MonitorsPublished on Mar 12, 2018
Energy News Monitor | Volume XIV; Issue 39

Power News Commentary: February 2018


Out of the 18,450 villages without electricity, more than 16,800 had been given power supply as on date. The “Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana” also called “Saubhagya”, launched in September last year, was a move towards this goal and that about 40 million households would benefit from it. Under this scheme, all un-electrified households in rural as well as urban areas were eligible, adding that non-poor households would have to pay ₹ 500 in ten equal instalments along with their electricity bill every month. A 765 kV transmission line facility would be commissioned soon in Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh.

Power Grid Corp said that it has inked agreement with Jammu and Kashmir to develop transmission and rural electrification work worth  ₹ 9.15 billion under Prime Minister’s Development Package 2015. Prime Minister’s Development Package 2015, Government of Jammu and Kashmir has entrusted development of Transmission System (project cost  ₹ 4.26 billion) and Rural electrification works for eight districts (project cost  ₹ 4.89 billion) to Power Grid Corp as project implementing agency, Power Grid Corp said. The agreement for the same has been signed on February 8, 2018 among Jammu and Kashmir’s Power Development Department, Jammu and Kashmir and Power Grid Corp. For transmission system, five new substations (4 nos 220 kV, 1 no 132 kV) will be established by PowerGrid, out of which three substations, namely Chowadhi, Samba, Kathua-II, are in Jammu region whereas two substations, namely Batpora, Khanyar are in Srinagar region. Rural electrification will be done in eight districts viz Udhampur, Reasi, Ramban, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian, Leh and Kargil districts.

Seventy years after Independence, a 7.5 km long undersea cable has finally brought electricity to the world-famous Gharapuri Isle, which houses the UNESCO World Heritage site Elephanta Caves, about 10 km from Mumbai. The project to electrify the island, thronged daily by thousands of Indian and foreign tourists, has cost a total of ₹ 250 million and was completed in 15 months. Of the total project cost, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority gave Rs 185 million while the rest had been borne from the MSEDCL’s own resources. The power connection is also expected to speed up work on the proposed 8 km long ropeway connecting Mumbai directly with Elephanta Island running above the Arabian Sea, planned by the Mumbai Port Trust, and billed as a boon to nearly two million tourists who visit it annually.

As many as 15,561 families in Aurangabad zone will soon get power connection for the first time under the Centre’s Saubhagya Yojna. The central scheme aims to achieve cent percent household electrification by providing last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all households in rural and urban areas. As part of the scheme, eligible beneficiaries will be given one power plug and one LED bulb free along with the internal house wiring. MSEDCL said that a total of 13,253 connections for APL citizens and another 2,308 for BPL residents would be given under the Saubhagya Scheme. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojna, also titled as Saubhagya scheme September 25 last year. Under the scheme, households sans power connection from rural and urban areas will be provided electricity. Free connections will be provided to prospective beneficiaries households using the SECC 2011 data. But even those not covered under this data can avail benefit of the scheme by paying ₹ 500 in 10 instalments along with the electricity bills. It is mandatory for the beneficiaries of the scheme to pay monthly electricity bill. Only the households in which electricity has been permanently disconnected, living in temporary immigrants camps and houses in the agricultural land where it is not monetarily feasible to provide electricity, are excluded from this scheme. In the remote and inaccessible areas, where the conventional electrification is not possible, household will be electrified through the solar energy power packs. At such places 1 DC Fan, 5 LED Bulbs and 1 Power Plug will be provided free with the internal house wiring, MSEDCL authorities said. The houses constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, Shabri Yojna, Ramai Yojna, Adim Yojna and other schemes will also be provided free electricity under Saubhagya scheme. On the basis of the survey done under the Saubhagya Scheme in the state, there is a target to extend power connections to 1,164,135 beneficiaries. Of these, 767,939 beneficiaries will be provided electricity through conventional energy sources and 21,056 will be provided through the non-conventional sources, MSEDCL authorities said. As a part of the scheme, cent percent electrification will be done in the state by the end of this year.

The Chhattisgarh government is aiming to provide power supply to every household by September 2018. In the last 14 years, around  ₹ 281.51 billion has been invested for electricity generation, which has resulted in the increase of production capacity of state electricity company by two and a half times. Due to the production and availability of electricity, a new record of meeting the maximum demand of 4,332 MW in the state has been set.

PFC said that it has inked MoUs with Uttar Pradesh power utilities for providing financial assistance of ₹ 502 billion. The PFC has executed MoU with Uttar Pradesh state sector power utilities – UPRVUNL, UPPTCL and UPPCL – for providing required financial assistance of ₹ 502 billion, PFC said. According to PFC, these funds would be used for upcoming greenfield and extension of thermal power generation projects at Jawaharpur, Panki, Harduagunj, Anpara and Obra; development of coal mines; Integrated Power Development Scheme, Saubhagya, DDUGJY (rural electrification); and for strengthening of transmission and distribution network in the state. The financial assistance will support the state in capacity addition of 4,760 MW; and in achievement of the objective of power for all and 24×7 quality and reliable power supply in Uttar Pradesh. But patches of darkness remain. Nearly 97,000 primary and middle schools go without electricity across Madya Pradesh. Last year, the ministry of human resources and development ranked Madhya Pradesh third among states having poorest record of electricity provision in 28% of primary, middle, high and higher secondary schools.

India is a power surplus country but electricity does not reach all regions due to network constraints in some states. The existing legal framework provides that the power cuts should be done only in case of technical faults or natural calamity. There is penal provision for unscheduled power cuts. But power regulators have rarely invoked that provision and penalised distribution companies. Electricity Amendment Bill will provide for 24×7 power for all from April 1, 2019. The bill will soon be discussed with the states before finalisation for approval of the Union Cabinet and introduction in Parliament. The bill is likely to be pushed for passage in the monsoon session of Parliament sometime in July this year.

With a huge buyer interest from transmission companies and yield-based investment firms, industry experts say it may be a good time to sell transmission assets. Infrastructure investment trust (InvIT) IndiGrid signed agreements with Techno Electric & Engineering Company to buy a stake worth ₹ 2.32 billion in Patran Transmission Company. IndiGrid is on the lookout for more such assets. IndiGrid is not a lone buyer in the transmission sector where only a few assets are up for sale. The CPPIB and IDFC Alternatives were some of the firms interested to pick a stake in power transmission assets.

AAP has opposed the Congress government’s move to withdraw electricity concession given to SCs and economically weak consumers in Punjab. AAP has written to the Chief Minister to withdraw the instructions issued by the Punjab government about free electricity to SC, backward classes and non-SC BPL domestic consumers. As per Punjab government’s earlier instructions, subsidy on account of free electricity supply up to 200 units per month was being provided to the beneficiaries but as per the new instruction issued on 17 October, 2017, that came into effect from November 1, 2017, the government has imposed limits of connected load of 1 KW and consumption not exceeding 3,000 units per annum as eligibility for availing this subsidized supply of electricity. The limit of 1 KW connected load was low and would render more than 50% poor and needy families disqualified for this subsidy. Congress had announced to provide more facilities to the poor and needy people but has started withdrawing the facilities already given to these families. App seeks the  limit of connected load to be enhanced to 3 KW and for 200 units per month concession and the extra units may be charged as per tariff if situation demands. The condition of 3,000 units per annum must be withdrawn according to AAP.

Faced with spiralling prices of coal, Adani Power Ltd and Essar Power Gujarat Ltd have discontinued the contracted power supply of 2,000 MW and 1,000 MW respectively, to GUVNL. As per the data available with Western Regional Dispatch Load Centre, Gujarat bought a record 32 million units, roughly 1,333 MW, of electricity from power exchanges. Gujarat bought a record 32 million units, roughly 1,333 MW, of electricity from power exchanges. Touted to be a power-surplus state, Gujarat is forced to procure more electricity from the open market as several power plants are struggling to cope with the cost of coal and gas.

The national capital witnessed its lowest ever power cuts in the current financial year that also saw the highest ever peak power demand, according to a Delhi government data. The government said reduction in power cut points towards improvement in processes and systems of electricity supply and transmission. Delhi’s peak power demand shot to 6526 MW on June 6, 2017, the highest ever. BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd together supply electricity to nearly two-third area of Delhi. Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd supplies electricity to north and northwest Delhi. The discoms attributed the decrease in power cuts to coordination among various stakeholders, strengthened network capacity, use of latest technology and adequate power purchase agreements to meet the city’s electricity needs.

