MonitorsPublished on Apr 01, 2017
Energy News Monitor | Volume XIII: Issue 42


Non-Fossil Fuels News Commentary: March 2017


The state led push on solar energy is obviously showing results. India’s solar power generation capacity has crossed 10 GW more than three-time jump in less than three years when NTPC commissioned a 45 MW solar power project at Bhadla in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. As much as 14 GW of solar projects are currently under development and about 6 GW is to be auctioned soon. In 2016, about 4 GW of solar capacity was added, the fastest pace till date. According to power ministry estimates, another 8.8 GW capacity is likely to be added in 2017, including about 1.1 GW of rooftop solar installations. Government is targeting 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind energy capacity by 2022.

The government’s decision last month to double solar park capacity to 40 GW in three years has opened up a new business opportunity worth up to $200 billion for power transmission companies. Adding new 50 ultra-mega solar parks to the 34 under construction in 21 states, will need to significantly widen the green energy corridor—the transmission network for the solar parks SECI said. The ongoing ₹ 130 billion green energy corridor-II project connecting the 34 parks under construction and new transmission projects will be identified keeping in mind the location of the new parks, SECI said. According to Power Grid Corp of India Ltd, which prepared the road map for the green energy corridor-II, not all the proposed new solar parks may come up at new locations and many could be in the solar and land resource rich states such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, where such parks are already operating. Under the green energy corridor project-II, 32 transmission projects are being constructed.  If economics is any guide it is demand that justifies transmission lines and makes them viable but in this case it is supply that is pushing transmission expansion.  What is good for the government may not be good for the market.


Solar power generation costs are set to dip further during third and fourth quarter of FY17, helped by expected softening of interest rates and a drop in solar panel prices due to a supply glut in the international market. Solar power costs had hit a low of ₹ 3.30/kWh last month, which is equal to average generation tariffs of NTPC, which produces bulk of its power from coal. NTPC’s lowest cost of generation from one of its old plant is around ₹ 1.80/kWh, but on an average solar power prices are expected to become significantly lower than thermal power as solar generation prices fall further. In February, solar tariffs in the country touched a low of ₹ 2.97/kWh for the first year of generation and an average tariff of ₹ 3.30/kWh at a bidding for solar plants at Rewa in Madhya Pradesh.

After the success of the recent central government-sponsored auction of wind power capacity, Karnataka is said to be looking at open auctions for wind power. Wind power companies have always sold energy at rates fixed by the respective State electricity regulatory commissions, and these feed-in tariffs have ruled around ₹ 4.50/kWh.  Tamil Nadu, which has the largest wind capacity pays ₹ 4.16/kWh. However, in the country’s first tariff-based auctions, held last month, the market-determined tariffs slid to as low as ₹ 3.46/kWh.  Rajasthan is also said to be interested in competitive bidding for wind. The prospect of prices dropping as a consequence of competitive bidding was just what the wind turbine manufacturers feared, because the low tariffs would put pressure on the selling prices of their turbines.

Germany is expected to provide additional funding of €200 million to India’s energy efficiency programme, taking its total commitment to the green initiative to € 600 million. The total German commitment for better energy efficiency in India stands at €600 million (₹ 42 billion). EESL uses the funds to invest in energy efficiency measures in various sectors like domestic households, public buildings, street lighting, water supply and other public facilities, agriculture and industry. It is a follow up to the earlier programme ‘Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings and Infrastructure’ which has implemented the DELP resulting in an estimated 600,000 tons of CO2 emission reduction annually. Besides, a financing agreement of €500,000 (₹ 35 million) was signed with IREDA. IREDA will use these funds to assure the quality of solar PV projects and to mitigate the challenges faced in solar rooftop PV projects by establishing an implementation structure.

As much of the success of renewable energy reported above is being achieved at the expense of conventional power at a time when demand for power is subdued, conventional green power options such as hydro power which do not necessarily have the visible hand of the state helping them are suffering. Out of 44 HEPs under construction presently, 20 HEPs totalling 6,329 MW are reported to be stalled/stressed and an amount of about ₹ 300 billion has already been spent on these HEPs. The total hydro power generation in the country (from HEPs above 25 MW capacity) in FY17 is 113.53 BU. The government has sanctioned the proposal regarding basin-wise reassessment of hydro potential in the country. The work has since been taken up by the CEA through WAPCOS Ltd for completion in about 30 months period.

Adhering to its global commitment, India launched the country’s latest plan to phase out one of the key refrigerants, HCFC, under its ultimate goal to end use of ODS. Though the fresh plan is meant for the 2017-23 period, the final goal is to phase out consumption and manufacturing of the ozone-depleting refrigerant under an accelerated plan by 2030. HCFCs are currently used in various sectors including refrigeration, air-conditioning and foam manufacturing. Over 190 countries had in 1987 reached an agreement under Montreal Protocol to phase out the ODS in a time-bound manner. Under the Protocol, India has already successfully phased out the earlier generation of refrigerants, CFCs and Halon. The country is currently phasing out HCFCs in a gradual manner. A multilateral fund, set up under the Protocol, has approved $44.1 million for India’s HCFC management plan for the 2017-23 period. The money will be used to help industries to switch over to alternatives and train manpower. Domestic industries are, however, expected to invest in R&D to find clean alternatives.

The CEA has estimated that all coal-based thermal power plants need to brace for drastic fall in capacity utilisation to as low as 48 percent by 2022 as additional non-thermal electricity generation capacities come on stream. CEA has predicted that by 2022 many plants may get partial or no schedule of generation at all – meaning many thermal power plants may have to be kept idle for lack of demand.

Rest of the World

Dubai completed a solar plant big enough to power 50,000 homes as part of a plan to generate three-quarters of its energy from renewables by 2050. The 200 MW plant sprawls over 4.5 km2 of desert and includes some 2.3 million photovoltaic panels. It is the second phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Solar Park, which is scheduled to pump out a grand total of 1,000 MW by 2020, according to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. The solar park’s first phase came online in 2013, with 152,000 panels producing 13 MW.

The European Commission cleared a Belgian support scheme to compensate the operators of three nuclear reactors for potential financial risk, saying the measure was in line with EU state aid rules. Belgium had agreed with operators Engie and EDF that the companies would invest €1.3 billion in three ageing reactors to keep them running for another 10 years, in exchange for certain guarantees. The companies would receive compensation from Belgium if the state decided to close the reactors earlier or change the level of nuclear tax. The Commission said that while the two companies were given an economic advantage Belgium was able to prove that there would be no undue distortions of the country’s energy market. Engie will each year sell a volume equivalent to its share of the annual production at the three reactors concerned on regulated electricity markets, which the Commission said would increase competition.

Apple said it has partnered with component supplier Ibiden to power all of its manufacturing in Japan with 100 percent renewable energy. To meet the commitment, Ibiden will invest in more than 20 new renewable energy facilities, including one of the largest floating solar photovoltaic systems in the country. Ibiden’s products help bring together the integrated circuitry and chip packages in Apple devices. Their renewable energy projects will produce over 12 MW of solar power, more than the energy they need for Apple manufacturing and support Japan’s nationwide efforts to limit its carbon emissions. Apple and its suppliers will be generating over 2.5 billion kWh/year of clean energy for the manufacturing of Apple products by the end of 2018, equal to taking over 400,000 cars off the road for a year. Apple has taken significant steps to protect the environment by transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy. Today, the company is powering 100 percent of its operations in 23 countries and more than 93 percent of its worldwide operations, with renewable energy.

The German spot power price for day-ahead delivery fell, weighed down by increased output from renewable wind and solar source, and a forecast decline in consumption. Electricity demand in Germany is seen falling by 1.4 GW day-on-day to 75.5 GW, according to data. Power output from wind turbines will jump by nearly 5 GW to 14.8 GW, while solar power production will increase by 1.3 GW to 3.6 GW during the same period, the data showed.

Thousands of coal truck drivers descended on South Africa’s capital Pretoria to protest against the country’s renewable energy program, after President Jacob Zuma expressed support for the sector. Zuma said state utility Eskom would sign new renewable energy contracts, angering coal transport workers who say such contracts will lead to 30,000 job losses in the coal industry. Coal is used to generate the lion’s share of South Africa’s power supply and job cuts are a particularly thorny issue in a country where the unemployment rate is almost 27 percent. Coal Transportation Forum said about 2,000 protesters marched to Zuma’s offices in Pretoria and handed over a list of demands. The utility said the trucks only supply a portion of its coal, most of which is transported to its power plants from mines through conveyer belts and by rail. Producers of solar and wind power have put pressure on Eskom to sign more new renewable energy contracts. Industry experts have said that Eskom slowed the pace of agreeing new renewable energy contracts after power supply in South Africa stabilized last year, following shortages in 2015 that led to power cuts across the country. Most of the World’s dirty dictators seem to be supporting clean power probably because it not only cleans up their image but also attracts western investment and reduces their chances of being targeted by the West. The question that must be answered is whether it is foreign policy or energy policy?


