MonitorsPublished on Apr 18, 2017
Energy News Monitor | Volume XIII: Issue 44


Gas News Commentary: March – April 2017


After a pause of several years, there was optimism over prospects for production of gas in India. According to ICRA, India’s natural gas production is set to rise by over 42 percent to 125 mmscmd over the next decade through 2027 owing to a market-linked pricing formula and the marketing freedom allowed by the government to companies. It said that apart from marketing and pricing freedom for gas discoveries, the centre had announced various reforms like implementation of the revenue-sharing model, a uniform licence framework and an open acreage policy under the new HELP and reduction in royalty rates for the deep-water and ultra-deep-water areas which could aid in incremental gas production over the long term.

The government has provided marketing and pricing freedom to players operating in deep-water, ultra-deepwater and high pressure-high temperature areas that were yet to commence commercial production. Natural gas price ceiling for the challenging areas are US$5.3/mmBtu as of now but this may keep varying in line with the prices of substitute fuel. According to ICRA, the capacity utilisation levels of some gas transmission pipelines would remain sub-optimal in the near to medium term due to shortage of gas supplies but would show an increasing trend with rising LNG consumption. India’s total natural gas supply potential is expected to increase over the next five to six years with higher domestic production and commissioning of firm re-gasification capacity during 2018-22. With the increase in supplies, the difference between the projected demand and supply potential is expected to narrow down 2019-20 onwards. However, the upcoming LNG capacities may operate at relatively lower utilisation than the current utilisation of regasification capacities in the country, according to ICRA.  While optimism is always welcome, one must keep in mind that projections for gas demand and supply has always been over-optimistic.  Projections by the hydrocarbon vision document of gas demand today are about 130 percent higher than actual demand.  One can only hope that rating agencies are not indulging in making optimistic projections to support the case of gas producers.  In addition supply does not automatically create demand especially in the case of goods for which there is a cheaper substitute.


For its part ONGC has also 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/mmBtu for the business to make economic sense. The government 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/mmBtu 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/mmBtu but fell to $4.66/mmBtu in April 2015 and to $3.82 in October that year. This financial year, prices further dipped to $3.06/mmBtu in April and to $2.50/mmBtu in October. The cost of production of natural gas in the prolific Krishna Godavari basin is between $4.99/mmBtu and $7.30/mmBtu. The same for other basins is in the range of $3.80/mmBtu to $6.59/mmBtu. As per the mechanism approved in October 2014, the price of domestically produced natural gas is to be revised every six months 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 price for undeveloped difficult fields would also go up from current rate of $5.3/mmBtu.

The oil ministry for its part has apparently moved a proposal to the Cabinet for allowing pricing freedom for natural gas produced from coal seams. The ministry has proposed to the Cabinet that CBM gas producers be given pricing freedom and allowed to price the fuel at market rates. The estimated CBM resources in the country are about 2.6 tcm. The 33 CBM blocks awarded so far hold a total of 1.7 tcm of the estimated CBM resource, of which, so far 280 bcm has been established as Gas in Place.

The government is expected to offer incentives to companies that take lead in proposing to develop oil and gas blocks of their choice leading to a government-monitored auction, according to the draft OALP. Besides encouraging companies to propose blocks for auction through the year, the open acreage policy will also keep alive the previous practice of the government carving out blocks and offering them to investors in an auction round. Open acreage licensing is part of the HELP unveiled last year. The DGH, an arm of the oil ministry, has now drafted the procedure to operationalise the OALP.

The DGH maintains a national data repository that investors can access to study hydrocarbon data and determine their interest in specific blocks. Investors can then apply for a specific area for either reconnaissance contract that permits exploration for two years, or petroleum operations contract for 20 years, including an initial exploration phase of six years, according to the draft OALP. An investor’s expression of interest must be accompanied by a bank guarantee of $1 million for petroleum operations contract and half a million dollars for reconnaissance contract.

The government will accept an expression of interest from investors in two six-monthly windows, ending in June and December, following which the interests will be evaluated, and if found fit will result in an open bidding overseen by the DGH. All bidders will be evaluated on technical and financial criteria. The maximum marks in technical evaluation available to an ordinary bidder is 90 under reconnaissance contract, but the investor submitting the expression of interest leading to this bid will get additional 10 marks, as per the draft OALP. Similarly, in petroleum operations contract, the one that first expressed interest gets five marks over and above the maximum 65 marks other bidders can aim for in technical evaluation. There is no incentive available in financial bids. The government will incentivise investors transitioning from Reconnaissance to Petroleum Operations Contract.

Rest of the World

The optimism over gas sector revival appears to be global.  The French oil major Total has apparently extended an option with British shale gas developer Egdon Resources to buy a stake in one of Egdon’s shale gas licences, the companies said. Total’s previous option on the licence had lapsed. In exchange, Total has agreed to then pay Egdon’s expenses of an exploration programme worth up to £13.47 million including the drilling of a well.  In the USA Total has been building a sizeable presence in the shale oil market, most recently buying assets from Chesapeake in September 2016. Its strategy differs from that of French energy peer Engie, which sold its British shale gas interests to petrochemicals firm Ineos.

The pioneer and leader in LNG business Qatar has also lifted a self-imposed ban on development of the world’s biggest natural gas field. Qatar declared a moratorium in 2005 on the development of the North Field, which it shares with Iran, to give Doha time to study the impact on the reservoir from a rapid rise in output. The vast offshore gas field, which Doha calls the North Field and Iran calls South Pars, accounts for nearly all of Qatar’s gas production and around 60 percent of its export revenue. The development in the southern section of the North Field will have a capacity of 60 mcm/day or 400,000 boe/day and increase production of the field by about 10 percent, when it starts production in five to seven years. Qatar is expected to lose its top exporter position this year to Australia, where new production is due to come on line. The LNG market is undergoing huge changes as the biggest ever flood of new supply is hitting the market, with volumes coming mainly from the United States and Australia.

The world’s biggest LNG buyers, all in Asia, are reportedly forming an alliance to secure more flexible supply contracts in a move which shifts power to importers from producers as oversupply grows. KOGAS has signed a memorandum of understanding in mid-March with Japan’s JERA and 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.  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.

Total is seeking a 50 percent stake in a $4 billion project in Iran’s giant South Pars gas field. Total signed a preliminary deal for the South Pars project last year, becoming the first Western oil major to sign an energy agreement after the EU and the USA eased sanctions as part of a pact to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Total said the South Pars 11 project would require investment of about $4 billion, with the French firm financing 50.1 percent with equity contributions and payments in non-US currency. The South Pars project is expected to have a production capacity of 370,000 boe/day and the gas would be fed to the Iranian grid. It would require two offshore platforms and 30 wells. Total is expected to make a final investment decision by summer although this would depend on a renewal of US sanctions waivers, Total said. Iran said contracts would be finalised around April. Total resumed trading with Iran in February 2016, and bought about 50 million barrels of crude for about $1.9 billion last year, most of it to supply its refineries. It purchased 11 million barrels of petroleum products for $394 million, generating net profit of $2.8 million.

Algeria’s Sonatrach expects to surpass its gas export target of 57 bcm in 2017 as a new pipeline comes online in May bringing an additional 4 bcm.  Sonatrach had previously said gas exports from Algeria, a key supplier to the European Union, were expected to expand to 57 bcm in 2017 versus 54 bcm last year.

Despite the optimism over revival in the gas industry a cloud remains in the form of oversupply and price reduction in the USA. As explorers extract crude from the Permian shale in West Texas, they’re also producing gas. A jump in the number of rigs operating in the basin is adding to the so-called fracklog, or the number of drilled wells that are waiting to be connected. That’s a sign that gas output from the region will jump by about 25 percent over the next year, threatening to send prices below $2/mmBtu. Gas is already this year’s worst performer among major commodities, and the prospect of a torrent of supply from the Permian means 2018 may not be much brighter for gas bulls. Output from the basin would augment production from the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, which is expanding as new pipelines carry the fuel to major markets. Gas production from the Permian may total over 230 mcm/day in April, up 15 percent from a year earlier. The basin’s oil and gas rigs climbed for nine straight months through February, more than doubling from the 2016 low in May.

NLNG could unlock three times as much gas as the country’s proven reserves and create hundreds of thousands of jobs if it goes ahead with a proposed expansion plan, it said. NLNG is a venture between state-owned NNPC, Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Eni to produce LNG for export. It currently operates six trains, liquefaction and purification facilities, and the company is said to be ready to add another two trains. Building Trains 7 and 8 would require total investment of $25 billion. Nigeria has the world’s ninth largest proven gas reserves, at 5.2 tcm.  Train 7 needed assurances around supply because the six existing facilities were not full on an annual basis. NLNG, which has 23 LNG carriers, has generated $85 billion in 17 years with assets of more than $13 billion.


Petrol pumps may remain shut on Sundays

April 11, 2017. Petrol pump owners have threatened to not purchase petrol and diesel for a day on May 10 and subsequently shut outlets every Sunday if their demand of higher margin is not agreed upon by the government. The weekly Sunday off will start from May 14 while from May 15, dealers will operate from 9 am to 6 pm to cut costs. The petrol dealers association said that the ‘No Purchase Day’ on May 10 may not cause much disruption, but it was aimed at telling state-run oil marketing companies that they are opting for ‘war path’. They had earlier withdrawn a strike in January after the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) promised dealers to revise commission. They said the agitation would continue till the business becomes viable and higher margins are announced. The decision was taken at a meeting of the consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers, which has 53,000 members. Currently, many outlets function between 6 am and 10 pm while some are open round the clock and seven days a week.

