MonitorsPublished on Jun 05, 2017
Energy News Monitor | Volume XIII: Issue 51


Coal News Commentary: April – May 2017


According to the power ministry, discoms in BJP-ruled states like Rajasthan and UP are likely to become profitable by next year. In Rajasthan losses of ₹ 150 billion have been reduced to half and by next year the discom would be in profit. In Haryana, one discom is already in profit and another would be in profit next year. In Tamil Nadu where discom had losses of around ₹ 130 billion that has been reduced to ₹ 30-40 billion last year and this year it may break even. Two interesting observations may be made here. The first is that the power ministry has inadvertently admitted that Tamil Nadu is a BJP run state.  Surprisingly none of the mainstream media seemed to have noticed this.  The second is that ‘profitability’ of the discoms of the BJP run states needs to be qualified. Under the UDAY scheme promoted by the central government, discom liabilities are transferred to the state government budget.  Effectively what this means is that if an unemployed son transfers his huge student loan to his father, he can declare himself to have become profitable. This is illustrated clearly in the next news item on the report on UDAY by the RBI. Finances of several Indian states are worsening after they took over the debt of their electricity distributors under the central government’s UDAY initiative, the RBI study said. Additional provisions states may have to make for UDAY, increased calls for farm loan waivers and potential pay hikes for state government employees are other pressure points on state finances, the report said. In this context, implementation of the GST is crucial, given that the centre will compensate states for any loss of revenue in the initial five years after the switch-over to the new tax regime, it said. For FY17, the revised figures for 25 states show that the consolidated fiscal deficit to gross state domestic product ratio (CFD-GSDP) is 3.4%, compared to the budgeted 3%. An increase in capital outlay and loans to power projects under UDAY worsened fiscal indicators. Excluding UDAY, the CFD of these states would have been 2.7% of GSDP, the report said. For FY18, the central bank expects an improvement in the consolidated GFD-GSDP ratio to 2.6% compared to the centre’s budgeted 3.2%. It, however, cautioned that state liabilities may increase going ahead. Apart from UDAY liabilities on their books and farm loan waivers, the RBI study said additional provisions under UDAY to provide working capital for electricity distributors, and state government guarantees towards public sector enterprises, could increase states’ debt.

As UPERC contemplates reducing tariff for industrial units consuming power above a set limit, the industrial sector may be at an advantage. Presently, the commission adopts a ‘telescopic’ tariff structure wherein more power consumption invites higher charges. As in the case of all consumers, electricity tariff for industries too increases from ₹ 7/kWh to ₹ 7.60/kWh when usage increases. Under the proposed changes in the tariff structure, expected to be introduced in the next couple of months, a unit consuming power more than a certain quantum would see tariff rates coming down. UPERC said the move would not only stop industries from moving out of the state but also help attract higher investment and encourage operating units to go in for expansion. UPERC plans to provide 20% rebate on tariff to industrial units which operate between 10 pm and 6 am. So far, the provision was applicable only to steel industries. The electricity regulatory also plans to waive off the system loading charges levied on industries. Power tariff for industries in UP is among the highest. In comparison, industrial power tariff in Gujarat and Maharashtra ranges from ₹ 4.5/kWh to ₹ 6/kWh. UPERC records also show industries account for 22.02% of the total consumption in UP. In comparison, industries in Gujarat consume 51.95% of the total electricity supplied in the state grid. UPERC said less consumption by industries creates imbalance in the over usage pattern. While this is a logical move, it is not clear how many industries will rush into UP on the basis of power tariff alone. Perhaps industries that offer to shelter to aging cows in air-conditioned sheds may find it an attractive option. The UP government has cancelled the long-term PPAs for 3,800 MW as the cost of power under these pacts was higher than the spot market prices. The previous government signed the 15-year contracts with Jindal Power, JP-Nigeri, Lanco, Adani Power, GMR and JSW. Against the 3,800 MW demand, the SP government had received bids for 6,652 MW in the price range of ₹ 3.9-5.5/kWh. The state was currently procuring 3,882 Mw at ₹ 4.06/kWh. Of its total power drawn of 9281 MW, UP sources 4,225 MW from inter-state generating stations, 228 MW from long-term agreement, 364 MW from medium-term agreement, 150 MW through bilateral trade, 26 MW as shared agreement.

India conducted the ground-breaking ceremony for its first green energy corridor project with an UHVDC link over 1,800 km with the aim to bring power to 80 million people. The project by PGCIL is being executed by ABB Group in partnership with BHEL. The mega project is worth over ₹ 43.5 billion. The Raigarh-Pugalur 800 kV UHVDC system aims to connect Raigarh in Central India to Pugalur in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

It was reported that India has climbed up to 26th position in World Bank’s electricity accessibility ranking in the current year from 99th spot in 2014. By 2019, the government is likely to declare that India is fully electrified in time for the next elections. The government’s rural electrification programme is said to be proceeding swiftly, with over 13,000 villages electrified out of a total of 18,452 and is on track for completion within the targeted 1,000 days. Over 2.2 million rural BPL households were electrified in FY17, and over 40 crore LED bulbs were distributed in the same period. The total inter-regional transmission capacity has been significantly enhanced with 41 GW transmission capacity being added from May 2014 to April 2017. Manipur said all un-electrified villages in Manipur would be electrified by December 2018. Out of a total 4,141 un-electrified villages in the country, Manipur has 85. Not to be left behind, Bihar said every household of the State would have power connection by 2018 end. The government of Bihar has shifted its focus to provide quality power supply and that 633 un-electrified villages would be electrified by December 2017.  Even if the electrification is driven by electoral motives one cannot complain about the poor rural households getting power.  The tragedy is that when the motive is short term electoral gain, the ownership and maintenance of poles and power lines is not established as it is carried out for the centrally sponsored rural electrification scheme.  In addition such schemes do not assign responsibility for continues supply of power.

After Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, Kerala is readying to enter the select club of fully electrified states. Each and every household in Kerala will have electricity by the end of May. As much as ₹ 7 billion has been pumped in for the electrification drive. a special facility has been created under the umbrella of the KSEB, for the promotion and popularisation of solar energy. Till now, out of the 29 states, only two — Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh — enjoy the status of fully-electrified states in India. The feat required the electrification of around 2.5 lakh households that were yet to have a power connection. Andhra Pradesh, which claims to have attained self-sufficiency in power sector is now gearing up to provide 24×7 three phase power supply to all industrial feeders even in rural areas. The state is contemplating to take up this huge task by segregating agriculture feeders at an approximate cost of ₹ 40 billion sought the support of the union government, to help in promotion of micro & cottage industries and huge employment generation in the mandal headquarters, major gram panchayats and villages. Utilities are said to be fully geared up to meet any hike in power demand. Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority informed that the utilities are fully geared up to meet any hike in power demand.

State Ministers will consider the possibility of sharply reducing the number of power tariff slabs to make them uniform across the country and examine ways of re-engineering of power plants to use domestic coal in place of imported fuel at a meeting. explore ways of enforcing clean energy purchase obligations of power distribution companies and review challenges in achieving 100% rural electrification in difficult terrain and in left wing extremism affected areas. a rationalization of power tariff slabs across the country will improve transparency and may enhance energy consumption as well as bill collection efficiency. The idea is to have about 15 uniform slabs across the country in place of the highly complex system prevalent in states, where slabs vary significantly. In Tamil Nadu, for example, there are 36 slabs, while Andhra Pradesh has 93. The proposed 15 slabs will have five major classes of consumers-domestic, commercial, agricultural, industrial and institutional—and subclasses based on voltage and consumption. This system will enable providing benefits for “low/efficient consumption and discourage high/wasteful consumption” besides protecting the interests of certain consumers having low paying capacity, said the agenda.

MSEDCL has reduced the duration of power supply to farmers at night. Earlier, the discom used to provide 8 hours three-phase supply during the day and 10 hours during the night on rotation basis. Now, it is providing 8 hours during day as well as night. The company said that the hours of supply would be increased as soon as the power situation normalizes. However, consumer activists have alleged that the power cuts in the state off late were completely unwarranted and illegal. According to them, the discom’s current availability was 33,500 MW and that a tariff order issued in November 2016, determined the excess availability to be in the range of 6,000 MW to 6,500 MW. Agricultural consumers complain of major load shedding hampering the power needs of residential, commercial and agricultural consumers in the district. Lack of maintenance of power generation turbines is the major cause of the power deficit. In order to balance the power supply across the district, MSEDCL has started two hours load shedding of agricultural consumers. The Kolhapur zone of MSEDCL comprises of Kolhapur and Sangli district. The sugarcane farmers there require continuous power to irrigate cane. These farmers will now have to face load shedding of two hours during the night time starting from May 5.

The Supreme Court ruling setting aside a decision of the Central Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, effectively denying ‘compensatory tariff’ to Tata Power and Adani Power, has driven the producers to cut back power supply to Gujarat, citing financial unviability. The two companies have suspended electricity supplies to GUVNL, the parent of discoms in Gujarat, saying higher imported fuel costs had skewed their financial viability. The companies have begun the phased lowering of supply at the peak of summer. Adani Power and Tata Power had discontinued 1250 MW and about 500 MW supply, respectively. EPGL, too, has suspended supply owing to higher international coal prices following changes in Indonesian regulations. Essar Power, too, has filed a tariff review petition with GUVNL. If an order similar to the Supreme Court ruling on Tata Power and Adani Power is passed on the EPGL petition, the company may face cash-flow issues, which will impair its ability to service its loans. The demand for compensatory tariff arose after a change of law by the Singapore government, which escalated the cost of coal imported by Adani Power and Tata Power. The Supreme Court said the change of law was not a valid reason to hike power tariffs. The producers’ hopes now hinge on a favourable ruling by the CERC which was directed by the apex court to examine their demands for compensatory tariff.