According to MSEDCL data, around 228,000 farmers in Vidarbha have never paid electricity bills. They collectively owe ₹ 9.83 billion to the discom. Farmers collectively owe around ₹ 200 billion to the MSEDCL and the amount is increasing every month. MSEDCL has launched an amnesty scheme for them. If the defaulting farmer clears his principal amount then the discom would waive off the interest component, which is sometimes more than the principal. Despite this, the response to this scheme has been very poor. In Vidarbha, only 17% of farmers have opted to clear their dues and so far they have paid only 1.5% of the default amount. Most of the defaulters in Vidarbha are from the western part. About 53,500 farmers from Buldhana district have never paid electricity bills and they owe ₹ 2.54 billion to the discom. Around 46,000 farmers of Amravati district owe ₹ 2.51 billion and over 40,000 Yavatmal district farmers owe ₹ 2.28 billion. Washim district is next with 21,000 farmers and ₹ 1.01 billion dues. In Nagpur district, nearly 12,687 farmers owe ₹ 313.5 million in rural areas of the district, while 1,297 farmers owe ₹ 45.5 million in Nagpur city. The default by farmers leads to constant and steep hikes in power tariff. Recently, MSEDCL had filed a petition in MERC seeking to increase the industrial power tariff by 25% to 30%. Industrial power tariff of the state is already among the highest in the country. It will become the highest if MERC okays the proposal and state’s industries will find it difficult to compete with units in other states.

India will explore foreign markets like Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh for its surplus power generation capacity. The average plant load factor or capacity utilisation in India is around 60 percent. NTPC Ltd has been asked to explore the possibility of investments in other countries to widen their horizon in view of surplus installed capacity in the country.

NTPC has invited bids for procuring 1,000 metric tonnes per day of agro residue based fuel for its 2,650 MW Dadri power plant in the National Capital Region as part of initiatives to help clean air and provide farmers with an alternate to burning crop residues, a major contributor to pollution. The tender seeks supply for two years. A capping price of  ₹ 5,500 per metric tonne has been kept for agro residue based pellets and  ₹ 6,600 per tonne for pellets or briquettes of torrefied agro Residue, the company said. NTPC has initiated a programme to consume agro residue based fuel for firing in their power plants along with coal. Given the success of this tender NTPC is open to using agro residue in power plants across the country.

With many states facing high AT&C losses, indicating operational inefficiencies, the union power ministry has asked the states concerned to hand over the job of power distribution to private franchisees. The Tariff Policy 2018 will mandate that no state will be able to pass on the losses incurred by discoms to consumers of electricity. The audit of all power supply feeders is to be done regularly and the “loss-making areas should be given out on the franchisee system”, by which power is sold in bulk to the franchisee, which gets a commission per unit. The selection is to be through open bidding. The Electricity Act would be amended to make the tariff policy mandatory. The states have been asked to work towards 100% metering, reducing human interface in power supply, and honouring power purchase agreements. The states have also been asked to ensure that all consumers are metered and pay in accordance with the tariff policy. Subsidies given to any section of consumers will go to their bank accounts as direct benefit transfer.

TPDDL, the Tata-owned power distributor in Delhi, announced it has implemented GPS mapping technology and RFID Marker installation for speedy location of faults and their resolution. The company said this is the first time any power distribution company has implemented the technology in the country. TPDDL has already carried out mapping of around 1,200 cable routes using GPS technology and installation of 1,000 RFID Markers in the first phase of the project and plans to expand it to the remaining cable routes soon. The company said the technology has allowed it to reduce the effective time to locate a cable fault from an average 90 minutes to average 45 minutes. The technology is aimed at identifying the route of underground power cable network at any desired location and also to fetch the details of any joints through RFID detectors over and above the ground level. It will help to provide speedier resolutions in case any fault develops in the underground cables. GPS Mapping technology works by collecting location data tags of the routes and mapping it with the accurate location received from satellites. The data is further incorporated with existing Geographical Information System (GIS) network of TPDDL. The company is tagging its cable routes using the technology to create an accurate mapping of the cable routes along with the RFID markers on joints for faster restoration and fetching pre-fed details from the splices.

In a bid to take its defiant staff on board for the privatisation of some power distribution functions, the Uttar Pradesh government has proposed sharing 10% of the profit earned so with them. The move comes in the wake of power employees threatening to go on strike if the privatization is implemented. The incentive had been proposed essentially to get the support of employees for starting the privatization by March. The Uttar Pradesh Power Corp Ltd recently floated tenders to hand over the work of electricity bill distribution, revenue collection and installation, change of electricity meters to private companies — technically called ISPs — in seven districts including Etawah, Kannauj, Orai, Rae Bareli, Saharanpur, Mau and Ballia. As per the tender, the process of award of contract to ISP has to be completed by March 28 and a Letter of Intent given to the ISP by that date. The power employees are still on a confrontational path and they accuse the government of introducing privatisation through back door channel for the benefit of select private companies. The AIPEF termed it a ‘mega scam’ of government. AIPEF said that fears of privatization have proved true even before the passage of Indian Electricity (amendment) Bill) 2014 by the Parliament.

Rest of the World

Norwegian utility company Statkraft has entered Poland’s power market by signing agreements to buy and resell electricity from three Polish wind farms, with an 80 MW combined capacity, the firm said. By entering eastern Europe’s largest power market, the deal may help Statkraft in its bid to boost its onshore renewable energy and market operations after divesting all its global offshore wind assets.

The World Bank has approved a $486 million credit facility to Nigeria for electricity grid improvements, the lender said. The investments under the Nigeria Electricity Transmission Project will increase the power transfer capacity of the transmission network and enable distribution companies to supply consumers with additional power, the World Bank said. Nigeria’s dilapidated power sector is often criticised by economists for holding back the country’s economic growth. Businesses and households are subject to frequent blackouts, and many depend on their own generators that are expensive to run.

The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) has appointed WSP, a UK engineering consultant to develop a 330 kV interconnector between Zambia and the DRC. The project has received financial backing from the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the AREP programme. A strong transmission link will help the DRC and Zambia to improve the security and reliability of the power networks and to foster economic development and regional integration. The project also aims to support the development of an efficient and competitive regional power market to reduce electricity prices in the region. The 330 kV transmission line will connect Kolwezi in DRC to the district of Solwezi in Zambia, through the Zambia Electricity Supply Corp (ZESCO) network at Lumwana or Kalumbila Substation and the future Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNEL) network at Kolwezi NRO substation. A team of engineers will undertake a three-stage feasibility study to develop options and recommend a preferred solution for the interconnector. All three phases will be completed within an 18 month programme of works finalising in 2019.

Australia’s strained power supply grid has largely withstood soaring temperatures this summer, but a year after the nation’s biggest city, Sydney, was hit by blackouts, the real test comes this month. Outages in February, when demand typically peaks as schools, factories and offices return to full swing and temperatures can soar above 40 degrees C (104 degrees F), could reignite a national debate over the push for renewable energy. A state-wide blackout in South Australia in September 2016 sparked a conservative backlash over the use of solar and wind at the expense of dirtier but ‘always-on’ coal-fired generation and a scramble to add back-up power. The state’s new power supply was part of an emergency A$550 million ($435 million) energy plan unveiled by last March to ensure homes would not be left in the dark and industry would not be crippled again.


IOC commissions multi-product pipelines in Chennai

March 5, 2018. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) commissioned three multi-product pipelines at a cost of Rs 98 crore as part of its move towards better management of pipeline network and adhering to safety norms. This involves re-routing of dock lines between IOC’s Foreshore and Korukkupet terminals for better handling of the white, black and lube oil pipelines, which were relaid along the railway corridor between Tondiarpet Railway station and Royapuram. After formally dedicating the pipelines to the nation, IOC said that commissioning of these pipelines was a milestone as it would feed the Chennai market with surplus products. The advanced technological involvement would ensure high-end efficiency and safety to these lines, IOC said. Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd through its refinery, refines and pumps out various products through pipelines to Tiruchirapalli, Madurai, Salem and to Bengaluru.

Source: The Times of India

IOC bids for stake in Vietnam’s Binh Son refinery

March 4, 2018. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has bid for a stake in Vietnam’s Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical Company as it looks at the South Eastern nation to expand business beyond Indian shores. IOC is among the at least four companies that have evinced interest in becoming strategic partner in Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical Company (BSR) by taking 49 percent stake. IOC is looking at Myanmar, Bangladesh and Vietnam to expand its oil refining and fuel retailing business. With Vietnam short in refinery products, IOC believes it can bring efficiencies and help expand BSR. IOC is looking to export aviation turbine fuel (ATF) and cooking gas LPG to Myanmar and auto fuel to Bangladesh. It currently has a fuel retailing subsidiary in Sri Lanka and sells products in Mauritius and West Asia.

