Energy News Monitor | Volume XIV; Issue 43

    The week's news, trends and analyses on India's energy sector.

     Coal India Limited

    MARKET HEADWINDS HIT INDIA’S COAL SECTOR

    Coal News Commentary: March 2018

    India

    Deregulation of commercial coal mining will be an opportunity rather than a challenge for 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 300,0000-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 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 16 April, instead of in March as demanded by one section, to highlight their concerns.

    CIL will adopt a new pricing system from 1 April, which will be more customer friendly, transparent and aligned with global norms. CIL will start charging prices determined on the basis of paise per unit of energy for various grades of coal to be sold from next month. The company has called a meeting of stakeholders in the power and non-power sectors to brief them about the new pricing system, to be notified, and clarify any doubts. The grading system based on total energy content per kilogram remains, but the price of each consignment will be determined by a rate fixed for each unit of energy for that particular grade and the total energy contained in 1 kg of coal for the consignment. This means that the price of each tonne of coal will be based on its total energy content. Under the present system, the price used to be the same for a range of energy content, which was categorised as grades. CIL, however, has reduced the number of grades from 17 earlier to 10 under the new system. Each grade, under the new system, will now have a pricing coefficient which would be in paise per kilocalorie or paise per unit of energy. This coefficient, when multiplied with the energy content in each consignment in GCV terms, will determine the price of one tonne of coal for that consignment. According to CIL, coal of grades between G10 and G14 — mainly used by power generators — have been grouped as one. The energy content of this grade will range between 3,101 GCV and 4,600 GCV. It would have a price coefficient of 23 paise per kilocalorie.


    CIL will adopt a new pricing system from 1 April, which will be more customer friendly, transparent and aligned with global norms. CIL will start charging prices determined on the basis of paise per unit of energy for various grades of coal to be sold from next month.


    The price of power grade coal within this band would vary between ₹713/tonne on the lower side and ₹1,058/tonne on the higher side. Under the old system, the prices of these grades varied between ₹748/tonne and ₹1,024/tonne. Grade G9 with calorific value ranging between 4,601 GCV and 4,900 GCV, also used by power companies, is likely to have a pricing coefficient of 24 paise per kilocalorie. Its price would vary between ₹1,104.24/tonne and ₹1,176/tonne, depending on the actual energy content in each consignment. Under the existing system, this grade was priced at ₹1,140/tonne. However, each consignment will need to be tested for the exact quantum of energy content in each kg of coal and CIL has been putting in place systems and the infrastructure to support the new system.

    The Centre is expected to get around ₹80.44 billion on account of dividend from CIL as the miner's board approved payment of interim dividend for the financial year 2017-18 at a rate of ₹16.50 per share. The miner's total payout on account of this would be to the tune ₹102.42 billion. The government holds 78.55 percent of share in the company and the rest is public shareholding. In addition to dividend amount, the Central government is also expected to get around ₹20.85 billion on account of tax.

    Dues of power plants to CIL increased to ₹123 billion at the end of February from ₹90 billion in May last year, prompting officials of the state-run monopoly miner to request the power ministry to intervene and help recover the amount. At a recent meeting with power ministry officials, CIL executives said that the miner’s priority was to more than double coal inventory levels at power plants to 30 mt from the present level of 14 mt but they requested that the ministry should impress upon power plants to clear the dues at the earliest. According to the minutes of the meeting, the dues had continued to rise even as it was earlier proposed that outstanding dues be cleared within 90 days. CIL said that the dues had been on the rise because power companies had not been receiving their dues and were in turn unable to settle the due of CIL. As per FSAs between CIL and power companies, coal is supplied on cash-and-carry basis. However, supplies to states and central generating companies are not regulated due to intermittent payment constraints. The ministry said at the meeting that efforts should be made by coal companies and railways to improve coal supply to the power stations so that power stations have sufficient coal stock to meet their requirement and build up their stock to the levels that there is no shortage of coal during the next monsoon season, between June and September 2018. CIL and the railways plan to jointly load 332 rakes a day till March-end. Of this, power sector would be getting 274 rakes per day — 220 rakes from CIL sidings, 25 rakes from private washeries and 29 rakes from goodsheds. The requirement of power companies for 2018-19 is estimated at 288 rakes per day. Of this 244 rakes would have to be from CIL sidings, 24 rakes from washeries and 20 rakes from goodsheds. The balance requirement of coal would be met from the Singareni Collieries Company Ltd. (53 mt), captive mines (37 mt) and from e-auction (12 mt).


    Dues of power plants to CIL increased to ₹123 billion at the end of February from ₹90 billion in May last year, prompting officials of the state-run monopoly miner to request the power ministry to intervene and help recover the amount.


    In order to overcome supply hurdles, CIL is looking at effective utilisation of road network to deliver dry fuel to customers, specially power plants. With the rail network at its best carrying 320 rakes of fuel from coal pitheads to power plants every day, the road network can help boost supplies to power producers as a short-term measure. According to the company data, offtake during the April-February period was at 525 mt against the target of 541 mt. Coal dispatches to consumers in various sectors, including power, were 12 mt through road network in April-October 2017-18. Stocks at CILs pit heads have risen from 20 mt in November to 45 mt enough to run nearly a dozen 1,000 MW plants non-stop for a year at 85% capacity utilisation, but power stations remain starved of fuel. The latest available data from CEA indicated that 25 plants had critical stock position while average stocks for 113 plants monitored by CEA was enough for only about 10 days.