Aadhaar deadline for LPG likely to be extended in West Bengal

March 28, 2017. The deadline of January 31 for Aadhaar card linkage with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connection in some districts of West Bengal is expected to be extended by the government. In Kolkata, Aadhaar seeding with banks is 11-12 percent, while with oil companies it is 20 percent. In Howarh, the figure is 13-14 percent and 22 percent for seeding with banks and oil companies respectively, Indian Oil Corp (IOC) Executive Director (East) Indrajit Bose said. The state government was targeting to implement bank transfer of LPG subsidy by January 31 in Kolkata, Howrah and Cooch Behar districts. Asked when would camps for Aadhaar card begin in the city, Bose said the National Population Register, which is the nodal agency for the purpose, was expected to start its operation by February. The oil ministry plans to bring entire West Bengal in phases under the direct transfer mechanism, he said. Meanwhile, the annual conservation fortnight will continue till January 31.

Source: The Economic Times

Oilfields auction winners sign exploration contracts with government

March 27, 2017. The winners of the discovered small field (DSF) auction have signed contracts with the government which will help them take possession and start developing these oilfields. India announced winners of the first round of the DSF bid. Of the total 31 contracts to develop oilfields, 24 have gone to newcomers. The government had received 134 bids for 34 of the 46 contract areas bid out in November. The cumulative peak production from the awarded fields is expected to be around 15,000 barrels of oil per day and 2 million metric standard cubic meters a day of gas over the economic life. Besides auctioning small fields, the government has introduced a raft of policy measures including a new exploration policy and higher prices for gas from difficult fields in the last two years to raise local oil and gas production. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a roadmap for the industry to cut import dependence to 67 percent by 2022 from 82 percent now. The government estimates the total revenue from the awarded small fields of about Rs 46,400 crores. The development of these fields is also estimated to generate 37,500 jobs. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that the DSF bid round, which was completed in a short span of time, helped the government pilot several new initiatives such as the implementation of e-bidding system, an interactive mobile application and a virtual data centre. The government is planning to soon launch the second round of small field auction. The next round will include fields that did not receive bids this time as well as new fields that belong to state-run companies such as Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) but have not been developed yet.

Source: The Economic Times

IOC to help build pipeline to supply fuel to Nepal: Pradhan

March 27, 2017. India will help lay pipeline to supply fuel to Nepal and jointly market fuel in the Himalayan nation, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said. India has been a traditional supplier of fuel to Nepal, which receives its entire demand of about 200,000 kilolitres of fuel every month from Indian Oil Corp (IOC). IOC will help build pipeline to supply petrol, diesel and cooking gas to Nepal, Pradhan said. Pradhan said India is considering extending the natural gas pipeline from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh to Nepal. GAIL (India) Ltd is building the proposed pipeline from Jagdishpur in Uttar Pradesh to Haldia in West Bengal, which crosses Gorakhpur. IOC and Nepal Oil Corp (NOC) will form a joint venture to market fuel in Nepal, Pradhan said. IOC has agreed to supply petrol, diesel, kerosene, jet fuel and cooking gas to Nepal for the next five years, beginning April 1. Under the agreement, IOC will supply BS-IV grade fuel to Nepal and use Patna-Motihari-Amlekganj Pipeline, when it is built, to supply fuel. This pipeline can take fuel from Barauni as well as Haldia Refinery. IOC has been supplying fuel to Nepal since 1974. The new agreement was signed in the presence of Dharmendra Pradhan and Deepak Bohara, Minister for Supplies in the government of Nepal. Pradhan assured India’s continued support to Nepal in meeting its complete hydrocarbon requirement.

Source: The Economic Times

Oil Min puts cure for gas troubles on social media

March 27, 2017. Next time you have an issue or query about your liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) supply or service at a petrol pump, just take to social media for immediate redressal through the oil ministry’s latest e-initiative. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched a dedicated grievances redressal platform – MoPNG_eSeva – on Twitter and Facebook. It will be expanded to other social media in due course. MOPNG e-Seva will serve as a single-point interface, allowing consumers to convey their grievances and feedback directly to the government for real-time response. A team of officers from state-run fuel retailers and allied services have been formed to monitor conversations and address complaints and queries in real time. MOPNG e-Seva will also provide 24×7 support to consumers. It is these features which differentiates the latest portal from the social media accounts of the ministry or companies. For a prompt response, however, make sure you provide your details such as name, consumer number, LPG dealer’s name or the name of the petrol pump and location. A standard operating procedure has also been put in place for immediate intervention by concerned executives of the oil companies.

Source: The Economic Times

Oil firms to present a plan for merger soon: Oil Minister

March 24, 2017. State-owned oil firms have been asked to present a plan for integration, which should happen in 2017-18, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the plan to restructure state oil firms to create an integrated ‘oil major’ but did not give much detail. The oil ministry has asked state firms to prepare a plan for the merger, Pradhan said. The oil ministry and the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management will oversee the process of integration, he said. The power is gradually shifting from oil and gas producers to consumers, Pradhan said.

Source: The Economic Times

Oil ministry seeks integration road map from oil companies

March 23, 2017. The oil ministry has directed state oil firms to prepare a roadmap for creating integrated firms. Oil Secretary Kapil Dev Tripathi held a short meeting with the Chairmen of state oil firms and asked them to submit their respective plans for integration within weeks. Top executives of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), Oil India, Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and GAIL (India) Ltd attended. In their plan, companies have to indicate who they will prefer to combine with and what kind of synergy that will bring. The ministry has undertaken this exercise as a follow up to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Budget speech where he announced the government’s intent of restructuring state oil firms to create an integrated oil major. Oil ministry seeks integration road map from state-run oil companies

Source: The Economic Times

Ratna and R-series fields to be developed by ONGC after a delay of 20 yrs

March 23, 2017. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) approved the development of R-series fields with a capital cost of Rs 4,104.63 crore, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. A Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) report of 2015 had observed that keeping the discovered R-series fields idle without assigning production rights had led to a deferment of domestic production of crude oil and natural gas from the fields to the tune of Rs 26,200 crore. Production from these fields is targeted to start in 2019 with an output of 10,000 barrels per day initially. The Ratna and R-series oil fields hold an estimated 87 million barrels of oil and 1.2 billion cubic meters of gas reserves. The Ratna and R-series fields are medium-sized fields, located in the western offshore on the south west of Mumbai. ONGC had originally discovered these fields and created facilities in Ratna R-12, which is a part of Ratna and R-series, at a cost of Rs 472 crore. These facilities were used by the state-owned ONGC for production since 1983 before production was stopped in September 1994 after which the field was put up for auctions by the then PV Narasimha Rao led congress government. Subsequently these fields were awarded to a consortium led by Essar oil in 1996. However, production sharing contract for the fields could not be finalized due to differences of rates of royalty and other issues. In March 2016, the Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the cancellation of the letter of award given to the consortium led by Essar Oil Ltd in 1996 and decided to revert the Ratna and R-series fields to ONGC.

Source: The Economic Times

HPCL to upgrade units using Honeywell technology

March 23, 2017. Hindsutan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) has selected Honeywell’s technologies for the expansion and modernisation of its refinery at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, according to the American software-industrial company. Honeywell said that the project includes licensing, basic engineering design and other associated services for a Penex isomerisation unit, which helps make “cleaner burning high-octane gasoline, and a Unicracking hydrocracking unit to produce cleaner burning diesel fuel”. According to the company, India’s gross domestic product, currently growing at 7 to 8 percent, is driving robust growth in demand for gasoline as automobile sales increase, and of diesel fuel, driven by growth in commercial and agricultural production.

Source: The Economic Times

Oil Minister seeks to allay protests over oilfields development in Tamil Nadu

March 22, 2017. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan met a delegation of villagers from Neduvasal in Tamil Nadu protesting the recent award of oil and gas projects in the area. The villagers of Neduvasal have been up in arms since February over the recently approved oil and gas extraction contract given to Gem Laboratories under discovered small field bidding round. The protests started after the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) granted approval to projects to extract hydrocarbons in 31 contract areas across the country including two in the southern state. Pradhan said the operator company has to obtain the requisite Mining Lease transferred from ONGC through the State Government for starting any petroleum activity. He informed that some local people and organizations have submitted representations and filed two petitions in National Green Tribunal (NGT), Southern Zone, Chennai objecting the award of discovered small fields expressing apprehension regarding their possible environmental impact. The awarded projects will be taken up after following the requisite process including obtaining environmental clearances, he said. According to the Directorate General of Hydrocarbon (DGH), Gem Laboratory Pvt Ltd, a new entrant in the hydrocarbon sector, has been given in-principle approval to extract oil and gas from a contract area in the Neduvasal village containing 1,243 million standard cubic feet of gas and 2,785 thousand barrels of oil. Bharat Petro Resources Ltd has been given in-principle approval to extract oil and gas from Karaikal village in the same state.

