MonitorsPublished on Dec 03, 2016
Energy News Monitor | Volume XIII; Issue 25

Coal News Commentary: October – November 2016


The government’s effort to curb coal imports were reported to be continuing. The latest in a series of steps that the government has been taking is the effort to boost sale of low-quality domestic coal by with lower freight tariff. Apparently off-take of domestic coal was weak last month as higher quality imported coal was available at competitive prices. Higher international price for coal and the increase in domestic coal output are expected to cut India’s imports by around 20 MT in FY17 from the 181 MT in FY16. The strategy of countering quality with cost may bring short term benefits but it will also bring longer term problems.  There is a lesson from history.  In 1954 higher grades of coal particularly coking coal, the reserves of which were depleting fast, was being burnt in power plants. The government introduced the concept of useful heat value to encourage and popularize the use of poor grades of non-coking coal by the power utilities. This entrenched the use of poor coal grades for power generation which reduced overall efficiency of power generation and contributed to environmental pollution. These inefficient power plants are now at a disadvantage compared to newer efficient plants. Likewise, lower rail tariff for coal transport may make domestic coal competitive compared to imported coal for distant coastal power plants in the short term. However this may encourage the transport of coal which is not necessarily a good thing in the long term from a macro-economic efficiency and environmental perspectives. The ideal from both economic and environmental perspective would be to have pit head plants that generate power and transmit electricity across the nation.


According to a new research report, India will be a global star in coal production increasing global market share of output from 10.1 percent in 2016 to 13.1 percent by 2020. India is expected to surpass the USA to become the second largest coal producing country in the world, second only to China.

Rest of the World

Indonesia is reported to be expecting thermal coal production to be flat at 400 MT after 2019 but as domestic consumption is expected to increase, exports are expected to fall.  Indonesian coal exports are expected to drop to 160 MT 2019, which is just over half the forecasted quantity of 308 MT. This must be music to the ears of CIL as its thermal coal grades have been facing stiff competition from Indonesian coal. Indonesia is the World’s top thermal coal exporter. Demand for coal at Indonesia’s power plants is expected to climb to 119 MT in 2019 up from the 86 MT in 2016.

China was reported to have adopted new rules to stimulate coal production to counter surging prices and to balance demand for heating over winter with efforts to tackle pollution. China’s NDRC ruled that all coal mines that abide by production safety rules can operate 330 days a year rather than 276 days previously. Domestic coal production is yet to pick up and China’s thermal coal imports continue to increase to make up for the shortfall.

The Finnish government was reported to be considering banning all coal-fired power stations by 2030 to help meet emission reduction goals. Coal-fired power generation accounted for 7 percent of all electricity production in 2015 with 45 percent coming from renewable sources and 34 percent from nuclear. The ban, if implemented would be part Finland’s new energy strategy. The Finnish government has previously said that it wants Finland to source more than half of its energy needs from renewables, and to halve the use of imported oil for domestic needs during the 2020s. Last year Britain announced plans to phase out all its coal-fired power plants by 2025, other than any fitted with CCS systems. Denmark is aiming to become fossil fuel-free by 2050, but it has no binding targets or bans for coal use.  There was also news of the EU paying countries such as Poland to stop using coal. It appears that the EU has taken a leaf off its immigration policy (paying Turkey to keep immigrants out) to fashion its policy against coal.


Sale of local cooking gas only to PSUs

November 29, 2016. The government has ordered liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) producers such as Reliance Industries to supply all its cooking gas to state-owned oil companies only, while private retailers have been asked to source their requirements through imports. The oil ministry, in an order issued this month, stated that the “sale of indigenously produced LPG is not permitted to the entities other than government oil companies”. All locally produced LPG should be sold to PSUs for subsidised sale to consumers. India has surplus refining capacity but does not produce enough LPG to meet all of its demand. It imported 8.7 million tonnes of LPG in 2015-16 and 4.66 million tonnes in the first half of this fiscal. LPG is produced by both public sector firms such as Indian Oil and private companies such as Reliance Industries. The ministry said it had been noticed that all locally produced LPG were not being sold to oil marketing companies – IOC, BPCL and HPCL. The ministry held that the sale of LPG by domestic producers to anyone other than state-owned oil marketing companies was not permissible under the LPG control order. Non-state LPG sellers, called parallel marketeers, cannot source the fuel from domestic refiners. They have to import LPG if they want to sell it in the domestic market.

Source: The Telegraph

RIL seeks access to India’s longest LPG pipeline by IOC

November 27, 2016. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has sought access to the India’s longest liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) pipeline that Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is laying from Gujarat to Gorakhpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh to cater to the growing demand for cooking gas in the country. IOC plans to import LPG at Kandla in Gujarat and move it through the 1,987 kilometer pipeline to Gorakhpur via Ahmedabad (in Gujarat), Ujjain, Bhopal (in Madhya Pradesh), Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi and Lucknow (in Uttar Pradesh). RIL said it wants to put in its own LPG, possibly produced at its Jamangar refineries in Gujarat, in the pipeline for transportation to hinterland. The pipeline will carry 3.75 million tons per annum of LPG, IOC said in an application to the sector regulator PNGRB seeking approval for laying the pipeline. Of this, 25 percent will be common carrier capacity that can be provided to third parties. Besides getting right to move its own LPG through the pipeline, RIL also wanted third party access to storages IOC will build along the pipeline route for stocking the gas before sent to bottling plants for filling in cylinders for sale to consumers. RIL said assistance at the allied storages proposed en route is vital for it to compete and rural penetration. IOC plans to feed LPG into the pipeline at Kandla port as well as its Koyali refinery in Gujarat. It will connect eight of IOC’s LPG bottling plants in Central and Northern India. This will be the biggest LPG pipeline in the country. GAIL currently operates a 1,415 km line from Jamnagar in Gujarat to Loni. The line carries 2.5 million tons of LPG annually.

Source: The Economic Times

CCEA to award oil blocks by mid-December

November 26, 2016. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) is set to take a final call on the award of discovered small fields for oil and gas exploration in India by the second week of December. The latest round of auctions attracted about 42 firms, which placed 134 bids for 34 of total 46 contract areas on offer. The government terms it, as a success as more than 73 percent of the total area that was on offer got bids, in which 30 new companies showed interests. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the discovered oil and gas fields will be awarded to the selected bidders by the end of December. The 46 contract areas on offer had an estimated reserves of 88 million tonnes of oil equivalent, which if comes into production, can cut down India’s oil import bill by Rs 3,500 crore per annum.  The bidding round that kicked off on May 25 was mainly aimed at small companies. Though Oil and Natural Gas Corp stayed away from the auction, other major players such as Indian Oil Corp, Cairn India, GAIL (India) Ltd, Bharat Petro Resources, Adani Welspun Exploration and Hindustan Oil Exploration Company participated in the auctions.

Source: Business Standard

Petrotech 2016 will help develop Indian energy roadmap: Oil Minister

November 25, 2016. With India becoming the world’s third largest oil consumer and its energy consumption projected to grow 128 percent by 2035, the annual Petrotech international conference in December will play a key role in preparing a roadmap to satisfying the country’s future energy needs, the government said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 12th edition of the conference, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. Pradhan said that oil-rich Russia had already made investments worth $13 billion in the Indian downstream industry. Pradhan said that the government had received 134 e-bids from 42 companies for exploring small oil and gas fields under the Discovered Small Fields Bid Round 2016. The government has put up for bidding for production under a new revenue sharing model these small fields originally discovered by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Oil India. They, however, could not develop these because of their small size.

Source: The Economic Times

RBI allows oil bonds as collateral for liquidity auctions

November 25, 2016. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has relaxed its liquidity auction rules by expanding the basket of securities that will be accepted as collateral for the repo, reverse repo and marginal standing facility tenders, it said. The RBI is making oil bonds eligible for the liquidity auctions. Banks have been tendering up to about Rs 4 trillion ($58 billion) in reverse repo auctions with the RBI which led to concerns that the central bank may soon run out of government securities to offer to banks if the deposits shoot up sharply. That is likely to have prompted the RBI to expand the basket of collateral to oil bonds as well, dealers said.