    The government decision to auction coal mines for sale of dry-fuel in return will bring higher investment, create jobs and bring efficiency in the sector. Enabling provisions have been made in the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 for allocation of mines by way of auction and allotment for sale of coal. The government approved the methodology for auction for coal mines/blocks for sale of coal under the provisions of the Coal Mines (Speical Provisions) Act, 2015 and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.

    CIL is considering floating a JV with the country’s top power producer NTPC Ltd to set up plants at mines that do not have transportation access and acquiring private stressed assets. The two state-run companies have held talks and are in the process of finalising terms of the joint venture after which a Memorandum of Understanding is likely to be signed. The proposed JV will look at setting up power plants close to mines that do not have coal evacuation infrastructure. NTPC has in the last three months floated two tenders calling private developers and lenders to offer their stressed coal-based and hydro projects. The company is evaluating three projects — Jaiprakash Power Ventures 1320 MW, Nigrie power project in Madhya Pradesh, Jaiprakash Power Ventures 1980 MW Bara plant and the 1,200 MW power project at Angul in Odisha promoted by Jindal India Thermal Ltd. NTPC is also considering to be part of a proposed JV with Power Finance Corp and Rural Electrification Corp that proposes to bid for stressed assets that will go to bankruptcy courts.

    To promote environment-friendly uses of coal, CIL is planning to set up plants for coal gasification. To promote cleaner and alternate use of coal, CIL is pursuing initiatives for setting up plants for gasification of coal and its further processing into downstream chemicals. The government has already taken several initiatives to improve the efficiency of coal based power plants and to reduce carbon footprint. All new, large coal-based generating stations have been mandated to use the highly efficient supercritical technology. As many as 11 coal blocks, which were non-operational at the time of auction, are likely to start production from June this year. Among the 17 producing coal mines that were auctioned, 12 have started operations. The government had auctioned 31 mines, including 17 schedule II (producing) and 14 schedule III (non-producing) through E-platform. Out of the 14 mines under Schedule III agreements for development and production were cancelled with two mines in connection with a court order while in the case of one the pact was terminated for violating terms and condition of the tender. In the context of the remaining five mines action has been taken under provisions of coal mine development and production agreement.


    To promote cleaner and alternate use of coal, CIL is pursuing initiatives for setting up plants for gasification of coal and its further processing into downstream chemicals.


    The first of the three dedicated rail corridors planned for large coal mines in Jharkhand will become operational, unlocking the prospect of raising coal production by 149 mt a year and bringing railways closer to mopping up additional annual revenue of ₹ 100 billion. The Tori-Balumath section of the Tori-Shivpur dedicated railway link in Jharkhand’s North Karanpura are ready to be inaugurated. The project will allow Central Coalfields Ltd to ramp up production from Magadh, and Amrapali mines as well as start production at Chandragupta and Sanghamitra blocks in North Karanpura area. To put the rail corridor’s importance in perspective, consider the fact that just Magadh and Amrapali, where mining operations have been restricted due to constraints over evacuation facility, can fuel generation capacity of 20,000-25,000 MW by providing 102 mt of coal a year. Chandragupta and Sanghamitra can another 47 mt peak production once they mines are opened.

    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 ₹ 4.36 billion. The proposal is to increase the production capacity of the Lakhanpur opencast mine from 18.75 mtpa to 21 mtpa. In a letter issued to MCL, the union environment ministry has said 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, 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.

    Adani Enterprises said it has signed a coal mining agreement with NLC India Ltd for development and operation of Talabira II and III coal block. TOMPL has become a successful bidder for MDO tender of Talabira II and III coal block issues by NLC India Ltd., it said. The coal ministry has allocated the block to NLC India for development, mining and captive consumption of the dry fuel from the blocks in its various end use power plants. NLC had floated a tender for selection of MDO for development and operation of the two Talabira blocks in November 2017 and reverse auction was conducted in January, wherein TOMPL became the successful bidder.

    Tourism got a shot in the arm as the gates of coal mines in Yavatmal district were recently opened to public, which were otherwise restricted to those working in the field. The tourists will now have access to as deep as 200 metres below the ground so that they could see the stockpile in Ukani open cast and Bhandewada coal mines situated near Wani. This is the second mine in the region after Saoner to have opened doors to the people. With the initiative of MTDC and WCL, people can see mining operations and visit the workshop division. They also will be taken to Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary and Sahasrakund waterfall, among other places of tourists’ attraction. The mines are located around 134 kilometres from Nagpur and MTDC has clubbed the tour with a package that also includes a visit to Tadoba forest and Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary. The tourists will also be shown old and decaying buildings which were once used for mining.