India is set to see a countrywide cyber security audit of its power distribution and generation system to prevent hacking as state grids and plants increasingly become smarter with large-scale deployment of digital technology. participants agreed to get their power system — down to the plant level — regularly audited by agencies accredited by the CERT-In of the department of information technology. The states agreed to conduct mock drills simulating disasters and hackings to test preparedness for reviving downed systems. The vulnerability of India’s transmission network to hacking in an ‘intelligent’ environment in which machines ‘talk’ to each other on a common platform. Indian power equipment manufacturers have repeatedly been raising alarm over the issue as city grids are being smartened up with SCADA systems.

Endorsing the linking of the Aadhaar card with payment of electricity bills, was an initiative to help people said the government.  What the government has overlooked is the fact that those who rent houses pay bills that are issued to the owner of the house. Aadhaar linking will complicate things for those who live in rented houses. The government has also asked states to stop accepting electricity bill payments in cash and move to digital mode, a move that can be a giant leap towards a cashless economy as power worth lakhs of crore is consumed every year. The Union power ministry has told state distribution companies to introduce and strengthen online and digital payment mechanism, to begin with in urban areas and gradually to all electricity consumers. Data available with the CEA showed that over 1 trillion units of electricity was supplied across states during April 2016 and March this year. Shifting to an efficient digital payment mechanism could generate over ₹ 3 trillion going by a conservative estimate of ₹ 3/kWh tariff. The power ministry’s Urja portal showed that in urban areas mapped by the 12.4 percent of electricity consumers made digital payments for electricity bills. This was a quantum jump from 8.6 percent digital payments made in October 2016.

Rest of the World

Poland’s biggest power producer PGE has agreed to buy French group EDF’s local power and heating plants for 4. $1.2 billion including debt, in a move to increase market share and give the state more control over the country’s energy assets. The deal to buy EDF’s plants, which include eight combined heat and power plants and a 1.8 GW coal-fired power plant at Rybnik, in the south of the country, is expected to be concluded by January 2, 2018, PGE said. as a result of the acquisition PGE’s share of the country’s power generation capacity would increase to 45 percent from 36 percent, while PGE said the acquisition of the cogeneration plants would increase its district heating interests by 177 percent.

South Africa’s power utility Eskom could cut supplies to neighbouring Zimbabwe by the end of this month if Harare fails to clear arrears. Such a move could trigger widespread power cuts in an economy already battling with a liquidity crunch but which hopes for faster growth this year after rains boosted crop production. Zimbabwe imports 300 MW/day from Eskom, but owes the utility $44.5 million. Acute shortages of foreign currency have seen the southern African nation struggle to pay for imports. Zimbabwe was producing 1,051 MW of power, with another 350 MW coming from imports, against demand of 1,500 MW.

The government of Japan announced to provide a concessional loan of $24 million to the government of Pakistan for Islamabad and Burhan Transmission Line Reinforcement project. The transmission line stabilisation project would be completed in the capital territory by 2020. The financing of the project is Japanese ODA loan, which is long-term low interest rate loan advanced to the developing countries and have the liability of being paid back. So far, the government of Japan has been providing assistance to Pakistan in the power sector through the Energy Sector Reform programme and the National Transmission Lines and Grid Stations Strengthening project. The objective of this loan is to reinforce existing 220 kV transmission lines between Tarbela hydropower plant and the Burhan substation, which will enable it to supply over three times more electricity as compared to its existing capacity. The ODA loan project would not only help stabilise the power supply to the capital territory and surrounding areas, but would also help decrease the transmission losses through introduction of low loss conductor for the first time in Pakistan.

The electricity sales by the ten regional power utilities in Japan contracted by 1.7% in the April 2016 – March 2017 year, posting a new decline for the sixth year in a row. The electricity consumption in Japan has been hit by supply restrictions since the 2011 Fukushima disaster and contracted by 4% between 2011 and 2015. In April 2016, the electricity market was opened up, removing regional barriers and cross-ownership barriers and allowing new suppliers to enter the retail market. Consequently, the ten former regional monopolies lost more than 3.4 million customers, that switched to other suppliers.


India’s record diesel demand to continue in 2017, growth to slow

May 30, 2017. India’s diesel demand is expected to rise to record levels again this year as a slew of infrastructure projects boosts use of the transport and industrial fuel, although a government-induced cash shortage will hold growth to its slowest in three years. Increased fuel efficiency, a fall in commercial vehicle sales, and the use of other fuels for power generation are also expected to dent demand growth for diesel, analysts and traders said. The world’s third largest oil consumer guzzled 6.955 million tonnes of diesel in April, the highest so far this year and near a record of 6.958 million tonnes hit in May 2016, the latest government data showed. Still, a weak first quarter is expected to hold India’s diesel demand growth at 1.6 to 3 percent this year, a gain to 1.63 million to 1.65 million barrels a day, analysts from energy consultancies FGE and Wood Mackenzie said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November declared notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 illegal tender, taking about 86 percent of total currency out of circulation, in a move that hit sales of cars and motorcycles and small businesses. April sales of India’s commercial vehicles, which consume mainly diesel, fell 23 percent year-on-year, for instance. Sales of passenger cars and motorcycles, however, mostly powered by gasoline, have started to recover. Woodmac expects India’s diesel growth to moderate at 3.2 percent a year over 2017 to 2025, down from an average annual growth rate of 3.9 percent from 2010 to 2016. Still India’s diesel demand growth in 2017 accounts for one third of Asia’s demand growth for the fuel, Woodmac said.

Source: Reuters

ONGC’s onshore domestic crude production rises 2.4 percent in 2016-17

May 30, 2017. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has seen reversal in onshore domestic crude oil production as it increased to 5.97 million metric tonnes (mmt) during the fiscal year ended March from 5.82 mmt in FY16, logging a growth of 2.4 percent due to early monetisation of discoveries at Ankleshwar, Cauvery (Madnam) and Rajahmundry (Keshnapalli West), among others. ONGC Chairman and Managing Director D K Sarraf said that the last fiscal year has been “excellent” one as the company had as many as 23 new discoveries compared to 17 in 2015-16. Of the 23 new discoveries made in last fiscal, 13 discoveries were in the onshore wells and 10 in the offshore wells, he said. The production is expected to jump further to 6.05 mmt during the current year backed by similar monetisation of Ahmedabad (Gamij) and Mehsana besides existing ones in Cauvery (Madnam) and Rajahmundry (Keshnapalli West). The company drilled its highest-ever number of wells — 501 — during FY17, against 392 in FY16 and 401 in FY15. The Central government’s initiative for RsReassessment of Hydrocarbon Resources (HC)’ in Indian sedimentary basins which is being undertaken by ONGC is expected to get complete by end of November this year, Sarraf said.

Source: The Economic Times

IOC seeks 2,700 acres to expand Paradip petrochem project

May 29, 2017. Undeterred by its stand-off with the Odisha government over the award of fiscal incentives to its oil refinery project at Paradip, the Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has asked for an additional 2,700 acres. The oil marketing company said it needed the land for expanding its petrochemical complex, where new units are supposed to come up. IOC is also looking to upgrade the refinery to make it compliant with BS-VI emission norms. The state government had handed over 3,344 acres of land for the 15 million tonnes (mt) Paradip refinery. The land was acquired after the super-cyclone struck Odisha’s coast in 1999, in which the Paradip region was worst-affected. Land was made available to IOC at a concessional rate, and a value added tax (VAT) deferment was allowed to make the refinery project commercially available.  IOC has invested Rs 35,000 crore on the refinery. The refinery cum petrochemical complex together with the pipeline projects make IOC the biggest investor in Odisha.

Source: Business Standard

RIL eyes 10 percent market share in fuel retail

May 28, 2017. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is targeting doubling its market share in fuel retail in the next two-three years as it expands the business. RIL currently has a 5% share of India’s fuel retail market. RIL, which had a 12% market share in fuel retailing in 2005, saw its share slip to less than 0.5% in 2014, by when it had shut most of its fuel retail outlets due to spiralling crude oil prices. Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL), managed to sell fuel below production cost thanks to government subsidies, which were not available to private sector fuel retailers. But after the government deregulated petrol and diesel prices in June 2010 and October 2014, respectively, RIL began reopening its retail outlets in phases, gradually taking its market share to 5%. RIL, Essar Oil and Shell India together have a share of less than 8% of the fuel retail market, analysts said. RIL spent Rs 5,000 crore in setting up 1,470 retail outlets between 2004 an 2006, of which 1,221 are operational. The company plans to reopen the rest of the outlets by the end of the year. RIL holds licences for 5,000 fuel retail outlets.

Source: Livemint

Indian Oil Minister meets Mauritius PM, seeks hydrocarbon cooperation

May 27, 2017. Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan met Mauritius Prime Minister (PM) Pravind Kumar Jugnauth who is on a two day-visit to India and discussed bilateral cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector. This is the first visit of Jagnauth to India following his assuming the office as PM in January 2017. During his meeting, Pradhan discussed the ongoing engagement with Mauritius in the hydrocarbon sector. Since 2006, Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), India’s PSU refinery, has been supplying petroleum products to Mauritius. The oil ministry said both the countries are presently working towards further deepening the engagement in the oil and gas sector. The two sides also discussed the bunkering and oil jetty projects that are being jointly taken up by MRPL, Indian Oil Corp (IOC) along with State Trading Corp of Mauritius (STCM). The ministers discussed cooperation in the natural gas sector in Mauritius. Mauritius, under its ‘Vision 2030’, wants to develop itself as a regional hydrocarbons trading hub. During the meeting, Pradhan conveyed India’s support to Mauritius in meeting its energy requirement and also expressed India’s commitment in Mauritius becoming a regional petroleum hub through oil and gas sector infrastructure development.

