 times bigger than RIL's gas find

January 9, 2016. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has struck a gas reserve in the form of hydrates - otherwise known as 'fire ice' - off the Andhra coast that could turn out to be four times larger in terms of yield than Reliance Industries Ltd's discovery of 2002, India's biggest so far. The discovery validates the government's stress on finding alternative sources of energy and efforts to attract investments in the exploration business. It would also be a boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he moves to promote a gas-based economy in tune with India's commitment to mitigate climate change. Irrespective of the current depressed oil and gas price scenario, which makes fresh investments unviable, the hydrates discovery would put India back in reckoning in terms of prospectivity. It would also return the spotlight on the eastern offshore, described as `India's gas bowl' and `India's North Sea' after Reliance's gas discovery. The region lost its glory in the aftermath of output falling from Reliance's field. The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, the oil ministry's technical arm co-ordinating the gas hydrates programme, said the discoveries have been made in Blocks 982, D3, D6 and D9 in the Krishna-Godavari basin, off the Andhra coast. These blocks are 30 Kms south-west of Reliance industries Ltd's natural gas block KG-D6. Technology for producing gas from hydrates is still in pilot stage - though considerable success in Japan, US and Canada gives hope. Indeed, Japan has declared it would start commercial gas production from its offshore hydrates from 2020 after proving commerciality of the technology by 2018. ONGC intends to benefit from Japan's experience and technology by starting pilot production from its discovery from 2017. (


Essar Oil offers ultra-low sulphur diesel in rare move

January 11, 2016. Essar Oil Ltd has offered ultra-low sulphur diesel for a mini-term contract in a rare sale of the clean fuel, traders said. This was likely the first time the refiner is offering diesel with 10-parts per million (ppm) sulphur, from its usual sale of the less environmentally-friendly 500ppm sulphur diesel, traders said, though this could not be confirmed. The move follows an upgrade of a gasoil unit at its 400,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Vadinar refinery in India's western Gujarat state in October, last year. The company had converted its vacuum gasoil hydrotreater unit to mild hydrocracker unit, which allows for production of cleaner diesel. In a bid to combat rising pollution in Asia's third-largest economy, India will go straight to Euro 6 gasoline and diesel by 2020 from the current Euro 4 fuels in major cities and Euro 3 fuels across the rest of the country. This means refiners will have to step up investments in upgrading their gasoline and diesel quality. Currently, India's Reliance is the only refiner to export the 10ppm sulphur diesel from the country, which is mainly sold to Europe or Africa, traders said. Essar Oil offered a 65,000-tonne cargo a month of either 10ppm sulphur diesel or 500ppm sulphur diesel for loading from Vadinar over April to September, a tender document showed. Buyers also have the option of bidding for 38,000 tonnes of 500ppm sulphur gasoil and 40,000 tonnes of 10ppm sulphur diesel during April to September, according to the document. The tender closes on Jan. 14 and is valid until Jan. 21. (

IOC to spend $600 mn on Paradip refinery upgrade

January 10, 2016. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) aims to invest ` 4,000 cr ($600 million) in upgrading its newest refinery in the eastern part of the country after the central government decided to bring forward by four years the introduction of road vehicle fuels which are compliant with Euro VI emission standards to April 2020, the company said. The 300,000 barrels per day refinery, which was commissioned last year, was designed to produce Euro IV and Euro V-compliant fuels. But the government's decision to bring forward the introduction of Euro VI fuels to combat rising pollution in Asia's third-largest economy requires installation of some new units and upgrades of existing ones. IOC needs to add facilities like Isomerisation, Diesel Hydrotreater and a Hydrogen units to produce Euro VI compliant fuels at the Paradip refinery in Odisha, G. S. Singh, the company said. IOC would commission at the refinery a reformer, and vacuum gas oil hydrotreater this month, and an alkylation unit next month. The ` 345.55 billion refinery is IOC's most advanced plant that can process the heaviest and dirtiest crude oil available at a cheaper rate.

The refinery is expected to run at up to 60% capacity in the current fiscal year to March 31 as some units have yet to come online. The crude processing capacity could rise to 80% once other new units are commissioned. It will operate at full capacity from the fiscal year 2017/18, when its gross refining margins could go up significantly to $12-$14 per barrel. The refinery to account for 20-30 % of IOC's overall profit then. India's fuel demand is rising and the International Energy Agency has said the country could become the most important driver of energy demand growth in the world in the years to come. Paradip refinery will mainly cater for markets in eastern and southern India, currently fed by fuel sourced from other local refiners and imports. (

Transportation / Trade…………

MGL looking at lower prices for late night CNG customers

January 12, 2016. Mahanagar Gas Ltd (MGL), the sole supplier of compressed natural gas (CNG) in the megapolis, said it may bring in differential pricing of fuel for late night consumers. MGL said the utilisation level of the nearly 15,000 km of gas pipelines across the country is a low 40-50 percent. In Delhi, which is the largest market, only about 40 percent is the demand over supply. Mirroring the crude oil glut and the resultant fall in the prices which is down almost 75 percent global natural gas prices are also down massively. MGL said the city would continue to add close to 15 CNG stations every year to make sure that consumers have sufficient availability of the fuel. According to MGL, natural gas constitutes 7 percent to energy basket now and expressed the hope will go up to 20 percent in next few years. (

India's 2015 Iran oil imports fall by a quarter

January 7, 2016. India's oil imports from Iran fell by about a quarter in 2015 as refiners slowed purchases early in the year to keep imports within the limits of sanctions, preliminary tanker arrival data shows. Western sanctions against Iran's controversial nuclear programme limit the Gulf country's oil exports to 1-1.1 million barrels per day (bpd), with buyers such as India curbing annual purchases to 220,000 bpd. India's December oil imports from Iran were the highest in six months. Asian imports of Iranian oil have fallen as most of Iran's biggest crude buyers held off from increasing purchases after a July agreement that would grant relief to Iran from sanctions early this year if it curbs its nuclear programme. India, Iran's biggest oil client after China, shipped in 208,300 bpd of oil and condensate in calendar 2015 compared with 276,800 bpd in 2014, the data showed. New Delhi's imports of oil from Iran are expected to rise in the next fiscal year, beginning in April, when western sanctions are expected to be eased against Tehran.

Tehran was India's seventh-biggest supplier of oil in the 2014/15 fiscal year, down from the No. 2 spot before sanctions. A drop in purchases of Iranian oil helped boost exports to India by rival producers Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Indian refiners, including Reliance Industries, have shown interest in raising imports from Iran, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said. Reliance, which operates the world's biggest refining complex in India, halted imports of Iranian oil in 2010 under pressure from sanctions. (

Petrol, diesel sales down 25 percent in Delhi since odd­even scheme kicked in

January 7, 2016. Petrol and diesel sales have dropped nearly a quarter in Delhi in the week following the launch of the odd­even road rationing policy that allows private cars to ply on city roads only on alternate days as per the last digit in their registration numbers, according to petrol pump owners. A petrol pump owner said the volume at his station at Karkardooma in East Delhi has fallen nearly 25% since the odd­even formula was rolled out on January 1. Cars account for about 40% of his sales and bikes for the balance. The odd­even rule doesn't restrict bikes. Delhi has about 400 filling stations, with each selling 470,000 litres of petrol and diesel on average every month. The Delhi government is testing the odd­even formula only till January 15 and so it is unlikely that the monthly volume will drop dramatically. But any loss in business for petrol pump owners also means a loss for state­run fuel retailing corporations such as Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum, as well as the government which has a big stake in fuel sales in the form of duties. (

Policy / Performance………

Centre asks states to reduce vat on jet fuel

January 12, 2016. The Centre has asked state governments to reduce the value-added tax on jet fuel, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said. The Civil Aviation Ministry has written to state governments asking them to reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) -- which accounts for a significant of an airline's overall operating costs. Andhra Pradesh is reaping the benefits of reducing VAT on jet fuel, he said. (

Finance Minister brainstorms with secretaries on DBT scheme

January 11, 2016. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley held a meeting with secretaries and the CEA to discuss ways to streamline the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme for ensuring that only the needy get the subsidies. The government transfers subsidy to LPG users as well as to beneficiaries of scholarships and pension schemes directly to their bank accounts under the DBT. From April 1, kerosene subsidy too will be transferred directly to beneficiary accounts. DBT for kerosene will help curtail subsidy outgo for the cooking fuel which in 2014-15 was about ` 24,799 crore. The focus is to remove the last mile bottlenecks with regard to implementation of the DBT scheme. The meeting comes ahead of the Budget, to be unveiled by Jaitley on February 29. Streamlining of DBT would help reduce government expenditure on subsidies and contain fiscal deficit without sacrificing the interest of poor. The government is looking to bring down the fiscal deficit to 3.5 percent of GDP in the next fiscal from 3.9 percent estimated in 2014-15. (