Source: The Economic Times

India eases rules for old oil, gas blocks

March 22, 2017. India approved a policy allowing extra time to contractors of old blocks to unlock oil and gas reserves of more than 426 million barrels, worth over $21 billion, as it seeks to cut its dependence on imports. The policy approved by the Cabinet will help companies including Cairn India and Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) that are exploring blocks awarded before 1999. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party has been taking steps to boost local oil and gas output, which had been almost stagnant for decades. India imports about 80 percent of its oil needs. Modi set a target in 2015 to cut dependence on oil imports from about four fifths to 67 percent by 2020. During the extension period, contractors are expected to make an additional investment of more than $5.4 billion. During April-February, the production from these old oil and gas blocks was around 55 million barrels of oil and 965 million cubic meters of natural gas. The Cairn-operated Barmer block in the desert state of Rajasthan accounts for about half India’s onshore production of crude oil. During the extension period, the government’s share in the profit earned from these blocks will rise by 10 percent.

Source: Reuters


KEI-RSOS secures two O&G blocks in KG Basin

March 24, 2017. KEI-RSOS Petroleum & Energy, which currently operates five marginal gas fields in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) Basin and markets the gas to industries, announced securing two oil and gas blocks in the KG Basin from the union petroleum and natural gas ministry. The allotment of these blocks was part of the discovered small fields in global bids where the bid rounds were launched in May last year and blocks were allot ted under revenue sharing model last week. The two blocks allotted to the company together hold reserves of over 1,400 million barrels of oil and 35,000 million standard cubic feet of gas. The joint venture (JV) firm proposes Rs 200 crores to invest around over the next two years to exploit reserves from these blocks.

Source: The Economic Times

India could join Asian nations in procuring LNG: Oil Minister

March 24, 2017. India does not rule out the possibility of joining China, Japan and Korea to jointly buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) as part of efforts to extract better deals, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. Pradhan said the market was gradually becoming more consumer-centric. The world’s biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) buyers, all in Asia, are clubbing together to secure more flexible supply contracts in a move which shifts power to importers from producers as oversupply grows.

Source: Reuters


ONGC seeks natural gas price review

March 22, 2017. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has sought a review of the natural gas pricing formula as rates have dropped below cost. India’s largest natural gas producer demanded a floor or minimum price of natural gas be fixed at $4.2 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu) for the business to make economic sense. The BJP-led government in October 2014 had evolved a new pricing formula using rates prevalent in gas surplus nations like the US, Canada and Russia to determine rates in a net importing country. Prices have halved to $2.5 per million Btu since the formula was implemented. The new formula provides for revising rates every six months – on April 1 and October 1, based on one-year average gas price in the surplus nations with a lag of one-quarter. When the formula was implemented, rates went up from $4.2 to $5.05 per mmBtu but fell to $4.66 per mmBtu in April 2015 and to $3.82 in October that year. This financial year, prices further dipped to $3.06 per mmBtu in April and to $2.50 per mmBtu in October. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that the cost of production of natural gas in the prolific Krishna Godavari basin is between $4.99 per mmBtu and $7.30 per mmBtu. The same for other basins is in the range of $3.80 per mmBtu to $6.59 per mmBtu, he had said. Next natural gas price revision is due on April 1 and it is widely expected that rates may go up by up to 8 percent to $2.7 per mmBtu, still way short of the cost. As per the mechanism approved in October 2014, the price of domestically produced natural gas is to be revised every six months — April 1 and October 1 — using weighted average or rates prevalent in gas-surplus economies at Henry Hub of US, National Balancing Point of the UK, rates in Alberta (Canada) and Russia with a lag of one quarter. The rates for April 1, 2017 to September 30, 2017 period will be based on average price at the international hubs during January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016. Alongside the rate for gas from existing fields, the price for undeveloped difficult fields would also go up from current rate of $5.3 per mmBtu. ONGC is the country’s biggest gas producer, accounting for some 60 percent of the 90 million standard cubic meters per day current output.

Source: Business Standard


CIL in talk with coastal power companies to substitute imports

March 28, 2017. Coal India Ltd (CIL) is in talks with power companies along the western and eastern coasts to discontinue the use of imported coal. S N Prasad, director (marketing) of CIL, said that these power companies were of the opinion that imported coal was more expensive than domestically produced coal. For this, these firms would have to enter into a long-term agreement with CIL, Prasad said. Regarding growth of coal production during the current fiscal, he said that it would come down to two to 2.25 percent as compared to nine percent registered in the fiscal 2015-16. In the last fiscal, CIL production at absolute terms was 536 million tonnes. He said that CIL has a stock 100 million tonnes at pithead. Out of the 517-odd million tonnes covered under the fuel supply agreement with the power sector, 400 million tonnes had been already validated and certified, he said.

Source: The Economic Times

CIL to again appeal against CCI penalty order

March 28, 2017. Coal India Ltd (CIL) may once again appeal to the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) against the Rs 591 crore penalty imposed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on it. The state-run miner is likely to move court of approach COMPAT within 60 days since the recent order has directed the monopoly to pay the penalty within two months. However, if COMPAT or the Supreme Court issues an interim stay on CCI’s order, it may not have to pay the penalty within the 60-day time-frame. The new ruling comes after COMPAT ordered a fresh investigation into the case involving CIL and three of its subsidiaries.

Source: The Economic Times

Policy for surplus coal availability for power plants in the works: Goyal

March 23, 2017. The government is working on a policy to ensure power plants have surplus availability of coal, Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said. He said that in April-January of 2016-17, import of the fossil fuel fell 2.59 percent compared to a year ago. Because of increased production, coal import slumped to 199.88 million tonnes (MT) in 2015-16, from 217.78 MT in 2014-15. However, it is not solely dependent on domestic production, which is also linked to other factors, including insufficient availability of coking coal of the required grade. As per the International Energy Agency (IEA), India is the third-largest producer and second-largest importer of coal in 2014 in the world, he said. He said technology development is a continuous process and the government has laid emphasis on updating technologies by coal companies.

Source: The Economic Times

Adani’s $16.5 bn coal mine in Australia faces fresh wave of protests

March 22, 2017. A new environmental campaign to stop the development of Adani Group’s $16.5 billion coal mine in Queensland will be launched with the high-profile backing of former Australian Greens party leader Bob Brown. Three-quarters of Australians oppose a plan for Adani to tap a $900 million government subsidy to help fund infrastructure connected to the mine, according to a poll. The campaign group brings together 13 conservation and community organizations representing 1.5 million Australians. Australia’s largest coal project — which could fuel power generation for 100 million Indians and create 10,000 jobs in Queensland — has ignited protests from green groups concerned the development will increase carbon pollution and endanger the health of the Great Barrier Reef marine park in northern Queensland. Environmental opposition to the mine, which could begin production in 2020, has delayed the first phase of the project and prompted the company to cut underground capacity by 38 percent. The environmental protesters are “demonstrating against jobs” in Australia and “economic and social development in India,” Adani’s Australian unit said. The protest is a “futile” gesture and the Carmichael coal mine project is going to proceed, Minerals Council of Australia Chief Executive Brendan Pearson said. A final investment decision is due to be made by Adani as early as May. Adani has rejected previous campaigns by green groups against the mine, saying the development meets strict environmental guidelines.

Source: Bloomberg


Kerala, Tripura, Arunachal to join power discom revival scheme UDAY

March 28, 2017. Kerala, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh are all set to join the government’s power distribution reform scheme Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY). With this, the number of states joining the UDAY bandwagon becomes 25. UDAY was launched by the government in November 2015 to ensure financial stability for debt-ridden distribution utilities. Sikkim’s power department had nil outstanding debt at the end of March 2015, Power Minister Piyush Goyal had. UDAY involves several measures to support reform initiatives of states and distribution companies (discoms) including demand side management, increased power supply in areas where aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses are reduced, measures to reduce cost of power generation, reduction of interest costs and exemption of debt-taken over from borrowing limits under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act. So far, 92 percent of the total debt of state discoms has been covered under UDAY.

Source: The Economic Times


BPL homes to get free power connections in Uttar Pradesh, others at EMIs

March 28, 2017. All below poverty line (BPL) households in the urban and rural areas of Uttar Pradesh will get free power connection while those above poverty line (APL) will be given 100 percent financing option with easy EMIs. These decisions were taken after a marathon meeting between Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal and Uttar Pradesh Energy Minister Shrikant Sharma, which lasted over 3 hours, the power ministry said. According to the power ministry, the major decisions that were taken during the meeting included giving free electricity connections to the urban and rural BPL households and to APL households at reasonable EMIs by giving 100 percent financing option. These electricity connections would be given without any discrimination on caste or religious lines and would be based on the latest Socio-Economic Census data, it said. Further, it said that an amnesty scheme would be given to all those households and commercial connections that want to take legal electricity connections. There would be a state-wide campaign against power theft, along with a drive to sensitise all the stakeholders to shun corruption and bring in honesty in the sector, Goyal said. Other important decisions that were taken during the meeting include making 100 percent feeder separation and smart metering expeditiously, waving off of interests on electricity dues and provision of option of EMIs to pay off the principal amounts and bringing in zero government official discretion. Goyal has directed the officials of the power ministry to conduct weekly ground level review of the progress of projects being implemented in the state with the state power department officers in Lucknow from next month onwards.