Source: The Economic Times


H-Energy to invest over Rs 45 bn in the natural gas segment in 5 yrs

May 29, 2017. H-Energy, the Mumbai-based oil and gas arm of Hiranandani Group plans to invest more than Rs 4,500 crore in the natural gas sector in five years to develop liquid natural gas (LNG) re-gasification units on the west and east coast of India along with pipeline infrastructure. H-Energy is at an advanced stage of setting up an LNG re-gasification unit at Jaigarh port in Maharashtra. As part of its phase-1 plan, the company in 2017 signed an agreement with France-based energ company Engie to charter a Floating Storage and Re-gasification Unit (FSRU). H-Energy said that after phase- 1 of the project stabilises, the company will be setting-up a land based re-gasification plant with an annual capacity of 8 million tonne per annum. Also, the company has already started work on Jaigarh to Dhabhol tie-in pipeline which will carry natural gas to the gas grid of GAIL (India) Ltd at Dhabhol. H-Energy said that GST (Goods and Services Tax) is a step in the right direction and will boost investments in the sector. H-Energy said that at a time when the country is focussing on shifting to a gas based economy, the government should make natural gas a part of GST. The company has also approached Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), for laying a 700 km pipeline to connect the East coast FSRU to major demand centres in West Bengal.

Source: The Economic Times

Fidelity, Aberdeen drawn to gas retailers as India Cleans Up

May 29, 2017. Fidelity Investments and Morgan Stanley Investment Management have increased exposure to Indian city-gas retailers, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on clean fuels burnishes the outlook for the industry. The demand from investors has been so strong that Indraprastha Gas Ltd, which supplies to homes and vehicles in New Delhi, raised the cap on foreign ownership to 30 percent from 24 percent, and may increase it again to almost half. India’s largest city gas distributor Gujarat Gas Ltd., where Aberdeen Asset Management Plc. is the biggest non-state investor, and Mahanagar Gas Ltd. have also seen an increase in offshore holdings. India’s gas demand is about a fifth of China’s due to weak domestic supply and poor infrastructure, though the government is trying to change this. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said last year the nation will lay 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles) of gas pipelines over five years. Modi, who championed natural gas as the Chief Minister of Gujarat state, has stepped up measures to improve air quality in cities by giving priority to distributors such as Indraprastha Gas for accessing cheaper local gas. Offshore holdings in Indraprastha Gas climbed to nearly 25 percent as of March 31, from about 21 percent a year ago, according to data. Aberdeen Asset Management held about 4.6 percent of outstanding shares in Gujarat Gas as of end-April. Foreign holdings in the company have climbed about 3 percentage points to 15.4 percent in the past year. Mahanagar Gas — which sells the fuel in the financial capital Mumbai and its suburbs — has seen stock in the hands of foreign investors increase nearly six times since listing last year. India’s government wants more urban households to use natural gas and free up liquefied petroleum gas for rural users.

Source: Bloomberg

Natural gas no longer profitable business: ONGC

May 28, 2017. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has said that producing natural gas is no longer a profitable business for the company as the government-mandated gas price is significantly below the cost of production. The oil major has sought a review of pricing formula from the government. ONGC wants a floor or minimum price of natural gas be fixed at $4.2 per million British thermal units (Btu) for the business to be viable. ONGC Chairman and Managing Director D K Sarraf stressed that, with the current price, it does not make economic or commercial sense for any company to invest in new fields or in augmenting production from existing ones. Sarraf is against any fresh investment if the price remains below the cost of production. In October 2014, the government had adopted a new pricing formula using rates prevalent in gas surplus nations like the United States and Canada to determine rates in a net importing country. Prices have halved to $2.48 per million Btu since the formula was implemented. India imports half its natural gas needs and  the government is keen to cut import bill by raising indigenous production and ‘Make in India’. Sarraf said that the price paid to domestic producers is less than half of the rate paid for import of gas. ONGC produces 80 percent of the 70 million standard cubic meters per day which makes it the biggest gas producer in India. He said using this formula the company lost Rs 5,010 crore in revenue on natural gas business, and about Rs 3,000 crore in profit in just last one year.

Source: The New Indian Express


New coal allocation policy will benefit private IPPs having combined capacity of 28 GW: ICRA

May 29, 2017. The implementation of the new coal allocation policy “SHAKTI” or the ‘scheme for harnessing and allocating koyla (coal) transparently in India’ is a positive development for domestic thermal power generators with a combined capacity of around 28 GW in the private IPP (independent power producers) segment, ratings agency ICRA has said. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a new coal allocation policy to the power sector to enable signing of fuel supply agreements (FSAs) with existing holders of letter of assurance (LoA) from Coal India Ltd (CIL) and to introduce a transparent bidding-based mechanism to allocate fresh coal linkages.

Source: The Times of India

‘No dearth of coal at Rajmahal mine for supply to NTPC plants’

May 26, 2017. The coal ministry said Coal India Ltd (CIL) is fully geared up to supply fuel to NTPC’s Kahalgaon and Farakka Plants throughout the year as the issue of shifting Bhadotola village is being solved in stages with the help of Jharkhand government. At present, 25,000-30,000 tonnes daily production will continue till next-month end. Further, more than 20 million tonnes (mt) additional coal will be made available from Bhadotola which will help Rajmahal OCP to produce 17 mt during the current fiscal with continued law and order support from the Jharkhand government in shifting Bhadotola village. Rajmahal Opencast Project of Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL), a subsidiary of CIL, has set a target of 17 mt coal production during 2017-18 at its optimum capacity. Rajmahal OCP produced 14.43 mt of coal during 2016-17.

Source: The Financial Express

Adani coal royalties back on Australia state cabinet agenda

May 26, 2017. A final investment decision by India’s Adani Enterprises to develop its Carmichael coal mine project in Australia could be back on track as early, pending sign-off of a government royalty arrangement. Queensland state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, a proponent of the project, said that how much Adani will pay in royalties will be discussed at a cabinet meeting of the centre-left government. Adani said its board had deferred a final investment decision that had been expected by the end of May because the government had yet to sign off on a royalty regime. The $4 billion project is located in the remote Galilee Basin, a 247,000 square kilometer (95,000 square mile) expanse that some believe has the potential to become Australia’s largest coal-producing region. Adani has battled green groups who want to block what would be Australia’s biggest coal mine, arguing that it will stoke global warming, while the Indian company says the project would pay billions of dollars in royalties and taxes and create jobs.

Source: Reuters


India Power Corp to lift generation capacity

May 30, 2017. India Power Corp is focusing on increasing its generation capacity through the acquisition route as it believes that there will be a demand rebound in the next one and a half years. After the acquisition of 89 percent controlling stake in the 1,000 MW Meenakshi Energy power plant in Nellore in Andhra Pradesh, the company has acquired a 36 MW solar power plant from Punj Lloyd in Uttarakhand where it is investing Rs 225 crore. Currently, India Power Corp’s generation capacity stands at 1,650 MW, of which around 450 MW has been commissioned while it has short-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for 200 MW. India Power Corp Chairman Hemant Kanoria, who has targeted a 2,000 MW capacity in the near term, had indicated that the company’s growth in power generation would be through the acquisition route and he will be eyeing stressed plants owned by private companies. While the company, optimist about the power demand rebound, is focusing on expanding the generation portfolio, it is also keen to expand its distribution network as well from the current licences in Gaya in Bihar and Asansol in West Bengal. Currently, the distribution business accounts for 50 percent of the company’s turnover. However, its share is likely to fall to 25 percent in the near term as the company will renew its focus on the generation business.

Source: Business Standard

Barring 6 states and Chandigarh, India to turn power surplus this fiscal

May 30, 2017. Most parts of the country will have surplus power availability in the current financial year thanks to higher electricity generation, the Central Electricity Authority said. The apex power sector planning body said in a report that in 2017-18, there will be anticipated energy surplus of 8.8 percent and peak-hour surplus of 6.8 percent. While the eastern region will be able to meet its demand almost in full, other four regions will have surplus power varying from 3 percent to 13 percent, the report said. Barring six states and a union territory, all other parts of the country will be power surplus on average during the year, as per the data based on gap between electricity requirement stated by states and electricity availability. The report said that overall the country recorded the lowest ever demand-supply gap of 0.7 percent in 2016-17, both in terms of energy and peaking. The load generation balance report for 2016-17 had, however, predicted a national average power surplus of 1.1 percent in that year. In peak hours, power surplus is likely to prevail in all the regions — 6.7 percent in northern, 17.2 percent in western, 1 percent in southern, 10 percent in eastern and 5 percent in north-eastern region.

Source: The Economic Times

Now, cables under ground to power Maharashtra city

May 29, 2017. The recent pre-monsoon showers exposed the shaky condition of the overhead power cables, which snapped at ease and left many city areas in dark for hours in the rain. Soon, city consumers will not have to suffer from power cuts due to damage poles and electricity wires. The city has received Rs 22.66 crore for building an underground power network under the Integrated Power Distribution Scheme (IPDS) of the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL). MSEDCL said the present elevated power supplying network is vulnerable to nature’s wrath.  MSEDCL said that the underground power cables are much safer than the overhead power supply network and has longer life.

Source: The Economic Times

Adani Power posts Rs 49.5 bn loss in fourth quarter 2016-17

May 28, 2017. Adani Power Ltd posted a loss of Rs 4,952 crore for the quarter ended March 2017 as the company wrote off receivables pertaining to compensatory tariff for the Mundra plant following the Supreme Court’s judgment disallowing compensatory tariff to Adani Power, which had clocked a net profit of Rs 1,061 crore in the fourth quarter of the previous fiscal. For the full financial year, the company’s loss after other comprehensive income stood at Rs 6,170 crore for FY17 as against Rs 582 crore net profit in FY16. The company’s total income and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) reduced due to non-recognition of CT for Mundra plant.