Oil Ministry launches e-initiative to improve LPG customer service

January 9, 2016. Oil Ministry has launched an online initiative to seek suggestions from LPG consumers across the country, which will help in providing efficient and friendly service. Two online discussion forums - Citizen-Friendly Services and Increasing LPG Coverage in the Country - have been launched and are available on myGov.In and mylpg.In. The initiative is part of steps being taken to observe 2016 as the 'Year of LPG Consumers'. (

Govt waives customs duty on goods for idle fields of ONGC, OIL

January 8, 2016. The government has waived customs duty on import of goods for producing oil and gas from 69 idle fields of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) that will be auctioned this year. In a notification, the Revenue Department said nil customs duty will apply to goods imported "in connection with petroleum operations undertaken under specified contracts under the Marginal Field Policy (MFP)". The Union Cabinet had on September 2 last year approved MFP to bring idle fields of ONGC and OIL to production at the earliest so as to augment domestic production of oil and gas. ONGC and OIL could not monetise the fields for years due to various reasons such as isolated locations, small size, prohibitive development costs, technological constraints and unfavourable fiscal regime. The policy provides for a single licence to be bid out to operators to explore and extract all forms of hydrocarbon resources including conventional oil and gas as well as unconventional resources like coal-bed methane (CBM), shale gas or oil and gas hydrates. The current policy allows exemption from customs duty for goods imported by an Indian or foreign company in connection with petroleum operations or coal bed methane operations undertaken after April 1, 1998 under New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) or after April 1, 2011 under CBM Policy. For the MFP, the notification said the duty will be exempt for operations undertaken "on or after the 14th day of October, 2015 in terms of the MFP". The government intends to auction the 69 fields on a new revenue sharing model and liberalised terms including pricing and marketing freedom. The 69 small and marginal fields holding 89 million tonne of oil and gas resources will be given to explorers offering the maximum revenue from hydrocarbon produced to the government. The government will allow companies to sell oil as well as natural gas produced from these fields at market price and with no restriction on who they sell the produce to. While oil is priced at global benchmark currently, a complex international hub based formula determines gas price, which is roughly half of the rate at which India imports gas. The new revenue sharing regime will replace the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) model where oil and gas blocks are awarded to those firms which show they will do maximum work. All their investments can then be recovered from sale of oil and gas before sharing profits with the government. This model was criticised by CAG which said it encouraged companies to keep raising cost so as to postpone higher share of profits to the government. (

Indian crude basket price drops below $30 a barrel mark amid China currency woes

January 7, 2016. The Indian basket of crude oils dived sharply to the $30 a barrel mark as sweet grade UK Brent prices fell trade to levels last seen in 2004, pulled down this time by a falling Chinese currency and a second emergency halt in China's stock trading this week that spooked Asian markets. The Indian basket, composed of 73 percent sour grade Dubai and Oman crudes and the rest by Brent, closed at $31.33 per barrel of 159 litres, falling from $32.51 on the previous trading day. Its previous lower came in February 2003, when the price was $31.26 a barrel, after having fallen to $29.59 in January. Marking a 13-year low, the price of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) basket of twelve crudes stood at $29.71 a barrel, compared to $31.21 the previous day, the organisation said. China's service activity grew at a slower pace in December, fuelling worries about a slowdown in the world's second biggest oil consuming economy. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met global oil and gas experts here to discuss ways of boosting investments in the exploration and skill development at a time of low oil prices. (

Indian refiners need to invest $4.5 bn to produce Euro VI fuel by 2020: Gadkari

January 6, 2016. Indian refiners need to invest ` 300 billion ($4.5 billion) to produce Euro VI complaint fuel, Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said. India has advanced the date for country-wide implementation of Euro VI compliant fuels by four years to April 1, 2020, in an effort to curb pollution. Pollution levels in Indian cities have often been compared to China's Beijing. A WHO study in 2014 said India's capital city New Delhi had the worst air quality out of the 1,600 cities surveyed worldwide. (

Govt likely to give oil cess relief to producers

January 6, 2016. The government is set to reduce the tax burden on production of crude oil, which now attracts a cess of ` 4,500 a tonne, to give relief to oil producers grappling with the drop in prices and boost flagging private investment in the sector. At the current rate, the cess works out to $9.6 a barrel or a third of the price realized. Seven barrels make a tonne. While the petroleum ministry has recommended switching the cess currently levied at a specific rate per tonne to a more flexible ad valorem rate that will move with the price realized, the finance ministry is ascertaining the profitability of oil companies and how much the industry’s ability to invest has been impaired. One of the options under consideration is to merely lower the rate of the current specific duty, which is an easier task. Upstream oil companies and industry chambers have sought a 5-7% cess on the value of the crude price, saying the current high tax burden is a disincentive to further investment and makes many producing fields unviable. Besides the cess, there is a ` 50/tonne national calamity duty on crude. The government is also looking at how much investment oil producers like Reliance Industries Ltd, Cairn India and Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd (ONGC) have made when they benefited from high crude oil prices between 2010 and 2014. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) said that globally, explorers strike oil in an average of three wells out of 10 drilled. Besides, replenishing output from maturing fields requires several times the cost of initial production.

When oil was expensive in the four years up to 2014, the government had to find resources to subsidize the retail price of petrol, diesel and cooking gas, which were then under the administered price mechanism. Also, refiners-cum-retailers IOC, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd were selling products at government-fixed prices, incurring losses. Crude oil producers, who at that time sold a barrel at around $100 to domestic and foreign refineries, were the healthier segment in the oil industry value chain and so the government imposed higher taxes on them. From mid-2014, that trend reversed, making crude oil producers the most vulnerable section of the industry. Taking advantage of the fall in prices of finished products like petrol and diesel, the finance ministry has already raised taxes seven times since November 2014, leading to an increase in excise duty of ` 10.2 on petrol and ` 9.97 on diesel. (

Gujarat govt slashes industrial PNG rates by ` 5 per cubic meter

January 6, 2016. The Gujarat government announced reduction of ` 5 per cubic meter of PNG (Piped Natural Gas) being supplied to over 2,800 small and medium enterprises in the state. The reduction in PNG price by Gujarat Gas Ltd will come into effect in two phases. In the first phase, reduction of ` 3 in current price has been implemented with effect from January 1. In the second phase, a reduction of ` 2 per cubic meter will come into effect from April 1. With this reduction in price, small and medium industries will save ` 623 crore on their PNG consumption bill every year. (



Adani Power to invest ` 115 bn in Udupi Power

January 12, 2016. Adani Power, which acquired Udupi Power Corporation (UPCL) from Lanco Infratech early last year, is set to expand its capacity to 2,800 MW from the present 1,200 MW at an estimated investment of ` 11,500 crore. The company plans to set up two more units of 800 MW each near Udupi to raise capacity. UPCL, for the first phase of the project, had borrowed 76% of the project cost of ` 5,800 crore from a consortium of bankers led by Power Finance Corporation. Adani Power acquired UPCL from Lanco Infratech at an enterprise valuation of ` 6,300 crore in one of the biggest deals in power sector. Adani took over ` 4,000 crore debt of UPCL, while paying out another ` 2,000 crore cash to Lanco. Currently, UPCL is generating 1,200 MW thermal power using imported coal at Nandikur near Udupi in Karnataka and the entire power is supplied to electricity companies in the state. UPCL had signed power purchase agreement with Karnataka to sell 90% of generated power and with Punjab for 10%. (

Dabhol power generation to be scaled up to 500 MW by January

January 12, 2016. Ratnagiri Gas & Power Private Limited (RGPPL), which supplies 290 Mw of power from its Dabhol plant to the railways, will increase generation to 500 MW by the end of January. The railways have sought the increased offtake and are seeking approval from the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) for this. RGPPL, promoted by NTPC and GAIL to take over and revive the 1,967 MW plant of Dabhol Power Company, had restored generation, almost two years after the project had shut down. The resumption became possible after RGPPL received gas through a reverse bidding process undertaken by the Centre. The company then signed a power purchase agreement with the railways to sell electricity at a per unit tariff of under ` 5. The company had not received offers from other buyers and power generation would be scaled up in due course. (

6 GW power projects at high risk

January 11, 2016. Nearly 46,000 MW of power projects with a loan exposure pegged at around ` 2.1 lakh crore in the country, are at high risk as they do not have any strong sponsor company support, Assocham­CRISIL joint study said. Of this 46,000 MW, nearly 36,000 MW are coal­based and about 10,000 MW are gasbased, it said that two­thirds of around ` 2.1 lakh crore loans to these projects are lent by public sector banks. The study has classified coal­based projects into three buckets of risk ­ offtake, fuel availability, and aggressive bidding. The risk is highest where lenders are exposed to projects that were bid so aggressively that there is a question mark over their viability. Gas­based projects, on the other hand, are weak due to the lack of fuel availability, the study revealed. (