Source: Business Standard


IEX to launch spot gas exchange for marginal fields

March 6, 2018. The Indian Energy Exchange (IEX), the country’s largest power trading platform, is looking at launching a spot gas exchange for trading of natural gas produced by marginal fields. S N Goel, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, IEX, said the company was in discussion with stakeholders on the proposal. Goel said a higher price would help operators produce gas from the marginal fields. Since output from these fields was less, gas production did not make commercial sense at a lower rate, he said. Currently, natural gas derivatives are being traded on commodity platforms such as the NCDEX. If the IEX’s plan succeeds, this will be the first spot gas market in the country. The move comes at a time when gas-based power generation is facing fuel crisis. Of the 24,150 MW of gas grid-connected power generation capacity in the country, 14,305 MW has no supply of domestic gas. The remaining (9,845 MW) is working at a sub-optimal level. The Centre recently conveyed to private power producers that natural gas would no longer be allocated, and that they would have to bid to buy the fuel.

Source: Business Standard

First US LNG cargo leaves for India

March 6, 2018. Cheniere Energy Inc. has dispatched its first shipment of US (United States) liquefied natural gas (LNG) to India through its Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Louisiana. Houston-based Cheniere signed a 20-year deal with GAIL (India) Ltd, to supply the subcontinent’s largest natural gas transmission and marketing company 3.5 million metric tons of LNG annually in a deal that would generate more than a billion dollars for the US company, which began exporting in 2016. The deal between Cheniere and GAIL aligns with the Strategic Energy Partnership announced by US President Donald Trump during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington last summer; the two leaders agreed to leverage new opportunities and elevate cooperation. USEA (US Energy Association) has worked with the US Agency for International Development in India for more than 25 years promoting energy security through increased trade, investment and access to clean sources of power and fuel. India currently imports LNG from Qatar and Australia under long-term contracts at Petronet LNG’s Dahej terminal in Gujarat. Shell, too, imports LNG at its Hazira terminal from across various geographies.

Source: Business Standard

GSPC opens spot LNG tender amid growing Indian demand

March 3, 2018. Gujarat State Petroleum Corp (GSPC) launches buy tender for a liquefied natural gas cargo (LNG) for the end of March, traders said. The tender was launched, as peer Gail (India) Ltd seeks two April cargoes via a parallel tender. Indian LNG demand is on an upswing with Essar Energy also seeking spot supply and Torrent Power Ltd discussing purchases bilaterally for 2018, traders said

Source: The Economic Times

RIL may shut KG-D6 block’s MA field by October

February 28, 2018. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) will likely stop producing from its MA field in the KG-D6 block by October following continuous decline in output for years. MA is one of the three fields currently producing in RIL-BP’s KG block and the only one that produces both oil and gas. D1 and D2 are the other two fields producing only gas. MA will be the first of the three fields to be shut that initially generated big expectations but began disappointing within years of starting production, creating several controversies and legal disputes on the way. RIL, the operator of the KG-D6 block, has presented the possibility of shutting the MA field by October 2018 in the annual work programme submitted to the government recently. The lease of floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit, which processes output from the MA field, is coming to an end by October. RIL owns 60% in the KG block while BP owns 30% and Niko the balance 10%. The MA field began producing in September 2008 while the D1, D3 fields went onstream in April 2009. The average production from the KG block has fallen to 4.9 million metric standard cubic meter per day (mmscmd) during October-December of 2017 from a peak of 69.43 mmscmd in March 2010. The peak production included 66.35 mmscmd from D1and D3 and 3.07 mmscmd from MA. The gas output from MA field peaked in January 2012 to 6.78 mmscmd. The MA field produced 2,042 barrels per day of crude oil and condensate during October-December of 2017. About 70% of the gas reserves from D1, D3 and MA fields have been recovered so far.

Source: The Economic Times


44 percent shortfall in coal stock: MAHAGENCO tells HC

March 6, 2018. In what points to possible load-shedding in summer, MAHAGENCO (Maharashtra State Power Generation Company) has revealed it was facing a 43.53% shortfall in coal stock required for its thermal power stations. In an affidavit before the High Court (HC), the power utility said it had received 95,773 tonnes of coal till now against the requirement of 119,000 tonnes, a net shortage in supply 19% per day on an average. With onset of summer, the power demand would grow and coal shortage would play a spoilsport. MAHAGENCO’s affidavit stated power plants needed to maintain at least 22 days’ coal stocks to be ready for any exigencies.

Source: The Times of India

mjunction to implement e-distribution of coal in Bihar

March 6, 2018. The mjunction services limited said it will implement e-distribution of coal in Bihar. The designated state-nominated agency, Bihar State Mining Corp (BSMC), has appointed the mjunction, for implementation of coal e-distribution in the state. The company said it has already implemented similar projects in West Bengal and Maharashtra. Distribution of coal to MSMEs in Bihar will be reinstated after nearly seven years, and Coal India’s allocated quantity of coal to the state for this purpose is 3.85 lakh tonnes per annum, mjunction said. The e-platform will make it easy for the state nominated agencies to manage coal distribution and help eliminate dependency on handling agents, mjunction said.

Source: Business Standard

‘To profit from competition’, CIL reaches out to unions

March 5, 2018. Deregulation of commercial coal mining will be an opportunity rather than a challenge for Coal India Ltd (CIL), the company management told trade unions as it began work on a blueprint to consolidate its leadership position ahead of impending competition from private players. The company management met representatives of trade unions BMS, AITUC, CITU and HMS — representing CIL’s three lakh-strong workforce — to clear misgivings over the impact of the government’s decision to allow private companies into commercial mining. The management said questions over CIL’s future were raised even when private sector was allowed into captive mining. But the “CIL family” rose to the occasion and the company grew in terms of both production and profit. Already, CIL is despatching 7% more coal than it did a year ago, loading 308-310 rakes per day to wheel 1.8 million tonnes (mt) of the fuel daily. Production has risen to 2 mt a day and is set to rise to 2.5 mt in the remaining days of March. The unions at a separate meeting late in the evening decided to hold a day’s token strike on April 16, instead of in March as demanded by one section, to highlight their concerns.

Source: The Times of India

Green nod to MCL’s Rs 4.3 bn Lakhanpur coal mine expansion project in Odisha

March 4, 2018. Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) has received green nod for the second phase expansion of its Lakhanpur opencast coal mine located in Jharsuguda district, Odisha that would entail an investment of Rs 436.79 crore. The proposal is to increase the production capacity of the Lakhanpur opencast mine from 18.75 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 21 mtpa. In a letter issued to MCL, the union environment ministry has said environment clearance (EC) has been granted to the company for the phase-II expansion of its Lakhanpur opencast mine for a period of one year only. The ministry said it will take a call on extending the EC based on the recommendations of its expert advisory committee (EAC), which will review the project in December. The EC has been given subject to compliance of certain conditions and environment safeguards. Lakhanpur opencast mine, spread over a total area of 2,452 hectares, has coal linkages with thermal power plants.

Source: The New Indian Express

Government may cancel coal mine in Jharkhand allotted to Essar

March 4, 2018. Stating that the performance of Essar Power has not been up to the mark with regard to making operational a coal mine in Jharkhand. The government may cancel the coal block allotted to firm once the court stay on the mine is vacated. Tokisud North mine, having geological reserves of 103.24 million tonnes (mt) and extractable reserves of 51.97 mt, was bagged by Essar Power MP Ltd in the coal mines auction held earlier. The mine was scheduled to begin operations in fiscal 2015-16, the coal ministry said. Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar also warned the companies which were allotted coal blocks during the auctions to perform well else they would end up losing the mines. Faced with delays in key approvals and sudden change in tariff terms, Essar Power had earlier said that it has decided to surrender the Tokisud North coal block in Jharkhand in which it has already invested Rs 490 crore. The coal ministry had issued a termination notice to the Tokisud North coal mines and asked them to forfeit Rs 261 crore bank guarantee for non-payment of upfront amount for the block.