Source: The Economic Times

Rs 500 bn power purchase scam in Madhya Pradesh, alleges AAP

March 26, 2017. A scam to the tune of Rs 50,000 crore has been executed by signing ‘illegal’ power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the six private power producers by state government, alleged leaders of Aam Admi Party (AAP)’s state unit on the basis of the documents procured under the RTI Act 2005. Not only the PPAs were signed with all the five on the same day, but two of officials who signed it on January 5, 2011, were not even posted on the designations which empower them to sign those agreements, however they signed it showing fake designations. These illegal PPAs forced state to pay Rs 2,163 crore every year to these companies even as power is not purchased from them, as state is power surplus, alleged AAP leaders.

Source: The Times of India

BJP protests sharp hike in power tariff in Bihar

March 26, 2017. The BJP-led NDA protested the sharp hike in power rates and demanded its roll back in the state Assembly. The Leader of Opposition Prem Kumar criticised the Nitish Kumar government for the astronomical hike in power rates and demanded its recall. Former Chief Minister and BJP’s ally Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi also sought withdrawal of the new tariff. Energy Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav made a statement saying the state government had decided to provide subsidy directly to consumers from the next financial year.

Source: The Economic Times

MPPKVVCL disconnects more than 1k connections of defaulters

March 26, 2017. As part of their ongoing hour-long drives at night, vigilance teams of Madhya Pradesh Paschim Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company Ltd (MPPKVVCL) disconnected around 1,000 connections in Indore region. Separate teams were formed and the vigilance team members also examined more than 2,000 connections. All 29 zones in the region were extensively checked and illegal power usage was spotted in some of these zones. Around 500 field staff and 100 engineers have been on field to run both disconnection and recovery drives in all 29 zones of the city.

Source: The Economic Times

Nepal requests India for more electricity

March 25, 2017. Nepal has requested India to provide additional power through two newly-built transmission lines. The construction of the 132 KV Kushaha-Kataiya and 132KV Raxual-Parwanipur cross-border transmission lines was completed recently, Kathmandu Post reported. The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the state-owned power utility, has requested India to provide 50 MW of electricity through each of these transmission lines. The NEA is planning to supply electricity bought from India through industrial corridors in Nepal, such as the one located on the Bara-Parsa stretch. Nepalese ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhaya in a meeting with Indian Minister of State for Power, Piyush Goyal, requested New Delhi to expedite the supply of electricity through the new transmission lines. Nepal and India have reached an understanding to arrange a meeting between NEA and the Power Trade Corporation of India to settle all technical issues related to the supply of power. Hydropower generation in Nepal has plunged by almost 60 percent as the water level in most of the river basins has fallen due to onset of the dry season. The NEA is relying heavily on the electricity bought from India to keep the country free from power cuts. To bridge the gap, the Himalayan nation is currently importing around 380 MW of electricity from India through various cross-border transmission lines.

Source: The Financial Express

Reliance Energy records 3.8k power theft cases in a year

March 24, 2017. A record 3,800 cases of power theft were registered by Reliance Energy in the suburbs in 2016-17, latest statistics released by the power utility firm have revealed. This was higher compared to the previous year, and police FIRs have also more than doubled from 56 registered in 2015-16 to 116 this fiscal year, it showed. Reliance Energy said the drive against power theft would be on a large scale. Power theft was found to be rampant in some clusters in Chembur, Mankhurd and Behrampada and Juhu Lane. Cases were registered in Shivaji Nagar, Cheeta Camp, Samsuddin Nagar, Shivneri-Mankhurd, Chikuwadi-Jai Hind Nagar, Qureshi Nagar, Gilbert Hills and Behrampada. Those caught were booked under section 135 of the Electricity Act. They included 205 illegal power distributors and 374 consumers. Nearly 3,800 cases were detected in an equal number of mass raids carried out during the fiscal year. The power utility firm supplies electricity to nearly 30 lakh consumers in the suburbs, from Bandra to Dahisar/Mira Road, and from Kurla to Mulund/Mankhurd. Of these, more than two million are residential users.

Source: The Times of India

Maharashtra farmers fume at faulty energy bills for years

March 24, 2017. Farmers from Dindori and Niphad talukas have accused the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) of providing them with faulty energy bills. They alleged that the power utility has resorted to average billing, rather than charging them for the actual power consumed and as reflected in their meters. The farmers from Materawadi, Lokhandewadi, Rajapur, Gopegaon and Jopul villages in Dindori taluka alleged that their are getting average bills for the past ten years and they want the MSEDCL to provide them with the metered bills. The farmers get power supply from Pimpalgaon (B) sub divisional office of Nashik Urban Circle. There are around 10,000 farmers under its sub-division and more than half of them have metered installed. But the company has failed to give them metered energy bills.

Source: The Economic Times

BHEL commissions 250 MW coal-based power plant in Assam

March 23, 2017. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), India’s largest power equipment manufacturer, has commissioned a 250 MW coal-based thermal power unit at its Bongaigaon Thermal Power Station (TPS) of NTPC in Assam, the firm said. BHEL is executing the main plant package contract for setting up three coal-fired units of 250 MW each at NTPC’s Bongaigaon TPS. This is the largest coal-based power plant in North East. The first unit of the power plant was commissioned earlier by BHEL and is presently operational while the third and final unit is in an advanced stage of commissioning.

Source: The Economic Times

Punjab power engineers suggest ways to cut losses, lower tariff

March 22, 2017. Punjab Power Engineers Association (PPEA) has said if power meters were shifted out of the premises of the consumers in the remaining areas, as had already been done in major parts of the state, the tariff could be reduced further. A zonal meeting of PPEA was attended by around 100 engineers from Jalanndhar, Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr and Kapurthala circles. PPEA president Bhupinder Singh said the aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses in Punjab were one of the lowest in the country at 14%. He said losses of neighbouring states were in the range of 30%. Punjab’s losses could be brought down further if remaining meters in high-theft areas were also shifted out, he said, adding that Punjab State Power Corp Ltd (PSPCL) was able to supply uninterrupted 24 hours power supply in the rural areas too.

Source: The Times of India

Soon, email or text meter reading for power bill in Uttar Pradesh

March 22, 2017. Residents of the city can now look forward to submitting their electricity meter reading online or through SMS message by themselves instead of relying on line-men or power department officials to generate their meter readings. The process, called ‘trust billing’, was announced by Desh Deepak Verma, Chairman of Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC), to be implemented with immediate effect across the state. Under trust billing, consumers having online billing facility can opt for submission of their meter reading to the licensee distribution company (discom) through email, SMS or at the discom’s web portal/designated office of the licensee. The bill generation and payment are done according to the billing cycle prescribed by the licensee discom. However, the onus of submitting correct meter reading would lie on the consumers. UPERC said if a consumer submits a lower reading than the actual reading on the meter with the intent to reduce the electricity bill charge, action would be taken against such consumers. Consumers opting for this facility will have to get their e-mail address or mobile number registered with the licensee discom on the designated website. The move is expected to empower the consumer while promoting transparency at the same time.

Source: The Economic Times


Power-starved Meghalaya eyeing renewable energy

March 28, 2017. Power-starved Meghalaya is now eyeing renewable energy to meet the growing demand for electricity in the state, Power Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar has said. According to the Central Electricity Authority report 2016-17, the actual shortage of power in Meghalaya is at 5.9 percent. The exhibition organised by the Meghalaya New and Renewable Energy Development Agency was aimed at popularising non-conventional energy among the citizens. Meghalaya can generate about 3,669 MW from various renewable energy sources and about 3,000 MW from solar energy. Apart from solar energy, Meghalaya can tap 165 MW of bio energy, 90 MW from wind energy and 414 MW from small hydro energy.

Source: Business Standard

Hindustan Power commissions 50 MW solar plant in Punjab

March 28, 2017. The Clean energy arm of Hindustan Power has commissioned its second solar power plant in Punjab at an investment of Rs 325 crores. The commissioning of the 50 MW solar plant increases the cumulative solar capacity of the company in Punjab to 80 MW. The high degree of solar insolation in the state is enabling a generation of 2,20,000 units per day.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Chandigarh lawyers want solar panels installed atop district court complex

March 27, 2017. Since Chandigarh has been selected by the central government for being developed as a model solar city, and the Chandigarh Administration has aimed at generating 100 MW — both residential and government — by 2022, the District Bar Association (DBA) of Chandigarh has voluntary come forward and submitted a representation to the UT administrator for sanctioning and installing solar panels on the rooftop of the lawyer’s chamber complex. As electricity consumption in the complex is very high at present, the DBA move is indeed welcome, especially since the government is struggling to attract residents and private buildings for installing solar power. The DBA has given details in the letter, mentioning that the District Court, Chandigarh, has approximately 3,000 advocates enrolled with the association, and there are approximately 460 chambers in the complex, along with 15 shops. It is also mentioned that each chamber is mainly occupied by three advocates, and the electricity requirement of the entire chamber complex is quite high, which is being fulfilled by non-renewable sources that are not environment-friendly. For this purpose, DBA wants a switchover to renewable sources of energy.