First fast reactor plant coming up at Kalpakkam

January 10, 2016. The country’s first Fast Reactor Fuel Cycle Facility (FRFCP) is coming up at Kalpakkam at a cost of ` 9,600 crore, said S.A.V. Satya Murty, director of Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam. Fast Breeder Reactors come in stage II. The third stage comprises thorium based reactors. He said that nuclear power, which is a clean and green source, is an inevitable option for India. He said the estimated coal reserves in the country was 200 billion tonnes, all of which cannot be used for electricity generation alone and was also required by steel and chemical industry. (

Lanco Infratech arm starts 371 MW unit in Andhra Pradesh

January 9, 2016. Lanco Kondapalli Power Ltd, a subsidiary of Lanco Infratech, has operationalised a 371 MW unit of Kondapalli Power Project at Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. A 371 MW unit of the power project had already been made operational in August last year. This combined cycle gas-based power project is being developed in three phases. (

Coal India arm MCL crosses 100 mn tonne output milestone

January 7, 2016. Coal India arm Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) said it has crossed 100 million tonne production milestone and is taking steps to achieve the target of 150 million tonne output for the current fiscal. The company had crossed 100 million tonne dispatch of coal to its various consumers, primarily power producers, it said. MCL had produced 121 million tonnes of coal during 2014­15. Coal India accounts for over 80 percent of domestic coal production. The government has set a production target of 550 million tonne for the PSU for the current fiscal. Coal India missed the production target for 2014­15 by 3 percent, recording an output of 494.23 million tonnes. The government has set one billion tonne production goal for Coal India Ltd (CIL) by 2020. (

210 MW unit of Badarpur power plant to remain functional

January 6, 2016. A 210 MW unit of the Badarpur thermal power plant, which was served a closure notice by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), will remain functional as it "meets" the emission norms. The decision, taken by the Delhi government on December 31, assumes significance as it was one of the power plants identified as major polluters and asked to stop operations on December 8. However, four other units of the coal­based plant, run by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), and the Rajghat plant will remain shut until March 15, 2016. NTPC had said that the functioning of the plant, that "meets pollution norms", was essential to meet Delhi's power needs, and that even the State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC) places demands for power to it. Of the five units of the plant, three are capable of producing 95 MW each and the rest 210 MW each. NTPC had also said that while it was earlier asked to switch to cleaner fuel like gas, it could not do so due to "unavailability" of the same. DPCC stipulates that thermal power plants shall not emit particulate matters more than 50 micrograms per cubic metre. The decision to shut the Badarpur and the Rajghat power plants was part of a series of measures, including the odd­even measure, proposed by the AAP government to combat the menace of rising air pollution in the city. (

3 UMPPs to go under hammer by March: Goyal

January 6, 2016. Government will auction three ultra mega power projects (UMPPs) by March, including Tilaiya and Cheyyur entailing investments of ` 80,000 crore, Power Minister Piyush Goyal has said. The investment for an UMPP of 4,000 MW has been revised from ` 20,000 crore to about ` 27,000 crore each recently on basis of rise in the price of coal and land. The bidding for Tilaiya UMPP in Jharkhand is expected next month as the 18 procurers of power across 10 states from the project have agreed in­principle to accept the termination letter served by Anil Ambani­led Reliance Power. Reliance Power had served a notice to terminate the contract for the project in April last year due to inordinate delays in land acquisition. Reliance Power, in August 2009, had won rights to set up a 3,960 MW power plant at Hazaribagh in Jharkhand after bidding a levellised tariff of ` 1.77 per unit, but couldn't start work on the project as the state government had not provided the required land even after more than five years. Jharkhand Integrated Power Ltd (JIPL), a special purpose vehicle created for implementing the project, had signed PPA with 18 power offtakers in 10 states for 25 years.  The project was based on captive coal blocks, for which coal was to be sourced from Kerendari BC coal mine block. The total land requirement for the project was over 17,000 acres. Government had aborted bidding for Cheyyur (Tamil Nadu) and Bedabahal (Odisha) due tepid private sector response in January last year. The private firms, which had participated in the first round of bidding for both the projects, withdrew their bids citing difficulties in securing finances for these projects. For the Tamil Nadu UMPP, the private companies in the fray were Adani Power, CLP India, Jindal Steel & power, JSW Energy, Sterlite Energy and Tata Power. Of these, four bought the Request for Proposal document but decided not to go ahead further in the process. The Odisha UMPP saw nine interested bidders, including Adani Power, CLP India, GMR Energy, Jindal Steel and Power, JSW Energy and Sterlite Energy. After the private companies pulled out, only NTPC and NHPC were left for bidding. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade…

India may raise coal imports as 2020 output goals seen stymied

January 12, 2016. Indian coal imports may increase after 2020 as mining and infrastructure constraints stump the nation’s domestic production ambitions, according to consultant CRU Group. Output will expand to 810 million metric tons by the end of the decade, less than India’s targeted 1.5 billion tons, Matthew Boyle, Sydney-based principal consultant at CRU, said in a report. This opens the possibility for an increase in shipments to the world’s second-biggest importer from countries including Australia, South Africa, Indonesia and Russia, the report said. India is the world’s third-biggest producer and consumer of the fuel, according to the International Energy Agency. Reserves are deep and in forested areas and there are significant rail bottlenecks affecting the movement of coal from mines to demand centers, which are unlikely to be rectified by 2020, according to CRU. The country’s monopoly miner Coal India Ltd. uses the less-complicated, surface-mining method of extracting coal known as open-cast. The majority of India’s new coal-fired power projects are built near the coast and have port and unloading capabilities, boosting the potential for increased imports, CRU said. While many nations are scaling back on the fossil fuel, coal fires more than 60 percent of India’s generation capacity. (

Sterlite Grid gets letter of intent for Odisha project

January 10, 2016. Sterlite Grid has received a Letter of Intent for commissioning power evacuation infrastructure in Odisha built with a capex of ` 1,250 crore for local power projects. The company said bids were invited by PFC Consulting Ltd to develop transmission systems for Odisha based power projects named as "For Common Transmission System for Phase­II Generation Projects in Odisha and Immediate Evacuation System for OPGC Project in Odisha". Sterlite Grid will Build, Own, Operate & Maintain approx 300 km of 765 kV Double Circuit system strengthening line from Jharsugda to Raipur and approx 50 km of 400 kV Double Circuit line between OPGC Power Project & Jharsugda with approximate capital expenditure of ` 1,250 crore, the company said. (

MP joins small club of states supplying 10 GW in peak hours

January 9, 2016. Madhya Pradesh (MP) has joined a small club of states which supply 10,000 MW of power during peak hours, as per the latest figures issued by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). During the period under review, the state had the maximum power demand, including auxiliary consumption, of 10,902 MW which it met successfully. According to the CEA report, Maharashtra’s demand and supply figure was 20,594 MW, followed by Uttar Pradesh (14,503 MW), Gujarat (14,448 MW), Tamil Nadu (13,505 MW), Rajasthan (10,961 MW) and Punjab (10,852 MW). (

India's coal imports fall for sixth straight month in December

January 6, 2016. India's coal imports fell for a sixth month in December, the government said, as the world's third-biggest buyer of the fuel expands domestic mines to boost output and expand power generation. India shipped in 12.35 million tonnes of coal last month, a 34.3 percent decline from the same month a year ago. Imports slipped thanks to a jump in production by Coal India Ltd (CIL), the world's biggest miner of the fuel that is opening one new mine a month as the government fast-tracks environmental clearances. Coal India's April-December production grew by a record 9 percent, keeping the country on course to reduce annual imports for the first time in five years. (

Policy / Performance………….

Good news for power consumers as discoms pass on benefit of cheap sourcing

January 11, 2016. Demand for electricity hasn't increased as expected, resulting in a surplus and prices falling so much that state distribution companies find it cheaper to buy power from the spot market than from generators with which they have long-term contracts. This was exactly why the entire power offered at the India Energy Exchange got sold, as claimed by power minister Piyush Goyal. The government's aggressive power capacity addition plan and Coal India's sustained efforts to supply adequate coal to all plants have added to the worry of generation companies with long-term power purchase agreements, such as NTPC, the country's largest, and other central sector companies. Increase in surplus generation capacity results in higher volumes offered in the spot market and lower prices, which benefit household and industrial consumers as state distribution companies pass on the benefit of cheap sourcing. Long-term contracts for supplying power consist of two parts - fixed and variable cost. The variable cost is paid when power is purchased, while the fixed component is paid irrespective of whether power is consumed as long as the plant is in a position of generate and supply 80% of its installed capacity. With state electricity boards buying less from them, large generators such as NTPC and Damodar Valley Corporation are cutting capacity utilization, which will lead to reduced income. The average market clearing price on the Indian Energy Exchange was ` 2.56 per unit in December, a drop of 4% over the previous month. The spot market was cleared at a single price of ` 2.3 per unit across India on December 29, after several years, the exchange said. (