Source: The Times of India

India’s outback coal bets sour as global prices recover

March 1, 2018. Australian mining legend Lang Hancock’s dream four decades ago of exporting coal from the country’s remote Galilee Basin is becoming a nightmare for two Indian conglomerates. Adani Group bought into the Queensland basin in 2010, followed a year later by GVK Group, with plans to ship thermal coal by the middle of the decade. Deals to build ports and rails signaled early promise, but the projects became embroiled in legal challenges and financing setbacks. Adani now sees first exports from its massive Carmichael mine around 2020, six years behind schedule, as it struggles to shore up financing, with the federal government making clear it won’t help with investments or loans. Adani’s proposed A$16.5 billion ($12.9 billion) Carmichael project includes the construction of a 388 kilometre rail line to the Abbot Point port and the development of Australia’s largest thermal coal mine, which will have the capacity to produce as much as 60 million tons a year. The venture is facing strong opposition from environmentalists who say it will increase carbon pollution and endanger the health of the Great Barrier Reef marine park.

Source: The Economic Times


Spot power price up 27 percent to Rs 3.2 per unit in February

March 6, 2018. The average spot power price rose 27 percent to Rs 3.2 per unit at Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) in February this year compared to the same month a year ago. The day-ahead market saw a trade of 3,326 MU (million units) in February, which is almost at par with 3,375 MU traded in January this year and about 14 percent more than 2,927 MU traded in February 2017. On daily average basis, about 119 MU were traded. Average daily sell and buy bids were 224 MU and 155 MU respectively. The total sell bids during the month were 6,270 MU and the total buy bids were 4,326 MU. IEX said as seen in January 2018, the increase in spot market price was largely on account of rise in demand associated with seasonal variation and increase in coal price and railway freight. The average spot power price was the highest at Rs 4.16 per unit during 7 am to 10 am followed by Rs 3.67 per unit in evening peak hours during 6 pm to 11 pm. One Nation, One Price was realised for 24 days in February 2018 while it was realised for 23 days in the previous month. The day-ahead market (DAM) experienced transmission congestion mainly on account of import by northern states, which was 4 percent of the time. On daily average basis, 872 participants traded in the day-ahead power market last month. In 2017-18, as on date, the DAM has traded 41,529 MU at an average price of Rs 3.19 per unit. The Term-Ahead Market (TAM) traded 17 MU in February 2018, mainly in the intra-day and Day Ahead Contingency market segments. The TAM traded 52 MU in January 2018 and 14 MU in February 2017. In 2017-18, as on date, the TAM has traded 1,234 MU.

Source: Business Standard

BSES gets $1 mn USTDA grant for energy conservation in Delhi

March 6, 2018. Delhi power distribution company (discom) BSES announced that it has won a $1 million grant from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to develop and deploy the country’s first Behavioural Energy Efficiency (BEE) programme in south and west Delhi. Over 2 lakh customers in these areas of the capital under the jurisdiction of sister discom BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd (BRPL) will participate in the pilot project to be undertaken by the US software major Oracle America Inc, BSES said.

Source: Business Standard

RBI’s new NPA norms may hit 50 GW power capacity

March 6, 2018. Power companies fear that two-thirds of private thermal power capacity is at high risk of being declared as non-performing assets (NPA), following the new norms on stressed assets issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Severe impact is expected on 51,000 MW existing power generation capacity set up with investments of more than  Rs 4 lakh crore, and another 28,000 MW plants are under construction. The notification issued by RBI on ‘Resolution of Stressed Assets — Revised Framework’, mandated banks to classify even one-day delay in debt servicing as default. Experts said that even power projects that are better-off in terms of realisations and debt servicing will fall under the ‘special mention accounts category’ mentioned in the RBI circular. Power plants pay for coal in advance to state-run monopoly Coal India Ltd (CIL), but it takes them 90-150 days to recover dues from state power distribution companies. Besides, already stressed assets that do not have coal and power purchase tie-ups or both, the RBI notification also impacts power projects which have been repaying debt so far. Projects of most companies including Lanco Infratech, GMR Energy, Hindustan Power Projects, ILFS, RattanPower India and GVK Energy may be hit. As per the revised framework, projects with interest or principal overdue starting from one day to 30 days will be categorised as ‘special mention accounts category -0’ (SMO-0). While a few power plants pay to the lenders on due date, most projects have repayment schedule of about 30 days. The notification mandates resolution proceedings against stressed accounts to be completed in 180 days. Currently, about 85,000 MW private sector thermal assets are under operation. Most of these are severely stressed due to various reasons such as lack of coal supply, lack of long-term power purchase agreements and inordinate delays in regulatory orders and receivables from distribution companies.

Source: The Economic Times

BEST power tariff to fall by 3-10 percent for residential consumers

March 6, 2018. The BEST is cutting electricity tariff by 3-10% for residential consumers within the island city in 2018-19. It has sought a further 2-3% dip in cost in its mid-term review petition pending before regulator MERC. So, if you were in the 101-300 units category, and your monthly bill was around Rs 1,000, the bill could come down by a maximum of Rs 80. BEST already has the cheapest power tariff in Mumbai for high-end residential users as compared to its rivals across the state. For commercial users/offices/business houses in the island city, the tariff has already dropped by more than 17% in the past two years, and this helped BEST retain its customers. In the industry category, the tariff dropped by 19% a couple of years ago.  The BEST also plans to call in arrears from customers. A recent report had showed that Rs 79 crore had been recovered till date, but Rs 24.4 crore was yet to be recouped from government departments, and Rs 24.8 from non-government agencies. BEST committee member Rajesh Kusale agreed that pending dues were mounting. Consumer activist Kamlakar Shenoy has petitioned the MERC alleging that BEST was “illegally” collecting double fixed charges from a section of electricity consumers in the island city.

Source: The Economic Times

RInfra gets shareholders’ approval for Mumbai power business

March 1, 2018. Shareholders of Reliance Infrastructure Ltd (RInfra) have approved the proposed 100 percent sale of RInfra integrated Mumbai power business (known as Reliance Energy) to Adani Transmission (ATL), the company said. The resolution has been passed with 94 percent votes in favour of the proposal, it said. Competition Commission of India (CCI) has already approved the transaction. RInfra and ATL had signed definitive binding agreement for 100 percent stake sale of the integrated business of generation, transmission and distribution of power for Mumbai in December 2017. The total consideration value is estimated at Rs 18,800 crore. Transaction is expected to be completed by March 2018, subject to approvals, it said.

Source: Business Standard

NTPC achieves highest ever gross power generation

March 1, 2018. State-owned power giant NTPC Ltd has registered the highest ever gross electricity generation in a single day on February 28, 2018. This shows that the company is fully prepared to meet the spurt in demand as the economy gathers steam and the approaching summer season, the NTPC Ltd said. The NTPC Group along with its joint venture projects recorded highest ever gross generation of 907.50 million units (MU) on the last day of February from its coal, gas, hydro solar and wind power stations. The NTPCs plant load factor (PLF) stood at 79.38 percent in February. The NTPC Group generation has registered a growth of 6.55 percent till date and over 11 percent in the current quarter as compared to the same period last year.

Source: Business Standard

In Gujarat, Rs 16.4 bn due in power bills from industrial units

March 1, 2018. The state government admitted that 4,042 industrial units in the state owe electricity companies Rs 1,645 crore. Surat city has the highest amount recoverable, Rs 830 crore, which is more than 50% of all such dues. The Gujarat government, in response to questions by Congress MLAs, stated that the biggest number of defaulting units, 986, were in Surat city and the amount due from these units was Rs 830 crore. Congress MLAs had asked the government how many industrial unit had electricity dues of one Rs 1 lakh or more. The government said that of the Rs 1,645 crore due, units in Surat and Morbi districts accounted for Rs 1,068 crore. The government has cut these units’ power connection and has initiated the recovery process against these units. In cases where the units have moved courts against the government through Lok Adalats, the recoveries are being done according to the orders of the Lok Adalats. The government claimed that the nine power plants under Gujarat State Electricity Corp Ltd, produced 15,162 million units of power in 2016, which increased to 18,935 million units in 2017. The government said it had purchased 31,805 million units at an average price of Rs 2.85 per unit in 2016 and 27,884 million units at Rs 2.80 per unit in 2017 from five private players, including Essar, CLP India, Adani Power, ACB India and Costal Power. The highest price per unit was paid to CLP India, which got Rs 4.18 per unit in 2017 and Rs 3.63 per unit in 2016.

Source: The Economic Times

Lakshadweep joins UDAY scheme

February 28, 2018. The Union Territory of Lakshadweep joined UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana) scheme, which is meant for revival of debt stressed power distribution companies (discoms) in the country. According to the power ministry, an overall net benefit of approximately Rs 8 crore would accrue to Lakshadweep by participating in UDAY, by way of cheaper funds, reduction in AT&C (Aggregate Technical and Commercial) losses, interventions in energy efficiency, etc. during the period of turnaround and will continue in future years.