Source: The Economic Times

Delhi government waives power bills of 1984 riot victims

May 26, 2017. In a relief to 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims, the Delhi government has decided to waive their electricity arrears and bring them under the government’s existing 50% electricity subsidy scheme. The decision, which was approved by the Cabinet, will benefit 2,274 families living in various resettlement colonies and will cost Rs 13-14 crore to the exchequer. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that they have been getting several representations from people. He  said that most beneficiaries of this decision live in resettlement colonies in Tilak Vihar (Block A to G), Jahangirpuri, Sangam Park, Garhi, Raghubir Nagar, Madipur, Kabul Nagar Shahdara, Kalkaji, Sarai Kale Khan, Inderlok and Ranjeet Nagar. The notification will be issued soon. The government will also work out the modalities with distribution companies (discoms) so that these people can avail the benefit of 50% subsidy on up to 400 units.

Source: The Times of India

India’s plans to ban China’s power firms will backfire

May 25, 2017. India’s plans to ban Chinese power firms due to concerns over cyber-attacks could backfire on India even though the move would cause losses to companies from China, a report in a Chinese state-run daily said. For a long time, Indian power companies have been calling for a complete ban on Chinese companies in the domestic power sector, it said. At present, Chinese companies are the major suppliers of power generation equipment in India, accounting for about 40 percent of the traditional power equipment market, it said.

Source: NDTV

Overall power shortage down to 0.7 percent in 2016-17: Government

May 25, 2017. The government said that the energy shortage has came down to 0.7 percent in 2016-17. Energy Shortage reduced from 4.2 percent in 2013-14 to 0.7 percent in 2016-17, the power ministry said. The energy shortage in 2014 was 42,428 million units (4.2 percent), which came down to 7,595 million units in FY’17 (0.7 percent), the ministry said. The ministry said that India has turned around from a net importer of electricity to net exporter by exporting around 6,444 million units to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar in 2016-17. The total power capacity increased by nearly a third from 243 GW in March 2014 to 320 GW in March 2017. Total installed capacity increased by 33.3 percent to 3,26,849 MW till 2016-17, the ministry said. A total of 26 states and one union territory has joined UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana) which seeks to turn around distribution companies (discoms).

Source: The Economic Times


Mumbai Port Trust plans solar unit, save on power costs

May 30, 2017. The city will start saving about 2 MW conventional coal power and nearly 3 million litres per day drinking water within next two years. Thanks to Mumbai Port Trust that will save on buying conventional power worth Rs 4 crore by adopting energy efficient gadgets and setting up its own solar power plant by the end of next year. This will help city save about 1200 kg carbon emissions per hour. Similarly within the same time frame, Mumbai Port Trust will also offer its 3 million litres per day treated sewage water for industrial purpose to save on drinking water presently being used by industries. Efforts to enhance the capability in handling of oil spillage up to 1,500 tonnes has also been undertaken to save marine life along Mumbai coast. .

Source: The Times of India

IDFC Alternatives eyes deals in stressed thermal power sector

May 30, 2017. IDFC Alternatives is looking to buy troubled thermal power plants as part of its strategy to aggregate small and medium-sized assets and sell them later to larger funds. The next 5 to 10 years will be great for power plants that are commissioned but are not able to sell power commensurate with their installed capacities.

Source: Livemint

GST impact on thermal power sector to be marginally positive: ICRA

May 30, 2017. Reduction in tax rate on domestic coal will provide a relief in the cost of power generation even after accounting for an increase in capital cost due to higher tax rates in boiler, turbine, generator segment, research and ratings agency ICRA said. The GST (Goods and Services Tax) Council placed domestic coal under the 5 percent tax slab under the GST while imported coal will continue to attract basic customs duty (BCD). Given that the tax slab for coal varied from 11 to 12 percent, it will lead to a positive impact for domestic coal users and a negative for imported coal users, according to ICRA. On the other hand, for the wind energy sector, the impact of GST is marginally negative due to increase in capital cost — higher tax rates in wind turbine generator—as the wind energy sector has been availing various concessional rates and tax exemptions, ICRA said. According to ICRA, there will be a marginally negative impact on Boiler, turbine and generator equipment for thermal power projects for which GST would be applicable at the rate of 18 percent.

Source: The Economic Times

‘Only 5 percent GST for solar panel’

May 30, 2017. GST (Goods and Service Tax) Council Secretary Hasmukh Adhia allayed concerns of solar panel makers and clarified that solar panel equipment will attract the lowest tax rate of 5 percent under the GST regime, as against the initially proposed 18 percent. Solar water heater and system, renewable energy devices and spare parts for their manufacture, bio-gas plant, solar power-based devices, solar power generating system and windmills and wind-operated electricity generator will attract a 5 percent tax rate. However the industry was concerned with 18 percent GST on equipment for solar panel manufacturing. The clarification is important, since power ministry is targeting 175 GW of renewable  energy generation by 2022. Out of this, 100 GW would be from solar power, that would require an investment of about Rs 6 lakh crore. The Council had fitted over 1,200 goods and 500 services in four tax brackets.

Source: The New Indian Express

Gurudongmar glacier in Sikkim recedes one-fourth

May 30, 2017. The Gurudongmar glacier in Sikkim — the source of one of iconic lakes in the world by same name — has receded one-fourth since 1989, a new study has found, implying down-stream impact on hydro-power projects and livelihood of people in Bengal and Bangladesh. The Gurudongmar lake, named after founder of Tibetan Buddhism in the 8th century Guru Rinpoche, is the main source for Teesta river that flows from Himalayas in Sikkim to Bangladesh. The sharing of Teesta river water is a contentious issue between India and Bangladesh with Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee refusing to provide even “single drop of extra water” to the neighbouring country where it is main source of irrigation. The river has major hydel potential for Sikkim with projects over 5,000 MW either proposed or under construction. A new study published in American Geophysical Union said the Gurudongmar glacier retreat has increased by nearly four times between 1965 and 1989. The study found that terminus of the glacier has retreated by about 600 meters (one-fourth of the total length) since 1987 and the lake has moved upwards. Gurudongmar like all glaciers in the region is different from other winter accumulating Himalayan snow-sheets. It is summer accumulation type which receives 80% of its snowfall during monsoon months between July and September. The study also said between 2003 and 2012 the glacier lakes in higher reaches of Sikkim has increased with 85 new one detected in addition to existing 320. Increase in lakes indicates faster melting and fragmentation of glaciers, a sign of climate change impact on the Indian sub-conditions biggest water source.

Source: Hindustan Times

Bihar announces mega renewable power policy

May 29, 2017. The Bihar government has come up with a new renewable power policy for the state where it looks to set up over 3,400 MW projects based on non-fossil fuel-based resources in the next five years. The policy is likely to spur investments to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore in energy projects, according to Centre for Energy and Environment Development (CEED), a non-profit organization active in Bihar’s energy space. The state’s Cabinet cleared the policy called ‘Bihar Policy for Promotion of New and Renewable Sources, 2017’ and is likely to notify the same soon. Under the policy, the state government is mulling setting up 2,984 MW capacity based on solar energy, 282 MW on biogas and 200 MW small hydropower plants. Of the total solar capacity, the state plans to set up 1,000 MW rooftop solar projects and 1,00 MW as mini grid projects. Composed of solar modules, a battery bank, and an inverter, a mini-grid system can offer solar power as the primary power source and later switch to alternative power sources when solar power is insufficient for meeting demand. The renewable energy capacity addition of Bihar is in line with central government’s plan to have capacity of 175 GW built on alternative sources of energy by 2022.

Source: The Economic Times

Himachal Pradesh government to fund electric fencing to protect crops

May 29, 2017. The Himachal Pradesh government has launched the Mukhyamantri Khet Sarankshan Yojna to protect crops from the menace created by monkeys and wild animals. Under the scheme, 80 % subsidy will be provided for solar power or electric fencing. The agriculture department said that fencing would be functional with solar power and electricity and a budgetary provision of Rs 30 crore has been allotted by the state government in the current financial year. The Himachal Pradesh Forest Department has submitted a Rs 200 crore- proposal to the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change for facing agricultural losses due to an increase in the population of wild animals on December 19 last year to the government of India.

Source: The Economic Times

Tata Power Solar revenue doubles to Rs 22.6 bn

May 29, 2017. Tata Power Solar, formerly known as Tata BP Solar and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Power, has more than doubled its revenue to Rs 2,262 crore in two years, the company said. Tata Power Solar manufactures solar cells and modules and provides engineering, procurement and construction services to solar projects’ owners and developers. Tata Power Solar had completed the expansion of capacity of its cell and module manufacturing facility in Bengaluru. The two-stage expansion doubled the company’s module capacity from 200 MW to 400 MW, the company said, while the company’s cell manufacturing capacity had been increased by 65 percent from 180 MW to 300 MW. Tata Power Solar has completed more than 330 MW of ground-mount utility scale and 140 MW of rooftop and distributed generation projects across the country till date. Tata Power had earlier announced that its renewable business had surpassed the 2,000 MW operating capacity mark with another 500 MW being under construction. The company added 1,350 MW of renewable capacity during the year. Tata Power’s non-fossil fuel-based green generation portfolio currently stands at 3,141 MW. During last financial year, another arm of Tata Power, Tata Power Renewable Energy, had acquired Welspun Energy’s 1,14 GW renewable portfolio by purchasing 100 percent share in Welspun Renewable Energy Pvt Ltd and its subsidiaries for an estimated amount of Rs 10,000 crore.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Kerala a totally electrified state: CM

May 29, 2017. Kerala Chief Minister (CM) Pinarayi Vijayan said that the state should stop dependence on hydroelectric power. While declaring Kerala a totally electrified state, the CM called upon people to find a permanent solution for the power shortage in the state and tap the renewable resources. He said it is high time we concentrated on realistic projects to improve power production, forgetting controversies about solar energy. He also stressed the need for far-sighted plans, including the utilisation of rooftop solar panels for energy generation. Even offices and other buildings working 9 to 5 should depend on solar power, he said.