Source: Reuters

Fire at RIL Jamnagar refinery out; production unaffected

November 24, 2016. A fire broke out at the refinery site of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) in Gujarat but there was no hit to the production, the company said. The fire broke out at the company’s fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU), a gasoline-making unit, at the 660,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery, which was under maintenance, the company said. RIL has two advanced refineries at Jamnagar in Gujarat that can jointly process 1.2 million bpd of crude oil. The part of the refinery where the fire broke out was in the domestic tariff area (DTA) of the refinery site. The second 540,000 bpd refinery is located in the special economic zone of the refinery site. RIL confirmed the there was a “flash fire” in one of its units which was under planned maintenance in the DTA refinery.

Source: Reuters

IOC plans $5.5 bn expansion of refinery co-owned by Iran

November 23, 2016. An Indian Oil Corp (IOC) unit plans to invest $5.5 billion to gradually raise the capacity of its smallest refinery co-owned by Iran to 300,000 barrels per day (bpd). The Nagapattinam plant operated by IOC’s subsidiary Chennai Petroleum Corp requires a complete overhaul to produce the cleaner, higher grade fuels needed to meet rising demand in southern India. India, seen as the most important driver of world energy demand growth in the years to come, is building new refineries and expanding a number of existing plants to meet demand. According to a 2015 report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), India will require up to 329 million tonnes of oil products annually by 2030. As of last year India consumed 183 million tonnes of refined products, government data showed. IOC has already announced separate plans to spend Rs 500 billion ($7.3 billion) by 2022 to raise its refining capacity by about 30 percent to 2.08 bpd.

Source: Reuters


Gujarat seeks Rs 66 bn from Centre for GSPL gas projects

November 28, 2016. After GAIL (India) Ltd, Gujarat government has sought Rs 6,600 crore from the Central government to partly fund two gas pipeline projects of its firm GSPL including one taking the fuel to Jammu and Kashmir. Gujarat State Petronet Ltd (GSPL) had in 2011 quoted rock-bottom tariff to win rights to lay gas pipeline from Mehsana in Gujarat to Bhatinda in Punjab and onwards to Jammu and Srinagar as well as one from Mallavaram on the east coast to Bhopal and Bhilwara in Rajasthan, but has since then struggled to begin work on laying the lines.

Source: The Economic Times

Oil regulator opposes government’s move to give GAIL the run of Eastern gas grid

November 27, 2016. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has opposed the Centre’s order to grant GAIL (India) Ltd monopoly rights to develop the triangular Eastern gas grid and distribute city gas in the region, avoiding the competitive bidding route. Backed by legal opinion, PNGRB has concluded that such an authorisation, which would be a contradiction of the objectives of the regulation and infringe upon the autonomy of the regulator, would require an amendment of Section 42 of the PNGRB Act. The regulator has published the detailed communication in this regard with the government on its website in response to an RTI query. The Cabinet approved the estimated ₹ 12,940 crore Jagdishpur (UP)-Haldia (West Bengal) and Bokaro (Jharkhand)-Dhamra (Odisha) pipeline with 40 percent viability gap funding by the Centre. The oil ministry asked the PNGRB to allow GAIL to change the pipeline’s configuration including route length and size.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

ONCG’s first deep water project takes off

November 26, 2016. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC)’s first deep water project, commissioned by the company, saw the unveiling of high-tech spool base facilities at L&T Hydrocarbons’ fabrication facility at Kattupalli near the Ennore port in Chennai. Two drilling rigs have been deployed at deep water Vashishta S1 Fields on India’s east coast. The project will be using remotely operated vehicles to drill at 700 metres below sea level. The ONGC project, executed by J. Ray Mc Dermott S.A., Berlian McDermott and L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering, will have the capacity to produce up to 4.5 billion cubic feet of gas, an initiative that will help the union government to move more towards a gas-based economy. This will be the consortium’s first project, involving three sub-sea wells in depths ranging from 400 metres-700 metres.

Source: The Economic Times

CNG kit makers can register online: AAP to Delhi HC

November 24, 2016. CNG (compressed natural gas) kit manufacturers and suppliers will be able to register online with the transport department to obtain endorsements on retro-fitments of CNG kits in ‘in use’ vehicles, the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) government told the Delhi High Court (HC). On October 17, the court had directed the Delhi government to consider adopting a private software in case their own system could not be made fully operational, in response to a petition challenging an August 12 decision of the government to allow the fitment of CNG kits on ‘in-use’ vehicles only after they were vetted by original vehicle manufacturers. The August circular had relaxed a complete ban, earlier issued by the authorities on CNG fitments in ‘in-use’ vehicles after receiving complaints regarding the installation of thousands of spurious CNG kits during the two odd-even drives in Delhi. To implement the process of seeking endorsements, the government had introduced a digital window for compliance but the same proved to be unusable, affecting around 14 importers and 250 retro-fitters of CNG kits in the national capital.

Source: Business Standard


Govt generated Rs 27.7 bn revenues from 83 coal mines: Goyal

November 28, 2016. The government has so far generated a revenue of approximately Rs 2,779 crore from the auction and allotment of 83 coal blocks. Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said that as no auctions were conducted earlier for allocation of coal mines, no revenue accrued to the exchequer on this account. The three rounds of mines auction were held after the Supreme Court in 2014 cancelled the allotment of 204 coal blocks. The fourth round of coal block auctions for the non-regulated sector was cancelled in view of the prevalent market conditions which included sharp decline in e-auction price of coal from Coal India as well as international freight on board price of non-coking coal among other factors, Goyal had earlier said.

Source: Business Standard


CIL’s supply to power sector dips 4 percent in April – October 2016

November 27, 2016. Coal India Ltd (CIL)’s fuel supply to the power sector witnessed a decline of 3.7 percent to 216.5 million tonnes during the April – October period this fiscal, even as the Centre claimed the demand for coal has started picking up. CIL supplied 225.1 million tonnes of coal to the power sector in the April-October period last fiscal, according to the latest government data.

Source: The Economic Times

Jindal Power moves HC seeking refund of additional levy paid for coal auction

November 23, 2016. Jindal Power Ltd moved the Delhi High Court (HC), seeking a refund of Rs 1,185 crore paid as additional levy for participating in the coal auction that was subsequently cancelled in September 2014. Jindal’s plea challenged the provisions of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 under which payment of the additional levy was made mandatory. In its plea, the company contended that it had paid a total of Rs1185,20,33,280 as additional levy for participating in the auction process and sought refund of the entire amount. It has questioned a 2012-13 report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India to the extent that it calculated a net gain of Rs295 per metric tonne of coal to allottees of coal blocks. In September, 2014, the apex court had cancelled allocation of 214 coal blocks on grounds that the allotment process was arbitrary and illegal. The case will be heard next on 13 February, 2017.

Source: Livemint

National: Power

Power Min to nudge states for cheaper energy to powerlooms

November 29, 2016. Weaving units in the powerloom sector may get electricity at ‘competitive prices’ as Union Power Ministry will discuss the matter with the states with a view to providing a level-playing field to such units. Power Minister Piyush Goyal gave assurance in this regard to Textiles Minister Smriti Irani at a meeting. Goyal discussed power tariff and other issues faced by the powerloom sector in the meeting with Irani.

Source: Business Standard

Cash limit on payment of electricity bills deprives Delhi discoms of gains

November 29, 2016. The government’s move to allow cash transactions using old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes for payment of electricity bills may have ramped up collections of electricity dues for distribution companies (discom) across the nation but the power discoms in the national capital have not gained. The current Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) guidelines do not allow Delhi’s power consumers to pay electricity bill in cash where the amount exceeds Rs 4,000. As a result, the three private power discoms in Delhi – BSES Rajdhani, BSES Yamuna and Tata Power Delhi Distribution – witnessed muted growth in bill collections in the wake of demonetisation. DERC said the cash limit was intended to promote electronic transactions. On the other hand, BSES Yamuna and BSES Rajdhani had said the commission should increase the limit from Rs 4,000 to Rs 20,000. The discoms were of the opinion unnecessarily cheque folios were getting wasted because of the condition that payment of bills of above Rs 4,000 is to be only by cheque or demand drafts. However, state-owned discoms in other states have gained after they were allowed to accept old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

Source: The Economic Times

Retail price of LED bulbs under govt scheme drops to Rs 65

November 28, 2016. Retail price of 9 watt light emitting diode (LED) bulbs under the government’s UJALA programme has dropped to as low as Rs 65 per unit to encourage consumers to opt for these energy efficient lights. The aggregation of demand and bulk procurement has resulted in reduction of 88 percent in procurement prices of LED bulbs from Rs 310 per piece (in February 2015) to Rs 38 (in August 2016), which is passed on to consumers, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said. Retail price of LED bulbs reduced to Rs 65 from Rs 550 during the same period. Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), the nodal agency for implementation of the UJALA scheme, aggregates the demand across country and procures LED bulbs in large quantity for distribution to consumers through state distribution companies or utilities. As of November 20, 2016, 5.96 crore of dwelling units have been provided about 17.89 crore LED bulbs under the UJALA scheme. The government wants to replace all the 77 crore incandescent bulbs sold in India with LED bulbs under this scheme. This will result in reduction of 20,000 MW load, energy savings of 105 billion kWh and Green House Gas (GHG) emissions savings of 80 million tonnes every year. The annual saving in electricity bills will be Rs 40,000 crore, considering an average tariff of Rs 4 per kWh. Each LED bulb helps a consumer save anywhere between Rs160 to Rs 400 every year and has a life expectancy of 25,000 hours, thus making the cost recovery less than a year. For availing of the scheme, a customer needs to provide a copy of the latest electricity bill, along with a copy of ID proof, to discoms.