Source: Business Standard


Microsoft inks renewable energy deal for Bengaluru facility

March 6, 2018. Tech giant Microsoft said it has inked its first renewable energy deal in India for powering its new facility in Bengaluru. The agreement will see Microsoft purchase 3 MW of solar-powered electricity from Atria Power for its new office building in Bengaluru, meeting 80 percent of the projected electricity needs at the facility, Microsoft said. The facility, which will be operational starting June, is spread over 5.85 lakh square feet. The Karnataka government is encouraging investments in local solar energy operations, in line with the country’s goal of ramping up solar power generation to 100 GW by 2022. Once completed, the project will bring Microsoft’s total global direct procurement in renewable energy projects to nearly 900 MW. Microsoft India President Anant Maheshwari said that this deal will help the company grow in a sustainable manner and also support the growth of the Indian solar energy industry.

Source: Business Standard

Government to help industries take up ‘green sustainability’

March 5, 2018. The government will help Indian industries take up their green sustainability agenda by providing technological support and required resources, Union Environment Secretary C. K. Mishra said. The Indian industry needs to cease the opportunities present upfront, be it for providing energy access, reducing emissions, developing greener technology, Mishra said. He said that India is a unique country and we need to find unique solutions to address climate change issues and take forward the sustainability agenda.

Source: Business Standard

One million solar study lamps distributed: Government

March 6, 2018. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said it has distributed one million solar study lamps under a scheme for states including Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. A new project for distribution of 70 lakh solar study lamps in Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand Odisha and Uttar Pradesh which was sanctioned by the MNRE in December 2016, is currently under implementation. The scheme which was sanctioned in January 2014 for empowering under-served communities in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra has been successfully completed. Following this, the ministry sanctioned 5 lakh solar study lamps in various states in May 2016. In Rajasthan a total of 3.06 lakh solar study lamps have been distributed and 927 persons including 360 women have been trained for local assembly and repair of the solar study lamps. The MNRE also has a separate skill development programme Surya Mitra for imparting training in the field of solar energy for installation and repair and maintenance of solar power systems.

Source: Business Standard

Sembcorp Energy arm wins 300 MW wind project

March 5, 2018. Sembcorp Energy India Ltd (SEIL) said it has been awarded a 300 MW project in the country’s third wind power auction conducted recently. This is the third consecutive win for the subsidiaries of Sembcorp Green Infra, a wholly-owned arm of SEIL, the company said. The nationwide wind power auction was conducted by Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI). With this order, SEIL has bagged a combined capacity of 800 MW from the three auctions, which is by far the largest combined capacity won by an independent power producer, it said. SECI in a letter of award has confirmed acceptance of SEIL s final offer and committed to purchase power from the new project. The project is proposed to be set up in Gujarat. After completion, the project s entire power output would be sold to SECI under a 25-year power purchase agreement.  The project will be connected to India s Interstate Transmission System and supply power to many states, helping them meet renewable energy requirement.  As of December 31, 2017, SEIL had a total power generation capacity of 4.07 GW, comprising 3.57 GW of operating capacity and 0.50 GW of under construction capacity.

Source: The Economic Times

WTO to set up a compliance panel for solar dispute between India, US

March 5, 2018. The World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s dispute settlement body has agreed to set up a panel to determine whether India has complied with its ruling in a case against the US regarding domestic content requirements for solar cells and modules. In 2016, New Delhi had lost a case against the United States (US) at the WTO after the global trade body stated that power purchase agreements signed by the Indian government with solar firms for its National Solar Mission did not meet international trade norms. The US, which is of the opinion that New Delhi continues to apply the “WTO-inconsistent measures”, had in December last year approached the Geneva-based multi-lateral organisation demanding action against India for non-compliance of the WTO ruling. India, however, has been maintaining that it has complied with the WTO’s ruling. India had requested the WTO to set up a panel to determine its compliance with the rulings of the dispute. The US in its complaint before the WTO had in 2014, alleged that a clause relating to domestic content requirement for the procurement of solar cells and modules under Phase-I and Phase-II of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission were discriminatory to American solar power developers. On January 11, 2010, India had launched its national solar policy, named Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. The country has an ambitious target of generating 20,000 megawatts (MW) of solar power by 2022. Many US companies are interested in supplying solar equipment to tap the growing sector in India.

Source: Business Standard

IIEST designs solar panels to charge e-rickshaws on the go

March 5, 2018. E-rickshaws can now be charged on the go, thanks to a solar charging system designed by the Centre for Green Energy at IIEST (Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology). The ministry of human resources development-funded project is aimed at improving the battery life of the vehicles by ensuring less energy depletion. The product is ready to hit the market following a collaboration that IIEST has entered with a solar panel giant and an entrepreneurial venture of two Phd students, who were also part of the project. The solar panel, developed by the IIEST faculty and researchers, can charge e-rickshaws through the day even as passengers are being ferried. Currently, each vehicle has to be charged for about 10 hours at a stretch for a run of maximum 85 kilometre if a proper procedure is followed; the electric chargers are provided at the time of the purchase. IIEST has tied up with Arc, a company that manufactures solar panels. The panels will be installed on the institute’s rooftop to help produce grid power to run the appliances.

Source: The Times of India

ISMA to file fresh petition for anti-dumping probe on solar equipment

March 5, 2018. The Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA) said it has withdrawn its anti-dumping petition on solar equipment and will soon file a fresh plea with a different reference period of investigation. The ISMA feels there was a jump of 33 to 45 percent in imports of solar equipment from China, Taiwan and Malaysia during July to December last year. ISMA has said it will soon be approaching the commerce department and the honourable authority to file a fresh petition with a more relevant and more recent period of investigation. Meanwhile, India had proposed to levy a 70 percent safeguard duty on import of solar power equipment from countries like China for 200 days to protect domestic industry.

Source: Business Standard

Solar scam accused Saritha files impleading petition in Kerala HC

March 3, 2018. Solar scam accused Saritha S Nair moved the Kerala High Court (HC), seeking to implead herself in a petition filed by former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, challenging the report of a judicial commission on the scandal. She filed the plea as arguments were going on in the HC on Chandy’s plea that the judicial commission’s findings were based on a letter written by Saritha, one of the accused in the scam. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had tabled the Justice G Sivarajan Commission report on the solar scam in the state Assembly in November last year. The report had found that Chandy and his staff had provided all the help to Saritha and her company in duping people. Justice Sivarajan had submitted his report on September 26 last year, almost four years after the previous Congress-led UDF government in Kerala had constituted the commission, when the charges surfaced about the duping of several people of crores of rupees by Saritha and her accomplice, Biju Radhakrishnan, by offering solar panel solutions to them.

Source: The Economic Times

World’s largest solar park Shakti Sthala inaugurated in Karnataka

March 1, 2018. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah inaugurated a solar power park with a 2,000 MW capacity at Pavagada in Karnataka’s Tumakuru district, about 70 kilometre (km). In future, Karnataka aims to be an energy-surplus state, he said. Built on 13,000 acres spread across five villages, the park entailed an expenditure of Rs 165 billion. The solar park generated 600 MW power as of January 2018 while an additional 1,400 MW is expected to be generated by December. Even as the southern state claims that this solar park is the largest, Rajasthan’s Bhadla solar park coming up in Jodhpur district will have a capacity of 2,255 MW when fully operational.

Source: Business Standard

ANERT launches app for renewable energy census

February 28, 2018. Agency for Non-conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT) has launched the first-ever renewable energy census campaign in the country. A mobile application (app) has been launched for the purpose. Those who register their renewable energy equipment, using the app, would be eligible for one-year free insurance cover to the registered devices. SouraVeedhi mobile app has been developed for people engaged in various activities related to renewable energy programmes in the state. The app is currently available for Android smartphones on Google Play Store. It would soon be made available for Apple phones. According to Anert sources, the renewable energy census would give the agency and the state some information about the permeation of electrical equipment that run on renewable energy sources, mainly solar. There is no comprehensive information or database on the installation of renewable energy devices. Collection and compilation of such data would help in proper maintenance of the installations. The details of installations done during the past five years from April 2012 can be registered through SouraVeedhi app. Details of the consumer, details of the device including photos and geo-tag (location) can be provided through the app. ANERT is also setting up Akshaya urja service centres in the 140 assembly constituencies in the state. Those who register through SouraVeedhi app will get information on their nearest service centre and technician of the service centre will visit them and provide necessary advice on the maintenance of the system.