Source: The Times of India

Adani Group joins global sustainable energy promotion club GEIDCO

March 27, 2017. Infrastructure conglomerate Adani Group has joined Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organisation (GEIDCO) as a member, which is a non-governmental body dedicated to promoting sustainable development of energy worldwide. The group claimed that it is the first Indian conglomerate to join GEIDCO. GEIDCO is a non-profit international entity of globally renowned firms, associations, institutions and individuals, the Adani Group said. Adani Green has operating projects of 800 MW and under construction projects of around 1,500 MW. The company, in a joint venture (JV) with Rajasthan, is developing the country’s largest solar park with 10,000 MW capacity. In Phase I, it is implementing a 2,000 MW solar park.

Source: The Economic Times

IREDA to sanction Rs 130 bn loans for renewables in FY18

March 27, 2017. Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) will sanction Rs 13,000 crore for clean energy projects next fiscal in the country, vying for around 20 percent of the loan market share. With the government aiming at adding around 15 to 16 GW of clean energy projects, including solar and wind, there would be total credit market size of around Rs 65,000 crore. IREDA Chairman K S Popli said that IREDA would be able to release around Rs 8,000 crore for these clean energy projects in country. IREDA has sanctioned around Rs 37,000 crore of credit for clean energy projects in the country so far and has released around Rs 28,000 crore to developers, which aids generation capacity of around 7,000 MW. The lower cost of equipment and lower borrowing charges have already pulled down solar energy tariff to all time low of Rs 2.97 per unit last month. The wind power tariff has too dropped to a record low of Rs 3.46 per unit in an auction of 1,000 MW capacity conducted by the Solar Energy Corp of India.

Source: The Economic Times

Higher power purchase by states must for India to meet solar targets: Mercom

March 27, 2017. State power utilities need to buy more green power if India has to meet its solar installation targets, analysts from Mercom Capital Group said. Over the past three years, as states scrambled to fulfill their renewable purchase obligations (RPOs), cumulative installation figures for solar and wind energy increased exponentially, but unless compliance improves drastically it will be a challenge to meet the lofty 2022 installation goals. According to data collated by Mercom, installed capacity of grid connected solar power at the beginning of the 11th five-year plan period was zero. This rose to 2,656 MW by March 2014. It has crossed 10 GW of solar thanks mainly due to RPO. India needs to install 90 GW of solar in five year – a rate of 18 GW per year. Most states have specified RPO targets. According to Mercom, most states have defaulted on their RPOs for five years in a row. Even Gujarat and Rajasthan have failed to comply with state RPO. Renewable energy installations in Madhya Pradesh have gone up. Kerala relies on other states to import power. It has been failing to meet RPO largely due to a stagnant renewable energy sector in the state. Growth in generation capacity has been stagnant in West Bengal. This year new capacities were tendered and the state is trying to comply with RPO. Twenty-two states and union territories will require over 9,088 MW to fulfil the non-solar RPOs for FY2016-17. To achieve even a three percent RPO compliance by 2022, India would need about 34 GW of solar capacity. A new tariff policy is betting on RPOs to reach its 2022 installation goals. The policy prescribes a solar RPO of eight percent by 2022.

Source: The Economic Times

Hydroelectric projects are the best option for meeting energy needs: Kerala Power Minister

March 26, 2017. Hydroelectric projects are the best option as they cost less and do not have bigger environment impact, Kerala Power Minister M M Mani said. Mani said other solutions like solar energy too have the problem of cost effectiveness.

Source: The Economic Times

Hindustan Zinc plans solar power projects worth Rs 4.2 bn by next year

March 26, 2017. Hindustan Zinc said its 15 MW solar projects in Rajasthan will get commissioned this month, and it is planning to invest Rs 425 crore for 85 MW power plants by next year. The Vedanta Group firm has already invested 75 crore in 15 MW solar power projects, Hindustan Zinc said.

Source: Livemint

Renewables to account for over 60 percent of India’s power capacity: Goyal

March 25, 2017. Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines Minister Piyush Goyal said India’s 60-65 percent of installed power generation capacity will be green energy. Goyal had predicted that India’s solar power generation capacity will cross 20,000 MW in the next 15 months, from the current 10,000 MW, and said drastic reduction in costs of solar power is proof of maturity of the sector.

Source: The Economic Times

NTPC commissions 20 MW capacity at Bhadla solar project

March 23, 2017. NTPC said it has commissioned 20 MW of Bhadla Solar Power Project in Rajasthan. NTPC had commissioned 115 MW capacity out of 260 MW of Bhadla Solar Power Project. NTPC has planned capacity addition of about 1,000 MW through renewable resources by 2017. Towards this, NTPC has already commissioned 310 MW solar PV projects. The 50 MW Solar PV at Anantpur in Andhra Pradesh, 260 MW Solar PV at Bhadla in Rajasthan and 250 MW Solar PV at Mandsar in Madhya Pradesh and 8 MW Small Hydro Projects are under implementation, as per the company’s portal. NTPC intends to become a 130 GW company by 2032 with a diversified fuel mix and a 600 billion units company in terms of generation. The company wants share of renewable energy (including hydro) to be 28 percent.

Source: The Economic Times

India-Bangladesh-Russia civil nuclear power cooperation on the cards

March 23, 2017. India and Bangladesh are expected to sign a civilian nuclear deal during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India from April 7-10. This will lead to trilateral cooperation with Russia, which is building a nuclear power plant in Rooppur in Bangladesh. The proposed deal, which will be India’s second such pact in the neighbourhood after the one with Sri Lanka, marks the first time India is joining hands with any nuclear power for cooperation with a third country. Bangladesh wants to gain experience from the Russian nuclear power plant (NPP) in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu. In 2014, India and Russia had signed the ‘Strategic Vision for Strengthening Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy’, which envisaged that the two sides would also explore opportunities for sourcing materials, equipment and services from Indian industry for construction of Russian designed nuclear power plants in third countries. Russia and Bangladesh had in 2010 signed a pact for peaceful use of atomic energy. The construction of Rooppur NPP, 160 km from Dhaka, on the eastern bank of Gang river, is being done in accordance with the intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in construction of a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh.

Source: The Economic Times

Biogas worth 375 kW power wasted every month in Goa

March 23, 2017. Surplus biogas with the potential of generating power of 375 kilowatt (kW) is being burned away every month due to government complacency. The files that would approve the export of surplus power to the state electricity department is yet to move ahead. The garbage treatment plant on the Calangute-Saligao plateau has been generating electricity from biogas for the past seven months.

Source: The Economic Times

Use of solar panels for green power on rise in Mumbai

March 22, 2017. Nearly 60 housing societies and commercial buildings in Mumbai have already started generating their electricity requirement by using rooftop solar power plants. Currently, these housing societies generate about 1,400 units of green power a day. More than 400 other establishments across the state have set up their own solar energy panels to reduce their need for power generated by using coal. That’s more than 11,500 units of green power across the state. The quantum of power generated in Mumbai alone is a huge relief on the pollution front. The total quantity of green power generated everyday across the state is equivalent to planting 1.75 lakh trees as this amount of green power replaces an equal amount of power that would otherwise be generated by using coal – a source of pollution. Statistics put out by the state power regulator estimate that 150 more consumers from Mumbai and more than 1,600 in the rest of the state are slated to replace more than 1 lakh units of coal power with solar energy within a couple of months once they are provided with special electricity meters which are also known as net meters.

Source: The Times of India

Govt sets target to triple nuclear power generation by 2024

March 22, 2017. Nuclear power generation capacity in the country is expected to reach nearly 15,000 MW by 2024 as the government has expedited the process of setting up new plants. In 2014, India’s nuclear power generation capacity was 4,780 MW. Minister of State for PMO Jitendra Singh said a number of steps have been taken by the Narendra Modi government to fast-track all ongoing nuclear projects and setting up of new plants in different parts of the country. Singh said for generating targeted nuclear power, there has to be enough uranium available – both from domestic as well as foreign sources. Singh said the government was actively pursuing the process of acquiring uranium from different sources, including exploration in new places like Bihar and Meghalaya. He said for the first time, the Nuclear Power Corp of India has been allowed to go for setting up of joint venture nuclear plants along with Public Sector Undertakings. He said the third stage of India’s nuclear power programme contemplates using thorium along with uranium- 233 as fuel in thorium-based reactors.