Source: The Economic Times

Power bill to rise between Rs 500 and Rs 1,300 annually from next year

November 28, 2016. Households consuming between 300 units and 500 units of electricity a month are likely to see their power bills go up in a range between Rs 500 and Rs 1,300 a year as a new emission norm kicks in from 2017. According to ratings agency ICRA, thermal power companies would spend around Rs 1.2 lakh crore to conform to the new norms over the next 2-3 years. Thermal power producers are free to pass on the cost of conformation to standards to consumers who would see power costs go up between 13 and 22 paise per unit. The revised emission norms notified by the Ministry of Environment & Forests for thermal power projects are likely to impact 187 GW of operational coal-based capacity and 74 GW of under-development capacity.

Source: The Economic Times


NTPC to continue payment security pact beyond October 31

November 25, 2016. NTPC will continue tripartite payment security mechanism (PSM) agreement beyond October 31, 2016 as Power Ministry has accorded its approval for the same. The tripartite PSM agreement among power generators, states and Reserve Bank of India is executed to ensure payments in case of default. It guarantees that in case of payment default by the discoms, the due amount will be deducted from the centre’s devolution to the states. Centre had launched UDAY scheme in November last year to revive the debt-ridden state power distribution companies. The discoms had a debt of Rs 4.37 lakh crore with annual losses of over Rs 60,000 crore when UDAY was launched last year. Power Minister Piyush Goyal said that as many as 17 states have joined UDAY scheme. The scheme allows states to pay debt of discoms along with their electricity boards by issuing bonds. In the present scenario, PSM will provide payment security to the NTPC and help in its expansion plans.

Source: The Economic Times

CERC for change in power transmission bid rules

November 24, 2016. To expedite development of the power transmission network and avoid delay, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has emphasised to the power ministry the need to give out large projects, instead of breaking these into parcels. The commission has also asked the government to include an implementation agreement in the bidding guidelines, to improve coordination between developer and bid process manager. The government had issued an order in July 2015 that transmission projects won under tariff (rate)-based competitive bidding and those awarded to Power Grid Corporation of India for system strengthening would be eligible for transmission charge from the date of commercial operations, even if ahead of schedule. The first to so come early was, the transmission project of Rajasthan Atomic Power Project, owned and managed by Sterlite Grid, commissioned in January 2016. CERC has asked for incorporating the incentive in the bidding documents and implementation agreement. And, that all the disputes should be settled through the implementation agreement. The power ministry said the advice was being examined and some of the suggestions had already been incorporated in the new bidding documents.

Source: Business Standard

Niti Aayog wants power distribution privatised over time

November 23, 2016. The Niti Aayog suggested that in the long run, the Indian power distribution sector should be privatised. The Niti Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant said radical restructuring is important for the power sector to create wealth, so that people invest in it. Underlining the need for a new ecosystem of independent electricity regulators, he said urgent steps are required to reduce discoms’ aggregate technical and commercial losses and minimise power theft.

Source: Business Standard

Low power generation capacity utilisation to continue in 2017: Fitch

November 23, 2016. Low power generation capacity utilisation will continue in 2017 on higher generation capacity and only gradual recovery of state-owned distribution utilities, expects Fitch. Fitch Ratings believes sustained improvement in distribution companies’ financial profiles will hinge on the gradual reduction of network losses. Generation and transmission utilities will in turn benefit from timely clearance of dues and higher utilisation rates. It predicts that state distribution companies struggling with years of cash losses will have breathing space in 2017, with 16 states and a union territory signed up for voluntary financial and operational restructuring of their distribution utilities. Fitch expects state utilities to have large capex requirements in 2017. NTPC, NHPC and PGCIL will benefit from regulatory certainty under the current five-year tariff period through end-March 2019. Most of the investments in the next few years will be under the traditional cost-plus model, providing companies with greater security on returns. However, new projects – both thermal generation and grid – in India will be offered through a competitive bidding mechanism. Fitch expects greater private-sector participation in grid assets as more projects are tendered, although PGCIL will account for more than two-thirds of new capacity investments. It expects rated companies – PGCIL, Adani Transmission Ltd and NTPC – to bid prudently for new projects under competitive bidding.

Source: The Economic Times



Jakson to install rooftop solar plant at Rashtrapati Bhawan

November 29, 2016. Jakson Group said it has secured a contract to install a rooftop solar plant of 508 kWp capacity at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The company will design installs, commission and maintain this plant, Jakson Group said. The project is expected to be commissioned by this year end. The project will generate approximately 7.41 lakh units per year, it said. Jakson is among top 2 players in India Solar Rooftop market and has a portfolio of 30 MW Rooftop project so far, Jakson Group said.

Source: Business Standard

Himachal Pradesh Cabinet allots 95 small hydro power projects to investors

November 29, 2016. The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet decided to allot 95 small hydro-power projects, with capacity of up to 5 MW, to 95 investors, including 74 from the state. The total capacity of the 95 projects is 197.695 MW, of which 74 projects with 126.695 MW were allotted to investors from the state and 21 projects of 76 MW to investors from outside Himachal Pradesh.

Source: The Economic Times

Madhya Pradesh to get Rs 170 bn boost in energy sector by 2020

November 29, 2016. Hindustan Power, formerly known as Moser Baer, will invest Rs 17,000 crore in Madhya Pradesh in the energy sector by 2020. This will account for half of the company’s investment plan across the country by that year. One of the leading energy players in the country, the company has already built a Rs 8,000 crore 1,200 MW thermal power plant in Anuppur district in the state. Apart from its 1,200 MW thermal power plant, Hindustan Power has commissioned a 30 MW solar power plant in Neemuch district.

Source: The Times of India

Sany Group to invest $2 bn over 5 yrs in Gujarat’s energy & infrastructure sectors

November 28, 2016. Chinese conglomerate Sany Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Gujarat Government to invest a staggering $2 billion over the next five years in various energy and infrastructure projects in the state. The pact for the proposed investment in the state was signed in the presence of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani at Gandhinagar after his meeting with the Chinese delegation, led by Liang Wengen, Chairman of the board, Sany Group. As per the MoU, Sany Group will invest in five different projects, including development of a 1000 MW wind energy project, another 1000 MW of wind-plus-solar power generation project, setting up facility to manufacture wind turbines, developing one small size smart city and setting up a factory to produce pre-cast concrete for the mass housing projects and other real estate Projects.

Source: The Economic Times

Suzlon bags 50.4 MW project in Andhra Pradesh

November 28, 2016. Wind turbine maker Suzlon Group has bagged an over 50.40 MW wind power project in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. Located at Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, the project is scheduled for completion in March 2017. Suzlon will provide comprehensive operation and maintenance for a period of 20 years, and it includes dedicated life cycle asset management services to the project. The project has potential to provide power to over 27,000 households and reduce 0.10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum.

Source: Business Standard

Solar developers stay away from Tamil Nadu tender

November 28, 2016. The tender for Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corp’s 500 MW utility scale solar projects received limited interest that too predominantly from smaller developers who have submitted 20 bids totalling just 116 MW. This tender follows an allocation of approximately 1,200 MW in early 2015 where a fixed tariff of Rs 7.01 per unit ($ 0.10/kWh) was offered to developers. For that allocation, interest was received for a capacity of around 3,200 MW from over 90 developers. Given such large over-subscription, Tamil Nadu tightened qualification criteria significantly for this tender. Tamil Nadu boasts of the largest installed wind and solar capacity in the country with a total wind and solar installed capacity of 9 GW as against base load of around 11 GW. As a result, developers are facing severe grid availability issues as well as long payment delays.