Source: The Times of India


Global oil sector needs $20 tn investments over 25 yrs: Aramco CEO

March 6, 2018. The global oil and gas industry needs to invest more than $20 trillion over the next 25 years to meet expected growth in demand and compensate for the natural decline in developed fields, Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said. Nasser said the industry has already lost $1 trillion of investments since the oil price downturn from 2014 to 2016. Nasser said that even with the growth of electric vehicles, increased demand from petrochemical markets over the next two decades will necessitate additional investment and need for crude oil. He said he was confident that oil market fundamentals and future demand growth would be healthy, despite significant oil price volatility and forecasts of rising shale oil production.

Source: Reuters

EIA raises US oil output growth forecast for 2018

March 6, 2018. The United States (US) government said it expects domestic crude production in 2018 to rise over 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) more than previously expected as shale output surges. Shale production in the US has increased rapidly with improvements in drilling techniques, spurred on by a recovery in international oil prices. Production has grown more quickly than expected by the most authoritative forecasting bodies in the global energy industry, making the US a bigger oil producer than top OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) supplier, Saudi Arabia. Monthly production shattered a 47-year output record in November, rising to 10.057 million bpd. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects US crude output in the fourth quarter of 2018 to reach an average of 11.17 million bpd, up from the previous forecast a month ago of 11.04 million bpd. The EIA forecast US output would hit 11 million bpd a year earlier than it had previously expected. For 2019, the EIA forecast a crude production increase of 570,000 bpd to 11.27 million bpd.

Source: Reuters

Venezuela’s oil output running 1.5 mn bpd short: Ecuador Oil Minister

March 5, 2018. Venezuela’s oil production is running 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) short of its historic output but it is something that the country must address itself, Ecuador Oil Minister Carlos Perez said. The United Arab Emirates Oil Minister Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei said that OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) last year discussed member Venezuela’s falling production and offered technical aid to help restore the South American country’s output. Venezuela’s oil production fell 13 percent in 2017 to a 28-year low of about 2.072 million bpd. OPEC believes Venezuela will be able to rebuild its production, Mazrouei said. Perez downplayed the impact of US (United States) shale production on global crude markets, noting that shale fields tend to have lower total oil recovery than conventional fields. Ecuador’s 110,000 barrel per day Esmeraldas oil refinery is operating at top capacity, he said, and will undergo maintenance shutdowns this month for 15 days and again in May for 54 days. Perez said the country’s coming auction of oil and gas blocks will be launched on March 13, and about 40 companies have signed up to bid on minor fields recently included in the offer.

Source: Reuters

Shale oil growth to overwhelm US refiners, fuel exports

March 5, 2018. Rising US (United States) shale oil production will overwhelm the nation’s refining capacity, with three-quarters of the additional oil produced in the US by 2023 shipped to Europe and Asia, according to a new study by consultancy Wood Mackenzie. The research points to the continued impact of US shale on global markets and the mismatch between domestic refining capacity and rising crude output. The oil could bottleneck at US Gulf Coast ports unless new infrastructure is built, researchers said. US refineries will absorb between 900,000 barrels per day (bpd) and 1 million bpd of the expected 4 million bpd of additional production to emerge from U.S. oil fields, Wood Mackenzie said in a study.

Source: Reuters

Egypt’s new oil refinery to begin test run in third quarter

March 5, 2018. A new oil refinery near Cairo which has been delayed by financing problems will begin a test run in the third quarter of 2018, its managing director Mohamed Saad said. The refinery, called Egyptian Refining Co (ERC), is a joint venture between state-controlled Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and Arab Refining Company and will have the capacity to produce 4.7 million tonnes of refined products per year when fully operational. It is expected to start actual operations by the end of 2018 or early 2019, Saad said. Its output will be sold to EGPC and used domestically under a 25-year agreement, covering 30-50 percent of Egypt’s imports of petroleum products and reducing Egypt’s dependence on oil product imports.

Source: Reuters

Woodside to suspend Australia’s Vincent oil output for one year from May

March 5, 2018. Woodside Petroleum will suspend production of its Vincent crude oil for a year starting from May as the floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit for the field undergoes maintenance, traders said. The Vincent project is 60 percent owned by Woodside and 40 percent by Mitsui E&P Australia. Production at the field fell to 17,350 barrels per day (bpd) at maximum capacity in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with 18,644 bpd in the third quarter. The suspension of Vincent production will likely tighten the supply of high-density, low-sulfur, or so-called heavy-sweet, crude from Australia, though the impact on the Asia-Pacific market may be limited since it has a small pool of buyers, traders said. About one 550,000 barrel cargo a month of Vincent is exported and the usual buyers are in Malaysia, the United States and India. The Ngujima-Yin FPSO is being refitted as part of Woodside and Mitsui’s $1.9 billion Greater Enfield project that will start producing from three fields near Vincent by the middle of 2019. Greater Enfield is expected to initially produce more than 40,000 bpd of oil at 100 percent capacity.

Source: Reuters

Libya’s NOC resumes pumping at El Sharara oilfield

March 5, 2018. Pumping at Libya’s El Sharara oilfield resumed, a day after output had been halted after a landowner closed a valve on a pipeline crossing his land. No production data was immediately available, though the engineer said that output could recover to 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) as soon as. The field, located deep in Libya’s south, had been producing about 308,000 bpd until the shutdown and has capacity of about 340,000 bpd. Libya’s National Oil Corp (NOC) operates Sharara in partnership with Repsol, Total, OMV and Statoil. NOC said the closure had cost the company about $30 million in lost revenue and that it intended to press charges against the landowner. As conflict and falling oil revenues caused living standards to slide in Libya in recent years, local groups have tried to press demands by blockading oil facilities.

Source: Reuters

Exxon, Total, Repsol among bidders for oil exploration off Greece

March 5, 2018. Oil majors Exxon Mobil, Total and Repsol are among members of two consortia that have submitted bids to explore for oil and gas off Greece. Greece’s oil and gas resources management company said that Exxon and Total, each with 40 percent stakes, and Hellenic Petroleum had jointly bid to explore off Crete, while Spain’s Repsol and Hellenic Petroleum had submitted a joint bid for a block in the Ionian Sea. Greece launched the tenders last year after expressions of interest by the Exxon-led consortium for the two sites off Crete and by Greece’s Energean for the Ionian block, although Energean has since withdrawn. HHRM said it would quickly evaluate the offers, while the final approval lies with the energy ministry. Encouraged by large gas finds in the eastern Mediterranean, Greece is eager to attract investment in its energy sector as it tries to emerge from years of economic crisis.

Source: Reuters

Partners in Kenya’s first oil project eye pipeline deal by mid-2018

March 2, 2018. Companies developing Kenya’s first oilfields expect to conclude agreement on construction of an export pipeline by the middle of this year, according to Toronto-listed Africa Oil, one of the partners. Oil could account for about a tenth of Kenya’s government revenue, on par with its biggest current export, tea, once production reaches its peak. Production is expected to start around 2021-2022. London-listed Tullow Oil, which struck oil in Kenya six years ago, and its partners proposed in January to transport oil from the land-locked Amosing and Ngamia fields via pipeline to the Indian Ocean port of Lamu 750 kilometre away. Tullow said in its 2017 annual report that the initial development stage will target about 210 million barrels of oil out of total 560 million of proven and probable reserves, with daily plateau production of 60,000-80,000 barrels per day (bpd). Production could potentially increase to 100,000 bpd or more, Tullow said. Tullow estimates gross capital expenditure for the first stage to be $2.9 billion, including $1.1 billion for the pipeline.

Source: Reuters

Japan January oil product sales hit lowest for month in 30 yrs

February 28, 2018. Japan’s total oil sales fell to their lowest in at least three decades for the month of January, data showed, amid a continued decline in consumption due to a shrinking and ageing population and a shift to alternatives such as natural gas. Total oil sales last month fell 1.7 percent from a year earlier to 3.26 million barrels per day (bpd), or 16.08 million kilolitres, monthly data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) showed. That marked the lowest for the month of January in data that’s available since 1989. Kerosene sales rose nearly 4 percent last month from a year earlier as temperatures were colder than normal for a fourth straight month, while sales of gasoline and some other fuels fell reflecting a trend of weakening sales in the country. Japan’s crude oil imports in January fell 1.1 percent from a year earlier to 3.42 million barrels per day (16.86 million kilolitres), the lowest for the month since 2016. Japan imported Bakken crude from the United States and Temane condensate, used for petrochemicals, from Mozambique for the first time last month.