Source: The Economic Times

Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh refuse to pay higher tariff for wind power

March 22, 2017. Two of India’s high wind energy potential states have refused to buy wind power at a rate higher than the one arrived at the country’s first ever wind power auction, putting in jeopardy about 500 MW of projects in these states. The auction, completed in February, had brought wind power tariff down steeply to Rs 3.46 per kilowatt hour (kWh). But before the auction, power regulators in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat had set the tariff for 2016-17 at Rs 4.84 per kWh and Rs 4.19 per kWh respectively. Now, neither of the states is willing to sign power purchase agreements (PPAs) at a tariff higher than Rs 3.46 per kWh. The decision has put at risk projects of around 500 MW in these states. These projects have been completed but have still to sign PPAs with their respective power distribution companies (discoms). These projects had been financed and built on the premise that the tariff would be much higher. Cost of wind power production depends on numerous factors, such as wind speed at the location of the project, height of wind tower used, etc, which vary considerably from state to state. Only nine states in the country, including Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, have wind speeds high enough to produce wind power. All of them so far had feed-in tariffs ranging between Rs 4 and Rs 6 per kWh.

Source: The Economic Times

Maharashtra to restart wind power purchase agreements after 3 yrs

March 22, 2017. The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL), the main power utility, is set to resume signing power purchase agreements (PPAs) with wind developers in the state after a gap of almost three years. For the past three years, unused wind generating capacity had been piling up in Maharashtra, with the MSEDCL reluctant to buy power at high prices from developers who had completed their projects. About 450 MW of installed wind turbines, amounting to an investment of over Rs 3,000 crore, remained unutilised due to MSEDCL’s dillydallying and risked turning into non-performing assets by the end of March. Continuum Wind Energy India has the largest commissioned capacity of 98.7 MW awaiting a purchase agreement, followed by Panama Wind Energy Developers with 56 MW and NSL Renewable Power with 47.5 MW. Other developers similarly stranded include ReNew Power (10.5 MW), Orange Renewable Power (24 MW), Greenko (32 MW), Green Infra (22.5 MW) and IL&FS Energy Development (44 MW). With 4,661.91MW at the end of November 2016, Maharashtra had the second-highest installed capacity of wind power in the country, after Tamil Nadu.

Source: The Economic Times



Libya’s oil output down 252k bpd due to armed protests

March 28, 2017. Oil production from the western Libyan fields of Sharara and Wafa has been blocked by armed protesters, reducing output by 252,000 barrels per day (bpd), the National Oil Corp (NOC) said. NOC declared force majeure on loadings of Sharara crude from the Zawiya oil terminal in the west of the country and Wafa condensate loadings from the Mellitah terminal. NOC said it hoped to raise production from Sharara to nearly 300,000 bpd, and that it was targeting national output of 800,000 by the end of April. Austrian oil firm OMV, one of the foreign partners in Sharara, was due to load a 600,000 barrel cargo of Sharara crude from Zawiya on board the Sea Vine tanker

Source: Reuters

Azerbaijan says ready to deepen oil output cuts if OPEC agrees to extend deal

March 28, 2017. Azerbaijan’s energy ministry said it is ready to make deeper cuts in oil output if OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) agrees to extend a deal on output cuts into the second half of this year. Azerbaijan agreed in December to cut its daily oil output by 35,000 barrels per day, but it has cut by 52,700 barrels a day in February to 776,400 barrels per day over the course of the month, the ministry said.

Source: Reuters

Unipec vies for top global oil trader spot with 10 percent volume growth in 2017

March 28, 2017. Unipec, a unit of Asia’s largest refiner Sinopec, expects its oil and gas turnover volumes to grow by 10 percent for the sixth year in 2017 as it vies for the top trading spot with Vitol, the world’s biggest independent oil trader. The trading unit’s growth will come from expanded storage and logistics capability, including new assets in South Africa, and rising shipments of US (United States) crude to Asia, Unipec said. Unipec’s trade volumes for crude, oil products and liquefied natural gas (LNG) reached 370 million tonnes (2.7 billion barrels) of oil equivalent in 2016 with revenue of more than $100 billion. Vitol said its crude oil and product trading rose to 2.60 billion barrels last year, or more than 7 million barrels per day (bpd), bringing in $152 billion.

Source: Reuters

Genel shares hit all-time low as oil reserves disappear

March 28, 2017. Genel Energy’s market value collapsed to an all-time low after it said for a second time that its flagship oilfield contains less crude than expected, dealing another blow to chairman Tony Hayward to rescue the indebted Kurdish producer. Since listing in 2011 and claiming to be the largest independent UK listed firm by reserves, Genel has been hit by a string of unsuccessful exploration campaigns in Africa and reserves at its largest Iraqi Kurdistan field shrinking to just a tenth. Investors who bought into Genel at 11 pounds ($13.8) a share in early 2014 were left with 60 pence as reserve cuts, an oil price collapse and Iraq’s fight against Islamic State hammered the stock.

Source: Reuters

Sinopec overhauls fuel buying policy in new blow to teapots

March 28, 2017. Asia’s top refiner Sinopec Corp said that it will begin buying gasoline and diesel fuel from third parties through its central office in Beijing, a move that puts further limits on China’s independent oil refiners. Sinopec said it would start from April to centralize refined fuel purchasing to balance supply, cut costs and boost efficiency, without giving details of the plan.

Source: Reuters

Market is decisive factor in possible cut extension: Iraqi Oil Minister

March 25, 2017. Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi said the market is a decisive factor in deciding whether to extend into the second half of this year a global agreement on reducing oil output. He said Iraq was in full compliance with the output-cut agreement. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and 11 other leading oil producers including Russia agreed in December to cut their combined oil output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of the year. The accord was aimed at reducing bloated global inventories and propping up weak oil prices. The agreement has elevated the price of crude to more than $50 a barrel but helped US (United States) shale oil producers boost their output, hampering efforts to reduce global stockpiles. Russia said it would reduce production by 200,000 bpd in the first quarter, with cuts reaching 300,000 bpd thereafter.

Source: Reuters

Eni makes oil discovery from Amoca-2 drilling in offshore Mexico

March 24, 2017. Eni, the Italian oil and gas company, has made a considerable oil discovery in the shallow waters of Campeche Bay in offshore Mexico. The discovery was made across multiple reservoirs following the completion of drilling of the Amoca-2 well. After drilling the well for nearly 3,500m, Eni encountered around 110m of net oil pay from a number of Pliocene reservoir sandstones. Out of which, 65 meters were discovered in a deeper horizon that was previously not drilled. Eni, which has a 100% stake in the Area 1 Production Sharing Agreement, stated that it will continue with the drilling campaign in the area. It will start drilling in a new well Amoca-3 and then move on to the Miztón-2 and Tecoalli-2 delineation wells in the current year.

Source: Energy Business Review

Commodities trader Trammo shedding East Coast LPG assets

March 24, 2017. Commodities trader Trammo Inc is continuing to shed its liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) assets, putting its Newington, New Hampshire, propane terminal on the block and selling a Tampa, Florida, facility, the company said. The shakeup comes as the large energy and fertilizer trader is winding down its LPG trading desk following steep losses last year. It sold the Tampa facility to Plains LPG Services, a unit of Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline LP, for an undisclosed amount.

Source: Reuters

Thai Oil buys first crude cargoes from Oman, US amid OPEC cuts

March 24, 2017. Thailand’s largest oil refiner Thai Oil has bought its first ever cargoes of US (United States) Eagle Ford crude and Oman crude as its diversifies purchases amid OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) production cuts. The company bought 500,000 barrels of Eagle Ford crude from a western trader for delivery at the end of May and an equal volume of Oman which will load in May. It bought the cargoes after oil prices fell on lower demand in Asia during peak refinery maintenance season in the second quarter. Thai Oil has previously purchased the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude grade from US for its refinery, paving the way for this purchase, one of the sources said. The purchase of these grades comes a month after Thai Oil bought its first ever Russian Sakhalin Blend crude cargo.

Source: Reuters

Russian private oil companies swing behind output cuts

March 24, 2017. Russia’s private oil producers are ditching their scepticism and lining up behind an extension of a global deal to cut output after previous oil price increases compensated for lost income. Oil prices have risen since November when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reached its first deal to lower output since 2008, with some non-OPEC producers, including Russia, joining the move. A decision on whether Russia backs an extension will ultimately be taken in the Kremlin, and the private oil companies have limited say. But their change of heart is a tentative sign that oil price rises have diluted some of the opposition to global production cuts. Russian state oil companies Rosneft and Gazprom Neft along with private Lukoil account for the bulk of Russia’s cuts. Russia had cut output by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) by mid-March out of the targeted 300,000 bpd, now expected by the end of April.