Source: The Economic Times

Stable outlook for India’s oil refining sector going ahead: ICRA

April 10, 2017. The credit outlook for India’s oil refining and marketing sector remains stable owing to high capacity utilization of domestic refining companies, low under-recoveries of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and timely subsidy reimbursement by the centre, research and ratings agency ICRA has said. It said the demand for petroleum products in India is expected to revive going ahead on the back of improved economic activity even as it emerges from the impact of demonetisation. According to ICRA, the crack spreads of most of the petroleum products are expected to decline leading to weakening of Gross Refinery Margins in the near to medium term. But volatility in crude oil prices may lead to inventory gains or losses for the refiners. Despite the recent rise in crude oil prices, India’s OMCs are likely to continue to share nil or low burden in gross under-recoveries on sensitive petroleum products, which are anticipated to be at moderate levels. Apart from brownfield expansion or debottlenecking projects, the new investments in the sector are still in the planning stages, ICRA said.

Source: The Economic Times

BJD seeks President’s intervention to resolve kerosene quota row

April 10, 2017. The ruling BJD sought President Pranab Mukherjee’s intervention for restoration of kerosene quota to Odisha to meet the people’s requirement. The present allotment by the Centre is being distributed to 86,16,275 families which covers 3,23,33148 National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries of the state and the entire list is available in the official website, the BJD said. Stating that the government of India has been requested time and again to restore the previous SK oil quota, BJD said it has not yet been considered. Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay Dasburma said the non-card holders as well as bulk institutional consumers are experiencing a lot of difficulties to access SK oil in open market to meet their daily requirement for lighting purpose during power cuts or power failures. In order to sort out the issue, state level officials of oil marketing companies and the oil ministry have been requested to open outlets to sell non-PDS SK oil but they have not yet made arrangements for opening outlets to supply non-PDS SK oil at district/block and urban local bodies headquarters to cater to the need of the common pople.

Source: Business Standard

ONGC drills record 501 wells in FY17

April 10, 2017. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has set a new record of drilling over 500 wells in 2016-17 at an expenditure of Rs 15,747 crore as the major state-owned explorer steps up efforts to boost domestic output. ONGC drilled 501 wells in the financial year ended March 31, 2017 as compared to 386 wells in 2015-16. This is the first time in 23 years that ONGC has crossed the 500-well mark. Oil and gas exploration is a risky business and only drilling of wells can guarantee a discovery and confirmation of reserves. The company exceeded the government mandated target of 490 wells. Of the 501 wells drilled, 334 wells were in onshore and the remaining 167 in offshore, ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Dinesh K Sarraf said. Sarraf said several steps were taken during the last financial year to cut down rig deployment time, increase operational efficiencies and cost control. ONGC operates some 105 drilling and 74 work over rigs. It is among the few companies in the world to have drilled 127 deepwater wells in diverse and challenging areas. Offshore, which contributes to 80 percent of ONGC’s 24 million tonne a year crude oil production, exceeded all its drilling targets. Targets were surpassed in drilling onland where majority of ONGC’s owned rig fleet is deployed.

Source: The Economic Times

Modi-Hasina flag off High Speed Diesel consignment to Parbatipur in Bangladesh

April 9, 2017. Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina flagged off a goodwill rail rake consignment carrying High Speed Diesel (Gas Oil) from Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL)’s Siliguri Marketing Terminal to Parbatipur storage depot of Bangladesh Petroleum Corp (BPC) in Bangladesh. The goodwill rail rake consignment for supply of 2,284 million tonnes High Speed Diesel is an outcome of the discussion between the two governments. According to NRL, the present consignment is a symbolic gesture of friendship and cooperation that exists between India and Bangladesh. During the successful visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh in June 2015, both India and Bangladesh welcomed the Sale-Purchase Agreement signed between NRL and BPC for construction of a pipeline from Siliguri to Parbatipur for supply of Gas Oil to Bangladesh. It was agreed to jointly work towards implementation of this ‘Indo-Bangla Friendship Pipeline’, a 135 km pipeline project (5 km in India and 130 km in Bangladesh) with a capacity to carry 1 million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) from Siliguri terminal to Parbatipur depot of BPC. The export of petroleum products from India to Bangladesh is also in line with the ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’ of Government of India to boost bilateral trade between the two countries and sub-regional cooperation within SAARC. Presently, Bangladesh meets its requirement of petroleum products through imports at Chittagong port. The products are subsequently transported to the rest of the country using river route. Once the NRL refinery expansion from present 3 mmtpa to 9 mmtpa is complete, India will be in a position to export petroleum products on a regular and long-term basis to Bangladesh.

Source: The Economic Times

IOC to expand LPG facilities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu

April 9, 2017. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) will augment its liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) production facilities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu to meet the increased demand for the gas that is growing at 11% annually with the completion of construction of LPG import terminal and the pipeline connecting it to Salem. Both the projects which are in the process of construction together involve an investment of close to Rs 3000 crore. IOC’s 6 lakh tonne per annum facility at Puthuvypin in Kochi is linked to the 498 km pipeline jointly implemented by IOC and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL). IOCL general manager and Kerala head P S Mony said the pipeline will connect the import terminal with BPCL Kochi Refinery, IOCL’s Kochi bottling plant and BPCL’s upcoming bulk LPG terminal at Palakkad before terminating at Salem. It will feed IOC’s LPG bottling plants at Coimbatore and Erode. The project to be completed by February 2018 is expected to earn Kerala government an additional revenue of Rs 300 crore per annum. The present storage capacity of Kochi plant is sufficient only for 1.5 days of production. With the augmentation of capacity the storage facility will be increased to 8 days. This will help to tide over any emergency strikes/supply shortage issues and help in improving the LPG supply situation in Kerala, he said.

Source: The Economic Times

HPCL reworks fiscal pact for Rajasthan refinery, work to start

April 6, 2017. HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd)’s long-pending 9 million tonnes per annum refinery at Barmer in Rajasthan will go on stream soon, with the state government agreeing to a revised fiscal package for the project, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. He said fiscal incentives for the project have been revised and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is likely to be signed in Jaipur. The project, which has been in the works for nearly five years now, is projected to cost Rs 41,000-42,000 crore, up from the previous estimate of Rs 37,320 crore. HPCL had signed an MoU with the Rajasthan government for setting up the refinery-cum-petrochemical complex in the Thar desert near the oil discoveries made by Cairn India. But the refinery never took off as a change of guard in the state led to the Rajasthan government putting on hold the fiscal incentives for the project.At that point, HPCL had asked the state government to extend fiscal benefits like the ones extended by Gujarat and Odisha to new refinery projects to make the Barmer unit viable.

Source: The Economic Times


ONGC sees its gas output hitting 5 year high in fiscal 2018

April 7, 2017. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) expects its natural gas production to reach a 5-year high in the current fiscal year following the start-up in coming weeks of a long-delayed project in the Arabian Sea. ONGC, which accounts for about two-thirds of India’s total natural gas production, is likely to produce close to 25 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas in fiscal 2018. The forecast compares with 23.5 bcm in the fiscal year to end March 2017. Higher output from India’s top producer would help the country meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s target of reducing hydrocarbon imports by 10 percent by 2022. India currently imports 70-75 percent of its energy needs. While gas makes up only 8 percent of the total energy consumed, almost 40 percent of it is imported. India prices its gas almost 60 percent below imported natural gas, so more cheap domestic gas could also bring down the cost of running stranded power plants and ailing steel mills that account for the biggest chunk of India’s soured loans. The project should contribute almost 2 to 3 million metric standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd) of gas from May onward, ONGC said. ONGC is banking on the Daman offshore project to increase its natural gas output, which has been largely stagnant over the past decade. The project hit delays last year after its contractor, Singapore-based Swiber Holdings, ran into financial difficulties. Phase 2 will be completed by May 2018 when it will add another 3 mmscmd to the company’s production. It will eventually be ramped up to 8 mmscmd by 2020, ONGC said.

Source: Reuters


India LNG demand to dip on phase out of subsidy for power sector

April 5, 2017. India’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand could ease as the government has scrapped subsidies on gas sales to power companies, Prabhat Singh, chief executive of Petronet LNG said. Natural gas accounts for about 6.5 percent of India’s overall energy needs, far lower than the global average. India plans to raise the share of gas in its energy mix to 15 percent over the next three years, but a major challenge to that goal is the price sensitivity of Indian consumers. India has for the last two fiscal years been giving discounts on the sale of imported LNG to revive more than 14 GW of stranded power generation capacity that had been hit by domestic gas shortages. But the power ministry confirmed that the LNG subsidy has not been extended beyond March 31, and Singh said these gas-based projects cannot compete with plants using cheaper coal. After the subsidies were first put in place, India’s annual LNG imports surged 15 percent to 16.08 million tonnes in 2015/16. Then for the first 11 months of the 2016/2017 fiscal year – the April-February period – India imported 17 million tonnes.