Source: Reuters


Chevron in talks to sell stake in Canada LNG project

March 6, 2018. Chevron Corp is exploring options including the sale of a minority stake in its Canadian liquefied natural gas (LNG) project as it pushes ahead. Among the parties in talks with Chevron for a possible stake in Kitimat LNG are Petroliam Nasional Bhd, or Petronas, which scrapped its own $36 billion LNG project in British Columbia last year due to challenging market conditions. Canadian companies Seven Generations Energy Ltd and Tourmaline Oil Corp are in discussions to supply natural gas to Chevron’s project, the people said. Seven Generations may also consider buying a stake in the project by partnering with other gas producers. While any possible deal with a financial investor would be strictly a cash infusion to help support the cost of building the project, a deal with a producer could be structured as a commitment to supply natural gas to the plant for a period of 20 to 25 years. The project in British Columbia, a 50/50 joint venture with Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd, has a 20-year, 10 million-metric-tonne-per-year export license for LNG and is expected to cost tens of billions of dollars to build.

Source: Reuters

Egypt to increase gas production at Zohr to 700 mcf per day in May: Petroleum Minister

March 4, 2018. Egypt aims to increase production at its huge Zohr offshore gas field in the Mediterranean to 700 million cubic feet (mcf) per day in May from about 350 mcf per day currently, Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla said. Discovered in 2015 by Italy’s Eni, the field contains an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of gas. Eni CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Claudio Descalzi said that the goal was to reach 2.9 billion cubic feet per day by mid-2019.

Source: Reuters

Russia tells EU gas supplies via Ukraine under no immediate threat

March 3, 2018. Russia’s energy ministry said that gas giant Gazprom’s intention to terminate contracts with Ukraine poses no immediate threat to natural gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine. The issue of gas transit has intensified after the Russian group said it would end the contracts after a Stockholm arbitration court ordered it to pay more than $2.5 billion to Ukrainian energy firm Naftogaz. Gazprom said it had started moves to terminate gas supply contracts with Naftogaz, though Kiev said there had so far been no impact on supplies through its pipelines to Europe. Gazprom’s announcement marked an escalation in a long-running dispute between Moscow and Kiev, which has left Ukraine struggling to stay warm and which the European Union (EU) has said could threaten gas flows across the continent. Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak told European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcofic that gas transit would not be at risk until Gazprom and Naftogaz fully terminated their agreement. Ukraine’s state-owned gas pipeline operator Ukrtransgaz said it had had to take additional measures to ensure gas transit to European customers. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Ukraine saw an increase in gas supplies from Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary, which has fully offset the impact of Gazprom’s decision.

Source: Reuters

Dominion Maryland Cove Point LNG facility exports first cargo

March 2, 2018. Dominion Energy Inc said the first vessel carrying liquefied natural gas from its newly constructed Cove Point LNG (liquefied natural gas) export terminal in Maryland left the facility, another sign of growing US (United States) prowess as an oil and gas producer. The LNG tanker Gemmata left fully loaded, according to energy data provider Genscape, which said it observed the loading of the vessel through its cameras set up to watch the facility. Dominion said it spent about $4 billion to add export facilities at Cove Point, long an LNG import terminal on Chesapeake Bay. The facility is still undergoing final commissioning, the company said. Cove Point is the second big LNG export terminal in the Lower 48 US states after Cheniere Energy Inc’s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana, which exported its first cargo in February 2016. After decades of importing massive amounts of gas, the US became an exporter of the fuel in 2017 for the first time in 60 years due to record US gas production from shale fields. The US is expected to become the world’s third- biggest LNG exporter by capacity in 2018, furthering President Donald Trump’s goal of American energy dominance by exporting US oil and gas to help create jobs at home and provide more security to the nation’s allies around the world. US LNG export capacity is expected to rise to 10.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) by the end of 2020 from 3.8 bcfd. Cove Point is designed to liquefy about 0.75 bcfd of gas. One bcfd can power about 5 million homes.

Source: Reuters

Poland’s PGNiG starts urgent gas supplies to Ukraine

March 2, 2018. Poland’s state-run gas firm PGNiG has signed a deal with Naftogaz on urgent gas supplies to Ukraine after Russia’s Gazprom unexpectedly decided not to restart supplies to Kiev, PGNiG said. The deliveries from Poland started and will continue until the end of March, PGNiG said. The total volume under the monthly contract is more than 60 million cubic meters.

Source: Reuters

Global gas markets roiled by Papua quake, Europe deep-freeze

March 2, 2018. Global natural gas markets were roiled this week as an earthquake in Papua New Guinea caused a large-scale supply disruption of liquefied natural gas (LNG) while a late winter blast in Europe triggered unprecedented price spikes. ExxonMobil Corp has declared force majeure on exports from its Papua New Guinea LNG project, which has been shut since a powerful earthquake. As a result, Asian spot LNG prices jumped by 5 percent, to $8.80 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu). Exxon is having trouble gauging the extent of the earthquake’s damage, given the remoteness of the gas field, in the mountainous jungles of Papua New Guinea, 700 km (435 miles) from the export terminal. Spot LNG prices for May were already $1 lower than April’s, at around $7.75 per mmBtu, the traders said. The market situation has also been eased by increasing supplies from Malaysia’s Bintulu LNG export facility, which had seen disruptions in recent weeks. While the winter in North Asia is showing signs of tapering off, most of Europe has been caught by a wave of extreme cold late in the season, which pushed up British spot natural gas prices to record highs of 275 pence per therm on March 1, the equivalent of over $30 per mmBtu, and up 130 percent from the last close in February, and up 400 percent since the end of December.

Source: Reuters

Exxon Mobil looks to build Mozambique LNG export project

February 28, 2018. Exxon Mobil is planning to build a Mozambique liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project and is looking to expand operations at its Papua New Guinea and Qatari LNG projects, the company said. The company is also concerned by the lack of new LNG project approvals over the past two years even as many projects were canceled, said Frank Kretschmer, senior vice president of Exxon Mobil Asia Pacific’s LNG Marketing division.

Source: Reuters

China’s domestic LNG plants reopen after shutdowns as heating crisis eases

February 28, 2018. At least 10 of China’s domestic liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants have resumed output in the past week after the government cut off their supply, providing the first signs that the country’s gas supply crunch is starting to ease. The return of the plants, which liquefy domestically produced gas that is then trucked to end-users, has raised LNG supply in China’s interior, pushing nationwide LNG prices lower. These restarts are also a sign that state-owned gas producers Sinopec and China National Petroleum Corp have resumed piping gas to the facilities after the government ordered them to divert shipments from the plants to residential users to make up a supply shortfall during the winter heating season. Yangcheng Shuntianda Gas Corp, based in China’s Shanxi province, southwest of the capital Beijing, has restarted its plant, with the capacity to liquefy 500,000 cubic meters of gas, after shutting in December.

Source: Reuters


Britain delays decision on new coal mine

March 5, 2018. The British government has delayed a decision on whether to allow a new open cast coal mine to be built in northeastern England, the developers of the project said. Northumberland County Council agreed last year that developer The Banks Group could extract 3 million tonnes of coal by cutting an open cast, or surface mine, near Druridge Bay, Highthorn but the Minister for local government, Sajid Javid, called for a public enquiry. The Minister was due to issue a final verdict, but The Banks Group said this had been delayed, without giving a new deadline. Britain plans to phase-out coal use at its power stations by 2025, and has led an international charge for other countries to do the same.

Source: Reuters

China beats 2017 coal-fired power capacity reduction target

March 1, 2018. China eliminated or suspended 65 GW of coal-fired power capacity in 2017, exceeding the national target of 50 GW. China, the world’s biggest coal user, has vowed to improve its notorious air pollution and upgrade its fossil-fuel dominant energy structure by cutting coal consumption and boosting clean energy use. The country aims to eliminate or halt a total of 109 GW of coal-fired power capacity by the end of this decade while at the same time keeping its total installed coal-fired power capacity below 1,100 GW. However, coal remains the country’s major fuel source because of inadequate infrastructure such as pipelines, storage and electricity transmission lines that would raise the utilization of clean energy. Last year, China’s coal consumption went up for the first time since 2013, but coal usage as a portion of total energy consumption dropped by 1.6 percentage points to 60.4 percent amid Beijing’s push to convert coal heating to gas or electricity. China plans to continue carry out the conversion of coal to clean energy and impose even tougher air quality targets in the coming three years.