Source: The Times of India

SECI plans to launch overseas arm to aid solar power production

May 27, 2017. Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI) is mulling international foray along with International Solar Alliance (ISA). The renewable energy ministry’s arm may launch an overseas arm by the name SECI Videsh similar to Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) Videsh Ltd in the petroleum sector. The National Democratic Alliance government’s key renewable energy initiative — International Solar Alliance (ISA) — received a major boost from African countries — Djibouti, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia and Ghana — with the signing of the ISA framework agreement at the African Development Bank meeting in Gandhinagar. Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines Minister Piyush Goyal had said the finance ministry has earmarked $2 billion of the total $10 billion aid that has been granted to Africa to enhance India-Africa cooperation. According to ISA, both Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd and SECI have committed $1 million each for financing of the alliance’ activities. The ISA is also planning to set up a $300 billion Global Solar Fund over ten years with contributions from the World Bank, Official Development Assistance and Green Climate Fund to leverage investment from the corporate sector.

Source: The Economic Times

India to witness 90 percent growth in solar capacity in 2017: CII

May 27, 2017. Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has said the country is likely to witness 90 percent jump in green energy generation capacity by the end of the current calendar year. Ratul Puri, Chairman of CII Northern Region Committee on Power said that India has been systematically progressing towards achieving the 175 GW renewable target with solar contributing to most of the incremental capacity. He said that India presents a case study for other members of the International Solar Alliance on making solar power affordable. He said that many states are successfully executing their customized solar programmes.

Source: The Economic Times

India to set up plants to cut down emissions from 122 GW coal-fired power projects

May 26, 2017. The government is planning to cut down harmful emissions at coal-fired power projects by setting up de-sulphurizing plants at their locations across the country. Divided across four regions – north, east, west and south — the ‘Flue-gas Desulphurization’ (FDG) plants will be set up by 2023 at both state-owned and private projects of 122 GW capacity, according to Central Electricity Authority (CEA). In the northern region, four states have been identified with a total coal power plant capacity of 27,405 MW including Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana. Similarly, for western region, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have been identified to install the FDG plants. The cumulative capacity that will get the de-sulpharization technology is 58,357 MW. For eastern region, the authority has listed Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal to cut down emission from power plants of total 16,670 MW capacity. Four states have also been short-listed in the southern region with a total coal-fired capacity of 20,240 MW including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. In India, coal accounts for about 60 percent of the total installed power generation capacity. Following pledges in the COP21 summit, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has come out with stringent policies to cut down nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide emissions.

Source: The Economic Times

Ajmer division of NWR inks pact for solar panels

May 26, 2017. By signing power purchase agreement (PPA) with distributing solar company for 550 kwp capacities of solar plants, Ajmer division of North Western Railways (NWR) has taken another big leap in solar power connectivity and self-reliance energy. This will help to connect DRM office, Ajmer railway station, zonal training institute in Udaipur and Udaipur railway station with solar power. Agreement for this project, under central finance assistance programme of ministry of new and renewable energy, was signed by senior divisional electrical engineer and representative from the company in presence of DRM Puneet Chawla. Chawla said solar panels will be installed on rooftops of railway buildings. In the agreement, it has been stated that complete solar generated power will be purchased by the division at flat tariff rate of Rs 5.50 per unit from the firm which has targeted to install solar plants with capacity of 2 MW by December this year. Total installed capacity of solar power plants will be 2.3 MW that will generate about 51.5 lakh units per year costing about Rs 36 crore. A total of 17 railway stations including Udaipur and Abu Road will be provided with solar plants this year.

Source: The Times of India

New chemical can cut vehicle emission to zero: Inventors

May 26, 2017. A group of five people has claimed to have invented a chemical that can substantially reduce pollution caused by gases emitted by vehicles plying on roads. If successful, the invention could address the concerns of World Health Organisation (WHO) which said over 14 lakh existing vehicles with 300 hitting the streets daily in India were the main cause of air pollution. The team which worked on the project includes Ahad Sheikh, Saleem Haque, Mohd Saleem Jiva, Mohd Jalil Qureshi and Shakil Peerjade. They said the oil becomes hard and black (as the colour of chemical is greenish white) after a vehicle runs for 10,000 km and therefore will have to be replaced. The thick and black oil can be used as grease. For four-wheelers, the cost will be between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000. The charge will be around Rs 400 for two-wheelers. Haque said that 75% of carbon monoxide emissions come from automobiles. In BS-IV vehicles, only sulphur gas is reduced, but the new formulation will bring it to zero. Haque claimed the team has so far tested BS-III and BS-IV vehicles and six-wheelers, and the emission level has come down to zero.

Source: The Times of India

BHEL commissions 270 MW thermal unit in Maharashtra

May 25, 2017. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) said it has commissioned a 270 MW thermal unit at Sinnar in Nashik district of Maharashtra. The newly commissioned unit is part of RattanIndia Nasik Power Ltd’s 5×270 MW thermal power project. BHEL said so far it has successfully commissioned 14 sets of 270 MW rating in the country, including nine sets for the RattanIndia group.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

CIL wins tax-cut boost as environmentalists fret

May 25, 2017. Coal India Ltd (CIL), saddled with millions of tonnes of unsold coal, is expected to be the biggest beneficiary of a controversial government decision to more than halve the local sales tax on the fuel after a jump in local supplies. The world’s third-largest greenhouse gas emitting country said it would lower the duty on domestic coal from July 1 and impose a new 18 percent tax on solar cells and modules as part of a broader tax overhaul. The duty revamp under the national India’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) could also hurt the young and booming solar power industry, which relies heavily on cells and modules imported from China. Output by CIL, the world’s largest coal miner that mainly produces low-grade coal for power companies, has expanded rapidly as the government speeds up environmental and other approvals as part of its efforts to provide electricity across the country. However, highly indebted power companies struggled to match the same growth rates. The government recently reined in coal output, cutting CIL’s production target by about a tenth to 600 million tonnes for this fiscal year. The government has facilitated capital subsidies and cheap loans for clean energy to help meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of raising renewable energy capacity by more than five times in the next five years to fight climate change. Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines Minister Piyush Goyal said after the tax announcement the government will stick to its clean energy goals, but environmental groups said India’s progress on solar would be jeopardised.

Source: Reuters

India, China’s climate change efforts make US look laggard

May 24, 2017. India and China are showing the way forward in the battle against climate change by greatly increasing their investments in renewable energy sources that is making President Donald Trump’s America look like a “laggard”, a leading US (United States) daily has commented. The editorial titled ‘China and India Make Big Strides on Climate Change’ cited research released at a United Nations climate meeting in Germany that said China and India should easily exceed the targets they set for themselves in the 2015 Paris Agreement signed by more than 190 countries. China’s emissions of carbon dioxide appear to have peaked more than 10 years sooner than its government had said they would and India is now expected to obtain 40 percent of its electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2022, eight years ahead of schedule, it noted. Trump’s excuse is that these rules would cost jobs and damage the economy but China and India are finding that doing right by the planet need not carry a big economic cost and can actually be beneficial.

Source: The Economic Times

Govt okays raising of Rs 23.6 bn through bonds to fund renewable energy programs

May 24, 2017. The government approved raising of Rs 2,360 crore through bonds for renewable energy projects in the current fiscal. The bonds will be raised by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) through the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency during the 2017-18. The MNRE subsequently approached the Cabinet to approve raising of the balance Rs 2,360 crore

Source: The New Indian Express

India’s energy shift from fossils gaining pace

May 24, 2017. India’s decision to cancel nearly 14 GW of coal-fired power stations coupled with a record low solar tariff are the strongest indications that the country’s energy transformation is gaining rapid momentum, the Cleveland-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said. IEEFA said 13.7 GW of planned coal power projects in India have been cancelled. Indian solar power tariff hit a new low of Rs 2.62 per unit — 12 percent below the previous record just three months ago. A few days later, it plunged to a low of Rs 2.44 per unit. Experts said India’s rapid shift towards low-carbon economy is a step towards the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement that aims to cut greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels.

Source: Business Standard


South Korea’s SK Innovation sees oil prices staying low, eyes US crude

May 30, 2017. South Korea’s SK Innovation, which owns South Korea’s top refiner SK Energy, said it expects US (United States) shale output to keep oil prices low, and is looking for opportunities to bring in US crude oil. Competition between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which is curbing output, and US oil producers is likely to weigh on prices, SK innovation said. Dubai crude is currently trading around $51.37 a barrel and has held below $60 a barrel since mid-2015. OPEC and some non-OPEC producers agreed to extend oil production cuts for a further nine more months to clear a global oil supply glut. SK Energy had so far felt little impact on its crude supplies as it has maintained a good relationship with Middle Eastern suppliers, SK Trading International said. Refiners in the world’s fifth biggest oil importer, including SK Energy, import more than 80 percent of their oil from the Middle East. South Korean refiners have been looking to bring in more Brent-linked crude in the early third quarter, taking advantage of relatively cheap Brent against Dubai crude. Earlier this year, SK Energy bought 1 million barrels of Russian Urals for the first time in a decade. It last bought US condensate in 2015 when it purchased two 450,000 barrel cargoes

Source: Reuters

Technology dispute interrupts Statoil’s Arctic drilling campaign

May 29, 2017. Statoil has interrupted drilling in the Barents Sea in the Arctic region after a court issued a temporary injunction in a technology dispute with a small Norwegian firm, Statoil said. The Stavanger court has prohibited Statoil from using its Cap-X drilling technology after Norwegian firm NeoDrill said it was based on its patented Conductor Anchor Node technology, which NeoDrill has been developing since 2000. Statoil stepped up exploration efforts this year, focusing on the Barents Sea. According to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate the area could hold two-thirds of all undiscovered resources off the Norwegian coast. Statoil said it was unclear when Statoil could restart drilling at Blaamann, but the firm expected to complete all five wells in the Barents Sea it had planned for this year. Statoil said it planned to use Cap-X technology to drill all five wells in the Barents Sea, including the Korpfjell well in formerly disputed border area with Russia. When presenting the Cap-X technology to the public in April 2016, Statoil said it started its development in 2013 to help to develop resources in the Barents Sea.