Source: Reuters


West Bengal gets India’s largest coal mine, centre allots Deocha-Pachami

April 11, 2017. West Bengal is set to develop the country’s largest coal mine in Birbhum district, with the Centre allotting the development rights for the Deocha-Pachami coal block to the state under the government route. The Chief Minister (CM) Mamata Banerjee said that her government was drawing up a Rs 12,000 crore plan to develop the block, which would create one lakh jobs and usher in rapid economic development in the area. The CM had said the block will produce coal worth Rs 2.10 lakh crore and attract total investments of Rs 22,000 crore. The block is located in the southwestern part of Birbhum coalfields, adjoining the Dewanganj block. It is spread over an area of 9.7 sq km and estimated to have in-place reserves of 2,102 million tonnes. The block was originally offered jointly to West Bengal, Bihar, Punjab, UP, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and SJVNL (formerly Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd). West Bengal will get the largest share of 584 million tonnes of coal from the block, followed by Bihar which has a share of 486 million tonnes. The block has four seams of coal ranging from 9 metres to 80 metres in thickness at depths ranging from 135 metres to 835 metres. The ash content of coal is estimated at 15-20%, which covers Grades A, B C, D and G. The block can be accessed through the Panagarh-Mourigram road and the nearest railway station is Mallarpur.

Source: The Economic Times

CBI court grants bail to five accused in Jindal coal block case

April 10, 2017. The special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court granted interim bail to all five fresh accused in the coal scam case involving the Jindal coal block matter. Earlier the court took cognizance on the fresh chargesheet in which CBI named the five persons as accused in the coal scam. The CBI had mentioned names of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd’s adviser Anand Goel, Gurgaon-based Green Infra’s vice-president Siddharth Madra, Nihar Stocks Ltd director B S N Suryanarayan, Mumbai-based KE International’s chief financial officer Rajeev Aggarwal, and Mumbai’s Essar Power Limited executive vice-chairman Sushil Kumar Maroo.

Source: Business Standard

NLC shortlists GMR, Ind-Barath power projects for acquisition

April 10, 2017. In deals potentially valued at around Rs 12,000 crore, NLC India Ltd has shortlisted for acquisition GMR Group’s 1,370 MW coal power project in Chhattisgarh and Hyderabad-based Ind-Barath Power Infra Ltd’s 700 MW plant in Odisha. The public sector unit plans to acquire 3,000 MW of stressed power generation capacity, driven by its strategy of using the revenue generated from running such projects to finance capital expenditure. NLC India invited expressions of interest from firms owning coal- and lignite-based power plants of capacity of more than 2,00 MW for possible acquisition.

Source: Livemint

CIL’s new projects in Jharkhand, West Bengal to cut import bill

April 9, 2017. Coal India Ltd (CIL) will come up with three coal bed methane and coal mine methane projects in Jharkhand and West Bengal in 2017-18, a move that may help lower the country’s import bill and cut carbon emission. While one plant will be set up in Raniganj in West Bengal, two will be located in Jharia in Jharkhand. The global tenders for the same will be out in the current fiscal. The government had said the domestic coal gas can be used as feedstock for producing urea and other chemicals that can help limit the country’s import bill by $10 billion in five years and reduce carbon emission. Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar is optimistic that India’s dependence on petroleum and natural gas can be brought down or done away with if the country manages to extract gas from coal.

Source: The Indian Express

CIL actively looking to invest in coal assets in Australia

April 6, 2017. Coal India Ltd (CIL) is actively looking to acquire coking coal assets in Australia, as the country looks to beef up its foreign coal assets. Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said in February the company planned to acquire coking coal assets abroad as India lacked technology to economically develop local reserves, and that a rise in coking coal prices was encouraging for foreign acquisitions. CIL has asked Mozambique if it can explore for coal in a new area, after surrendering two mining licenses in the African country.

Source: Hindustan Times

India’s JSW Steel could spend $1 bn on capacity addition, acquisitions this year

April 6, 2017. India’s JSW Steel Ltd could spend around $1 billion on capacity addition and acquisition this fiscal year and will bid for several iron ore and coking coal mines in upcoming government auctions to secure raw material supplies. Unlike its nearest rivals Steel Authority of India Ltd and Tata Steel Ltd, JSW does not own any iron ore mines and is forced to import the raw material from time to time. It buys millions of tonnes of coking coal from countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States.

Source: Reuters


SC sets aside compensatory tariff to Tata Power, Adani Power

April 11, 2017.  The Supreme Court (SC) set aside an Appellate Electricity Tribunal decision allowing power generator giants Adani Power and Tata Power to charge compensatory tariff from their consumers spread across States including Gujarat and Haryana. The tribunal permitted the companies to hike the tariff after Indonesia — where they source coal from to power their plants — decided in 2010 to align its coal export prices to international market prices instead of what they have been charging for the past 40 years. The tribunal had then remanded the case to the Central Electricity Regulation Commission (CERC) to find out the impact of the ‘force majeure’ event to grant compensatory tariff. On December 6, 2016, the Commission had arrived at a certain determination as to compensatory tariff to be granted on account of force majeure. The court ordered the CERC to go into the matter afresh and determine what relief should be granted to the power generators.

Source: The Hindu

Power tariff jumps by 20 to 55 paise per unit in Karnataka

April 11, 2017. The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) increased power tariffs by 8% across all the five electricity companies (Escoms) in the State. The average tariff increase works out to 53 paise per unit, ranging from 20 paise to 55 paise per unit including the fuel adjustment charge (FAC) of five paise per unit. The Commission has allowed a marginal increase in fixed cost. The regulator has only partly allowed the demand of Escoms which requested an average hike of 25%. The Commission has also shot down the Escom’s demands to introduce a telescopic tariff as it would go against consumer interests. The revised tariffs take effect from April 1.

Source: The Economic Times

Yogi govt decides to improve power supply in UP

April 11, 2017. Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Minister (CM) Yogi Adityanath ordered 18-hour power supply in villages, 20-hour at tehsil level and in Bundelkhand region besides deciding to ink a pact with the Centre to ensure electricity in all UP villages by 2019. A meeting of the state cabinet chaired by Adityanath, the second since he assumed office last month, also decided that district headquarters will get 24—hour power supply, Power Minister Shrikant Sharma said. Sharma said the ambitious ‘Power for All’ pact will be signed by Adityanath and Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal on April 14 to meet the Centre’s target of making the state energy efficient by 2018 and help in ensuring power in all UP villages before 2019. The CM directed the officials to ensure uninterrupted supply to the villages from 6 in the evening to 6 in the morning so as to help the students prepare for exams. It has also been decided to change defective transformers within 48 hours not in 72 hours, the time fixed earlier, and 24 hours in urban areas. Announcing a one-time settlement scheme, Sharma said it was decided to waive surcharge on domestic connection and take only principal amount of the bill.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Reliance Power inks pacts for phase I of 750 MW power project in Bangladesh

April 10, 2017. Reliance Power said it has signed agreements with Bangladesh Power Development Board for phase I of 750 MW LNG power project at Meghnaghat near Dhaka entailing an investment of around $1 billion. According to Reliance Power, these agreements include Power Purchase Agreement and Implementation Agreement for the proposed integrated combined cycle power project.

Source: The Economic Times

UHBVN introduces performance-linked transfer policy for officials

April 7, 2017. The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) has introduced a performance-linked transfer policy for officers and officials in the rank of Executive Engineers up to Junior Engineer of UHBVN. UHBVN said that the policy would come into force with immediate effect and would supersede all previous instructions issued in this regard. As per the general rules of transfers, all annual general transfers would be ordered once a year, between April 1 to 30 to enable the transferred officers and officials to join by May 1.

Source: The Economic Times

Electricity generation crossed 51 BUs mark last fiscal: Tata Power

April 6, 2017. Tata Power said electricity generation from all its plants collectively crossed 51 Billion Units (BUs) in 2016-17. It reported significant increase of 15.2 percent in output, with its total power generation capacity at 10,577 MW from various fuel sources such as thermal, hydroelectric power, renewable energy (wind and solar PV) and waste heat recovery. According to the company, it has a significant presence in the clean energy space with a gross installed capacity of 3,141 MW. In 2016-17, Tata Power’s total customer base crossed the 2.6 million mark, as Mumbai Distribution’s consumer base crossed 6,70,000 customers with over 1 lakh consumers on Tata Power’s wires.

Source: The Economic Times

Electricity generation grew 49 percent last fiscal: Essar Power

April 6, 2017. Indian private power producer Essar Power Ltd announced its power generation grew 49 percent to 11.3 Billion Units (BUs) last financial year (2016-17) from 7.6 BUs in the previous fiscal. For the quarter ended March 2017, power generation was up 57 percent to 2.9 BUs. The company said it added 165 MW capacity to its portfolio during the year by commissioning one unit each at its Paradip and Hazira plants. With the commissioning of the second 135 MW unit of the 270 MW Hazira power plant in Gujarat, the project is fully commissioned and operating on full load. The second 30 MW unit at the 120 MW Paradip power plant in Odisha was also commissioned in the fiscal. With this, half the targeted capacity of 120 MW for the Paradip power plant has been commissioned, the company said. Essar Power’s operational capacity in India now stands at 4,755 MW. The company is currently developing the 1,200 MW Tori plant in Jharkhand and the remaining 60 MW units in Paradip. The company said its total power generation capacity when these two plants come on stream will be 6,100 MW including the 85 MW plant that is operational in Algoma, Canada.

Source: The Economic Times

Congress demands rollback of hiked power rates in Uttarakhand

April 5, 2017. The Congress demanded immediate rollback of the hiked power rates in Uttarakhand and said people who brought the BJP to power with a massive mandate did not expect this kind of treatment from that party. The newly-elected BJP government in the state effected an over 5 percent hike in power tariffs.