CERC allows increase in electricity rate for Reliance Power’s Sasan UMPP

January 11, 2016. Reliance Power Ltd said it has been permitted to charge the Madhya Pradesh government 7% more for power sold from its ultra-mega power project (UMPP) in Sasan. The tariff hike, which translates to 9 paise per unit, will fetch an extra ` 300 crore every year, the company said. The company’s power purchase agreement with Madhya Pradesh runs for 25 years. CERC has also granted a one-time compensation of ` 271 crore till 31 July 2015, Reliance Power said. The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has approved a so-called change-in-law petition, the company said. Change in law refers to the right of the company to pass on any increase in cess duties after the project became operational. Reliance Power subsidiary Sasan Power Ltd is implementing the 4000 MW UMPP in Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh. The company said the plant is operating at 100% plant load factor (PLF). The CERC order shows that Reliance Power had claimed relief citing changes in electricity duty on sale of power, higher electricity duty on auxiliary power consumption and energy development cess of ` 0.15 per unit. (

Govt to review status of 32 coal blocks

January 11, 2016. Coal Ministry will review the status of auctioned and alloted coal blocks to companies like SAIL, Adani Power, Hindalco, NTPC and JSW Steel amid the government eyeing an ambitious one billion tonnes of production by 2020. In total, 32 blocks located in the states, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana would be reviewed, it said. Some of the blocks, which would be reviewed are NTPC's Talaipalli, Chatti Bariatu, Chatti Bariatu (South), Dulanga and Kerandari mines, SAIL's Sitanala mine, Adani Power's Jitpur mine, GMR Chhattisgarh Energy Ltd's Ganeshpur mine, Hindalco Industries Dumri mine and JSW Steel's Moitra mine among others. The government had last year in three tranches auctioned 31 coal mines and made an allotment of 42 coal blocks to central or state government companies. The auction and allotment proceeds from 73 coal mines have touched over ` 3.44 lakh crore over the life of the mine, which shall be devolving entirely to the coal producing states. However, the government had to cancel the fourth round of mines auction, which was scheduled for this month on account of poor response from bidders in sectors like steel due to depressed commodity prices and adverse market conditions. (

AP govt inks pacts with SPIC & China's Sany Group

January 11, 2016. Andhra Pradesh (AP) signed two MoUs with State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) and Sany Group of China to set up power projects of 5,000 MW involving investment of USD 4.8 billion. Sany is one of the largest global manufacturing companies of construction equipment while SPIC provides general contracting services for nuclear power technology plants in China and internationally. The MoUs were signed at the CII Partnership Summit 2016, being held in the city. The first MoU is for the cooperation in electrical power in Andhra Pradesh, and the second one is for setting up a 5,000 MW capacity of coal-fired as well as wind and solar power projects in the state. In October 2015, Sany signed an MoU with Andhra Pradesh Government to invest USD 600 million (` 4,000 crore) to establish wind power projects. Additionally, Sany and SPIC visited Andhra Pradesh to discuss renewable energy and comprehensive development with the State. (

Govt set to allow private companies in commercial coal mining

January 9, 2016. India is getting ready to open up commercial coal mining to private companies for the first time in four decades, with the aim of shifting the world's third-biggest coal importer towards energy self-sufficiency. Anil Swarup, the country's top coal bureaucrat, said the government has identified mines it plans to auction, and is now finalizing other terms such as eligibility criteria for companies to take part and whether and how to set up revenue sharing. He said a plan should be ready in the 2-3 months, setting a clear timeline on a plan that has previously only been vaguely marked out. India has an ambitious plan to double its coal production to 1.5 billion tonnes a year by 2020, as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's push to bring power to 300 million people who live without electricity, and give a boost to manufacturing. It would also support the government's efforts to develop eastern parts of the country, which are resource-rich and hold most of India's coal reserves but have lagged the western states in development. (

BHEL commissions two substations in Afghanistan

January 7, 2016. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has commissioned two substations in Afghanistan, expanding its footprint in the strife-torn nation. The substations have been commissioned at Charikar, around 60 kms from Kabul and Doshi, around 150 kms from Kabul, the company said. The substation was formally inaugurated by CEO of the Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah, along with Indian Ambassador Amar Sinha, the company said. (

Govt bats for LED bulbs again, wants mass use

January 7, 2016. The government called upon people to use energy-efficient LED bulbs, saying every unit of energy saved can be used to light the home of a poor household. Maintaining that India has one of the least energy consumption levels in the world, Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said still 250 million people go without power. Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) is distributing 4 lakh LEDs per day under the DELP programme without any subsidy, which will be scaled up to 10 lakh a day later this year, Goyal said. It has been able to procure LED bulbs for about ` 73 per piece as of June, down from ` 310 in February 2014, a reduction of over 75 percent. (



Ithaca sees production doubling in 2016 on Stella start-up

January 12, 2016. UK North Sea-focused independent oil and gas firm Ithaca Energy Inc. said that it expects its production to more than double to 25,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) during 2016. Ithaca said that average production amounted to approximately 12,100 boepd in 2015 – slightly ahead of guidance of 12,000 boepd. But in 2016, the firm expects to add 16,000 boepd thanks to the start-up of production in the Greater Stella Area on top of base production that is forecast to be 9,000 boepd. Ithaca highlighted the strengthening of its Greater Stella Area position with the acquisition of a strategic non-operated interest in the Vorlich discovery from Total E&P UK. The Vorlich discovery is located approximately six miles from the Greater Stella Area hub and has estimated gross proven and probable reserves of between 20 and 30 million barrels of oil equivalent. The firm expects its capital spending to amount to approximately $50 million in 2016 – representing a reduction of 40-percent on 2015's capital expenditures. (

Dana Gas still waiting for $1.9 bn in Iraq Kurds dispute

January 12, 2016. Dana Gas PJSC is still waiting for payment of the $1.98 billion that it and two other energy companies were awarded in a dispute over development rights at two oil and gas fields within Iraq’s self-governing Kurdish region. Dana Gas is making progress in Egypt, where production is now about 34,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, compared with about 30,000 barrels at the low point last year. The Balsam-1 well added to output in November followed by Balsam-2 in December. Balsam-3 will start mid-year. The company’s total output averaged 60,800 barrels of oil equivalent a day as of the end of the third quarter, with Egypt contributing 32,144 barrels of oil equivalent a day, according to the company. (

Eni starts production from Mpungi field offshore Angola

January 11, 2016. Eni announced that it has started production from the West Hub Development Project’s Mpungi field, which is located within Block 15/06 offshore Angola. The start-up of Mpungi field, which follows the West Hub’s first oil from the Sangos field in November 2014 and the Cinguvu field in early April 2015, will ramp-up production to approximately 100,000 barrels of oil per day in the first quarter of this year. The West Hub Development Project comprises the development of the Sangos, Cinguvu, Mpungi, Mpungi North, Ochigufu and Vandumbu fields. Eni has been present in Angola since 1980 with a net production of around 105,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Eni is the operator of Block 15/06 with a 36.84 percent stake. Block 15/06 also includes the East Hub Development Project, which is under development and will start producing in 2017. (

PetroChina, Chevron Sichuan gas project in China starts output

January 11, 2016. Chevron Corp. and PetroChina Co. started natural gas production in China’s southwestern regions of Sichuan and Chongqing, eight years after signing a production-sharing agreement. Gas well-A in Chongqing’s Luojiazhai gas field began commercial natural gas production, China National Petroleum Corp., PetroChina’s parent, said. PetroChina had signed the 30-year agreement with Chevron in 2008, under which the second-largest U.S. oil producer took a 49 percent stake in the parcel and became the operator. The Luojiazhai project, the first phase of development, will produce 3 billion cubic meters of gas a year. Both parties will work on phase two and three in the same area. The three phases together, known as the Chuandongbei project, cover about 800 square kilometers. The partners had promised to produce 2 billion cubic meters of gas by 2010 and 6 billion cubic meters by 2013 from the Chuandongbei project, China’s largest onshore oil and gas exploration venture with a foreign partner. (

Falkland explorers confirm oil discovery with Isobel re-drill

January 11, 2016. Oil firms exploring around the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic reported that the re-drill of the Isobel Deep well has successfully confirmed an oil discovery made at the well in May 2015. The well, located on license PL004A in the North Falkland Basin, reached a target depth of 9,890 feet and encountered oil-bearing intervals in a number of sandstone reservoirs between 8,400 feet and 9,385 feet, the latter being the base of the Isobel Deep sand, according to operator Premier Oil. (

Greece's fledgling oil sector steps up production

January 7, 2016. Greece's sole oil producer, Energean Oil & Gas, has increased daily production by 60 percent since last year, it said, as the debt-laden country seeks to exploit its limited oil reserves to boost its public finances. Energean said it had increased production to 3,000 barrels per day (bpd) from two oil fields off the northern Greek island of Thassos, after concluding the first of 15 planned drillings as part of its $200 million investment to pump more crude out of the sites. Energean is sticking to its new drilling program to tap proven oil reserves, which are estimated at 30 million barrels off Thassos and aims to increase its daily production to about 10,000 bpd by the end of 2017. Greece, which clinched a third international bailout deal last year, worth up to € 86 billion ($93 bn), has made several fruitless attempts over the last 50 years to find big oil and gas reserves. (