Source: Reuters

Saudi cabinet reaffirms cooperation with other major oil producers

May 29, 2017. Saudi Arabia’s cabinet reaffirmed the kingdom’s policy of cooperation with major oil producers to rebalance markets and limit volatility. OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and non-member countries led by Russia decided to extend cuts in oil output by nine months to March 2018 as they try to reduce a global glut of crude after seeing prices halve and revenues drop sharply in the past three years.

Source: Reuters

Iraq may consider hedging crude production

May 29, 2017. Iraq may look at hedging part of its crude oil production, Falah Al-Amri, the head of the OPEC member’s oil marketer SOMO said, as a way to protect government revenue against the risk of oil price volatility. It is not clear what type of hedging might be considered by SOMO. Some organisations, such as Mexican oil monopoly Pemex, seek to ensure oil is sold at a guaranteed fixed price throughout the year, while others, such as Shell and BP, hedge their sales against short term oil price volatility.  Short term hedging helps to smooth price fluctuations between the signing of an oil sales contract and when the oil is delivered and paid for. Al Amri said SOMO aimed to use methods such as auctions and joint ventures to promote Iraq’s oil interests and reduce imports of oil products. SOMO and Russia’s Litasco have set up a joint trading company in Dubai to market crude, joining other Middle Eastern producers that buy and sell oil to boost their incomes. SOMO sold its first cargo of Basra Light crude via an auction on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME), which could become a platform for price discovery. DME is now the marketplace for most Omani crude sold in Asia.

Source: Reuters

Tender for Iran’s Azadegan oilfield has started: Oil Minister

May 29, 2017. The tender for Iran’s Azadegan oilfield has started, the country’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said.  The Azadegan field, in southwest Iran near the border with Iraq, is considered to be the biggest oilfield in the Islamic Republic. It has 37 billion barrels of oil, Petroleum Engineering and Development Company (PEDEC) said.

Source: Reuters

Oil agreement will help to balance market: UAE Energy Minister

May 26, 2017. The extension of a global oil output cut deal will help to bring balance to the oil market and encourage investments in the oil sector, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui said. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some non-OPEC producers agreed to extend a pledge to cut around 1.8 million barrels per day of output until the end of the first quarter of 2018.

Source: Reuters

Kinder commits to pipeline linking oil-sands crude to Asian markets

May 26, 2017. Kinder Morgan Inc. has committed to expanding a pipeline that will allow Canadian crude to be exported to Asia, a controversial C$7.4 billion ($5.5 billion) project that’s set to face revitalized opposition amid political upheaval in the nation’s Pacific Coast province. The project will nearly triple Trans Mountain’s capacity, giving producers from Alberta’s oil sands access to Pacific shipping routes from the coast of British Columbia. Currently, almost all of Canada’s oil is exported to the United States (US). With the expanded line, Canada can export to Asian refineries capable of processing its heavy crude and pay higher margins than those in the US. The expansion will add 590,000 barrels a day of capacity for a total of 890,000. About 80 percent of that is underpinned by long-term shipping commitments of up to 20 years. Construction is set to start in September and complete in December 2019.

Source: Bloomberg

FIU researchers develop new tool to assess oil spills

May 26, 2017. Researchers at Florida International University (FIU) have developed a new tool to assess oil spills. Little is known about the chemical make-up of oil and how it acts when it mixes with seawater or sunlight during a spill. But by combining techniques to create one powerful instrument, a team from FIU’s Center for Aquatic Chemistry and Environment can see how the oil behaves at the molecular level. The new tool could change how oil spills are cleaned up in the future since officials will have more and better information. According to the researchers, officials would be able to predict toxicity of spilled oil, how far it might travel and how long it would likely stay in the environment. By combining techniques, the researchers have developed a new analytical tool that can be used for more than just oil spills.

Source: Energy Business Review

US freight recovery spurs diesel demand

May 26, 2017. US (United States) freight movements have started increasing again, which should help boost consumption of distillate fuel oil in 2017 and 2018. The tonnage of freight moved by road, rail, barge, pipeline and air cargo has been increasing year on year since October, after stagnating for much of 2015/16. Freight movements hit a new record in February, before slipping slightly in March, according to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Most freight is hauled by equipment that uses diesel engines, or jet turbines in the case of air cargo. Freight is therefore the main driver for consumption of fuels refined from the middle of the crude oil barrel, including distillate fuel oil and jet fuel. The US Energy Information Administration forecasts that distillate consumption will increase by 80,000 barrels per day in 2017 and a further 90,000 in 2018.

Source: Reuters

Expects nine-month extension to OPEC-led oil output cuts: Kuwaiti Oil Minister

May 25, 2017. Kuwaiti Oil Minister Essam al-Marzouq said he did not expect OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) oil producers to discuss any deepening of their oil output reduction target at a meeting where extending the length of the deal is on the agenda. Marzouq said that the oil market had already absorbed a rise in shale oil output and that he expected a nine-month extension to the agreement that has seen 22 oil producers target a reduction of 1.8 million barrels per day for the first half of 2017.

Source: Reuters

Not opposed to eventually joining output cuts: Nigeria Oil Minister

May 25, 2017. Nigerian Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said that conceptually Nigeria was not opposed to joining OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) production caps but would have to wait and see if production came back to acceptable levels. OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers are gearing up to extend output cuts, possibly by as long as 12 months, to help clear a global inventory overhang and to support crude prices.

Source: Reuters

Big drop in US oil stocks finally on the way

May 25, 2017. Oil traders and analysts are expecting large volumes of crude to draw from storage tanks across the United States (US) in coming weeks, in what would be the most tangible sign of an inventory overhang reduction that has punished prices over the last two years. A reduction would show the market is finally reversing course after years of stock builds that left a worldwide overhang of half a billion barrels of crude oil and refined products. Supplies have remained stubbornly high for months, disappointing traders who were expecting OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) cuts to help rebalance the market. But traders interviewed said seasonally unusual spring drawdowns in the US, record refining runs, and big exports to Asia and Latin America as signals that sharp declines in crude stocks could be coming. Some traders said that they expect as much as 10 million barrel per week in draws soon, although others forecasted three to four million barrels a week. US crude stocks peaked at 533 million barrels in March, and were at 516 million as of last week, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Source: Reuters

OPEC, non-OPEC extend oil output cut by nine months to fight glut

May 25, 2017. OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and non-members led by Russia decided to extend cuts in oil output by nine months to March 2018 as they battle a global glut of crude after seeing prices halve and revenues drop sharply in the past three years. Oil prices dropped more than 4 percent as the market had been hoping oil producers could reach a last-minute deal to deepen the cuts or extend them further, until mid-2018. OPEC’s cuts have helped to push oil back above $50 a barrel this year, giving a fiscal boost to producers, many of which rely heavily on energy revenues and have had to burn through foreign-currency reserves to plug holes in their budgets. Oil’s earlier price decline, which started in 2014, forced Russia and Saudi Arabia to tighten their belts and led to unrest in some producing countries including Venezuela and Nigeria. The price rise this year has spurred growth in the US shale industry, which is not participating in the output deal, thus slowing the market’s rebalancing with global crude stocks still near record highs. OPEC and non-OPEC agreed to extend cuts by the same 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd). The exact split between OPEC and non-members will likely be different after Equatorial Guinea joined the organization, reducing the number of participating non-OPEC nations to 10. Despite the output cut, OPEC kept exports fairly stable in the first half of 2017 as its members sold oil from stocks. OPEC produces a third of the world’s oil. Its production reduction of 1.2 million bpd was made based on October 2016 output of around 31 million bpd, excluding Nigeria and Libya. OPEC has a self-imposed goal of bringing stocks down from a record high of 3 billion barrels to their five-year average of 2.7 billion.

Source: Reuters

Brazil’s Petrobras sees higher oil exports as pre-salt fields develop

May 24, 2017. Brazilian government-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) expects higher oil exports this year than initial projections, Guilherme França, executive manager of trade and marketing, said. Petrobras expects oil exports to reach 742,000 barrels per day (bpd) by 2021 as the company advances development of its pre-salt oil reserves, which are capable of producing lighter varieties which are demanded internationally, França said. In March, França said that the company’s oil exports would reach 450,000 bpd this year. China is the company’s main client, accounting for 56 percent of Petrobras’s exports in the first quarter.

Source: Reuters

Trump’s proposed US oil reserve sale not an issue for OPEC: Goldman Sachs

May 24, 2017. US (United States) President Donald Trump’s proposal to sell half of the US Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR) will likely have little impact on Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)’s efforts to reduce a global oil glut, Goldman Sachs said. The White House budget, delivered to Congress, aims to start selling SPR oil in fiscal 2018, which begins on October 1. Under the proposal, the sales would generate $500 million in the first year and gradually rise over the following years. Goldman Sachs said such sales would only average around 110,000 barrels per day (bpd) annually through 2027, 66,000 bpd between 2018-2020 and just 25,000 bpd this year. Goldman Sachs said the proposed SPR sales would increase the logistical strains on the US Gulf Coast, which is already struggling with higher shale production. The US SPR, the world’s largest, holds about 688 million barrels of crude oil in heavily guarded underground caverns in Louisiana and Texas. Congress created it in 1975 after the Arab oil embargo caused fears of long-term motor fuel price spikes that would harm the US economy.