Source: The Economic Times


India’s solar power capacity crosses 12 GW

April 11, 2017. India added 5,525 MW solar power generation capacity last fiscal, taking the total from this clean source to 12,288 MW. The country has abundant solar power potential which has been estimated to be 748 GW, Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines Minister Piyush Goyal said. It had achieved total cumulative solar power generation capacity of 6,763 MW in 2015-16. The capacity was 1,686 MW in 2012-13 which increased to 2,632 MW in 2013-14 and to 3,744 MW in 2014-15. Goyal said the government has envisaged 4,800 MW from rooftop solar and 7,200 MW from large scale solar power projects in the country. India has plans to add 5,000 MW of rooftop solar and 10,000 MW from large scale solar power projects in the current fiscal, he said. Among states, Andhra Pradesh tops the chart with largest cumulative solar generation capacity of 1,867 MW as on March 31, 2017 followed by Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu at 1,812 MW and 1,691 MW respectively.

Source: The Economic Times

New Delhi railway station becomes smart in energy saving

April 11, 2017. New Delhi station, one of the busiest terminals of the country, is likely to save around Rs 13 lakh a year with implementation of a smart system to control power consumption as per pre-programmed schedule. There are 6,000 lights and 1,500 fans and 18 high masts lights at this station which handles about five lakh passengers and more than 300 trains in a day. Micro-processor based control system, which is accessible through web/smart phone has been implemented to control all fans, lights as per the pre-programmed schedule in sync with weather forecast, Delhi Divisional Railway Manager Arun Arora said. The cost of this work was Rs 37 lakh and the energy savings per annum are being realised to the tune of Rs 13 lakh per annum thereby giving rate of return of 35 percent and CO2 reduction by 70 tonnes per annum. Referring to renewable energy, he said the division has undertaken initiatives in leveraging solar power. The currently installed solar panel capacity is 412 kilowatt peak (kWp) leading to annual saving of Rs 54 lakh. Another work under execution at New Delhi at Platform No 2/3 is for 140 kWp with annual saving of Rs 21 lakh has been undertaken at the division. The division has awarded two works of 20 MW for leveraging solar power at Shakurbasti, Jind, Bhatinda, Delhi- Ambala, Ghaziabad-Meerut and Delhi-Rewari sections.

Source: The Financial Express

Bengaluru to get climate change lab

April 11, 2017. Rising temperatures, varying rain patterns and unpredictable weather. The impact of climate change is no longer a hypothesis but an everyday reality. In order to study the actual impact of climate change and equip the state to tackle the vagaries of nature better, a dedicated Climate Change Laboratory will soon be set up in Bengaluru. The Environmental Management and Policy Research Institute (EMPRI), located near JP Nagar, will be housing the centre under the National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change with help from the department of science and technology. EMPRI said the lab will be set up in two to three months.

Source: The Times of India

Suzlon bags 50.4 MW order in Karnataka

April 10, 2017. Wind turbine manufacturer Suzlon Group said it has bagged an order of 50.4 MW to supply 24 units of its S111 turbines of 120 meters from a power producer for its project in Karnataka. Suzlon has won a repeat order from the firm for 24 units of S111 120 meter hybrid wind turbine, each with a rated capacity of 2.1 MW, the company said. The company will execute the entire project on a turnkey basis and will provide operation and maintenance services, it said. The project has the potential to provide power to over 27,000 households and reduce one lakh tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum.

Source: India Today

Indian Railways draws plan to use solar power at 8k stations

April 10, 2017. Indian Railways is planning to set up 500 MW of solar power generation capacity that will meet the energy needs of more than 8,000 stations across the country going forward. The idea is to cut down carbon footprint, reduce dependence on power utilities, bring down energy bill under the “net zero energy” plan and, at the same time, put its mega land bank to use. The Railways is planning to utilize 1,000 acre of land for setting up a solar power plant at Agra in Uttar Pradesh (UP) for which tenders will soon be issued. The railways has identified 5,000 acres of land across the country which cannot be used for commercial purposes so we plan to set up solar power plants. The Indian Railways has a current renewable energy generation capacity of 36 MW and plans to ramp it up to 1,000 MW.

Source: The Economic Times

CDC to invest $100 mn in Indian renewable energy projects

April 10, 2017. UK’s CDC Group has announced an investment of up to $100 mn to support the development of renewable energy projects in India. The UK government’s development finance institution will form an independently-controlled renewable energy company in the country. CDC’s investment is in addition to considerable climate funding from the UK via multilateral initiatives including the Clean Technology Fund for India (CTFI) where it is the largest stakeholder. The CTFI had approved a $775 mn investment plan allocated for India.

Source: Energy Business Review

Sembcorp’s renewable energy arm wins 250 MW wind power project in India

April 10, 2017. Sembcorp said its renewable energy business has won a bid for a new wind power project with close to 250 MW capacity. The company said Sembcorp Green Infra has received a letter of award for the project following India’s first national wind power tender conducted by Solar Energy Corp of India. The project will be located in Tamil Nadu and connected to India’s central transmission utility. The project’s entire output will be sold to PTC India under a 25-year long-term power purchase agreement. The project is expected to be developed in phases and fully commissioned in the second half of the Indian financial year ending March 31, 2019.

Source: The Economic Times

Renewable capacity addition catches up with thermal power in India: Bridge to India

April 10, 2017. Data analysed by Bridge to India suggests that the country’s total renewable capacity including solar, wind, bio-mass and small hydro grew by around 11.2 GW in FY 2016-17, at par with thermal capacity addition, which registered a decline of 50% in the year. According to data published by the government, India added 5,526 MW of new solar capacity (up 83% over FY 2015-16) and 5,400 MW of new wind capacity (up 63%) in the year. India added 5.8 GW of renewable capacity in a single month as implementing agencies pushed for commissioning of projects before the close of the financial year.

Source: The Economic Times

Fortum India to add 250 MW solar power capacity every year

April 10, 2017. Finnish state-run utility Fortum Oyj’s India unit, which last year drove down solar power tariff to a new low, will set up at least 250 MW of solar capacity in the country every year. The local unit of Fortum will enter the waste-to-energy sector and launch charging stations for electric vehicles to gain a larger hold in India’s renewable energy sector. Exactly a year ago, Fortum said it would invest €200-400 million (Rs 1,500-3,000 crore) in India’s solar energy sector to set up some large-scale greenfield projects. The company will have about 200 MW of solar energy capacity operational by August. It has a target of achieving 1 GW of solar capacity in the next few years. The company plans to set up its solar projects across utility plants, business-to-business, and rooftop projects. The company’s bid for a solar project in a Rajasthan auction last year drove tariffs to a low of Rs 4.34 per kilowatt hour. Solar tariffs have this year fallen to a record-low of Rs 3.30 a unit on a levelized basis—i.e., a value financially equivalent to the tariffs over the period of the power purchase agreement. Fortum opened its India office in September 2012 and acquired a 5 MW solar power plant in Rajasthan in 2013. In 2015, its 10 MW solar photovoltaic plant was commissioned under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. In January 2016, Fortum won an auction for a 70 MW project in Rajasthan and three months later won another for 100 MW in Karnataka. By August, the company will have 200 MW of operational solar power capacity in India.

Source: Livemint

IREDA finances Rs 100 bn green projects during 2016-17

April 10, 2017. The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) increased its financing of green energy projects considerably in 2016-17, crossing the milestone of Rs 10,000 crore in a single year for the first time. IREDA provided loans of Rs 10,200 crore through 2016-17 for 112 clean energy projects across solar, wind, small hydro and biogas. It nearly doubled its support for solar projects to Rs 4785.87 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 2684.68 crore in 2015-16, but its financing of wind projects dropped slightly to Rs 2511.69 crore from Rs 2735.51 crore.

Source: The Economic Times


Maharashtra farmers get solar push from govt for better land irrigation

April 9, 2017. Farmers in Peth, Surgana and Trimbakeshwar are not dependent on the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) any more thanks to new solar pumps by the government. About 59 farmers across Nashik district have received solar agriculture pumps to gush out water from the ground for irrigation purposes. The dream became a reality after the government increased the ceiling of land holding by the farmers from 5 acres to 10 acres. It is technically not feasible to raise infrastructure in certain areas as per the state government’s scheme for providing solar power pumps to farmers where the MSEDCL will not be able to reach them. The government had decided to provide a total of 130 solar power pumps for 2016-17. A total of 230 farmers applied for the scheme, of which the district collector headed committee selected 130 beneficiaries. Out of these beneficiaries, 79 were finalised and asked to pay the dues of their share. The direct current (DC) power pumps are in demand as a result of which 43 such pumps were sought by the beneficiaries. The farmers who wish to apply for the scheme should fit the criteria of having up to 10 acre of land, no power connection within 500 meter and that once a beneficiary, the farmer can never apply for power connection from the MSEDCL.

Source: The Economic Times

Electric vehicles and bio-fuel buses to roll out by next year: Gadkari

April 9, 2017. Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said that electric buses, cars and scooters, besides ethanol- and bio-CNG buses would be visible on roads next year onwards. Gadkari said that the 7 lakh crore litre crude oil being imported into the country was affecting the economy. Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and Central Institute of Road Transport are working on producing the lithium iron batteries. ARAI had sampled an electric scooter a few months ago, he said.

Source: The Economic Times

Teesta hydro power project may hit endangered snow trout fish

April 9, 2017. Snow trout, an endangered species of fish found in Himalayan rivers, is on the verge of vanishing from Sikkim rivers following construction of several hydro power projects in ecologically fragile north Sikkim. The comptroller & auditor general has expressed concern on the issue since the development of the 1200 MW Teesta Stage-III hydel power project in Chungthang. In its report for 2015-16, the audit said the absence of a fish ladder at the project dam could hamper the migratory pattern of snow trout and pointed out lack of adequate repopulation measures from project developers. Environment Impact Assessment had recommended this provision, which was incorporated in the Environment Management Plan.