Shell sees BG deal working with oil at $50 for 2 yrs

January 7, 2016. Royal Dutch Shell has told investors its purchase of BG can work even if oil prices average $50 a barrel for two years, its lowest estimate to date as it seeks to secure shareholder support for the $51 billion deal amid plunging crude markets. The Anglo-Dutch group is confident investors will back the deal at a Jan. 27 meeting, even though crude prices are languishing near 12 year lows around $32 a barrel and it faces a cut to its credit ratings due to higher debts. When Shell announced the deal in April 2015, with oil trading around $55 a barrel, many investors saw it as a bold move to buy a weakened rival on the expectation that prices would recover to around $90 per barrel within three years. (

China goes underground to expand its strategic oil reserves

January 6, 2016. China is building underground caverns capable of holding up to a quarter of its expanded strategic oil reserves by 2020, as it looks for new storage methods away from expensive and exposed above-ground tanks in crowded coastal regions. China is spending billions of dollars to build up strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) to meet up to 90 day's worth of net import demand in case of a disruption. While many western countries make SPR data public, China rarely gives detailed information on its oil reserves or locations. So far, China has built almost all of its SPR tanks above ground, but now at least five underground sites have been identified, with one at Huangdao in Shandong province completed and another four under construction, analysts said. Despite the cost of drilling the caverns, underground storage can be up to two-thirds cheaper than above-ground tanks, especially as the cost of land surges in coastal regions, and are less prone to potential sabotage, experts said. Underground sites are slated to hold about 130 million barrels, which would account for nearly a quarter of the 550 million-barrel SPR target set by Beijing for 2020, analysts said. Three underground rock cavern sites under construction are at Jinzhou in northeast Liaoning province, and Zhanjiang and Huizhou in southern Guangdong, all expected to be ready to take oil over 2016 or early 2017, analysts said. Beijing confirmed the completion of its first underground site, a 19 million-barrel facility in Huangdao in Shandong province, in December when it said its reserves had doubled in the eight months to mid-2015 to 190 million barrels. However, construction of caverns is taking longer than expected as Chinese builders are new to the technology and challenges such as water seepage during excavations and rock disposal can be daunting, experts said. Unlike the United States, which stores its vast oil supplies in hollowed-out underground salt domes, China's different geology means it mainly has to excavate hard rock caverns up to 200 meters (220 yards) below the surface, similar to South Korea. (


Gazprom Neft cancels plans to acquire Vietnam's refinery

January 12, 2016. Gazprom Neft has stopped negotiations with Vietnam's state-owned oil and gas company PetroVietnam on the potential sale of a stake in the sole operational refinery in Vietnam. The Vietnamese government invited Gazprom Neft to invest in the 130,000 bbl/d Dung Quat refinery to strengthen Vietnam-Russia relationships and to progressively privatise state-owned companies in Vietnam. The Dung Quat refinery was commissioned in 2009 and a 40,000 bbl/d expansion is planned by 2018. Two large refineries are also under construction in the country, the 160,000 bbl/d Vung Ro project and the 200,000 bbl/d Nghi Son refinery. Other projects are under consideration, as the 200,000 bbl/d Nam Van Phong project, the 200,000 bbl/d Long Son project or the 400,000 bbl/d Nhon Hoi project. (

Europe refiners rush to make more gasoline after diesel hangover

January 12, 2016. After years of building up diesel production, European oil refiners are using every trick in the book to maximize gasoline output to meet unabated global demand as the two fuels stage a sharp reversal of fortune. Many operators on the continent, including Total, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil, have invested hundreds of millions of dollars over the past decade to increase production of diesel, the road fuel of choice in the region, while seeking to lower gasoline output, seen as a mere "by-product" of that process until recently. But today the world faces a growing excess of diesel and spectacular demand in Asia and the United States for gasoline and naphtha, a feedstock for plastic manufacturing. While oil refineries cannot maintain high output of gasoline without also ramping up diesel production, they are now taking every possible step to tweak production in order to favour gasoline and naphtha. (

Petrobras gets waiver to boost output at Brazil RNEST refinery

January 11, 2016. Brazil's government-run oil company Petrobras got a waiver of pollution control requirements from the state of Pernambuco for its RNEST refinery, allowing it to boost output to 100,000 barrels a day from 74,000 barrels a day, the state government said. Petrobras was previously limited by the state government to processing 64 percent of the RNEST, or Abreu e Lima, refinery's first of two planned 115,000-barrel-a-day heavy oil refining systems because it had not finished installing air-pollution mitigation equipment. Under the license, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is formally known, will have to use a special low-sulfur crude blend at the plant until the air-pollution equipment is installed, Pernambuco's government said. (

Transportation / Trade……….

Bechtel to complete building the last 2 LNG trains on Curtis Island in 2016

January 12, 2016. Bechtel announced that all three of its Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) projects on Curtis Island are now operational with Australia Pacific LNG exporting its first cargo. Four of the six LNG trains to be constructed by Bechtel on Curtis Island in Queensland, Australia are producing LNG with the remaining two trains expected to come online in 2016. In November, Bechtel officially handed over operational control of the Queensland Curtis LNG plant to QGC, and in October the Santos GLNG project produced its first cargo from Train 1. The company is responsible for about 40 percent of the world’s LNG liquefaction capacity currently under construction. (

Gazprom says Russian gas exports to Europe up 8 percent in 2015

January 11, 2016. Russia's top natural gas producer Gazprom said that its pipeline gas exports to Europe rose last year by 8 percent thanks to falling gas production in Europe. Exports by Gazprom - as measured for Turkey and the European Union, excluding the three former Soviet Baltic states - rose to 159.4 billion cubic metres (bcm) last year from 147.2 bcm in 2014, the company said. (

Grand Mesa plans open season for Colorado-Oklahoma oil pipeline

January 11, 2016. Grand Mesa Pipeline, LLC, a subsidiary of NGL Energy Partners LP, will be conducting an additional open season for its 20-inch pipeline that originates at Lucerne / Riverside, Colorado, and will deliver at least two grades of crude oil from the DJ Basin into NGL’s facilities at Cushing, Oklahoma. Grand Mesa expects the open season to commence in the second calendar quarter of 2016. Grand Mesa is on target to commence service in the fourth quarter of 2016, and will have a capacity of 150,000 barrels per day. This pipeline will provide critical takeaway capacity for crude oil producers in the Denver-Julesburg Basin. The pipeline not only supports the continued growth and production in the area, but does so in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible way by reducing the current utilization of rail and truck transportation. (

Repair work completed on China's gas pipeline destroyed by landslide

January 8, 2016. Repair work has been completed on a section of China's West-East natural gas pipeline which was destroyed by a landslide in late December in the southern city of Shenzhen. Oil and gas giant PetroChina resumed natural gas supply to Hong Kong via a temporary pipeline. (

Traders eye Alaskan oil exports to Asia as shipping ban ended

January 8, 2016. Oil traders in Asia are running the numbers on importing Alaskan crude, after the end of a four-decade ban on U.S. exports also eliminated a costly tanker requirement for shipping North Slope oil overseas. Although Alaskan crude was one of the few domestic varieties effectively exempt from the export ban, exporters were required under the Jones Act rules to use vessels from a small fleet of U.S.-flagged tankers. Flows to Asia reached nearly 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the late 1990s, but then came to a halt due to dwindling production and expensive freight rates. (

Ukraine doubled its gas imports from European Union in 2015

January 8, 2016. According to Ukraine's gas transmission network operator Ukrtransgaz, Ukraine imported 16.4 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas in 2015, 16% less than in 2014. Gas imports from Russia halved from 14.5 bcm to 6.1 bcm in 2015, to the advantage of European suppliers, which supplied twice as much gas (10.3 bcm) as in 2014 (5.1 bcm). Gas imports from Slovakia nearly tripled (9.7 bcm, compared to 3.6 bcm in 2014), while imports from Hungary and Poland remained broadly stable (0.5 bcm and 0.1 bcm in 2015, from 0.6 bcm and 0.9 bcm in 2014). (

TransCanada seeks US$15 bn compensation for Keystone XL denial

January 8, 2016. Canadian energy infrastructure group TransCanada has started legal actions following the decision of the US Administration to deny a presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline project on the basis that the denial was arbitrary and unjustified. The company filed a Notice of Intent to initiate a claim under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and a lawsuit in the US Federal Court in Houston, Texas. Through the NAFTA claim, TransCanada will be seeking to recover more than US$15 bn in costs and damages. (

Israeli firms in talks to buy natural gas from Leviathan

January 7, 2016. The partners in Israel's offshore Leviathan natural gas site said they were in talks to supply gas to a number of Israeli companies. Leviathan, with estimated reserves of 622 billion cubic meters, will cost at least $6 billion to develop. It is meant to begin production in 2018-2020, although that timetable looks ambitious, and supply billions of dollars' worth of gas to Egypt and Jordan, and possibly Turkey and Europe. (