Source: The Economic Times

Clean energy share rises to 7.5 percent in India’s power generation

November 28, 2016. Power generation from renewable energy sources like solar and wind has increased to 7.54 percent of the total electricity generated in the country during April-September this fiscal. During the period, out of total power generation of 631.84 billion units, 47.62 billion units was generated from renewable energy sources, New & Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal said. In 2015-16, total power generation in the country was 1,173.60 billion units including 65.78 billion units (or 5.60 percent of total generation) from renewable energy sources. The share of power generation from renewable sources was 5.56 percent at 61.78 billion units in 2014-15. India’s total power generation in that fiscal was 1,110.45 billion units.

Source: The Economic Times

KKNPP unit shutdown raises eyebrows

November 28, 2016. After functioning for 278 days since February, Unit 1 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) has gone off-air, which activists claim has tripped again. However, officials claim it was a planned shutdown. The site director RS Sundar said the reactor had been functioning continuously for 278 days since February and so the reactor deactivated for maintenance. The Unit 1 was generating at least 815MWe for a month before the shutdown. Meanwhile, anti-nuclear activists assert that KKNPP Unit 1 has tripped bringing back the focus on the quality of components used. According to the activists, resuming the work on other units will mean disregard to the safety of the people in the vicinity and their justified demands.

Source: The New Indian Express

Centre plans to set up 3 solar UMPP in Maharashtra

November 26, 2016. The central government has sanctioned three solar Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP) in the state. One of them will come up in Vidarbha while the other two will be in Marathwada and Khandesh. An eleven member committee under principal secretary (energy) had been set up to identify the sites for these plants. Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (Mahagenco) said that the installed capacity of each of these plants would be 500 MW.

Source: The Economic Times

Adani to spend $300 mn on 2 solar plants in Australia

November 25, 2016. India’s Adani Group has secured land to build two solar farms in Australia, together worth A$400 million ($300 million) as part of a five-year drive to construct 1,500 MW of solar energy plants in the country. The solar push comes as Adani continues to battle opposition to its plans to build a $7 billion coal mine in Australia, a project that has been long-delayed due to a string of environmental lawsuits. Adani, India’s biggest solar power producer and top coal-fired generator, said it would build a 100-200 MW solar farm in Moranbah in the east of Australia, one of the towns worst hit by the global slump in coal mining over the past four years. Construction is due to begin in mid-2017 and is expected to take about a year, it said. The second solar farm will be in Whyalla, a town in South Australia stung by the collapse of steel maker Arrium, with construction of the 120-150 MW plant due to begin in late 2017, Adani said. South Australia has led the country’s push away from coal-fired power, with wind and solar energy now accounting for about 40 percent of the state’s electricity supply. One of the green groups that has long fought Adani’s planned Carmichael coal mine welcomed its expansion into solar power in Australia.

Source: Reuters

Most polluted city drives India to champion gas for vehicles

November 25, 2016. Smothered by increasingly toxic air, India is moving to the forefront of a global push to use more of cleaner natural gas in vehicles. The country’s state-run gas companies are charting ambitious plans to extend the use of natural gas to trucks and scooters, and build infrastructure for long-haul travel on the fuel. Their optimism is reflected in forecasts from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which said in its latest outlook that India is on course to be the biggest contributor to growth in the use of natural gas in vehicles after the Unites States and China through 2040. One of the top automobile markets, where about 70 percent of vehicles run on diesel, India is seeking to cut emissions and its import bill by more than doubling natural gas use in its energy mix by 2021. If the government pushes natural gas as a primary fuel for transportation, India’s vehicular gas consumption could jump eight times to over 62 million cubic meters a day by 2030, according to Virginia-based energy consultancy ICF International Inc.

Source: Bloomberg

DPR of 2 hydro projects in Chamoli ready: Goyal

November 25, 2016. Power Minister Piyush Goyal said that the detailed project reports (DPR) of two hydro projects in Chamoli district have been prepared and a committee of water resources ministry will give its concurrence soon. Goyal said that the DPRs of the 100 MW Jelam Tamak plant of Tehri Hydro Electric Corp (THDC) and Bowala Nand Prayag of Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (UJVNL) are also being examined by the central electricity authority, which is the apex power planning body of the central government. The combined capacity of the two hydro plants is 408 MW. The state’s hydro power plants installed capacity is 3756.35 MW and produces 12,765.92 million units of energy. Goyal said that during the year 2016-17, 29 thermal stations with a total installed capacity of 13440.5 MW, are likely to be commissioned, out of which nine projects with installed capacity of 3608.5 MW have already been commissioned in October this year. Goyal said that 13 hydro stations with an installed capacity of 1,949 MW are likely to be commissioned, out of which five projects with installed capacity of 320 MW have already been commissioned.

Source: The Times of India

NCP demands solution to Vasco coal pollution

November 23, 2016. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has given a 10-day ultimatum to the deputy collector of Mormugao, Gourish Sankhwalkar, to put an end to coal pollution in Vasco. It threatened to galvanize a massive crowd in the port town to protest against the coal handing companies, the Mormugao Port Trust and other stakeholders.

Source: The Times of India

Gamesa bags 50 MW wind project from ReNew Power

November 23, 2016. Gamesa has bagged a 50 MW turnkey project order from ReNew Power, an independent power producer. The order will be commissioned by March 2017. As per the contract, Gamesa will supply 25 units of G114 – 2.0 MW T106 turbines to be set up at Amba, Madhya Pradesh. Gamesa will handle the entire infrastructure needed to install and operate the facility. ReNew Power has more than 3,000 MW of commissioned and under-construction clean energy capacity across nine states in India.

Source: The Hindu

Godawari power suspends operations due unfavorable market conditions

November 23, 2016. Raipur based Godawari Power and Ispat Ltd announced that it has temporary suspended operations at its rolling mill, wire drawing division, captive bio mass power & thermal power plants. Godawari power operates a 50 MW Solar Thermal Power Project in Jaisalmer District, Rajasthan. The 50 MW plant in northwest Rajasthan boasts 5,760 mirrors that concentrate the sun’s rays, generating steam to drive turbines. The plant was commissioned in 2013 as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, the company said.

Source: The Economic Times

International: Oil 

Iraq agrees to cut down oil production

November 29, 2016. Stating that the current prices are not sustainable for oil-producing countries, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said his country would agree to cut  down its oil production as part of OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries)’s plan to push crude prices higher. Al-Abadi said he understands that OPEC members will agree to reduce production by between 900,000 and 1.2 million barrels per day, marking a cut ranging between 2.7 percent and 3.6 percent from October levels. He said it would be enough to push prices up.

Source: Business Standard

Japan’s Idemitsu JV plans to expand LPG use at naphtha cracker

November 29, 2016. Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan said its joint venture (JV) with Mitsui Chemicals would conduct work to expand the processing of propane at Idemitsu’s naphtha cracker to take advantage of cheap liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices. The work will be carried out next autumn and last about a month, during which time the cracker will be shut, the company said. The upgrade will boost the cracker’s capacity to process propane as feedstock by three or four times, Idemitsu said. The cracker will take advantage of its location next to the LPG import facility in Idemitsu’s Chiba refinery. It will mainly rely on LPG imports for feedstock rather than a small quantity of LPG produced at the plant. Idemitsu has a naphtha cracker adjacent to its Chiba refinery with capacity to produce 414,000 tonnes per year of ethylene, while Mitsui has one with a capacity of 612,000 tonnes per year.

Source: Reuters

Kremlin orders oil group Rosneft to submit privatization plans

November 29, 2016. Russia has instructed its top oil producer Rosneft to submit proposals for its privatization by December 1, keeping Moscow on track to receive funds from the sale by the end of the year. The government is preparing to cut its stake in Rosneft by selling 19.5 percent of state energy holding Rosneftegaz’s 69.5 percent stake in Rosneft in a potentially complex deal that is due to be completed by December 5.