Source: The Economic Times

CleanMax Solar to set up 300 MW solar power capacity this fiscal

April 9, 2017. CleanMax Solar plans to set up nearly 300 MW of solar capacity, including 100 MW of rooftop installation, this fiscal and will invest around Rs 1,500 crore for the same. Currently, CleanMax has an operational capacity of 80 MW and another 25 MW is under construction. Out of the total operational capacity, two projects of 30 MW each are solar farms in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Source: The Economic Times

Telangana bets big on renewables, to double solar power generation capacity

April 8, 2017. Betting big on the renewable energy space, the Telangana government expects to double the solar power generation capacity of the state from 1600 MW in 2017 to around 3400 MW by next year, Telangana New & Renewable Energy Development Corp Ltd Chairman Ajay Mishra said. He explained that unlike other states, Telangana has not gone for mega solar parks but has opted for a ‘decentralized model’ wherein it assesses the extra demand in different parts of the state and floats tenders accordingly. He said that even the state government is rooting for solar rooftop generation and has recently installed 900 KW solar roof top panels at Raj Bhavan.

Source: The Economic Times

Ola readies big push for electric vehicles in India

April 8, 2017. SoftBank-backed Ola will soon launch a pilot program to test electric vehicles on its platform in the country. Ola, which is locked in an intense battle in the Indian market with US-based Uber, is expected to roll out the pilot program in cities like Nagpur in the coming months. The company will pilot electric vehicles in Indian cities this year. Softbank Group had said Ola may introduce one million electric vehicles in India over the next five years.

Source: The Economic Times

Difficult to convert to BS-VI from 2019: Automakers to SC

April 8, 2017. Automobile manufacturers told the Supreme Court (SC) that it would be difficult for them to start the process of conversion of vehicles to BS-VI emission norm from 2019 to meet the April 1, 2020 deadline. The BS-VI emission norm is scheduled to come into force from April 1, 2020. Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said he would file a reply on the EPCA (Environment Pollution Control Authority)’s report within three weeks after which the bench fixed the matter for further hearing on May 1. Recently on March 29, the apex court had banned sale and registration of vehicles, which were not BS-IV compliant, in India from April 1 when the new BS-IV emission norms came into force while observing that health of people is “far, far more important than the commercial interests of the manufacturers”.

Source: The Economic Times

India, Bangladesh ink 3 pacts on nuclear energy

April 8, 2017. India signed three pacts with Bangladesh in the field of nuclear energy, second such deal with a South Asian neighbour. The pact entails knowledge sharing and training of Bangladeshi personnel in the area. The first agreement is the general cooperation pact for peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The second one was signed between the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) of India and its Bangladeshi equal Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (BAERA), which calls for exchange of technical cooperation and sharing of information in the field of nuclear safety and radiation protection. The third agreement focuses on Indo-Bangla collaboration regarding nuclear power plants in Bangladesh. Besides Bangladesh, India has signed civil nuclear deals with the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, South Korea, Mongolia, France, Namibia, Argentina, Canada, Kazakhstan, Australia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Japan. After India and Pakistan, Bangladesh is the third South Asian nation which has plans to harness nuclear power.

Source: India Today

HPPPL commissions 10 MW solar plant in Bihar

April 7, 2017. Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt Ltd (HPPPL), the New Delhi based power developer, said it has commissioned a 10 MW solar plant at Shergati in Bihar taking the state’s solar capacity to 100 MW. The plant commissioned at an investment of Rs 81 crore is spread over 56 acres of land. It uses 34,920 modules and has been generating 45,000 units of clean energy every day since its commissioning in November 2016, the company said. Bihar aims to set up 2.5 GW of solar capacity by 2022, HPPPL said. HPPPL has a solar capacity of 600 MW and generates annual carbon savings of nearly 720,000 tonnes, the company said.

Source: The Economic Times

UPERC bid to rope in more solar power users

April 7, 2017. Finding hardly any takers for solar power connections despite the various incentives announced by the Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) last year, the UPERC reiterated the advantages of the solar option listed in its tariff order of August 1, 2016. The UPERC pointed to a rebate of Rs 100 per month for those consumers who will opt to install solar water heating system of 100 litres or more. The commission also offered exemption from minimum charge for non-domestic category on installing rooftop solar plants. UPERC said that the rebate would be subject to the consumer giving an affidavit to the licensee intimating that he/she has installed such a solar heating system which is in working condition and one, which would be subject to verification by the licensee from time to time. Further, the tariff order for 2016-17 provides that if a consumer under LMV-2 (non-domestic light, fan and power – small commercial consumers such as shopkeepers) installs a rooftop solar plant which is not exceeding 100% of the sanctioned connected load/demand of the consumer, then such consumer shall be exempted from payment of monthly minimum charges.

Source: The Times of India

Haryana CM calls for promotion of solar energy

April 6, 2017. Haryana Chief Minister (CM) Manohar Lal Khattar said the use of solar energy should be promoted as it is “economical” and can help maintain ecological and environmental balance. After laying the foundation stones for two development works and inaugurating as many projects on the Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) campus, he said solar energy can play a vital role in maintaining ecological and environmental balance. He inaugurated 1 MW rooftop solar power plant and air- conditioning plant for Dr Mangal Sen Multipurpose Gymnasium Hall, besides laying stones for Deendayal Upadhyay Yuva Udhyan and Deendayal Upadhyay Institute of Entrepreneurship and Skill Development. The 1 MW rooftop solar power plant is a green energy project which has been set up with the support of the Solar Energy Corp of India.

Source: The Economic Times

India, Russia seal deal on Kudankulam Unit 1

April 6, 2017. India has taken over full operational control of Unit 1 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). India signed a joint statement with Russia on the final takeover of the unit, formally marking the full transition. The agreement was signed between representatives of Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd and the ASE Group of Companies, a subsidiary of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp of Russia. With the deal, the Russian and the Indian sides have confirmed fulfilment of all warranty terms and obligations of the contractor for the construction of Unit 1, Rosatom said. The commercial operation and the warranty period of Unit 1 started in December 2014. The warranty is typically for one year, which ended in December 2015. However, the final takeover agreement was delayed to ensure the reliability of the plant and equipment as this is the first of a series of six reactors. Unit 1 had encountered technical issues and was shut down briefly after it commenced power generation. On March 30, 2017, the joint protocol on provisional acceptance of Unit 2 of the plant was signed, which marked the start of its commercial operation.

Source: The Hindu

Hydro power projects of 11.9 GW capacity under construction: Goyal

April 6, 2017. Forty three hydro-electric projects, with total generating capacity of 11,928 MW, are under construction. Out of these 43 projects, 16 are stalled due to financial constraints and other reasons, Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines Minister Piyush Goyal said. The total power generation capacity of the 16 projects is 5,163 MW and the anticipated completion cost of these projects would be Rs 52,306 crore while their original cost was Rs 27,027 crore, he said. He said a panel to monitor power projects, set up by the power ministry, independently follows up and monitors the progress of the hydro projects.

Source: The Economic Times


India’s 60 GW green energy target can be “easily achieved”: Tanti

April 5, 2017. India’s ambitious target of scaling up wind energy capacity to 60 GW by 2022 can be “easily achieved” based on momentum the sector has gained, driven primarily by the maturity of the manufacturing base, cost-competitive supply chain in India and availability of reliable products which is bringing down the cost of energy, Tulsi Tanti, Chairman and Managing Director of Suzlon Group said. India added a record of 5,400 MW of wind energy capacity in FY17, up 60 percent from 3,400 MW added a year ago. With this addition, India’s total wind energy installation stands at 32 GW. Renewable energy sector has seen investments rising to $ 14 billion in 2016-17 from $ 7 billion in 2015-16 and $ 4 billion in 2014-15. Tanti said that the sector is giving people access to clean energy and has generated more than one million jobs and expects the momentum to continue.

Source: The Economic Times

RaysExperts commissions 5.5 MW solar power project for DMRC

April 5, 2017. RaysExperts has announced it has commissioned a 5.5 MW solar project for Delhi Metro Rail Corp (DMRC). The project has the capacity to produce 87 million units of power every year. RaysExperts claimed this will be one of the largest distributed rooftop solar plants setup across India. Spread across 42 different roofs, the entire power plant has a capacity of 725 kilowatt peak (KWp) while the average capacity is 131 KWp. Delhi Metro is the twelfth-largest public metro system in the world serving 160 stations spanning across 213 kilometers and helping 3 million commuters daily. The system consumes large amount of electricity and a major share from the city’s electrical grid consumption.

Source: The Economic Times

Renewables could power 25 percent of Indian Railways by 2025: CEEW

April 5, 2017. Indian Railways could draw up to 25 percent of its energy needs from renewables and achieve the target of 5 GW of solar by 2025, according to a study released by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW). The national transporter would need an investment of $3.6 billion to meet the 5 GW target, according to the study. The Indian Railways announced its 1 GW solar target in 2015 and had achieved about 37 MW of wind and 16 MW of solar across railway operations until March 2017. At present, the Railways has tendered close to 255 MW of rooftop solar projects, of which 80 MW had already been awarded. In addition, the national carrier is also in the process of tendering about 250 MW of land-based solar projects, of which 50 MW have been awarded.