Source: Reuters

Shell, ConocoPhillips oil sands share selloff risks flooding market

May 24, 2017. Canadian equity markets risk being swamped with oil sands company shares this year as Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips prepare to offload C$6.8 billion ($5.1 billion) worth of stakes in two domestic producers, just months after acquiring them. The two firms acquired shares in Canadian Natural Resources Ltd and Cenovus Energy as part of deals struck to sell off oil sands assets. The plans to flip the stakes within months of acquiring them is raising fresh doubts about investor confidence in the world’s third-largest crude reserves. Foreign companies have sold $22.5 billion worth of Canadian oil sands assets this year alone, due to depressed global crude prices, high operating costs and limited pipeline access to market.

Source: Reuters

EP Energy, Tesoro form drilling JV in Utah’s Uinta basin

May 24, 2017. United States oil and gas producer EP Energy Corp and refiner Tesoro Corp announced a joint venture (JV) to drill 60 wells in the Uinta basin in Utah. Tesoro will buy all the oil produced from the wells and provide capital for a 50 percent stake in EP Energy’s working interest in the wells, the companies said. The investment does not signal a broad shift by San Antonio, Texas-based Tesoro into exploration and production. The company has expanded its Salt Lake City refinery and needs more crude oil to supply it. The two companies also signed a multi-year crude oil supply agreement for yellow and black waxy crude oil to supply Tesoro’s Salt Lake City refinery. The refinery has the capacity to process 63,000 barrels of oil per day. Tesoro has configured it to run the cheaper waxy crude from Uinta. Oil supplies for the plant have come from Wyoming and Canada via pipelines.

Source: Reuters

Colombia protest cuts Ecopetrol oilfield’s output by 80 percent

May 24, 2017. Crude production at Colombia’s La Cira-Infantas oilfield has fallen more than 80 percent, oil company Ecopetrol said, due to protests by local residents over hiring practices. Output at the site, located in the northeast of the Andean country and jointly operated by Ecopetrol and United States-based Occidental Petroleum Corp, has fallen from 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 7,300 bpd as residents block roads. The government recently passed a decree meant to boost hiring of workers from the municipality surrounding the field, near the city of Barrancabermeja in Santander province. But locals say workers should be from communities in the immediate area of the project. The protests have shut 697 of 965 wells on the site and damage to wells related to the protests caused a crude spill that may affect a water source for Barrancabermeja, a city of 230,000 people. Ecopetrol, the country’s largest crude producer, regularly grapples with social protests and attacks by leftist guerrillas, who frequently bomb pipelines. The company pumped an average of 712,000 bpd in the first quarter.

Source: Reuters


Greece to open up onshore O&G prospects in 2018

May 29, 2017. Greece will begin the process of opening up new onshore oil and gas (O&G) prospects to exploration next year, Yannis Bassias, the Hellenic Hydrocarbons Resources Management said. Among the first will be the Greek region of Grevena, close to where the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) will cross, Bassias said. TAP, which will bring new gas supplies from Azerbaijan to Italy, runs across northern Greek territory. Greece has launched an ambitious program to discover more oil and gas, encouraged by the recent big large gas finds offshore Israel and Cyprus and spurred on by its protracted financial crisis. Bassias said he expected the first new offshore and onshore drillings to begin in two years, provided bureaucratic hurdles were overcome.

Source: Reuters

Fosun, others eye Australia’s Origin Energy gas assets worth $1.5 bn

May 26, 2017. Australia’s top energy retailer Origin has drawn interest from at least five potential bidders, including China’s Fosun International, for A$2.0 billion ($1.5 billion) worth of oil and gas assets it aims to spin off. Origin said in December it was going to put its smaller Australian and New Zealand gas fields in a unit, dubbed Lattice Energy, to be spun off in an initial public offering this year to help it cut debt and boost returns. But after receiving approaches for some of the Lattice assets, Origin Chief Executive Officer Frank Calabria said in March the company was willing to consider a trade sale, in what would be the biggest oil and gas deal in Australia since Apache Corp sold its Australian assets in 2015. Bankers expect private equity firms that have long eyed Australian oil and gas assets to team up with local producers to bid.

Source: Reuters

GE’s Saudi JV to start gas turbine production this year

May 25, 2017. General Electric (GE)’s joint venture (JV) to manufacture gas turbines in Saudi Arabia will start production by the end of the year. GE and Saudi industrial development company Dussur signed an agreement to set up the one billion riyal ($267 million) joint venture in the eastern city of Dammam. Dussur said manufacturing of GE’s H-Class turbines in Saudi Arabia would start before the end of the year with the first turbine to be completed in 2018. It aims to develop industrial sectors in Saudi Arabia as part of the government’s plan to create jobs and diversify the oil-dependent economy.

Source: Reuters


South Korea to suspend eight older coal-fired power plants to tackle pollution

May 29, 2017. South Korea will halt operations at eight of the country’s older coal-fired power plants for a month in June as part of measures to tackle air pollution, the energy ministry said. New President Moon Jae-in announced plans to temporarily shut operations at 10 coal-fired plants that are more than 30 years old and to bring forward their permanent closure to within his presidency which ends in May 2022. The energy ministry said that eight of the 10 older coal-fired plants will be temporarily shut down from June 1 for one month, while the other two will remain operational to ensure stable power supply. From next year, the plants will be regularly shut down for four months over spring, and operations will be permanently suspended by 2022, three years earlier than previously planned. Coal power currently accounts for about 40 percent of South Korea’s total electricity needs. The country operates a total of 59 coal-fired power plants and the 10 older power plants account for 10.6 percent of the installed coal power capacity, or 3.3 GW.

Source: Reuters

Vietnam to approve $7.5 bn worth of coal-fired power plants

May 29, 2017. The Vietnamese Government expects to approve investment licences for three foreign-invested coal-fired power plants, worth a combined $7.5 bn. Investors from Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia are anticipated to secure licences to develop the projects. Japan-based Marubeni and the Korea Electric are planning to invest around $2.79 bn to develop 1,200 MW facility, which is expected to be operational in 2021. Another Japan firm Sumitomo is planning to invest around $2.64 bn to construct 1,320 MW coal-fired power plant, which would be operational in 2022. Vietnam is expected to have more than 64 coal-fired power plants with an installed capacity of around 56,325 MW by 2030.

Source: Energy Business Review

China’s Shanxi vows to suspend or slow construction of 120 mt of coal capacity

May 28, 2017. Authorities in Shanxi, one of China’s biggest coal-producing regions, have vowed to suspend or slow the construction of 120 million tonnes (mt) of coal production capacity from 2016 to 2020. The northern province will also suspend the construction of more coal mines over the period to further reduce capacity. As of the end of 2015, Shanxi had or was constructing 1,078 coal mines with a total production capacity of 1.46 billion tonnes per year. Beijing has vowed to lower coal production over the next few years to reduce an annual capacity surplus amounting to more than 2 billion tonnes. Shanxi, with a quarter of China’s known coal reserves, aims to limit the number of its mines to 900 by 2020, with an average capacity of 1.8 million tonnes annually. The province said it will shut 18 collieries and cut 17 million tonnes of coal capacity this year. China’s government has said it aims to close 800 million tonnes of outdated coal capacity by 2020.

Source: Reuters

Early heat wave arrests slide in China’s coal prices

May 26, 2017. Forecasts for an unseasonable heat wave in many parts of China before the peak summer season have halted a decline in coal prices as utilities look to produce more power to meet demand for air-conditioning. Many of China’s major cities in north, central and southern regions are set for a warmer than usual June, forecasts from China’s Meteorological Administration show, with Beijing set to hit 35.6 degrees Celsius (96°F). Demand for thermal coal, which accounts for about two-thirds of China’s total power generation, has also been boosted by dry weather that has reduced power output from hydro plants. Thermal coal usage normally peaks in winter for heating, then falls away until demand picks up during the hottest months of July and August, but warmer weather has already pushed up demand for air-conditioning in recent weeks. The most-active thermal coal futures contract hit a record 566 yuan a ton in early April but slipped about 11 percent over five weeks until higher temperatures in Beijing re-ignited power demand and propped up prices. High domestic coal stocks had helped spur the bearish sentiment, with some traders forecasting that prices could retreat to the 420 yuan to 450 yuan a ton area where prices started the year. But with Beijing set for a lengthy hot spell, and Shanghai, Hangzhou, Wuhan and Changsha also set to have a hotter-than-usual June, traders are starting to revise their views. Coal-fired power stations had built an average 30 days of coal stocks by late May, Zhang Xioajin, a Hefei-based analyst with Everbright Futures said.

Source: Reuters


Government working on several power generation projects: Pakistan’s Minister for Commerce Engineer

May 30, 2017. Pakistan’s Minister for Commerce Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan said the government is working on several power generation projects, which would be operational soon. He said the Sahiwal coal plant, Port Qasim and other projects would bring improvement in the energy sector. He said demand for electricity has been increasing due to hot weather and despite that there is no load shedding in the industrial sector. He said several power projects, including those under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor were delayed due to sit-ins and protest demonstrations held by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf.

Source: Radio Pakistan

ADB provides $616 mn loan to improve power systems in Bangladesh

May 29, 2017. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide a $616 million loan to Bangladesh to help the south Asian nation meet its goal of providing 100 percent access to electricity to its citizens by 2021. The project includes rehabilitation and expansion of over 50,000 km of rural distribution network across the country, construction of a 174-km 400 kV transmission link between southern Bangladesh and Dhaka, and installation of automated control systems for the distribution network in the capital. The total cost of the project, an agreement for which was signed by the ADB and the Bangladesh government on Monday, is nearly $1.1 billion. ADB is providing a market-based loan of $600 million and a concessional loan of $16 million, while the government will contribute $441 million

Source: Reuters

Pakistan’s Karachi hit by major power outage

May 28, 2017. The financial capital of the country endured a massive electricity breakdown before dawn, irking millions of the residents who would be observing their first fast during Ramadan. The predawn ordeal began when a major transmission line between the city and the national grid tripped and engulfed more than half of the city in darkness. Besides Karachi, other districts of the Sindh province, were also affected by the electricity outage. The people critising the private sector K Electric firm said it had promised an uninterrupted power supply to the city at least during Sehar and Iftar times, but had failed to keep its vow on the first day of Ramadan. K Eletric said the restoration of electricity work had already begun and the situation would be normalised as Karachi would start receiving the electricity from the National Transmission and Distribution system through its 500 kV transmission line. In a message to its clients, the management expressed regret about the inconvenience caused by the electricity failure.