California governor declares LA-area gas leak an emergency

January 6, 2016. Governor Jerry Brown declared a Los Angeles-area natural gas leak that has been sickening nearby residents for more than two months an emergency, calling for alternatives to stop the underground leak if existing efforts fail. Southern California Gas Co, which operates the well that is the site of the underground methane leak, is trying to stop it by drilling a relief well to reach a damaged pipeline, then injecting fluids and heavy mud into it. The governor said the utility will need to identify how it will stop the leak if a relief well fails to seal it - or if the existing leak worsens. The leak was discovered on Oct. 23 at a well used for natural gas storage in Aliso Canyon just outside Los Angeles' Porter Ranch neighbourhood, which is home to more than 30,000 people. Officials from Southern California Gas, a division of Sempra Energy, say they expect to stop the leak in late February to late March. The leak, which state officials have said accounted at its peak for a fourth of California's 20 million metric tons a year in greenhouse gas emissions from methane, is believed to have been caused by a broken injection-well pipe several hundred feet beneath the surface of the 3,600-acre field. The governor, who visited Porter Ranch, in his declaration called for regulators to assess the long-term viability of natural gas storage facilities in California. (

Policy / Performance…………

Pakistan seeks second LNG import terminal for 2017

January 12, 2016. Pakistan has launched a tender for a second liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal. The nation of 190 million people can only supply about two-thirds of its gas needs. The ruling party, which campaigned on promises of solving the energy crisis, wants to ease shortages by expanding LNG shipments before a 2018 general election. The tender was launched with a request for proposal (RFP) by Jan. 24. The government wants the terminal, to be built at Port Qasim in the southern city of Karachi, to be operational by around mid-2017. The project includes a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), along with the building of infrastructure such as a new jetty and pipeline. Elengy Terminal Pakistan Ltd, wholly-owned by Engro Corp, completed the import terminal at Bin Qasim port in less than a year - reflecting the urgency of the country's energy needs. The terminal received its first spot imports in April 2015. Large FSRUs take several years to construct and there are few players with anything available within Pakistan's time frame. Those that might include Norway's BW Gas and Hoegh LNG. Pakistan is separately finalising a deal with Qatar to import more LNG to meets its surging domestic energy needs. (

Iran expects South Pars project to be fully operational by March 2018

January 12, 2016. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani indicated that the development of the South Pars oil and gas fields -- located on the country's border with Qatar in the Persian Gulf -- is expected to be come online by early the end of first quarter of 2018, Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC) said. The Iranian President said that South Pars Phases 17 and 18 are scheduled to become operational by March 2017. POGC said that Iran's Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh had disclosed separately that development of all phases of the South Pars Gas Field, except for a section of phase 14, would be completed entirely within the next 2 years, should adequate funds be channelled into the projects. Gas refineries of the various South Pars phases have helped increased Iran’s processing capacity by 6.36 million cubic feet, or 180 million cubic meters. (

Mexico regulator approves Pemex plan to drill new deepwater wells

January 12, 2016. Mexico's oil regulator voted to approve plans by national oil company Pemex to drill two new deepwater wells near the maritime border with the United States in the Gulf of Mexico. Both wells are expected to yield light or super light crude, and are within the Mexican extension of the Perdido Fold Belt, which has proved highly productive in adjacent U.S. waters but has represented a major challenge for Pemex due to its lack of specialized expertise. The National Hydrocarbons Commission, known as the CNH, approved Pemex's request to drill the Vasto-1001 and Nobilis-1 wells, both off the coast of northeastern Tamaulipas state in the country's largely untapped deep waters of the Gulf. Vasto-1001 will be drilled at a depth of 23,717 feet (7,229 meters), costing an estimated 3.4 billion pesos ($190 million) and believed to hold prospective resources of about 203 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) in mostly light crude. (

US sees no relief from swelling oil glut until late 2017

January 12, 2016. The global oil glut will swell until late 2017, the U.S. government forecast in an outlook that offered little hope of near-term relief for energy producers reeling from the collapse of crude prices to 12-year lows around $30 a barrel. Increased Iranian oil output should feed the global glut this year with the expected lifting of Western sanctions on that country's exports, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said. The agency forecast that a limited decline in U.S. supplies next year and steady growth in global demand will help ease the glut only in the third quarter of 2017, the first decline after nearly four straight years of gains. In its first forecast for 2017, the EIA said global oil production would likely rise to nearly 96.7 million barrels per day (bpd) from more than 95.9 million bpd this year. Demand would grow by only 1.4 million bpd in 2017, the same rate as 2015 and 2016. U.S. production, now expected to decline by 700,000 bpd this year to 8.7 million bpd, will fall by a slower rate in 2017 to about 8.5 million bpd. (

Poland mulls O&G mergers to avoid hostile takeovers

January 11, 2016. Poland’s government is considering merging the nation’s biggest oil and gas (O&G) companies PKN Orlen SA, Grupa Lotos SA and PGNiG SA, three stalwarts of the Warsaw bourse. The government will complete an initial analysis of the potential consolidation by the end of March, which includes various options for mergers, before deciding whether to proceed, Treasury Minister Dawid Jackiewicz said. PKN, Lotos and PGNiG have a joint market capitalization of more than 59 billion zloty ($14.7 billion), oversee almost all of Poland’s oil and gas imports, which come mostly from Russia, and have a dominant role in refining and retail. All three are controlled by the government. Poland’s two-month-old government seeks to reduce reliance on Russian energy imports and has appointed ruling-party experts as the new chief executive officers at PKN and PGNiG. (

Norway's Oil Minister says low price could trigger Lofoten exploration

January 7, 2016. The low price of crude could make it more likely that oil firms will be allowed to explore in Norway's Lofoten region after 2017, which is currently off-limits due to environmental concerns, the country's Oil Minister Tord Lien said. The shallow waters off Lofoten are expected to hold large reserves that can be produced at a lower cost than the more expensive areas currently being explored further north on Norway's continental shelf. When the right-wing minority government of the Conservatives and the populist Progress Party came into power in 2013 however, it agreed with two smaller support parties not to open several sensitive areas to oil and gas exploration, including Lofoten. (

Bolivia's YPFB says Argentina pledges to pay overdue gas bill

January 6, 2016. Argentina's new center-right government has vowed to pay a $202 million debt owed to Bolivia for natural gas imports by March, the head of Bolivia's state-run energy firm YPFB said. Bolivia sells about 16 million cubic meters of natural gas to Argentina each day. Argentina sits atop some of the world's largest untapped shale oil and gas resources but Fernandez's state controls on the economy deterred investors. The South American country is currently a net energy importer. (



Norwegian company pulls out of power plant project in Nepal

January 12, 2016. Norway’s energy company, Statkraft, has decided to pull out from a 650 MW power plant project in Nepal. Statkraft decided withdraw from Nepal after conducting a thorough assessment of all aspects of the project, including commercial, technical and regulatory factors, the company said. The Tamakoshi - 3 hydropower project, which was to produce 650 MW electricity, has been discontinued due to the fragile political situation in the country. The company has already notified Investment Board of Nepal regarding its decision to discontinue the development of the project. The company has already spent USD 11 million in the feasibility study of the project, which is expected to cost USD 1.5 billion. Nepal has high demand for electricity during winter and the country's power projects are producing less electricity during the period due to low water level in the river. Nepal currently produces around 780 MW electricity though the domestic demand stands at 1,300 MW during peak period. The country is currently facing daily 14-hour load- shedding in its major cities. (

US coal production declined by 10 percent in 2015 to 900 mt

January 12, 2016. According to preliminary statistics from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), coal production in the United States fell by 10% in 2015 to about 900 million tonnes (mt), reaching a record low since 1986. The drop in coal production was linked to an increased competition from gas in the power generation sector, lower international coal demand (especially from China but also from Europe) and environmental regulations. Sinking gas prices at the Henry Hub prompted power generators to turn to gas to the detriment of coal. In April 2015, gas-fired electricity generation surpassed that of coal-fired generation on a monthly basis for the first time in history. Coal consumption from the power sector could have reached its lowest level since 1988. (

‘Nigeria has over 155 GW power generation deficit’

January 11, 2016. The nation’s electricity generation should be 160 GW or 160,000 MW, but the highest generation it has attained is about 4,600 MW, which is less than 5 GW, experts have said. The experts said the power problems are far from being fixed. For instance, they said it was laughable that the sector’s regulator, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) would put a ceiling of N50 billion per year on the 11 electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) in the country. They said that NERC had to take the decision because anything above the amount may be difficult for the DISCOs to recover considering the poor revenue collections they make from electricity bills, as well as low tariff, which they said is not cost-reflective. (