Source: Reuters

Hong Kong stocks fall, energy shares weigh

November 29, 2016. Hong Kong markets fell, weighed down by energy shares as oil prices dropped on doubts that producer cartel Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would hammer out an output cut. Investors’ risk appetite was also curbed by a lacklustre performance in global equity markets overnight. OPEC will meet in Vienna to discuss a planned production cut in an effort to curb overproduction that had dogged markets and more than halved prices since 2014. The uncertainty has prompted oil price to fall.

Source: Reuters

North Dakota governor orders pipeline protesters expelled

November 29, 2016. North Dakota’s governor Jack Dalrymple ordered the expulsion of thousands of Native American and environmental activists camped on federal property near an oil pipeline project they are trying to halt. Activists have spent months protesting against plans to route the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline beneath a lake near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, saying the project poses a threat to water resources and sacred Native American sites. The governor did not specify how he intended to enforce his order other than by directing state and local agencies to refuse emergency assistance and other services to anyone who remained at the site.

Source: Reuters

Saudi king showcases mining hub in push to move beyond oil

November 29, 2016. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman underlined the kingdom’s intention to invest heavily in speeding up is diversification away from oil exports with the inauguration of a $35 billion mining and minerals processing complex. Riyadh has tried to reduce the economy’s reliance on oil for decades, but the challenge has become particularly urgent in the past couple of years as low prices have pushed state finances deep into deficit and growth has slowed sharply. King Salman and his top ministers visited the complex at Ras al-Khair on Saudi Arabia’s eastern coast, where Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the government would invest in all available resources to develop strategic industries. The vast complex showcases the government’s ability to use its oil wealth to push big industrial projects, but also shows how dependent the economy remains on state spending in the absence of a dynamic private sector. Most of the $35 billion invested so far was arranged by the government.

Source: Reuters

Oil prices to rise to low $50s per barrel in case of OPEC output cut: Goldman

November 29, 2016. Goldman Sachs said it expected oil prices to rise to the low $50s per barrel in the event of producer cartel OPEC reaching an agreement to cut production at a meeting in Vienna. Markets were on edge ahead of the meeting of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as there remained disagreement among members over which producers should cut and by how much. At an assumed cut to 32.5 million barrels per day, Goldman Sachs told clients in the note the Brent market was pricing in a 30 percent probability of a deal being reached, with a $6 per barrel move the implied volatility. In the absence of a deal, the bank warned, rising inventories through the first half of next year would mean prices averaging $45 per barrel through next summer.

Source: Reuters

Maersk, DONG Energy in talks over $10 bn oil merger

November 28, 2016. Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk and DONG Energy are in talks to merge their oil and gas operations in a deal that would create a business worth more than $10 billion including debt. Maersk is working with Bank of America on the potential deal, while JP Morgan is assisting Dong Energy. Maersk said it planned to merge or spin-off its energy assets as part of a major restructuring and instead focus on its core transport and logistics businesses. DONG Energy said it was putting its oil and gas assets up for sale, as it wants to shift away from fossil fuels toward offshore wind. Some analysts have said, however, that it could be hard to find buyers, with many other energy companies also putting assets up for sale due to low oil prices. Maersk held talks last year on possibly buying DONG Energy’s oil and gas business, but the companies failed to agree on a price. Maersk Oil has suffered a series of setbacks, first and foremost when Qatar chose not to extend its 25-year license to operate the giant Al Shaheen field. DONG has said cash flow at its oil and gas business breaks even at $35 per barrel. It has been producing 89,000 barrels of oil and gas per day this year, down from 115,000 barrels of oil and gas daily last year. Maersk has previously held talks about buying a large part of the North Sea portfolio that Shell is looking to sell as part of a divestment plan.

Source: Reuters

Exxon, Chevron set to bid in Mexico’s deepwater oil auctions

November 28, 2016. Chevron Corp has joined forces with Petroleos Mexicanos and Japan’s Inpex Corp. to bid next week for the right to explore for oil and natural gas, the first time the state-owned operator will partner with private companies to develop crude in the Gulf of Mexico. Seven groups and eight individual bidders have been qualified to participate in the December 5 auctions that include the Trion field joint-venture with Pemex and other 10 deepwater blocks, Mexico’s National Hydrocarbons Commission announced in Mexico City. Total SA joined forces with BP Plc and Norway’s Statoil in one group, and with Exxon Mobil Corp. in another. Eni SpA and Lukoil also joined up, and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc formed another group. The Mexican government made a series of adjustments to sweeten the terms of the Joint Operating Agreement that Petroleos Mexicanos will sign with potential partners to develop the Trion field. Landing a major producer as a partner will signal the beginning of a new era for Mexico’s reeling oil giant. Burdened with nearly $100 billion in financial debt and a 12-year slump in crude output, Pemex has pointed to partnerships as the road to its salvation since the government ended the company’s 76-year production monopoly in 2014.

Source: Bloomberg

Shell considering selling its Iraq oil assets

November 28, 2016. Royal Dutch Shell is considering selling out of its oil fields in Iraq as part of its global $30 billion asset disposal program. Shell is seeking to slim down its vast oil and gas portfolio following the $54 billion acquisition of BG Group in February, which transformed it into the world’s top liquefied natural gas trader. With oil prices having slumped since 2014 the company wants to focus on business areas with the highest returns such as LNG and deepwater oil production in Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico. The Anglo-Dutch company, which has been present in Iraq for over a century, has found only limited financial benefits in recent years from its involvement in Iraq’s oil production, where it is paid in crude oil but has limited say on production strategy. However, Shell continues to see value in developing its gas business in Iraq and is not interested in selling those interests.

Source: Reuters

Norway and Russia to step up cooperation in hunt for Arctic oil

November 28, 2016. Russia and Norway have agreed a deal to acquire new seismic data from the neighbouring countries’ Arctic Barents Sea border region to boost the search for oil and gas, the Norwegian Oil Minister Tord Lien said. As developed parts of the Norwegian shelf mature, the Barents Sea and the significant oil and gas reserves that its unexplored areas are believed to hold become increasingly crucial to future production. However, exploration in the Arctic has faced strong opposition from environmental groups and could be more expensive to develop because of a lack of existing infrastructure. Lien said that an agreement had been reached to allow the collection of seismic data across the border, adding that he expects to sign the deal before December 24. The two countries, which settled a 40-year border dispute in 2010, will also hold discussions on how to split potential future discoveries that straddle the border. The so-called unitisation talks will take place in Moscow during the first half of 2017.

Source: Reuters

Oil market intervention will speed balancing process: Saudi Energy Minister

November 27, 2016. Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said that he believed the oil market would balance itself in 2017 even if producers did not intervene in it. Any intervention will aim to expedite the balancing process, Falih said. Under a preliminary agreement reached in September in Algeria, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would reduce its production to between 32.5 million and 33 million barrels per day, its first supply curb since 2008. OPEC is now trying to finalize that agreement, and wants non-OPEC producers such as Russia to support the intervention by curbing their own output.

Source: Reuters

Russia cements leading China oil supply position

November 25, 2016. Russia is cementing its position as the main oil supplier to China, the world’s biggest net importer and growth market for the fuel, taking over the lead from Saudi Arabia in the first 10 months of the year, customs data showed. Russia took the monthly lead back from Angola, which briefly had top supply spot to China in September, the data showed. Chinese crude oil imports from Russia in October climbed 39 percent on a year earlier to 1.12 million barrels per day (bpd), making it the biggest supplier. China’s total crude oil imports in October have, however, dropped from a record high the previous month to their lowest on a daily basis since January.

Source: Reuters

Norway approves hike in Troll’s 2016 oil output quota-letter

November 25, 2016. Norway’s oil and energy ministry has approved a hike in the 2016 oil output quota of the North Sea Troll field to 46.5 million barrels from 41.7 million, giving it the highest output level since 2009. Field operator Statoil requested an increase on behalf of the license partners in September, and the ministry granted it on November 4, a letter from the ministry showed. Other partners in the field are Norway’s state-owned Petoro, Shell, Total and ConocoPhillips.

Source: Reuters

Vietnam axes $538 mn oil refinery project due to delays

November 25, 2016. Vietnam has decided to scrap a $538 million oil refinery project in the country’s southern region after investors failed to start construction around eight years after they received the licence. The Mekong Delta-based Can Tho refinery, licensed in 2008 to process 2 million tonnes (40,200 barrels per day) of crude oil annually, has now been cancelled. Initially, the licence was handed to a venture between Semtech Limited BVI and a Vietnamese firm, Vien Dong Investment and Trading Co, but Semtech later pulled out. The Can Tho refinery’s cancellation is the second in Vietnam this year, after authorities in the central region scrapped a $20 billion refinery and petrochemicals plant with Thai oil company PTT in July due to delays.