Source: Reuters

Indonesia state power utility urges Widodo to set new coal pricing rules

February 28, 2018. Indonesia’s state-owned power utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Sofyan Basir said he hoped President Joko Widodo would sign a new regulation on domestic coal pricing in early March. PLN hopes the rules will fix coal prices at between $60 and $70 per tonne, he said. The regulations are needed to shield PLN from coal price fluctuations, he said. This year PLN plans to spend around 100 trillion rupiah ($7.28 billion) on transmission, distribution and power stations in remote areas, he said. The government has been working on plans to regulate domestic coal prices since late 2017.

Source: Reuters


SSEN seeks Ofgem’s approval for 220 MW Orkney transmission link

March 6, 2018. British utility SSE wholly-owned subsidiary Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is seeking approval from the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) for a power link with up to 220 MW capacity from Orkney to Scotland’s mainland. As part of this effort, SSEN submitted a Strategic Wider Works (SWW) ‘Final Needs Case’ to the energy regulator for the Orkney subsea cable transmission link. Following the regulatory approval, SSEN plans to initially commission a single 220 kilovolt (kV) subsea cable in October 2022.

Source: Energy Business Review

Three Asian countries agree to develop 4 GW power interconnection project

February 28, 2018. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan have signed a framework agreement to develop a new 4 GW power interconnection project to facilitate electricity trade and exchange. To be completed in two phases, the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) power interconnection project will be supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The project is expected to help in the delivery of long-term power supply for the three countries, and will particularly support the energy needs of Afghanistan. ADB said that a 500 kilovolt (kv) transmission line of about 500 kilometre (km) length will be constructed under the TAP project between the three countries. Once completed, the power interconnection project will be able to transport up to 4 GW of electricity from Turkmenistan into Afghanistan and Pakistan. TAP’s power trade will use existing electricity infrastructure and will also promote partnerships in the form of new transmission investments in the three Asian countries. Its first phase will utilize the existing power infrastructure under the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TUTAP) power interconnection project, which is financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). TUTAP’s objective is to export electricity from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and has been financed by the ADB since 2013. According to ADB, the first phase of TAP is expected to be completed by 2021. The second phase of TAP is anticipated to be completed by 2022. The countries will also explore other options for the power interconnection project, including optimizing and using any surplus electricity or transmission capacity during winters by integrating it with the Central Asia-South Asia (CASA) system.

Source: Energy Business Review

Polish power demand hits record as freezing weather persists

February 28, 2018. Polish electricity demand set a record for a winter evening at 26.32 GW, the grid operator PSE said. The previous record for a winter evening was 26.23 GW on January 9 2017. Poland, which generates electricity mostly from outdated coal-fuelled power stations, faces the risk of power shortages when temperatures reach extreme levels as increased demand overloads the system.

Source: Reuters


EBRD to provide €25.9 mn funding to three Ukrainian solar plants

March 5, 2018. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced a new funding to support the development, construction and operation of three solar power plants in the Vinnitsa region of western Ukraine. The financing of up to €25.9 million for Ukraine’s leading engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm KNESS Group provided by the Bank will consist of a senior EBRD 10-year loan of up to 18.5 million and a 10-year loan from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) of up to €7.4 million The solar project has benefited from technical assistance by the EU4Business programme. Total installed capacity of the three plants will be 33.9 MW. This renewable facility will significantly contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions. Nearly 350 people will be employed during the construction and approximately 15 during operations.

Source: Energy Business Review

Japan venture aims to build 80 hydrogen fuelling stations by 2022

March 5, 2018. An alliance of 11 Japanese firms, including automakers and energy firms, has pledged to build 80 fuelling stations for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2022 to help accelerate take-up of the next-generation fuel technology. Japan H2 Mobility LLC, whose backers include Toyota Motor Corp and JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy, said it would oversee the construction and operation of the new fuelling stations, nearly doubling the number at present. As countries seek low emissions energy sources to power vehicles, homes and industry, Japan is betting heavily on becoming a “hydrogen society” despite the high costs and technical difficulties of a process that creates electricity from a chemical reaction of fuel and oxygen. JXTG Nippon Oil Senior Vice President Yutaka Kuwahara said that a lack of users and high costs to build and operate fuelling stations had slowed construction in Japan, delaying a government target to build 100 stations by March 2016. Japan currently has about 90 stations, with at least 40 operated by JXTG Nippon Oil, and another 10 are in the planning or construction stage. By about 2020, the Japanese government aims to roughly halve the cost of building a hydrogen fuelling station, which is currently about 400 million yen to 500 million yen ($3.8 million-$4.7 million), well above 100 million yen for a gasoline station. The path to adopting hydrogen has been dogged by the difficulty in driving widespread take-up given high costs of fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs), limited production capabilities and low numbers of fuelling stations. Only a handful of automakers currently market FCVs, including Toyota, Honda Motor Company and Hyundai Motor Company. Toyota has sold only 5,300 units of its Mirai FCV since its launch in 2015, while it has sold a total of around 11.5 million gasoline hybrids since launching the Prius 20 years ago. Japan wants to have 160 hydrogen stations and 40,000 FCVs on the country’s roads by March 2021. By 2030, it aims to have 900 stations to service some 800,000 FCVs, buses and forklifts. By then, it expects the price of hydrogen to fall to around 30 yen per normal cubic meter, from up to 100 yen now. Other companies involved in Japan H2 Mobility include Honda, Nissan Motor, Idemitsu Kosan, Iwatani Corp, Tokyo Gas, Toho Gas, Air Liquide Japan Ltd, Toyota Tsusho.

Source: Reuters

Climate change fallout no quick threat to oil: Chevron

March 2, 2018. Climate change is critical to future energy markets but its effect on Chevron Corp’s oil and gas business will be minimal for decades to come, according to a company report. With the prospect of tighter emission controls, carbon pricing and growth in renewable energy, some investors and activists are pushing companies to reveal the potential impact on their businesses. The risk for shareholders is that some projects become loss-making as the demand for oil and gas ebbs. Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have produced similar reports. Among other findings, Chevron said oil and gas will comprise 48 percent of the world’s energy mix by 2040, even under the International Energy Agency’s most unfavorable scenario for the industry. Now it’s 54 percent. The San Ramon, California-based company said it continually assesses the risks that environmental and carbon-pricing policies pose to its business model and has concluded there’s little threat at the present time.

Source: Bloomberg

EU clears Italian support scheme for advanced biomethane and biofuels

March 1, 2018. The European Commission cleared a € 4.7 billion ($5.73 billion) support scheme in Italy for advanced biomethane and biofuels, saying it was in line with state-aid rules. The scheme will support the distribution and production of advanced biofuels and biomethane used in the transport sector, by paying premiums to compensate for the higher costs compared to traditional fuels.

Source: Reuters

Microsoft to buy solar power in Singapore in first renewable deal in Asia

March 1, 2018. Microsoft Corp said it will buy solar power from the Sunseap Group in Singapore, the technology company’s first renewable energy deal in Asia. Microsoft will purchase 100 percent of the electricity generated from Sunseap’s 60 megawatt-peak solar power project for 20 years for its Singapore data operations, the software company said. Sunseap’s project consists of an array of solar panels on hundreds of rooftops across the city-state. Microsoft said it is on track to exceed its goal of powering 50 percent of its global datacenter load with renewable energy this year. The solar project is under construction and will be operational by the end of the year, the companies said.

Source: Reuters

China to strictly control new solar capacity expansion, boost tech innovation

March 1, 2018. China will strictly control the expansion of solar power production capacity and encourage more innovation, the industry ministry said in new guidelines, to improve technology and cut production costs in its fast-growing solar sector. The guideline, issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), follows the United States placing steep tariffs on solar panel imports in late January. The guidelines set a minimum research and development (R&D) investment amount for solar companies of 10 million yuan ($1.58 million) each year, and set minimum performance standards such as solar cell efficiency and the attenuation rate of the solar products. Over the past three years, China has been promoting a “Top Runner Program” to encourage solar companies to produce high-efficiency products by granting subsidies and offering government contracts. China, the world’s biggest solar products maker, produced a total of 87 GW of silicon wafers and 68 GW of solar cells last year. It currently has a total of 130.3 GW of installed solar capacity.

Source: Reuters


Natural Gas Production, Consumption & Import Scenario of India

Direction of Natural Gas (LNG) Imports (for year 2016-17)

Total Imports 17 Million Tonnes

Source: MoPNG, & MoC&I

Publisher: Baljit Kapoor

Editorial Adviser: Lydia Powell

Editor: Akhilesh Sati

Content Development: Vinod Kumar Tomar

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