Egypt's Orascom construction says wins $420 mn power plant contract

January 11, 2016. Egypt's Orascom Construction has been awarded a $420 million contract to revamp two government-owned power stations, the company said. Orascom was part of a consortium that completed the build of the Assiut and West Damietta plants in the third quarter of 2015. The plants, which are operational and have a combined capacity of 1,500 MW, will now be converted to a so-called combined cycle from a simple cycle. (

New 1.4 GW coal-fired power project proposed in Chile

January 11, 2016. Luz de Atacama, a 1,410 MW coal-fired power project is under consideration in Chile, despite the rejections of large coal-fired projects developed by E-CL and Endesa. The supercritical coal-fired project is developed by a group of former executives of AES Gener and former project developers. It would consist of two units of 375 MW each and one 660 MW unit. It would include a coal import terminal, a desalination plant to provide cooling water and a transmission line connecting the power plant to the New Cardones substation. Investment is estimated at US$4.2 bn. The plant will seek to participate in tenders to supply regulated customers that the Chilean government will hold in April 2016 and in 2018. (             

Colombia's El Quimbo hydro-power plant back in operation

January 11, 2016. El Quimbo, a hydroelectric power plant in the southern Colombian province of Huila and the second-largest facility of its kind in South America, is functioning normally after temporarily restarting over the weekend, plant operator Emgesa said. El Quimbo, which generates 5 percent of the electricity consumed in Colombia, had been shut down by a court on the grounds that the failure to remove wood and biomass from the dam before refilling would harm the environment. President Juan Manuel Santos called on the courts several times to allow the hydroelectric power plant to operate due to the drought caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon, which has lowered river and reservoirs levels. (

PT PLN orders turbines for 880 MW CCGT project in Java

January 8, 2016. Indonesia's state-owned power utility PT PLN has awarded Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS), Mitsubishi Corporation and local construction and engineering company PT Wasa a full-turnkey order for the 880 MW Jawa-2 gas-fired CCGT power project in Indonesia. MHPS will supply two M701F4 gas turbines, two heat recovery steam generators, one steam turbine and the balance of plant for the project, that will be built on the site of the Tanjung Priok power plant near Jakarta in Java. Commissioning is expected in 2018.            (

Southern encounters challenges in starting Kemper coal plant

January 6, 2016. Southern Co. is evaluating the startup schedule for its long-delayed and over-budget clean coal power plant in Mississippi after encountering challenges while testing equipment at the complex. The company said updates to the service date of the facility in Kemper County are expected to be reported next month. Southern had previously said the complex would be operating by the first half of 2016. Additional delays would cost as much as $43 million a month. Southern has spent the past five years working to finish the first large-scale power plant in the U.S. to turn coal into gas to generate power while also capturing carbon dioxide and pumping it underground. The coal industry has been banking on plants like Kemper to pave the way toward cleaner-burning technologies. The project’s costs have ballooned to almost three times original estimates and it is more than two years behind schedule. Southern will have to return about $234 million in investment tax credits to the Internal Revenue Service if the plant isn’t in service by April 19, 2016, the company said. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade…

DTE Energy to install 90k advanced meters in St. Clair County

January 7, 2016. DTE Energy announced plans to install 90,000 advanced electric meters in communities within St. Clair County to improve reliability and help customers save energy. Approximately 2.9 million advanced meters have been installed in Oakland, Wayne, Macomb, Monroe and Washtenaw counties so far, and more than three million DTE Energy customers will have the technology by the end of 2016. Advanced meters incorporate technology that allows utility meters to be read remotely, and provide a wide range of benefits and services to customers. DTE Energy began installations of advanced meters in December in Algonac, Fort Gratiot Township, Marine City, Marysville, Port Huron and St. Clair. Additional installation areas will be announced as implementation nears. (

Germany's RWE sells Lynemouth power plant to EPH

January 7, 2016. RWE, Germany's second-biggest utility, has agreed to sell its Lynemouth coal-fired power plant in Britain to Czech-Slovak energy investment group EPH, it said. No purchase price was disclosed for the 420 MW plant in northern England, bought by RWE in 2012. The sale comes after the European Commission in December approved British plans to subsidize Lynemouth's conversion to burn biomass instead of coal, a plan RWE at the time said would take 18 months. (

Policy / Performance…………

New Brunswick govt says tests complete at nuclear power plant

January 9, 2016. The New Brunswick government says repairs and tests have been completed at the Point Lepreau nuclear generating station. The plant is now operating at 100 percent power. It was taken offline in early October when at turbine auxiliary system had to be fixed. The 660 MW station produces enough electricity to supply more than 333-thousand homes. (

Tanzania plans to list 49 percent of national power utility in 2016

January 8, 2016. The government of Tanzania plans to sell up to 49% of the national power utility Tanzania Electric Supply Co to the public in 2016, and to retain a 51% controlling stake. The government would invest US$1.2 bn over 10 years in the company, which would be split into separate generation, transmission and distribution units. Power generation capacity should be boosted from 1.5 GW (2014) to 10 GW by 2025. (  

Egypt grants conditional approval for 4.4 GW of coal-fired projects

January 7, 2016. The Egyptian government has approved two conditional contracts with two Chinese companies for the development of more than 4 GW of coal-fired power projects. Dongfang Electric Corporation (DEC) plans to build a 1,980 MW coal-fired power plant, while Shanghai Electric plans to develop four 600 MW plants (totalling 2,400 MW). The new power plants are expected to help Egypt cope with power shortage. The country aims to commission 2.5 GW to 3 GW of new power capacity in 2016. (                



India, Japan to focus on clean energy: Goyal

January 12, 2016. India and Japan will focus on renewable energy, clean coal and energy efficiency during the Strategic Energy Dialogue between the two nations in Tokyo, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said. Goyal, who is on a three­day visit to Japan, said that the Strategic Energy Dialogue between the two countries is not about specific targets of investment but building technology partnerships and engagement for investment in different areas of energy, including coal and renewable energy. Goyal is also accompanied by a CII delegation which will participate in various discussions on key areas across the energy value chain including renewable, clean coal and energy efficiency. The visit comes at a time when India has set a target of 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. There is a huge opportunity to further the energy cooperation across the energy value chain in key areas including energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean coal, smart grids between both the nations, he said. (

Suzlon Group bags second order from IPP in AP

January 11, 2016. Wind turbine maker Suzlon Group said it has bagged 197.40 MW repeat order from an Independent Power Producers (IPP) company in Andhra Pradesh. Suzlon will supply, install and commission of 47 wind turbines of the S97-120 m hybrid tower and 47 wind turbines of the S111-90 m tubular tower with rated capacity of 2.1 MW each. Project to be executed in Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh by February 2017, it said. (

Solar sector funding drops to $25.3 bn in 2015

January 11, 2016. Solar sector globally attracted corporate funding worth USD 25.3 billion in 2015 against that of USD 26.5 billion in 2014, according to a report by clean energy communications and consulting firm Mercom Capital Group. Total global corporate funding in the solar sector, including venture capital/private equity (VC), debt financing, and public market financing, raised by public companies came to USD 25.3 billion, compared to USD 26.5 billion in 2014, according to a report. Global VC investments came to USD 1.1 billion in 83 deals in 2015, compared to USD 1.3 billion in 85 deals in 2014. Despite a weak fourth quarter, public market financing had its strongest year with almost USD 6 billion raised in 38 deals, compared to the 2014 record of USD 5.2 billion in 52 deals. (

Suzlon to enter solar energy sector in FY16

January 8, 2016. Suzlon Group chairman Tulsi Tanti said that the group is looking to enter the solar energy sector in the current financial year. The fiscal will also mark our foray into the solar energy, with plans to offer wind-solar integrated solutions, he said. He said the company will continue to develop high-yield products which will bring down the cost of energy and increase the return on investment for the customers. He said that government's target of 175 GW from renewable energy by 2022 can only be achieved if issues like availability of grid and land infrastructure are addressed. (

HC ruling puts state's solar power policy under scanner

January 8, 2016. A series of Madras High Court (HC) rulings has once again put the state government's solar power policy under the scanner. As Tangedco signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) for some 1,200 MW including the Adani deal for 648 MW at ` 7.01 per unit, other companies had rushed to the court alleging that proper procedure was not being followed. They said that authorities had not followed seniority norms, allowed big companies to jump the queue, and signed PPAs with them. The solar companies who approached the court said that they were eligible and ready to sign PPAs of nearly 2,000 MW but the government had by passed them. Some of the com panies with whom PPAs were signed did not fulfil the three fundamental requirements such as eligibility, seniority and infrastructure including land bank, argued P Wilson, senior advocate for Raasi Green Earth Energy Private Limited. To produce 1 MW solar power, it would require at least five acres of land, he said, adding that the petitioner-companies had demonstrated the mandatory load flow study and paid deposits as well. To avail themselves of ` 7.01-per unit of solar power, these signatories must start producing power on or before March 31, 2016. (