Source: Downstream Today

No one can predict how oil market will be balanced: Russian Energy Minister

November 24, 2016. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that no one could predict how the oil market would be balanced. He said that a global surplus of oil would be at 1 million barrels per day (bpd) until the end of the year, from 1.8 million bpd at the beginning of 2016.

Source: Reuters

IEA expects oil investment to fall for third year in 2017

November 24, 2016. Investment in new oil production is likely to fall for a third year in 2017 as a global supply glut persists, stoking volatility in crude markets, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. Oil prices have risen to their highest in nearly a month, as expectations grow among traders and investors that Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will agree to cut production, but market watchers reckon a deal may pack less punch than Saudi Arabia and its partners want. IEA director general Fatih Birol said that level would be enough for many United States shale companies to restart stalled production, although it would take around nine months for the new supply to reach the market. Birol said it is still early to speculate what Donald Trump’s presidency in the United States will have on energy policies.

Source: Reuters

Saudi Aramco’s novel technology to help find new oil fields

November 24, 2016. World’s top crude oil producer Saudi Aramco, the oil company of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said it made a major advancement in its parallel oil, gas and water enhanced reservoir simulator (POWERS) technology that will simulate oil migration problems in the Kingdom in a fraction of the time it once took and help discover new oil and gas fields. It is the next evolutionary step for the company’s POWERS technology that advanced from mega-cell to giga-cell and now to tera-cell simulation capability this year.

Source: New Kerala

Norway oil producers deepen record spending cuts amid rout

November 23, 2016. Oil and gas companies in Norway cut spending forecasts for 2017, deepening what was already a record reduction in offshore investment. The companies expect to invest 147 billion kroner ($17.2 billion) next year, down 3.6 percent from a previous estimate, according to a survey published by Statistics Norway. Energy companies have put exploration and development projects on hold to weather a decline in crude prices that started in 2014. In Norway, western Europe’s biggest oil producer, spending is set to drop for a third year in 2017 as investors wait for the market to rebalance. Oil and gas investments in Norway next year will be 13 percent lower than in 2016 and 34 percent lower than a 2014 peak, the survey shows.

Source: Bloomberg

International: GAS

China to further open up upstream O&G sector by 2020

November 29, 2016. China will open up its upstream oil and gas (O&G) sector further between 2016 and 2020. The world’s largest energy consumer will introduce private investment in upstream prospecting and push forward reforms of the oil gas prospecting system. China aims to add 5-8 mega oilfields with at least 100 million tonnes of reserves and 5-10 natural gas reserves with at least 100 billion cubic meters of deposit by 2020.

Source: Reuters

Thailand delays O&G contract auction to 2018

November 29, 2016. The military government of Thailand has delayed a planned auction for expiring oil and gas (O&G) concessions held by national oil company PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) and Chevron from 2017 to 2018, due to delays in the adoption of the Petroleum Act. When the auction was announced in August 2016, Thailand planned to open bids for the contracts in March 2017 and to complete the auction in September 2016. The government now plans to open bids in 2017 and to complete the auction in 2018. The concessions for the Erawan gas field operated by Chevron and the Bongkot gas field operated by PTTEP are due to expire in 2022 and 2023 and currently produce 2.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) of gas, which corresponds to more than 3/4 of gas production in the Gulf of Thailand. If the auction fails to attract bidders, the government will negotiate extensions with the existing holders of the concessions.

Source: Enerdata

Gazprom gets greater access to Germany’s Opal gas pipeline

November 28, 2016. Germany’s energy regulator and Gazprom have agreed terms of a deal giving the subsidiaries of the Russian group greater access to the Opal gas pipeline, which the European Union (EU) approved a month ago. The EU lifted a limit on Gazprom’s use of the infrastructure, which takes gas from the subsea Nord Stream pipeline into central Europe, paving the way for Russia to expand Nord Stream’s capacity and to bypass Ukraine as a gas transit route. Since its completion in 2011, Gazprom, which supplies a third of the EU’s gas, had only been allowed to use 50 percent of Opal under an EU ruling aimed at preventing dominance of supply infrastructure. In the latest deal, rivals will in theory be able to use up to 20 percent of Opal’s 36 billion cubic meters (bcm) capacity if there is high demand. But on top of retaining the 50 percent share, Opal was given the right to bid for up to 12.8 bcm of additional carrying capacity if other suppliers do not take it up. The first monthly auction of volumes will be carried out in January on a platform called Prisma. The 470 km-long Opal link runs from eastern German Lubmin, near where Nord Stream 1 pipeline gas volumes land, to Brandov in the Czech Republic.

Source: Downstream Today

Delek secures $1.7 bn financing for Leviathan gas field offshore Israel

November 28, 2016. Israel-based Delek Group subsidiaries Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration will receive up to $1.75 bn in financing to fund its share in the development of the Leviathan natural gas field in Mediterranean Sea, Israel. The loans will be used to finance the first stage of Leviathan field development project, which is scheduled to commence gas production in 2017. Delek said that Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration will sign a separate financing deal with the banks for the agreed terms by 20 February 2017. According to estimates, the Leviathan field has natural gas reserves of 18 trillion cubic feet as well as 600 million barrels of oil beneath the gas layer.

Source: Energy Business Review

Cheniere to send first LNG supplies to Asia as soon as next month

November 25, 2016. Houston-based Cheniere Energy Inc is gearing up to send its first supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its Sabine Pass export terminal on the United States (US) Gulf Coast to Asian customers as a rise in prices in the region have made such shipments profitable. Shipping big LNG cargoes to Asia became possible after the expansion of the Panama Canal in June. The cargoes will be delivered in the next one or two months, with China or South Korea the most likely destinations in North Asia. Using the Panama Canal shaves distances between the Gulf of Mexico and Asia to about 14,500 kilometers from 25,600, allowing US producers to better compete in one of the world’s biggest gas consuming markets. The first LNG gas vessel from the lower 48 US states headed from Sabine Pass for China in July, collected by Shell as part of its contracted offtake from the terminal. Cheniere has more spare gas for its own sales after starting operations at the second LNG production plant at Sabine Pass, known as a ‘train’ in the industry, in September. Six trains will eventually be operating and freezing gas from US shale fields to a liquid form for transport on ships.

Source: Reuters

BP buys stake in Eni’s giant Zohr gas field offshore Egypt

November 25, 2016. BP has agreed to buy 10 percent of Eni’s Shorouk concession offshore Egypt, which includes the giant Zohr gas field, for $375 million, joining other oil majors in increasing bets on the growing gas market. The deal gives Eni much-needed cash as part of its € 5 billion divestment plan to continue investing and paying dividends despite weak oil prices. The companies agreed BP could purchase another 5 percent of the field before the end of next year, when the Zohr field is slated to start production, under the same terms and that BP would reimburse Eni around $150 million in past expenditure. Zohr, discovered by Eni last year, has an estimated 850 billion cubic meters of gas in place. It will help plug Egypt’s acute energy shortage and save the country billions of dollars in hard currency that would otherwise be spent on imports. Once an energy exporter, Egypt has turned into a net importer because of declining oil and gas output and increasing consumption. It is trying to encourage quicker development of recent discoveries to fill its energy gap as soon as possible. A run of big gas finds off the Egyptian coast have made the country a top destination for energy investment even as firms seek to save cash to handle low oil prices better. The deal deepens BP and Eni’s partnership in Egypt, where they announced a significant gas discovery in the East Nile Delta in June.