Source: Reuters

TransCanada gets presidential permit for Keystone XL pipeline

March 24, 2017. TransCanada Corp said the United States (US) Department of State issued a presidential permit for the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a project blocked by former President Barack Obama. Trump signed an executive order to advance the project, which will link Canadian oil sands to US refiners, soon after taking office in January, saying it would create thousands of jobs. TransCanada tried for more than five years to build the 1,179 mile (1,897 km) pipeline, until Obama rejected it in 2015. The company resubmitted its application for the project in January, after Trump signed the executive order smoothing its path. The multibillion-dollar pipeline would bring more than 800,000 barrels per day of heavy crude from Canada’s oil sands in Alberta into Nebraska, linking to an existing pipeline network feeding U.S. refineries and ports along the Gulf of Mexico.

Source: Reuters

Saudi Arabia sees crude supply stable around 10 mn bpd

March 23, 2017. Saudi Arabia expects its crude oil supply to be stable at around 10 million barrels per day (bpd) in the next few months, fully in line with the country’s OPEC quota and regardless of possible fluctuations in monthly production. Riyadh has stressed the importance of focusing on its supply rather than output as supply includes crude delivered to the market – domestically and for export – from the wellhead and from storage.

Source: Reuters

Venezuelans line up for gasoline as OPEC nation’s oil industry struggles

March 22, 2017. Grumbling Venezuelans were lining up for scarce gasoline across the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) nation, due to mounting oil industry woes in the country with the world’s largest crude reserves. Venezuela, which has the world’s cheapest gasoline, has wrestled with intermittent gasoline shortages in recent months, especially in the central coastal area.

Source: Reuters

Cyprus to move forward with more oil drilling licensing: Energy Minister

March 22, 2017. Cyprus will move ahead with further licensing for oil drilling after analyzing the results of its most recent exploration, the country’s Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said. Cyprus announced the completion of a third round of licensing for well drilling in which Exxon Mobil, Italy’s ENI and France’s Total won additional blocks offshore. The contracts will be signed on April 5 and 6, but it has not yet been determined which blocks off Cyprus’ coast the companies will drill, Lakkotrypis said. Lakkotrypis said the government was committed to negotiating an agreement with Turkey but that its oil and gas development was not part of that discussion.

Source: Reuters

China’s Sinopec buys first major refinery in Africa from Chevron

March 22, 2017. China’s Sinopec will pay almost $1 billion for a 75 percent stake in Chevron Corp’s South African assets and its subsidiary in Botswana to secure its first major refinery in Africa, the companies announced. China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, or Sinopec, Asia’s largest oil refiner, said the assets include a 100,000 barrel per day oil refinery in Cape Town, a lubricants plant in Durban as well as 820 petrol stations and other oil storage facilities. Chevron Global Energy Inc said that Sinopec’s bid was selected in part because of the better terms and conditions it offered, including a commitment to operate the businesses as going concerns and the opportunity to reap strategic value for its longer-term strategy in Africa. With a growing middle class, demand in South Africa for refined petroleum has increased by nearly 5 percent annually over the past five years, to a current total of about 27 million tonnes, Sinopec said.

Source: Reuters


Chevron starts production at Gorgon Train Three LNG project

March 28, 2017. Chevron has started production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the third of three production units at the Gorgon LNG project located off Western Australia, the company said. Chevron is the operator of the $54 billion project that has a total of three production trains with a combined production capacity of 15.6 million tonnes per year. First production of the supercooled fuel from Gorgon began in March last year, but the plant has been plagued by numerous unplanned outages since then. The Train Three startup could add to the existing supply glut in the Asian LNG spot market because some of the production volumes from the new production line are not committed to buyers. Asian spot LNG prices have fallen by 45 percent since early January to $5.40 per million British thermal units amid new production coming on stream in Australia and the United States.

Source: Reuters

World’s top LNG buyers form alliance to push for flexible contracts

March 23, 2017. The world’s biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) buyers, all in Asia, are clubbing together to secure more flexible supply contracts in a move which shifts power to importers from producers as oversupply grows. Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) said it had signed a memorandum of understanding in mid-March with Japan’s JERA and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) to exchange information and “cooperate in the joint procurement of LNG.” Together, the three companies purchase a third of global LNG production, giving them a strong hand to challenge restrictive contract terms that have squeezed buyers’ finances.  Influential buyers’ clubs are largely unheard of in commodity markets where it is the producers, such as the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), who wield power, enforcing production quotas to manage prices. A painful period of high LNG prices before 2014 left Asian importers scrambling to contain losses and led to the first talks between India, Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan about joint purchases. Several joint LNG-buying deals have been set up since then but none approach the scale of the latest agreement, which is the first involving the game’s biggest players.

Source: Reuters


Trump to offer federal coal to industry awash in reserves

March 28, 2017. US (United States) President Donald Trump’s administration has billed his move to re-open federal lands to new coal leases as a win for miners seeking to expand production. But a review of company filings shows that coal miners with the most to gain already have enough leases in hand to last well over a decade. Trump will sign a decree to reverse former President Barack Obama’s 2016 ban on new federal coal leases, part of a wide-ranging executive order to sweep away green regulations his administration says have hobbled the drilling and mining industries. That suggests miners could already ramp up production levels immediately if the market demanded more coal. Obama’s administration imposed the temporary ban on new federal coal leases in January 2016 as part of a broad environmental and economic review to ensure royalties from lease deals provide fair returns to taxpayers. Coal accounts for about a third of US electricity production, down from about half a decade ago. About 40 percent of all US coal comes from federal lands, mainly in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana.

Source: Reuters

Five South Korean utilities buy 1.5 MT of US coal for third quarter arrival

March 28, 2017. Five South Korean utilities jointly bought a total of 1.5 million tonnes (MT) of coal from the United States (US) to arrive from the third quarter. The purchase comes as South Korea, the world’s fourth-largest coal importer, encourages energy companies and utilities to seek US energy resources under pro-fossil fuel Trump administration in an effort to diversify supply sources. Korea Midland Power Co Ltd signed the deal to buy the US-origin coal products on behalf of the five utilities. The other four utilities are Korea Southern Power Co Ltd, Korea East West Power Co, Korea Western Power Co Ltd and Korea South East Co Ltd. Korean utilities typically buy coal from Australia and Indonesia.

Source: Reuters

Brazil’s Vale sells stake in Moatize coal mine to Mitsui

March 27, 2017. Brazilian miner Vale SA said it has wrapped up the sale of a stake in Mozambique’s Moatize coal project to Japan’s Mitsui & Co Ltd and received an initial payment of $733 million, the company said. The remainder of the $770 million transaction will be paid after the financing for the project is concluded, Vale said. The Japanese company acquired 15 percent of Vale’s 95 percent share in the coal mine. It is also buying 50 percent of Vale’s 70 percent stake in the Nacala logistics corridor, a railway system connecting production at the mine to the Nacala port in Mozambique.

Source: Reuters

Pakistan’s new-found coal addiction has potential to transform its economy

March 22, 2017. In the dusty scrub of the Thar desert, Pakistan has begun to dig up one of the world’s largest deposits of low-grade, brown, dirty coal to fuel new power stations that could revolutionize the country’s economy. The project is one of the most expensive among an array of ambitious energy developments that China is helping the country to build as part of a $55 billion economic partnership. A $3.5 billion joint venture between the neighbours will extract coal to generate 1.3 GW of electricity that will be sent across the country on a new $3 billion transmission network. Pakistan by contrast relies on coal for just 0.1 percent of its power, according to the Pakistan Business Council. Pakistan’s coal reserves would give the nation a cheap domestic alternative to expensive oil and gas imports. In an effort to curb the import bill and meet demand for power, Pakistan plans to dig up some of the world’s biggest known deposits of lignite, a lower-grade brown coal. But first, it must clear 160 meters of sand to get to the coal.

Source: The Economic Times

Mitsubishi says it may sell stakes in Australia thermal coal mines

March 22, 2017. Japanese trading company Mitsubishi Corp may sell stakes in Australia thermal coal mines as it presses on with a switch to core assets such as coking coal after slumping to its first-ever annual loss last year. Mitsubishi is looking to unload its 31.4 percent stake in the Clermont mine, and may also sell stake in the Hunter Valley operation. The firm plans to raise its stake in Canada’s Montney shale gas field, buying more shares from partner Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. Mitsubishi is considering whether or not to sell its 32.4 percent stake in Hunter Valley thermal coal mine in Australia after its partner Rio Tinto decided to sell its Australian coal assets to China’s Yancoal.

Source: Reuters

Colombia to produce 95 MT of coal in 2017

March 22, 2017. Colombia could produce at least 95 million tonnes of coal in 2017, below an initial target of 102 million tonnes (MT), Carlos Cante, vice-minister of mining and energy, said. The Andean country is the world’s fifth-largest producer of the fuel and recorded an output of 90.9 million tonnes last year, the highest figure in its history despite price instability. The biggest players in Colombia’s coal industry are Drummond Co, Glencore Plc, Murray Energy’s Colombia Natural Resources, and Cerrejon, which is jointly owned by BHP Billiton, Anglo American Plc and Glencore.