Source: Zawya

Qatar’s power generation capacity to surge by 50 percent

May 24, 2017. Qatar’s power generation capacity is projected to increase by 50 percent in the next two years. Plans are in place to increase the country’s power capacity to 13.1GW by 2018.  Qatar needs $9 bn investment in its power sector from 2016 to 2020. Qatar’s current capacity is 8.8 GW and demand is around 8.2 GW. Located between Al Wakrah and Mesaieed, Umm Al Houl will be home to the country’s largest plant and is anticipated to be among the biggest in the Middle East. Along with a second plant at Ras Laffan, it will add 4.5 GW of power in the medium term.

Source: Zawya


New global solar capacity could surpass 2016 record this year

May 30, 2017. New global solar capacity will continue to grow this year, after lower costs drove it to record levels in 2016, and could surpass 80 GW, Europe’s solar industry forecast. Solar photovoltaic module prices have fallen 80 percent since 2009 as capacity has risen and technologies improved. And a record 76.6 GW of new solar capacity was installed and connected to the grid last year, 50 percent up on 2015, solar power association SolarPower Europe said in a report. China connected 34.5 GW of solar to the grid last year, representing nearly half of the world’s new capacity and 128 percent more than in 2015. Although many experts said Chinese solar installations could slow this year, China has already commissioned 7.2 GW in the first quarter, slightly higher than what was installed in the first quarter of last year, the report said. Installed solar photovoltaic capacity increased by a third to 306.5 GW by the end of last year, up from 229.9 GW in 2015. That could increase to 400 GW in 2018, 500 GW in 2019, 600 GW in 2020 and 700 GW in 2021, the report said.

Source: Reuters

US launches probe into imports of photovoltaic cells: WTO

May 30, 2017. The United States (US) has launched an investigation into imports of photovoltaic or solar cells, to determine if they pose a threat to American industry, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said. This decision followed a request by Suniva, an American manufacturer of solar cells, the US said in a document sent to the WTO. Photovoltaic cells are used to convert sunlight into electricity, for example in solar panels. If that is found to be the case then a WTO member may restrict imports of a product “temporarily,” the trade body said in its statement.

Source: The Economic Times

Innergex starts commercial operation of Boulder Creek hydroelectric plant in Canada

May 29, 2017. Innergex Renewable Energy has started has begun commercial operation at the 25.3 MW Boulder Creek run-of-river hydroelectric facility located in British Columbia, Canada. Innergex owns a 66.7% interest in the hydro facility and Ledcor Power Group Ltd owns the remaining 33.3%. Innergex, in addition to owning 66.7% of the common shares of these two hydroelectric facilities, holds 100% of the preferred shares and therefore receives almost all of the cash flows generated by these facilities.

Source: Energy Business Review

Sunny weather helps UK break solar power record

May 29, 2017. Solar energy panels in the United Kingdom (UK) generated a record amount of energy on 26 May 2017 with output increasing to 8.75 GW of power. The capacity met nearly 25% of energy demand in the UK. Earlier record of 8.4 GW on 10 May has been broken as temperatures reached 28 degrees in some parts across Britain. Apart from solar power, around 23% of power has been generated by nuclear sources, while 30% achieved from natural gas and 1.4% from coal. In addition, electricity was also contributed from wind, hydro and biomass sources. The UK Government is focusing on generating more renewable electricity, and is planning to shut down all coal-fired power plants by 2025. As per the Solar Trade Association, the UK currently has around 12.1 GW solar generation capacity, which can supply power to around 3.8 million homes. In 2012, the government announced that four million homes across the country will be powered by the sun within eight year, representing 22 GW of installed solar power capacity by 2020. The 72 MW Shotwick solar farm is said to be the largest solar facility in the country.

Source: Energy Business Review

Alterra Power signs power hedge deal for 200 MW Flat Top wind project

May 29, 2017. Alterra Power, via a project subsidiary, has signed a 13-year power hedge agreement with an affiliate of Citi for its 200 MW Flat Top wind project in Texas, United States. The project is expected to achieve commercial operations in the first half of 2018. The project, located in central Texas, has previously contracted with affiliates of Vestas-American Wind Technology, Inc. for turbine supply and maintenance and Blattner Energy, Inc. for construction services.

Source: Energy Business Review

Canada unveils new methane regulations in O&G sector

May 29, 2017. The government of Canada has presented new draft rules to cut methane emissions for the domestic oil and gas (O&G) sector, as part of a larger climate-change plan that seeks to cut methane emissions by 40% to 45% by 2025, compared to 2012 levels. The new regulations would be introduced as of 2020 and would be fully implemented by 2023. The federal government is proposing rules regarding equipment leaks, venting, pneumatic devices, compressors and well completions. The new rules will cover more than 95% of the methane emissions of the oil and gas industry.

Source: Enerdata

US fossil fuel groups pull out of climate change court case

May 26, 2017. Three fossil fuel industry groups dropped their attempt to intervene in a court case over climate change this week after failing to reach an agreement on a unified legal position on climate science, court filings show. The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), prominent trade groups in the oil and gas industry, along with the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), intervened in a federal case in which a group of teenagers sued the United States (US) government for violating their constitutional rights by causing climate change. A lawyer representing the three groups said in a court hearing that they were unable to agree on the causes and effects of human activity and greenhouse gas emissions on the climate, transcripts of the proceedings show. One issue for the industry groups is that laying out in court the scientific findings they accept on climate change could bind them to specific positions in other legal proceedings. Exxon Mobil, for instance, a member of both API and NAM, is battling with attorneys general in Massachusetts and New York who are investigating the company for fraud based on apparent discrepancies between its public stance on global warming and internal documents on climate science.

Source: Reuters

Kazakhstan to produce nuclear fuel for China

May 26, 2017. Kazakhstan, the world’s biggest uranium producer, will start producing nuclear fuel for Chinese power plants in 2019 through a joint venture (JV) set up by the two countries, the Ulba Metallurgical Plant said. The JV, Ulba-FA, is now building on land at the Ulba plant, Kazakhstan’s main uranium processing factory. By contrast, the JV between Kazakh state nuclear company Kazatomprom and China’s CGNPC aims to produce ready-to-use fuel assemblies. It will procure enriched uranium either in China or in Russia, the Ulba plant’s head of sales Alexander Khodanov said. The first stage of the joint venture will produce about 200 tonnes of nuclear fuel a year using technologies and equipment supplied by France’s Areva. Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic that borders China, has no nuclear power plants of its own.

Source: Reuters

China may limit coverage of carbon market ahead of launch: Researcher

May 25, 2017. China may need to cut the number of sectors to be covered by a long-awaited nationwide carbon trading scheme due to start this year, with the launch facing delays amid unreliable data and other regulatory problems, a government researcher said. China, the world’s biggest emitter of climate-warming greenhouse gas, has already launched seven pilot regional trading schemes, and promised to roll out the nationwide market as part of pledges made ahead of the 2015 Paris climate change agreement. The national emissions trading platform was originally scheduled to begin in the first half of 2017 and would initially force firms in eight industrial sectors to buy permits to cover emissions. The eight sectors were petrochemicals, chemicals, building materials, iron and steel, non-ferrous metals, paper-making, power generation, and aviation. But market designers are struggling to build a fair and reliable statistical system to cover all firms. Data reporting requires a foundation, especially for firms in remote areas whose statistical and monitoring abilities are inadequate to deal with the challenges of the carbon market, He Jiankun, director of the Institute of Low Carbon Economy at Tsinghua University, said. The market launch has also been impeded by an imperfect “support system” enabling third-party verifiers to audit carbon emissions of such a large number of firms, as required by National Development and Reform Commission rules, He said. While China and the European Union have supported the Paris agreement, United States President Donald Trump has been undoing former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, keeping a campaign promise to support the coal industry. China has promised to bring greenhouse gas emissions to a peak by “around 2030” as part of commitments made before Paris.

Source: Reuters

Company climate risk disclosure could become mandatory in a few years

May 24, 2017. Companies’ disclosure of risks to their business from climate change could become mandatory in a few years as investor pressure gathers pace, climate finance experts said. Investors have urged companies, particularly those operating in the oil, gas and coal sectors, to disclose the financial impact of long-term climate change and increase transparency as the world shifts away from fossil fuels. Last year, a global task force set up by the G20’s Financial Stability Board proposed that companies disclose in their public financial findings how they identify and manage risks to their business from climate change. Although the measures are voluntary, there are calls for them to become mandatory. This could happen in a few years and further ahead prudential requirements could be placed on potential stranded assets, John Roome, senior director of climate change at the World Bank said, using a term for assets that no longer provide an economic return because of changes in the market or regulatory environment. Environmental lawyer Alice Garton at ClientEarth said existing laws apply to company disclosure where climate risks are material, or affect the economic decisions of shareholders.

Source: Reuters


India’s Coal Imports by Source

Million Tonnes

Source Country 2015-16 2016-17 (Apr-Dec)
Indonesia 96.19 68.99
Australia 47.56 35.45
South Africa 36.08 25.99
USA 5.74 3.5
Russia 3.82 3.34
New Zealand 0.68 0.32
China PRP 0.48 0.02
Canada 1.55 1.79
Mozambique 2.67 2.75
Others 5.11 2.72
Total 199.88 144.87

Diversified portfolio of India’s Coal Imports for 2016-17

Source: Rajya Sabha, Unstarred Question No. 4163 by Ministry Of Coal

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

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