Source: Reuters

Asian exchanges set to hit the gas on LNG trading

November 25, 2016. Asia may be the world’s biggest consumer of liquefied natural gas, yet its LNG trading activity is minuscule as no exchange has managed to establish itself as a benchmark. That might be about to change. Following years of unfulfilled promises, two of Asia’s leading exchanges – Singapore’s SGX and Japan’s TOCOM – announced they would join forces in order to co-list Asian LNG and electricity futures. For Japanese and South Korean utilities, the world’s biggest buyers of LNG, the creation of a liquid spot and exchange LNG trading hub will allow them to purchase cargoes at short notice and tailor-made volumes

Source: Reuters

China to invest $268 mn in Chongqing shale gas project

November 23, 2016. China will invest 1.85 billion yuan ($268 million) to develop a shale gas project in Chongqing with an annual production capacity of 2 billion cubic meters (bcm) in three to five years. The country has laid out a shale gas development blueprint to pull out 30 bcm by 2020 and 80-100 bcm by 2030 and the southwest municipality of Chongqing has been identified as one of the top five production zones. Four subsidiaries of China’s second-largest energy company China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, or Sinopec, along with local natural gas company Chongqing Xianglong, will build pipelines and other infrastructure for the project in Chongqing’s Wulong county. Wulong county has proven shale gas reserves that exceed 100 bcm. China, the world’s top energy user and third-largest gas consumer, aims to boost the consumption of clean energy by lifting its natural gas usage to 10 percent of primary energy needs by 2020 from less than 6 percent currently, the National Energy Administration has said.

Source: Rigzone

International: Coal

North Korea coal exports targeted under draft UN resolution

November 29, 2016. North Korea faces a sharp cut in coal exports under a United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution that’s aimed at punishing Kim Jong UN’s regime for a September nuclear test by cutting off his government’s few sources of hard currency. The resolution would deny Pyongyang at least $700 million a year. Crucially, the proposal has the backing of China, which can veto any Security Council resolution and has been wary of strangling its isolated neighbour’s economy given the turmoil that might follow.

Source: Bloomberg

US authorities scrutinize Rio’s 2013 coal writedown

November 29, 2016. The United States (US) Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating a $3 billion impairment charge booked by miner Rio Tinto in 2013 on the value of a Mozambican coal asset.

Source: Reuters

Ratcliffe coal plant in UK could run beyond 2025: Uniper

November 29, 2016. German utility Uniper aims to operate its Radcliffe coal plant in Britain for as long as possible, Felix Lerch, chairman of Uniper United Kingdom (UK) said, even though the British government plans to close all coal plants without technology to capture carbon emissions by 2025. The UK government has launched a consultation on its plan to close coal plants by 2025 which do not have carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to trap and bury emissions. However, it said action would only be taken if there are no risks to Britain’s security of electricity supply. The country could face electricity shortages by the 2020s as coal plants close without replacement plants being built. Uniper is the power plant and energy trading unit spun off by German utility E.ON. Its 2 GW Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal plant opened in 1968 but it could stay open beyond the government’s 2025 deadline if there is a risk to electricity supply security, Lerch said.

Source: Reuters

Coal price surge sets miners against activists by English seaside

November 27, 2016. In northeastern England, a battle is raging between grass roots campaigners and a company intent on digging a new open cast mine as world coal prices soar. A year after Britain closed its last deep coal mine and pledged to phase out coal-fired power generation, the economics of mining have been transformed. Coal prices have risen by well over 100 percent this year to $100 a tonne. Some mining stocks have risen even more, spurred by United States President-elect Donald Trump’s pledges to revive coal and pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Source: Reuters

Thousands demand scrap of Bangladesh coal-fired plant

November 26, 2016. Thousands of protesters gathered in the Bangladesh capital, demanding the government scrap a massive coal-fired power plant they say will destroy the world’s largest mangrove forest. Slogan-shouting activists travelled from all over the country to join the demonstration at the Shaheed Minar memorial in Dhaka. Campaigners have been protesting for the last three years against the under-construction plant which is 14 kilometers north of Sundarbans forest, part of which is a UNESCO world heritage site. Organisers said more than 20,000 people had joined the protest and were expecting up to 100,000 as the day progressed. Police were reluctant to give a figure but said the number would be lower than the organisers’ estimate. It said there was a high chance pollution from the plant would “irreversibly damage” the Sundarbans, which straddles the border of India and Bangladesh and provides a barrier against storm surges and cyclones that have killed thousands of people in impoverished coastal villages. Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has defended the project and rejected concerns about it as politically motivated. She said the plant was needed to provide power to the impoverished south.

Source: Business Standard

China’s October coal imports from North Korea up on month after falling in September

November 25, 2016. China’s coal imports from North Korea rose in October after falling more than a quarter in September from the previous month amid a push from the United States to punish North Korea for its recent nuclear test. Coal imports from North Korea climbed 1.22 percent in October to 1.82 million tonnes compared with September, data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed. China’s coal imports from North Korea fell to 1.798 million tonnes that month from 2.465 million tonnes in August. Coal is one of North Korea’s only sources of hard currency, giving it particular importance to the country’s economy. Its exports of coal to China are seen by the United States as a key area where Beijing has leverage over North Korea. China’s market has strong appetite for anthracite, a high-grade hard coal, from North Korea, to meet the demand in steel and ceramic manufacturing industries.

Source: Reuters

US coal producer Peabody debt dispute fizzles as coal prices rise

November, 23, 2016. United States (US) coal producer Peabody Energy Corp said it is closer to exiting bankruptcy, with a debt dispute between creditors fizzling as a recent increase in coal prices boosts their chances for recovery. Seven months later, prices for coal used to generate power and make steel have surged, particularly in Australia, where Peabody expanded with the $5.1 billion acquisition of Australia’s Macarthur Coal in 2011.

Source: Reuters

International: Power

Nigeria considers privatising power transmission network company TCN

November 28, 2016. The federal government of Nigeria is considering privatising the power transmission grid operator, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), to attract investments in the power sector. Nigeria has already launched a massive privatisation of its power sector and Manitoba Hydro International (Canada) was awarded the operation of TCN under a 3-year concession in 2012. The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing expects to raise the capacity of the transmission grid, operated by the TCN, from 7,000 MW in 2014 to 20,000 MW by 2020.

Source: Enerdata

Oman considers selling 49 percent in MEDC

November 24, 2016. The government of Oman is considering divesting a 49% stake in Muscat Electricity Distribution Company (MEDC) through private placement and public listing on the Muscat Securities Market. MEDC distributes electricity to nearly 310,000 customers in the Muscat governorate.

Source: Enerdata

Canadian province Alberta switching to new power market structure

November 23, 2016. The Canadian province of Alberta is switching to a new power market structure to encourage investment in electricity generation and help meet its renewable energy targets, the government said. Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd said the new structure will deliver more affordable prices over the long term for consumers, reduce volatility and lure investors because of the stable revenue stream it provides. Electricity prices are expected to rise as the capacity market is implemented, but no more than they would have in an energy-only market, according to the government.

Source: Reuters


Switzerland votes against accelerated phase-out of nuclear power plants

November 29, 2016. Swiss voters rejected a proposal to expedite the shutdown of the country’s nuclear power plants in a referendum conducted on 27 November. A plan backed by the Green party proposed to close three of Switzerland’s five nuclear plants next year. Following the referendum outcome, Swiss nuclear plants should operate for about 60 years, with the first unit closing sometime in the 2030s, World Nuclear Association said. Currently, the five nuclear facilities account for nearly 40% of electricity generated in the country. Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan, the Swiss government announced plans to meet the country’s power needs from renewable energy sources by 2050.

Source: Energy Business Review

European Commission clears Czech state aid scheme to renewables plants

November 29, 2016. The European Commission has cleared the Czech support scheme for renewable electricity installations built between 2006 and 2012, considering that the support scheme was in line with European Union (EU) state aid rules and would further EU energy and climate goals without unduly distorting competition. In December 2014, the Czech Republic notified to the Commission a support scheme in favour of all types of installations generating energy from renewable sources built in the period 1 January 2006 – 31 December 2012. The scheme had a total budget of CZK 836.5 bn over its lifetime (around €31 bn).

Source: Enerdata        

New Zealand to save $31 bn by using Paris carbon market

November 28, 2016. New Zealand’s challenge is to reduce emissions in its agriculture-led economy, where the prevalence of sheep and cattle farming means 43 percent of its greenhouse gas output is from methane. By using international markets, the country can spur clean-energy projects in emerging nations and have cash left for domestic efforts. Without trading, its target would’ve been weaker, according to a cabinet paper. The country has a unique emissions dilemma among developed countries in that most of its electricity already comes from renewables, while its transport and agriculture industries provide limited scope for cuts. Agriculture made up about half of its total greenhouse-gas output in 2014, compared with about 10 percent in the European Union. Last year’s Paris deal to limit emissions after 2020 allows nations to cooperate on reducing heat trapping gases, or they can use a new international market. Negotiators earlier this month postponed talks on greenhouse-gas markets until May amid disagreement over how much influence the UN should have.