Source: Reuters

Chinese utilities urge regional government to curb soaring coal prices

March 22, 2017. China’s top power groups are lobbying the local government in the western region of Ningxia to require their main thermal coal supplier to cut prices as they are bleeding cash due to surging coal costs and falling power prices. A glut of renewable and coal-fired power capacity in the Ningxia Autonomous Region has pushed down electricity prices, forcing utilities to sell their power at a discount after the government liberalized its power market. Prices in the region are the lowest in the country. Power company profitability is a major interest for the central government, which intervened last year to prevent a winter heating crisis when thermal coal prices soared to multi-year highs and forced mining cutbacks tightened supplies.

Source: Reuters

Indonesia port graft investigation disrupting coal shipments

March 22, 2017. Indonesia is cracking down on corruption and widespread graft at some of its top coal export hubs, disrupting shipments to destinations across Asia. Indonesia is the world’s top exporter of thermal coal, still the main feedstock for global power generation. Interruptions to coal’s output and shipment can impact seaborne prices of the fuel as well as wholesale electricity markets. The investigations that began are targeting port operations along the large anchorage area off Samarinda in East Kalimantan, delaying ships waiting to load new supplies from the region’s mines. Almost 30 large dry-bulk ships are waiting offshore Samarinda to load coal, according to shipping data. The data shows that some of the ships have been waiting to load coal since late February.

Source: Reuters


Eni launches French power retail sales, targets 1 mn clients by year-end

March 28, 2017. Italy’s Eni, already France’s second-biggest gas retailer, said that it will launch an electricity retail offer and is targeting 1 million French customers by the year-end. Eni, which started gas retailing in 2012, had won 700,000 gas customers in France by the end of last year and had 2016 sales of € 1.2 billion ($1.30 billion) in France. In November 2016, it also started selling power to professional customers and now has some 1,500 client sites. Eni said that the French retail power market “offers incredible growth potential” as energy bills are a heavy burden for consumers. Eni will offer several formulas to its customers, competing on price with former monopoly power vendor EDF, which at the end of 2016 had a market share of 85.8 percent of all client sites.

Source: Reuters

Eriez invests in new device to protect power systems from disruption

March 24, 2017. Eriez is utilizing its experience and expertise to support a device created by FaultCurrent which protects power systems from disruption and damage to network infrastructure. FaultCurrent Ltd uses groundbreaking magnetic technology to allow the existing power grid to cope with excessive fault conditions, brought about by the rapid move toward decentralization of electricity generation, including the connection of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. Developed as a spin-out from research undertaken at Cardiff University, the device is inactive during normal power flow and only reacts when excessive fault currents are detected, inhibiting the flow to allow the existing power network protection systems to safely isolate the problem.

Source: Energy Business Review

Eskom signs electricity sales agreement with NamPower

March 23, 2017. Eskom signed a five year firm electricity sales agreement with Namibia’s national electricity utility NamPower, at the 42nd Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) executive committee meeting in Maseru, Lesotho. The new agreement is testimony to the long noble history of power trading between the sister utilities and illustrates Eskom’s commitment to powering the development of the SADC region. The power supply situation in the region is currently under control and NamPower will continue to employ all possible means, including demand side management measures, to ensure that the delivery of electricity supply services to the national economy is carried out in a sustainable manner.

Source: Energy Business Review


Japan’s TEPCO, Chubu to merge fossil fuel power businesses

March 28, 2017. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and Chubu Electric Power Co said they had signed an agreement to integrate their fossil fuel power plants under their JERA Co joint venture. The biggest and third-biggest of Japan’s regional power utilities aim to combine the businesses in April-September 2019, overseeing nearly half the country’s domestic power generation capacity. The two firms in 2015 created JERA, which now handles all the parents’ upstream energy and fuel procurement business and is the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) buyer with annual purchase of around 40 million tonnes.

Source: Reuters

Babcock agrees termination of UK nuclear decommissioning deal

March 27, 2017. Babcock International reached a deal with Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to end a contract to clean up 12 Magnox nuclear sites, pulling 800 million pounds ($1.01 billion) from Babcock’s order book. The British engineering outsourcer said the contract will be scrapped at the end of August 2019 because the amount of work needed to decommission the sites is “materially different” from that specified in NDA’s 2012 tender. Under these new terms, the Cavendish Flour Group — in which Babcock has a 65 percent stake — will now hold the Magnox contract for five years instead of the 14 initially envisaged to decommission the UK’s first fleet of nuclear power stations.

Source: Reuters

German scientists create artificial sun to develop renewable energy

March 27, 2017. Scientists from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have constructed the world’s largest artificial sun in Jülich, North Rhine-Westphalia. About 149 high-performance Xenon short-arc lamps are assembled in the three-storey Synlight research facility to simulate natural solar radiation to help in assessing development of production processes for solar fuels, including hydrogen. The Xenon short-arc lamps will allow scientists to focus radiators on an area of 20X20cm to produce the equivalent of 10,000 times the intensity of the solar radiation at Earth’ surface. At this stage, the temperatures of the lamps at the target point will reach up to 3000 degrees Celsius. Researchers will use this temperature to manufacture fuels, including hydrogen. The facility comprises three radiation chambers, where radiation can be directed towards each of them for experiments. The Synlight project, which is estimated to cost € 3.5mn, is expected to bring faster progress to solar fuel manufacturing, independent of weather conditions.

Source: Energy Business Review

First Solar to build 48.5 MW Manildra solar farm in Australia

March 26, 2017. First Solar announced that financial close has been reached for the Manildra Solar Farm in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. First Solar will leverage its expertise in utility-scale solar development to deliver the 48.5 MWAC project, which will utilize approximately 466,000 First Solar thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules and single-axis tracking technology expected to produce more than 120,000 MWh of electricity in its first year of operation. The Manildra Solar Farm will take First Solar’s installed capacity in Australia to more than 400MWAC when it is complete in 2018. Once complete, the project is expected to produce enough solar energy to serve the needs of approximately 14,000 average NSW homes and displace more than 91,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year – the equivalent of taking about 24,000 cars off the road.

Source: Energy Business Review

UK regulator warns on EDF oversight of Hinkley Point supplier Areva

March 24, 2017. French utility EDF’s oversight of Areva, which will supply Britain’s new Hinkley Point nuclear reactors, was brought into question in an internal document by Britain’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). Following the discovery of manufacturing irregularities and the falsification of documents at Areva’s Creusot Forge foundry last year, French nuclear regulator ASN and several other international regulators inspected the site in early December. The ONR said the nuclear safety culture at Creusot Forge fell short of expectations and warned about the implications for EDF’s Hinkley Point project, in southwest Britain. The ONR report said after an inspection in late 2016, an international team from France, Canada, the United States, China, Finland and Britain had concluded that the nuclear safety culture at Areva’s Creusot Forge foundry fell short of what regulators expect from a major supplier of nuclear equipment.

Source: Reuters

Argentina rejects dumping accusations by US biodiesel producers

March 24, 2017. The Argentine government denied accusations by US (United States) producers that Argentine exporters had flooded the U.S. market with biodiesel and violated trade agreements. The National Biodiesel Board asked the US government to impose antidumping duties on imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia after two years of tension between US and foreign producers over soaring imports. US producers claim Argentine biodiesel is dumped at about 23 percent below market values and that Indonesian biodiesel is sold around 34 percent below.

Source: Reuters

Seminar calls for turning Rampal into solar project

March 23, 2017. Convenor of the National Committee to Protect Sundarbans Advocate Sultana Kamal has urged the government to relocate the Rampal coal-fired power plant project from the Sundarbans and instead, set up a solar-based power plant on the acquired land of the project. She made the call while addressing a seminar at Jatiya Press Club on the occasion of World Water Day. Sultana Kamal alleged that a business group has been advocating in favour of Rampal power project just for the sake of their business interest. This group has been misleading Prime Minister Shekh Hasina and getting involved in the conspiracy to destroy the Sundarbans.

Source: The Financial Express

EDF partners with Masdar for third phase of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park in Dubai

March 22, 2017. French utility EDF has entered the Middle East solar market by partnering with Abu Dhabi’s Masdar for the third phase of Dubai’s US$14 billion Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park in Dubai. EDF, through its EDF Energies Nouvelles unit, will help to develop the 800 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project, taking over the stake from Saudi Arabian company Abdul Latif Jameel’s FRV. The deal signals a stronger alliance between the two companies for upcoming projects in the Middle East as EDF places a greater focus on the region’s renewable energy sector. EDF bid for the third phase of the Dubai solar park with Qatari partner Nebras at a 33 percent higher price than the winning Masdar bid with original partner, FRV. Yet solar prices have dropped since the summer making the winning Masdar bid more attractive, according to EDF. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park project, with planned capacity of 5,000 MW by 2030, highlights the increased international importance of the UAE’s renewable energy market.

Source: The National


Electricity Generation 2016-17 by Fuel Types in India





* Renewables Installed Cap is included till January 2017 while renewables generation is included till December 2016

Source: Central Electricity Authority

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

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