Source: The Economic Times


China’s independent oil refiners adapt to new challenges

April 11, 2017. Cut off from lucrative fuel export markets and seeing their margins squeezed by new taxes, China’s independent oil refiners are branching out into new sectors from clean energy and lumber as well as expanding their trading to overcome the challenges. These independents, known as “teapots” since they are smaller companies than their state-owned rivals, are scrambling to survive shifting government policies at the same time domestic oil demand growth is slowing, undermining their ability to expand by just serving their home market. In 2016, China’s annual fuel demand growth was at a three-year low. Late last year, Beijing suspended fuel export quotas for the independents, handing control of diesel and gasoline exports to the dominant state refiners. Other government moves may also squeeze the independent’s margins. Top state refiner Sinopec overhauled its fuel buying policy by centralizing all purchases at its Beijing headquarters and China plans to slap consumption taxes on refinery by-products such as light cycle oil, sold as diesel, and mixed aromatics, which are added to gasoline to improve fuel quality. The 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) refiner is looking to invest in small-scale onshore fields, Zhang Liucheng, vice president of Shandong Dongming Petrochemical Group, the country’s largest independent refiner said. Zhang aims to boost trading operations by combining physical O&G trading with financial services such as offering credit facilities for fellow teapots at better rates than banks. Shandong Hengyuan Petrochemical Co, a refiner backed by a local government and the first teapot to own a refinery abroad, wants to become a regional player, combining assets at its home base in Shandong with the refinery in Port Dickson, Malaysia, that it recently acquired from Shell. As part of the expansion, it will set up a trading desk in Kuala Lumpur to secure crude for the two plants with a combined capacity of 160,000 bpd and also supply 4 millions of tons of fuel annually to Shell under a 10-year pact.

Source: Reuters

Texas O&G drilling climbs in March, but well completions slip

April 10, 2017. Texas shale producers applied for more than 1,300 oil and gas (O&G) drilling permits last month with the majority awarded in the Permian basin, the most active US (United States) oil patch, according to the state’s energy regulator. Despite a near tripling of new well permits, to 1,310 wells compared with 511 during the same month last year, the Texas Railroad Commission data showed a decline in the number of well completions, the final step before production can begin. Natural gas well completions fell 60 percent to 77 from 194 in the same month a year ago. Oil completions fell 44 percent to 533 wells versus 947 wells a year earlier. Texas’s 418 active drilling rigs accounts for about half of the US rig counts, according to the latest Baker Hughes rig count data.

Source: Reuters

Iraq holds May Basra crude prices to Asia steady

April 10, 2017. Iraq held its May official selling price (OSP) for Basra Light crude to Asia at minus $0.75 a barrel against the average of Oman/Dubai quotes from the previous month, the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) said. Basra Heavy to Asia for May was priced at the same level as in April at minus $5.45 a barrel to Oman/Dubai quotes, SOMO said.

Source: Reuters

Chinese firm keen to set up oil refinery in Sindh

April 8, 2017. A Chinese firm, the Mingyuan Holdings Group Company Ltd, has said that it is keen to set up a huge oil refinery with an investment of two billion dollars in Pakistan’s Sindh province. The Sindh government said that the refinery will have an installed capacity to process 10 million tons of crude oil annually. Sindh Board of Investment chairperson Naheed Memon said that the Chinese company has initially expressed an interest to acquire 400-500 acres of land in Sindh to set up the refinery. The Chinese firm is expected to establish the refinery around Port Qasim or in places such as Dhabeji, Gharo, Nooriabad, Thatta and Kotri. The firm may consider establishing the refinery in a special economic zone to acquire tax incentives, Memon said. Pakistan is a net oil importing country. It meets 75 percent need for oil for transport, electricity production and industrial and commercial use through import of petroleum products. The balance is met through local oil exploration where refineries play a very important role in catering to the domestic markets’ needs.

Source: Business Standard

Looking at selling Ukhta oil refinery, some filling stations: Russia’s Lukoil

April 7, 2017. Russia’s No.2 oil producer Lukoil will consider selling about a third of its filling stations in Russia as well as Ukhta refinery, Vladimir Nekrasov, Lukoil’s first vice president for refining, said. He said that a decision on the assets divestment is expected to be taken this autumn.

Source: Reuters

Sticking to global oil output deal: Russia’s Surgutneftegaz

April 7, 2017. Vladimir Bogdanov, the veteran head of Russia’s third largest oil producer Surgutneftegaz, said that his company was sticking to a global deal to cut oil output to support crude prices. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and 11 other oil producers led by Russia agreed in December to cut their combined output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) to reduce bloated global inventories and support prices. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak has said Russia would cut its oil output by 200,000 bpd by the end of the first quarter and by 300,000 bpd by the end of April.

Source: Reuters

Sinopec exports first diesel cargo under general trade terms in 13 yrs

April 7, 2017. China’s Sinopec Crop exported its first diesel cargo under general trade terms from its Qingdao refinery, the company said. The cargo, heading to Singapore, marks Sinopec’s first general trade export in 13 years, the company said. Chinese refiners mainly export refined oil products via processing trade terms and the government has set an annual quota on how much each refiner can export.

Source: Reuters

Hurricane Energy triples recoverable oil estimate from North Sea field

April 7, 2017. Hurricane Energy has tripled its estimate of recoverable oil from its Lancaster field in the North Sea, the company said. Hurricane said it had upgraded its recoverable resource estimate for the Lancaster field to 593 million barrels from 200 million in a 2013 assessment. Output from Lancaster is expected to start in the first half of 2019, with a daily production rate of 17,000 barrels expected soon after. Oil exploration in Britain has declined due to high costs and as explorers focus on less mature basins. A new generation of specialist exploration firms, such as Hurricane, has started to apply new technologies to tap billions of barrels of oil still left for extraction. Hurricane specializes in recovering oil using a technique that requires high pressure drilling to fracture a type of rock that is very hard and brittle.

Source: Reuters

BP to develop Indonesian retail fuel business with AKR Corporindo

April 6, 2017. Oil major BP has signed an agreement with Indonesian petroleum and chemicals logistics company AKR Corporindo for the joint development of a “differentiated” domestic fuel retail business, BP said. The joint venture will form a company, PT Aneka Petroindo Raya, which will operate as BP AKR Fuels Retail, and expects to open its first retail site in Indonesia in 2018.

Source: Reuters

Canadian oil disruption sends ripples from Alberta to Louisiana

April 6, 2017. An ongoing disruption at Canada’s second-biggest oil sands upgrader has sent prices soaring from Alberta to Louisiana. A fire at Syncrude Canada Ltd’s plant is restricting supplies of both light synthetic crude and heavy Alberta oil. Syncrude, which can process 350,000 barrels a day of bitumen from oil sands formations, moved forward maintenance following the fire last month. The worst disruption since a wildfire forced companies to reduce production last year has reduced output from ConocoPhillips’s Surmont site, which mixes light oil produced at Syncrude with bitumen to make it flow through pipelines. Synthetic crude in Edmonton climbed to the strongest level in almost four years, while Canadian heavy oil was the highest since 2015. Prices in the United States (US) surged, with Bakken oil from North Dakota also reaching a four-year high and Light Louisiana Sweet the priciest since May. The oil produced by ConocoPhillips at Surmont is composed of between 40 percent and 60 percent synthetic crude, according to the company. The company plans to ramp up production at the site to the full 150,000 barrel a day capacity by the end of this year.

Source: Bloomberg

Iran struggles to expand oil exports as sea storage cleared

April 6, 2017. Iran has sold all the oil it had stored for years at sea and Tehran is now struggling to keep exports growing as it grapples with production constraints. Since the easing of international sanctions in January 2016, Iran tried to make up for lost sales by releasing millions of barrels parked on tankers offshore. Iran had sold its last stocks from the floating storage in the past two weeks. Much of the oil stored was condensate, a very light grade of crude. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) pledged to reduce output by about 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), but Iran was allowed a small increase to compensate for years of isolation. Yet it has produced less in the past three months than it was allowed. Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Tehran was prepared to produce 3.8 million bpd if OPEC agreed to extend cuts to the second half of 2016, effectively signaling there was little hope of a steep rise in Iranian output.

Source: Reuters

Nigeria’s senate receives oil industry reform bill

April 6, 2017. Nigeria’s senate will debate a long-awaited oil industry reform bill after receiving the draft law, the latest step in efforts to overhaul the energy sector in Africa’s largest economy. The legislation is part of proposed reforms that make up the sprawling Petroleum Industry Bill, which has been in discussion for over a decade and redrafted many times but has yet to be passed into law. President Muhammadu Buhari made passing the legislation a priority as part of an attempt to crackdown on the mismanagement and corruption that has held back the country’s energy sector. Oil sales account for two-thirds of government revenue in the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) member state. The bill’s acceptance into the upper house marks the closest it has yet come to becoming law, Senate President Bukola Saraki said. Once the senate has approved the bill, it will be sent to the lower chamber of parliament. With the approval of both, the final version will be sent to the president to be signed into law. Its backers say Nigeria’s oil sector is in dire need of change, with power currently concentrated in the state oil company Nigerian National Petroleum Corp and the petroleum ministry.

Source: Reuters

China plans to impose taxes on oil by-products

April 5, 2017. China plans to impose consumption taxes on oil by-products such as mixed aromatics, light cycle oil and bitumen blend, tightening regulations on a fuel import market worth millions of dollars. The proposed taxes of more than 1,000 yuan ($145.01) per ton for the oil products could start in May. The taxes will effectively close a loophole often used by oil traders in China and will shut the door on nearly 20 million tonnes of imports of these products and improve sales of fuel produced locally. Outside of China, the policy change will have a ripple effect across trading companies and refineries in Asia and Europe which have relied on the world’s second-largest oil consumer as a key outlet for such products.