Source: Bloomberg

UK researchers develop diamond batteries by recycling radioactive waste

November 28, 2016. Researchers from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom (UK) have developed a man-made diamond battery which has potential to generate power when placed in close proximity to a radioactive field. The physicists and chemists from the university said that the new technology uses nuclear waste to generate electricity in a nuclear-powered battery. The new method for radioactive energy development is expected to solve some of the problems of nuclear waste, clean electricity generation and battery life, the team said. The team has already developed and demonstrated a prototype diamond battery using the Nickel-63 material as the source of radiation. However, further work is underway to develop next version of the diamond battery using carbon-14 as radiation source in order to significantly improve efficiency. The carbon-14, a radioactive version of carbon generated in graphite blocks used to moderate the reaction in nuclear plants, was selected as it emits a short-range radiation which is quickly absorbed by solid materials.

Source: Energy Business Review

Trump faces dilemma as US oil reels from record biofuels targets

November 28, 2016. The Obama administration signed its final plan for renewable fuel use in the United States (US), leaving an oil industry reeling from the most aggressive biofuel targets yet as President-elect Donald Trump takes over. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, signed into law by President George W. Bush, is one of the country’s most controversial energy policies. It requires energy firms to blend ethanol and biodiesel into gasoline and diesel. The policy was designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce US reliance on oil imports and boost rural economies that provide the crops for biofuels. The president-elect campaigned on a pro-ethanol platform when he visited America’s farm states and biofuels advocates expect he will keep the RFS strong, maintaining annual targets at the minimum set forth by Congress. The renewables industries have already started to emphasize their place among American-made fuels, something experts expect will appeal to Trump.

Source: Reuters

ADB offers $325 mn loan to Pakistan to install clean energy sources

November 28, 2016. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has granted $325 mn loan to Pakistan to help the country in installing clean energy sources. The funding will also be used to improve access to electricity in the country’s two largest provinces, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KPP) and Punjab. A further $750,000 will also be provided in technical assistance grant by ADB for capacity development and improvement of performance monitoring of the program. The program involves installation of renewable energy power plants including the construction of 1,000 micro-hydropower plants (MHPs) in off-grid areas of KPP. Additionally, rooftop solar plants will be installed for 23,000 schools and over 2,500 primary healthcare facilities in two provinces and a university in Bahawalpur, Punjab. In total, the MHPs and solar plants are expected to generate electricity required to power around 1.5 million people in rural areas. The loan forms part of ADB’s plan to double its annual climate financing to $6 billion for Asia-Pacific by 2020.

Source: Energy Business Review

New fuel rules to cut emissions by 30 megatonnes by 2030: Canada

November 25, 2016. Canada will require reduced carbon footprints for all fuels so that the country can achieve a 30-megatonne cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, the country’s environment department said. The government will not mandate specific changes to fuels and will focus just on reducing their emissions. Precise steps are to be determined after consultations, including with Canada’s provinces and relevant industries, and the government will release a discussion paper in February 2017, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada. Canada’s Liberal government ran on a platform to do more for the environment. The country’s new fuel measures would help it meet the emissions reduction targets of the Paris agreement on climate change, which Canada’s Parliament ratified. The government’s stance contrasts sharply with that of United States President-elect Donald Trump, who has pledged to ease the regulatory burden on all fossil fuel producers. Canada’s new measures, the “Clean Fuel Standard,” will aim to reduce fuels’ carbon intensity, a measure of emissions relative to the amount of energy derived, according to the environment department. Separately Canada announced it will virtually eliminate the use of traditional coal-fired electricity by 2030. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to bring in a minimum nationwide price on carbon emissions by 2018. But data show Canada has little chance of meeting its climate change goals of reducing emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, in part because of booming emissions from the energy sector.

Source: Reuters

South Africa’s proposed nuclear power plant unsafe

November 25, 2016. South African power provider Eskom has proposed building a nuclear power station on a site that may be at risk of surge storms and tsunamis, a geological report suggests, but the state-owned utility disputes the findings. South Africa has the continent’s only nuclear power station and plans to expand nuclear power generation to meet growing electricity demand in Africa’s most industrialized country.

Source: VOA News

US boosts refiners’ 2017 biofuel quotas to record levels

November 23, 2016. The Obama administration is forcing refiners to use a record amount of biofuel next year, delivering a victory to Midwest farmers at the expense of oil companies that say they are struggling with the program’s costs. Under quotas the United States (US) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), refiners must mix 19.28 billion gallons of renewable fuel into the US gasoline and diesel supply next year, including up to 15 billion gallons of traditional, corn-based ethanol. The mandates are above levels the agency proposed in May and also above last year’s requirements. For the first time, the targets match a 15 billion-gallon ceiling that Congress established for conventional renewable fuels in creating a program to boost their use 11 years ago. The 2017 quotas are certain to increase pressure on Congress and President-elect Donald Trump to overhaul the Renewable Fuel Standard. While Trump is unlikely to rescind the new targets now that they have been finalized, he may support efforts to overhaul it by Congress. During his campaign, Trump had varying views of the program. In Iowa early this year, Trump said the US should increase biofuel mandates. But in September, his campaign issued a fact sheet calling for the elimination of the system for buying and selling biofuel blending credits, following criticism from billionaire investor Carl Icahn. His campaign later reissued the fact sheet without the language opposing the system. The EPA’s decision is good news for biofuel backers and Midwest leaders who had argued that climbing gasoline demand justified hitting that 15 billion cap. Americans are on track to consume a record 144 billion gallons of gasoline this year, according to an October forecast from the US Energy Information Administration.

Source: Bloomberg

Microsoft saves $10 mn by reducing COemissions

November 23, 2016. More than $10 million has been saved every year and emissions reduced by the equivalent of 7.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) through investments in energy efficiency, green power and carbon offset community projects, software giant Microsoft said in a new report. The company, which set a voluntary internal carbon fee four years ago, says its carbon-neutral initiatives have impacted more than 3.2 million people in emerging nations. It has purchased more than 10 billion kilowatt-hours of ‘green power’ for lighting up its offices since July 2012. The company’s goal is to reach a point where all greenhouse gas emissions are safely absorbed by healthy forests, soils, and other natural or nature-based infrastructure. To establish the price on carbon, the company has a Carbon Neutral Council, a cross-corporate group that provides feedback on and buy-in to the programme. To retire its e-waste appropriately, the company has recycled over 400,000 assets and reused over 350,000 assets in the United States alone. The programme also supports additional recycling and reuse in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

Source: The Economic Times


Status of LPG Customers Opted Out of Domestic LPG Subsidy

State/Union Territory Domestic LPG Customers as on April 1, 2016 (in Lakhs) LPG opt out share (in %)
India 2017.89 5.2
Andaman and Nicobar Islands 0.94 3.0
Andhra Pradesh 134.47 1.8
Arunachal Pradesh 2.63 8.7
Assam 39.36 4.7
Bihar 75.82 5.6
Chandigarh 4.18 4.8
Chhattisgarh 23.64 5.9
Dadra & Nagar Haveli 0.76 9.1
Daman & Diu 0.72 3.8
Goa 5.72 7.5
Gujarat 85.75 5.4
Haryana 57.90 6.0
Himachal Pradesh 20.14 3.5
Jammu & Kashmir 23.31 6.5
Jharkhand 23.43 4.2
Karnataka 121.09 6.3
Kerala 88.10 3.7
Lakshadweep 0.05 3.0
Madhya Pradesh 85.78 5.1
Maharashtra 234.59 7.4
Manipur 4.19 11.2
Meghalaya 1.99 3.8
Mizoram 3.08 14.3
Nagaland 2.44 12.9
NCT of Delhi 63.34 12.5
Odisha 39.16 4.1
Puducherry 3.87 4.4
Punjab 81.14 5.3
Rajasthan 99.47 6.7
Sikkim 1.69 4.6
Tamil Nadu 183.10 3.7
Telangana 104.68 3.7
Tripura 5.12 3.5
Uttar Pradesh 248.39 5.2
Uttarakhand 26.17 5.6
West Bengal 121.67 3.0

Source: PPAC and Rajya Sabha Un-starred Question No. 1732

Publisher: Baljit Kapoor
Editorial adviser: Lydia Powell
Editor: Akhilesh Sati
Content development: Vinod Kumar Tomar

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