Biogas mission proposes to take ‘green fuel’ to urban homes

January 7, 2016. As the Centre gears up to launch the National Biogas and Fertilizer Mission, alternative fuel from organic waste may make inroads into the homes in the urban pockets of the country. Varsha Joshi, Joint Director, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, New Delhi said the mission’s draft, with objectives and guidelines were being prepared. The mission aims to promote biogas initiatives in a big way across the country. She said the MNRE would be scaling up its funding on the research and development on renewable energy, including biogas. Though the penetration of LPG in rural areas might have slowed down the biogas movement, the Ministry aims to touch millions of people with renewable energy technologies for providing clean energy options like biogas, she said. She said biogas can create economic opportunities as the surplus energy can be sold, and improve living conditions of women in rural areas. However, there are certain issues which need to be looked at through innovations at various levels for improving their sustainability, she said. She said the MNRE would invite new technologies and solutions from experts for making biogas a reliable fuel, especially in villages. She said the mission would help people innovate ideas for bringing down the cost of biogas plants. She said there was a need for improving technologies and management for the effective use of biogas for decentralized power generation. (

Will exceed ` 36 bn loan disbursement this fiscal: IREDA

January 7, 2016. Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) has expressed confidence about "exceeding" loan disbursement target of ` 3,600 crore this fiscal even as its tax-free bond issue of ` 1,000 crore is opening. IREDAs tax-free bond issue of ` 1,000 crore (base issue size) will open and close on January 22. The issue is with an option to retail over-subscription up to ` 1,716 crore. IREDA informed that during the next fiscal, government has planned to add 12,000 MW of solar power capacity which will be huge opportunity for all players. IREDA is an non-banking finance company which was created to promote renewable energy sector in the country. Its loan portfolio was ` 8,908.22 crore as on March 31, 2015. Government had allowed IREDA to raise ` 2,000 crore through tax-free bonds. Besides, it has also asked Power Finance Corp, Rural Electrification Corp and NTPC Ltd to raise ` 1,000 crore through tax-free bonds to promote renewable energy in the country. (

BSES discoms to call for reverse auction to procure renewable power

January 6, 2016. The Anil Ambani Group-owned electricity distribution utilities in Delhi, BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna, are looking to procure 700 MW of renewable energy at less than ` 5 a unit. The company said it has received permission from the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) to float a tender to procure both solar and non-solar power through ‘reverse auction’. The DERC allowed BSES to do so last month. Through this, discoms will be able to meet RPO obligations without burdening consumers, the company said. (

India needs to make silicon for solar power

January 6, 2016. India has set an ambitious target of generating 100,000 MW of solar energy by 2022 but does not have the technology to process sand into silicon, forcing its import in huge quantities, former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Srikumar Banerjee said. Asserting that solar power would reduce carbon footprint in the long-term, Banerjee said energy generated from cells or panels was, however, 20-25 percent of the installed capacity as against 80 percent from a nuclear plant. As domestic manufacturing of solar cells and panels was limited, the country is dependent on imports from China and other countries, including Germany. In a related development, the government hiked the budget for tapping solar energy through rooftop installations across the country to a whopping ` 5,000 crore from ` 600 crore earlier. The increased budgetary support will enable utility providers to source power generated from rooftops solar systems through a grid over the next five years under the National Solar Mission. An estimated 4,200 MW of solar rooftop systems are expected to be installed over the next five years on residential, government, social and institutions sectors such as hospitals and educational buildings. (


US drivers may pay for next step in fight against climate change

January 12, 2016. United States (US) drivers may soon see a new expense at some gas pumps: the cost of taking the global-warming fight on the road. New York and four other states are exploring ways to put a price on the air pollution spewing from cars, trucks, trains and other vehicles -- the source of more than a third of greenhouse-gas emissions in the northeastern U.S. The result may eventually be new taxes, tolls or a pollution-trading system that could raise $3 billion a year or more for mass transit, electric-vehicle rebates and other projects, supporters said. With the Paris climate deal in the rear-view mirror and governments moving to put a price on industrial emissions, especially from power plants, regulators see tailpipe pollution as the next logical step. New York and eight other states already run a trading system for power-plant emissions in the northeast, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. California has a similar market and expanded it last January to include transport fuels. The oil industry resisted the move in California and would likely do the same in the Northeast, said Andre Templeman, managing director at Houston-based carbon consultant Alpha Inception. California’s emissions market added about 10 cents to the cost of a gallon of gasoline, according to the California Air Resources Board, which oversees the cap-and-trade system. The impact on drivers was largely offset by the plunge in oil prices last year, Templeman said. In the northeast, some combination of taxes, tolls or trading may raise $3 billion annually over 15 years to support electric-vehicle sales, expand freight rail and mass transit and take other pollution-cutting steps, according to a Georgetown Climate Center report. Such efforts are a necessity if states are to make the deep greenhouse-gas cuts they’ve promised by mid-century. Transportation accounts for 35 percent of carbon emissions in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, the single largest source, according to the report. (

Indonesia plans to create renewable special corporate body

January 12, 2016. The Indonesian government is considering setting up a special corporate body to develop renewable and new energies; the body would be similar to the state-owned power utility PT PLN and would be used by the government to provide subsidies. PT PLN would then focus on the development of conventional energies. Indonesia aims to increase four-fold the share of new and renewable energies in the national energy mix to 25% by 2025. This would correspond to 35 GW of renewable power capacity. (

Germany announces solar PV tariffs in third round of tender

January 11, 2016. The German energy regulator, Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur, BNA), has announced that the contract value of the third round of tenders for solar PV ground-mounted systems was set at € 8c/kWh, lower than the price set in the first round in April 2015 (€ 9.17c/kWh) and in the second round in September 2015 (€ 8.49c/kWh). The third auction for 200 MW of large-scale solar PV projects was 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 (two auctions for 157 MW in April 2015 and 159 MW in September 2015, plus this third 204 MW auction in December). It will offer a further 400 MW in 2016 (including 125 MW in April 2016) and 300 MW in 2017. (                      

EDF commissions 400 MW wind capacity in the US

January 11, 2016. EDF's renewable arm EDF Energies Nouvelles has commissioned two wind parks with a combined capacity of 400 MW in the United States (US). The company has commissioned the 250 MW Roosevelt wind park in Roosevelt County, eastern New Mexico, consisting of 125 turbines of 2 MW each. The electricity generated by Roosevelt is sold to Southwestern Public Service Company (SPS), a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, under a 20-year fixed price Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). EDF has also commissioned the 150 MW Slate Creek wind park, located South of Wichita, Kansas, consisting of 75 turbines of 2 MW each. Its energy production will be supplied at a fixed price to Great Plains Energy, parent company of Midwestern utilities, Kansas City Power & Light and KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations, under a 20-year PPA. EDF Energies Nouvelles has more than 3 GW of gross installed renewable energy capacity in the United States. (

RWE and DEWA sign deal for renewable energy innovation

January 11, 2016. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and Germany utility RWE Energy Group have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation in innovation of renewable energy research and development (R&D). Under the MoU, both the companies will enhance co-operation in innovation, research and development in energy and smart grids, scientific research and sustainable development projects. Under the terms of the MoU, RWE and DEWA will enhance cooperation and exchange experiences, knowledge, and research in renewable energy, and technical, economic, and environmental analysis of alternative energy scenarios. The team will also work on testing of smart grid measures, energy storing and efficiency, improved reliability of solar cells, and value-added products and services for smart grids and cooperation in academic and scientific programs. (

US renewable energy mandates bring down fossil fuel use, power costs

January 8, 2016. A new report by the United States (US) government's NREL and Berkeley Lab finds a 3.6% reduction in fossil fuel generation and up to US$3.9 billion in net savings for electricity customers in 2013, as well as reduced water use and the creation of 200,000 jobs. The report found that RPS policies created 200,000 jobs in 2013, with solar installation making up a large portion of these State-level Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) have been perhaps the most important and effective policy tool utilized in the United States to increase deployment of renewable energy. 29 states and Washington DC currently have RPS policies. These vary greatly in ambition, with Hawaii (100% by 2045) California (50% by 2030) and New York's 50% by 2030 pledge leading the pack. A new report by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratories and Berkeley Laboratory attempts to broadly quantify the impacts of these policies across a range of areas. These include reductions in fossil fuel use and avoided greenhouse gases, effects on wholesale electricity prices, reductions in water use, employment and cost to utilities and ratepayers. (

UK wind power generation sets record in 2015

January 7, 2016. UK wind power generation set new records in 2015, with both onshore and offshore production accounting for 11% of the country’s electricity output, according to trade body Renewable UK. December saw a new monthly percentage high, with wind meeting 17% of Britain’s electricity demand, at the time of the year when it’s needed most. The previous record, 14%, was set in January 2015. More than half of 2015’s wind power generation came from onshore projects, as was the case in 2014. However, onshore deployment dropped considerably last year, to 403 MW, compared to 1,110 MW in 2014 and 1,330 MW in 2013. ( 

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