Source: Reuters


Asian spot LNG prices edge up on slightly tighter market

April 7, 2017. Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices edged higher, albeit from low levels, as tight production supported a market undergoing fundamental changes amid a surge in new sellers and buyers. Spot price for May delivery of LNG in Asia rose by 10 cents to $5.80 per million British thermal units as seasonal tightness supported the market. Trading data shows that global LNG supplies have dipped slightly below demand, although analysts said that this was likely only a temporary effect as several production units go into maintenance following the end of the northern hemisphere’s peak demand winter heating season. LNG markets are undergoing fundamental changes, as a growing number of supplies are coming to market, forcing producers to offer their buyers more flexible terms in order to retain market share. Following months of rising pressure from big buyers in Japan, South Korea and China, major producers including Royal Dutch Shell, Woodside Petroleum, and BP said at an industry event in Japan that they would allow more supply flexibility in future contracts. With supplies expected to outstrip demand in the coming years, many producers are expected to sell excess cargoes into the spot market, while more contract flexibility means that utilities may also start selling more LNG into the spot market. Some producers are warning that the current glut will end in the early 2020s due to a lack in investment because of low prices. Despite this, there are signs that investment into new production that would hit the market in the early 2020s is picking up again.

Source: Reuters

SSGC plans to build $615.7 mn re-gasified LNG pipeline project in Pakistan

April 7, 2017. The Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) is reportedly planning to build a second re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) pipeline from Karachi to Lahore in Pakistan. Expected to cost Rs 64.9 bn ($615.7 mn), the 42-inch diameter pipeline project is planned to be completed by October, 2018. The project will have capacity to transport 1.2 billion cubic feet per day of re-gasified LNG from CTS Bin Qasim to CTS Sawan.

Source: Energy Business Review

Japan LNG buyers wary of Tellurian’s fixed price offer

April 6, 2017. Japanese buyers of liquefied natural gas (LNG) have shown cautious interest in Tellurian Inc’s bold guarantee of US (United States) LNG delivered at a fixed price from 2023, wary of locking themselves into a price that may eventually work to their disadvantage. Tellurian Chairman Charif Souki – who pioneered the first US LNG exports ex-Alaska as head of Cheniere Energy – stirred things up at the Gastech conference in Japan from the start, offering cargoes delivered to Japan at a flat $8 per million British thermal units (mmBtu). That goes against four decades of selling LNG and building liquefaction plants worth billions of dollars on the basis of long-term, fixed-volume contracts linked to the price of oil.

Source: Reuters

US granted BP license to operate joint North Sea field with Iran

April 6, 2017. BP and Iran’s state-run oil company received a license from the United States (US) Treasury last year to operate their joint gas field in the North Sea following the lifting of Western sanctions on Tehran, BP said. Production at the Rhum field was suspended in 2010 when Europe imposed sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program and only resumed four years later after Britain agreed to set up a temporary management scheme whereby all revenue due to Tehran would be held until sanctions were lifted. Following the removal of European Union and United Nations sanctions on Iran in January 2016, the temporary management scheme ceased. Last year BP created an executive committee to explore business in Iran, which would exclude its American chief executive Bob Dudley in a bid to avoid potential sanctions violations. London-based BP recorded a net profit of $31.6 million in 2016 from its 50 percent stake in the field, which supplies around 4 percent of Britain’s gas demand.

Source: Reuters

Italy’s Eni discovers new gas and condensates offshore Libya

April 6, 2017. Italian energy company Eni announced that it has made a new discovery of gas and condensates offshore Libya. The new discovery was made in the ‘Gamma Prospect‘, in the Contract Area D, 140 km offshore from Tripoli, in Libya. The discovery exploration Well B1-16/3 is located 5 km to the North of the producing Bahr Essalam Gas Field. The Bahr Essalam gas and condensate field is owned and operated by Mellitah Oil & Gas, a joint venture between Eni and Libyan state-owned oil company National Oil Corp. The well, which encountered gas and condensates in the Metlaoui Group of Eocene age, has capacity to deliver, in production configuration, in excess of 7,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Source: Energy Business Review

Poland has natural gas exports ‘understanding’ with US: Deputy PM

April 5, 2017. Poland’s desire to cut natural gas imports from Russia has led to an “understanding” with the United States (US) to work toward a deal to export liquefied natural gas to its new Baltic Sea terminal, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said. Mateusz Morawiecki said that discussions with new US Energy Secretary Rick Perry brought “a very positive response.” Poland’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the Baltic Sea was completed in 2015 and opened last year. It has an annual capacity of 5 billion cubic meters, which the government wants to double in the next few years, Morawiecki said. Internal sources supply 30 percent of Poland’s gas consumption, with the rest predominantly from Russia, which Warsaw eyes with suspicion.  In February 2016 the United States began exporting LNG from the lower 48 states for the first time. None of that gas, an estimated $895 million worth in the first year, made it to Poland or northern Europe because of cheaper sources from Russia and Norway. Poland is considering adding more LNG capacity by building a floating LNG terminal in the Baltic Sea by 2021.

Source: Reuters

China retail gas push offers chances for foreign investors: KPMG

April 5, 2017. China’s growing retail gas market could offer plenty of opportunities for foreign investment, with Beijing pushing to curb its reliance on coal as it battles pollution, Raymond Ng, KPMG’s head of energy and natural resources for China, said. The world’s top energy user aims to nearly triple the role of gas in its energy mix to around 15 percent by 2030, boosting use of the cleaner fuel as it looks to combat smog that often blankets many cities. China’s top economic planner from October made a series of policy announcements to boost the gas sector including allowing storage operators to negotiate rates directly with customers. But Ng believes that Beijing is unlikely to open investments into key trunk gas pipeline infrastructure to foreign players as existing operators PetroChina, Sinopec Corp and CNOOC could easily raise funds needed for expansion from local investors.

Source: Reuters

QP, ExxonMobil to explore for O&G in Cyprus

April 5, 2017. Qatar Petroleum (QP) and ExxonMobil will start drilling for oil and gas (O&G) off the southern coast of Cyprus in 2018, the Qatari firm said after signing an exploration and production sharing contract with the Mediterranean island. Exploring the Mediterranean’s Levant Basin has become more attractive since Eni discovered Egypt’s offshore Zohr field in 2015, the biggest gas field in the Mediterranean and estimated to contain 850 billion cubic meters of gas. QP and ExxonMobil were among bidders last year for a contract for Cyprus’s offshore Block 10. To maintain its dominance over competitors in the United States and Australia, QP is cutting costs at its domestic operations and seeking to expand overseas through joint ventures with international oil firms, QP said.

Source: Reuters


North Korean ships head home after China orders coal returned

April 11, 2017. A fleet of North Korean cargo ships is heading home to the port of Nampo, the majority of it fully laden, after China ordered its trading companies to return coal from the isolated country, shipping data shows. Following repeated missile tests that drew international criticism, China banned all imports of North Korean coal, cutting off the country’s most important export product. To curb coal traffic between the two countries, China’s customs department issued an official order telling trading companies to return their North Korean coal cargoes. Shipping data shows a dozen cargo ships on their way to North Korea’s main west coast port of Nampo, almost all carrying cargoes from China. Malaysia briefly prevented a North Korean ship carrying coal from China from entering its port in Penang because of a suspected breach in sanctions. The ship was eventually allowed to unload its 6,300 metric tonnes of anthracite coal. North Korea is a significant supplier of coal to China, especially of the type used for steel making, known as coking coal.

Source: Reuters

Iloilo coal-fired power plant transitioning to all Filipino

April 11, 2017. A Chinese-staffed 135 MW coal-fired power plant in Concepcion town will transition to a 100% Filipino work force within five years, the plant’s operator said. Palm Concepcion Power Corp (PCPC) said the plant hosts around 120 Chinese workers out of a work force of over 200, but added the expiry of contracts within four or five years will see the entry of Filipinos for all positions. PCPC said that aside from the Western machinery, the coal plant uses Chinese technology.

Source: BusinessWorld Online Edition

Anglo American sells Eskom-linked coal operations in South Africa

April 10, 2017. Anglo American will sell its Eskom-linked thermal coal operations in South Africa for $166 million, it said, marking an important step in the mining giant’s strategic overhaul to sharpen its focus on three commodities. The mines, along with four closed collieries, have a supply agreement with Eskom, under which South Africa’s sole power utility paid for their running costs in exchange for guaranteed coal supply at a pre-set price. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and consent from Eskom for the transfer of the coal supply agreement and is expected to close by year-end.

Source: Reuters

Mountain size trouble for Australian coal lines

April 7, 2017. Global coking coal supplies have been drastically interrupted by a small stretch of rail that wraps around a modest-sized Australian mountain range – and repair crews are unable to find a quick fix. Australian rail operator Aurizon Holdings Ltd said it would take another four weeks to repair the Goonyella line, which transported 118 million tonnes of mainly coking coal in 2016 and has been hit by landslides. The company said that its cyclone-damaged Blackwater coal haulage line – the second major rail corridor after Goonyella – would reopen at reduced capacity. Multiple landslides and flooding knocked out the rail network when Cyclone Debbie ripped through the state of Queensland, a major coking coal region. Queensland accounts for more than 50 percent of the global seaborne coking coal market, which hit 314 million tonnes in 2016, according to Australia’s Department of Industry.

Source: Reuters

Engie Brasil expects bids for its coal assets soon

April 6, 2017. Engie Brasil Energia SA, the local unit of French power company Engie SA, expects to soon receive bids from several firms interested in its coal-fired power plants, Chief Executive Officer Maurício Bahr said. Engie Brasil announced it was hiring Morgan Stanley to advise it in the sale process of coal-fired power plants Jorge Lacerda and Pampa Sul, which have a combined generation capacity of 1.2 GW.

Source: Reuters

Trump declares end to ‘war on coal,’ but utilities are not listening

April 5, 2017. When US (United States) President Donald Trump signed an executive order to sweep away Obama-era climate change regulations, he said it would end America’s “war on coal”, usher in a new era of energy production and put miners back to work. But the biggest consumers of US coal – power generating companies – remain unconvinced. Surveyed 32 utilities with operations in the 26 states that sued former President Barack Obama’s administration to block its Clean Power Plan, the main target of Trump’s executive order. The bulk of them have no plans to alter their multi-billion dollar, years-long shift away from coal, suggesting demand for the fuel will keep falling despite Trump’s efforts. Meanwhile, big investors aligned with the global push to fight climate change – such as the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund – have been pressuring US utilities in which they own stakes to cut coal use.

Source: Reuters

China Hebei districts to end coal sales ahead of October ban

April 5, 2017. Eighteen districts in northern China’s heavily polluted Hebei province will ban the sale of coal by end-June ahead of a complete ban on residential coal use in October. Hebei, home to six of China’s 10 smoggiest cities in the first two months of the year, is on the frontline of China’s three-year war on pollution, and has targeted cutting coal consumption by 40 million tonnes over 2013-2017. It has identified the use of coal by households and small businesses as one of its main targets this year as it battles to improve air quality. In a new action plan aimed at controlling coal consumption, the province said it would also strictly control the number of small businesses that burned coal directly, and crack down on the illegal production and sale of low-grade coals.  The ban is likely to hurt local suppliers of low-grade coal but is not expected to have a wider market impact. It promised to take more action against pollution, releasing 18 new “special implementation plans” to tackle “backward” coal-fired power plants and promote new energy vehicles.

Source: Reuters


Kahramaa awards $2.2 bn contracts to expand power infrastructure in Qatar

April 10, 2017. Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) has awarded contracts worth QR8.3 bn ($2.28 bn) to expand electricity infrastructure in the Qatar. The contracts are part of the Phase 13 of the Qatar Power Transmission System Expansion plan. Construction of 77 substations and laying of 453.3 km Extra High Voltage cables will be undertaken to expand the transmission network. Besides enabling Kahramaa to help in reaching Qatar National Vision 2030, the projects will contribute to enhancing the power infrastructure in and around Doha. The expansion plan is aimed at meeting the growing demand for electricity in Qatar, as the country continues to show rapid development and urbanisation. The Phase 13 projects will also include upgrading of few old substations. The company said that the project is scheduled to be completed in phases from 15 to 32 months.

Source: Energy Business Review

BPC and Eskom sign a power supply agreement

April 7, 2017. The South African power utility Eskom and Botswana Power Corp (BPC) have signed a 3-year long term power supply agreement. In the past, Eskom encountered supply difficulties due to its ageing infrastructure and struggled to meet the country’s demand. Last year, the company implemented a major power plants maintenance program and could not export any electricity. Eskom announced it has an excess capacity of 4,000 MW. Since South Africa is not yet entirely electrified, Eskom has to deliver this additional supply abroad.

Source: Enerdata


Appeals court upholds California’s anti-greenhouse gas program

April 6, 2017. A state appeals court ruled California’s high profile market system for reducing greenhouse gas emissions does not amount to an illegal tax, a decision that could lift a pall over the so-called cap-and-trade program’s marketplace for buying and selling pollution allowances. The California Chamber of Commerce and others had filed a pair of lawsuits challenging the anti-pollution program, which requires large producers of greenhouse gases to either lower their emissions or purchase pollution rights from the state or others. The system is called cap-and-trade because it puts a cap on the amount of emissions for the state but allow polluters to purchase or trade pollution allowances.

Source: Reuters

Beyond light, solar startup seeks to plug in rural homes in Africa

April 6, 2017. Access to off-grid solar energy in rural areas of Africa goes beyond lighting up homes – it also enables people to connect to the wider world and boosts their economic prospects, Simon Bransfield-Garth, chief executive officer of UK-based Azuri said. Azuri Technologies’ entry level solar system – for which customers pay a one-off installation fee, then use scratch cards or mobile phone payments to top up on a weekly or monthly basis – provides eight hours of lighting each day. Having power at home for the first time encourages customers to also buy mobile phones, radios and televisions, giving them regular access to the media and the internet, Bransfield-Garth said. Some 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa – nearly two-thirds of the population – are estimated to be living without access to the main electricity grid, one in 10 of whom are using off-grid clean energy, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said. Home solar systems not only provide electricity to hard-to-reach households, but do so at a far lower cost than using diesel or kerosene for energy. Swapping kerosene for home solar energy can cut African families’ spending on lighting to two percent from nine percent of their household income, according to a 2016 report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), a UK-based think-tank. The pay-as-you go approach for home solar systems has proved successful as mobile money services are rapidly growing across Africa, allowing those without bank accounts to use their phones for everything from receiving remittances to paying bills. Azuri plans to launch pay-as-you go solar irrigation systems to help farmers grow more, and higher-value, crops. A fledgling industry just a few years ago, off-grid solar technology is now estimated to provide power to at least 500,000 households in East Africa, according to IRENA. Solar home systems have fallen in cost by as much as 80 percent since 2010, while investments in off-grid solar systems globally grew by 15 times between 2012 and 2015, with $276 million spent on them in 2015, according to data from IRENA. Renewable energy could therefore be key to helping sub-Saharan Africa meet a global goal of providing universal access to electricity by 2030, experts said.

Source: Reuters

Mitsubishi, KEPCO set up JV for Japanese biomass power projects

April 6, 2017. Mitsubishi Corp Power Systems (MCP) and electric utility The Kansai Electric Power (KEPCO) have set up a new joint venture (JV) to boost biomass power generation in Japan. Named as Aioi Bioenergy, the new joint venture will be injected with an initial capital of Yen450 mn ($4.1 mn). The Mitsubishi subsidiary will contribute 40% of the investment and the remainder by KEPCO. Moving forward, the joint venture will take up a project to convert the fuel used by the 375 MW Aioi Power Station Unit 2 of KEPCO to woody biomass. Current, the plant uses heavy oil or crude oil sources for generating power. The fuel conversion project will help in cutting down carbon emissions owing to the use of pellet fuel derived through natural methods. Located in Hyogo Prefecture at Yanagiyama, the Aioi Power Plant comprises three units each of 375 MW which were commissioned between 1982 and 1983. Presently, MCP operates about 73 MW of energy produced from solar projects. Besides, it is developing and constructing geothermal and wind power generation facilities in Japan.  The new fuel conversion project will further expand its existing renewable energy offerings.

Source: Energy Business Review

Soon, your car could be powered by sugarcanes

April 5, 2017. Sugarcanes could soon be used to power cars. A team of researchers has brought an oil-free future closer to the reality. The University of Illinois scientists have proven sugarcane can be genetically engineered to produce oil in its leaves and stems for biodiesel production. Surprisingly, the modified sugarcane plants also produced more sugar, which could be used for ethanol production. The dual-purpose bioenergy crops are predicted to be more than five times more profitable per acre than soybeans and two times more profitable than corn. More importantly, sugarcane can be grown on marginal land in the Gulf Coast region that does not support good corn or soybean yields.

Source: Business Standard

Wind turbine maker Vestas looks at expanding into energy storage

April 6, 2017. Denmark’s Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine maker, is keen to expand into areas such as energy storage to increase the global use of wind power and bring costs down. The wind industry is entering a phase of slower growth and steadier demand for turbines, prompting to look at alternatives to grow revenue. Energy storage is the capture of energy produced for use at a later time, for instance in the form of batteries. The technology is becoming increasingly viable with the rise in sales of electric cars. In January, US electric car maker Tesla launched a massive battery storage facility in the California desert. Vestas came back from the brink of bankruptcy just four years ago and the share price has risen more than 1,000 percent over the past five years. But the company could lose its status as the world’s biggest wind turbine maker as Germany’s Siemens and Spain’s Gamesa agreed to combine their assets in the sector.

Source: Reuters

FPL announces 1.5 GW solar power addition in Florida

April 5, 2017. America’s major electric utility, Florida Power & Light (FPL) has revealed its intentions to develop an additional 1.5 GW capacity of solar energy in Florida in the next seven years. The new solar power plants will add up to the eight solar projects of a combined capacity of 600 MW that were announced by the utility recently.  Construction of the 1.5 GW solar power plants is slated to begin in 2019 and the projects are expected to be completed in 2023. According to FPL, the new solar plants of an overall capacity of 2.1 GW will generate enough energy that would be consumed by more than 420,000 households. The Florida electric utility has planned to phase out the projects by adding around 300 MW of new solar capacity each year from 2017 through 2023. Locations for the new series of solar power plants are being explored by FPL. The utility disclosed that the solar projects, including the previously announced 600 MW and the 1.5 GW projects, would use about 9 million solar panels. FPL finalized the locations and names of the eight solar projects which would each be of 74.5 MW capacity.

Source: Energy Business Review


Country-wise Coal Imports by India

Country Coal Imports* % Share
Indonesia 68.99 47.6
Australia 35.45 24.5
South Africa 25.99 17.9
USA 3.5 2.4
Russia 3.34 2.3
New Zealand 0.32 0.2
China PRP 0.02 0.01
Canada 1.79 1.2
Mozambique 2.75 1.9
Others 2.72 1.9
Total 144.87 100

*for April to December 2016 period



Source: Rajya Sabha, Un-starred Q. No. 4163

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

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