    NTPC, the country’s largest power generator, announced it has started production of coal from its second coal mine as part of a larger strategy to secure local fuel supply for its generation stations. The government has allotted the state-owned firm ten coal blocks to meet fuel requirements. Its first coal block, Pakri Barwadih in Jharkhand, has been in operation since June 2017. NTPC is currently working on five coal blocks — including Pakri Barwadih, Chatti Bariatu, Kerandari, Talaipalli and Dulanga – with total geological reserves of 3.8 bt and mining capacity of 56 mtpa.

    VO Chidambaranar Port Trust said it has created a new record by handling 48,701 tonnes of thermal coal in a single day on March 20. Earlier, the port had handled 42,508 tonnes in a single day on January 14 last. Neyveli Thermal Power Plant, too, handled 3.28 mt of coal during 2016-17 and 3.11 mt during this financial year upto February.

    The Meghalaya government will put in all efforts to ensure resumption of coal mining in the state in accordance with environmental rules and regulations. The state had incurred loss of ₹4.16 billion in terms of revenue following the NGT's 2014 ban on coal mining. The NGT had ordered an interim ban on "rat-hole" coal mining in Meghalaya from 17 April 2014, after the All Dimasa Students' Union and the Dima Hasao District Committee filed an application before the tribunal alleging that the water of the Kopili river was turning acidic due to coal mining in Jaintia Hills.


    The Meghalaya government will put in all efforts to ensure resumption of coal mining in the state in accordance with environmental rules and regulations. The state had incurred loss of ₹4.16 billion in terms of revenue following the NGT's 2014 ban on coal mining.


    The country's coking coal import increased to 43.53 mt from 38.83 mt during the period April 2017 — February 2018, a jump of 12.10% over same period last year, according to mjunction, a leading e-commerce company. The trend highlights India’s dependence on imported coking coal that has been the concern for steel and power sectors. These sectors essentially depend on low ash content coal, which is not abundant in India. Low ash coal, which is used in blast furnaces and Basic oxygen furnaces of steel plants is thus largely imported from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa. However, the fluctuations in prices of imported coking coal often eats into the profit margin of steel industry players. Given the problem, the steel industry has been groping for a dependable solution to meet the growing demand for coking coal.

    Coal output levels from private commercial miners are unlikely to go up considerably in the medium to short term, given the issues related to land acquisition and regulatory clearances, rating agency ICRA said. The statement comes in the wake of government deciding to open up coal sector to commercial mining by private entities. However, the power plants already having fuel supply pacts with state run miners are unlikely to switch over to meeting their requirement from commercial miners in the medium term as such FSAs have been contracted at competitive rates, the rating agency said. The coal ministry had last month came out with the methodology for auction of coal mines, which largely aims at opening up the coal sector for private commercial mining and also looks at allowing 100 percent foreign direct investment in order to create an efficient and competitive coal market.

    The mjunction services limited said it will implement e-distribution of coal in Bihar. The designated state-nominated agency, Bihar State Mining Corp., 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 In what points to possible load-shedding in summer, MAHAGENCO 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, 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.

    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 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. The companies which were allotted coal blocks during the auctions were warned that they must 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 ₹4.9 billion. The coal ministry had issued a termination notice to the Tokisud North coal mines and asked them to forfeit ₹2.61 billion bank guarantee for non-payment of upfront amount for the block.

    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 mt 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.

    Rest of the world

    Poland’s biggest mining firm, state-run PGG, expects its coal output to rise slightly this year from around 30 mt in 2017. PGG, which accounts for about half of the amount of thermal coal produced in Poland, missed its original 2017 output target of 32 mt after cost-cutting led to lower investment.

    Kosovo power utility KEK said a 270 MW unit of its Kosovo B coal-fired power plant had returned online after an unexpected outage late forced electricity distributor KESCO to start planned power cuts. Kosovo’s energy system has been under pressure since the beginning of March when European grid lobby ENTSO-E detected that Kosovo had been sapping power from the European network between mid-January and March, while Serbia, which is in charge of balancing Kosovo’s grid, had failed to fill the gap. Although they signed a deal on operating their grids in 2015, it has never been enacted. Serbs in the north of Kosovo, who do not recognize its institutions, refuse to pay the Kosovo grid operator. Kosovo relies on coal for most of its power generation. It has 880 MW of installed capacity at two aging coal-fired power plants and 35 MW of installed capacity at hydropower plants.

    Rio Tinto is to sell its 75 percent stake in a Queensland project to Australia’s Whitehaven Coal for $200 million, in its second deal to shed coal assets. Rio is also in the process of selling its remaining Australian coal asset — a stake in the Kestrel underground mine. The deal, subject to Australian regulatory approvals, is broken down into $150 million payable to Rio Tinto by Whitehaven on the date of completion and a further unconditional payment of $50 million payable a year later. Whitehaven Coal said it would fund the purchase with cash and existing facilities and it was expected to conclude in the second quarter. Glencore, the world’s biggest shipper of export grade coal, has also said it expects to continue to find value in high quality coal. Rio Tinto announced it had agreed to sell to Glencore the Hail Creek coal mine and Valeria coal project in Australia for $1.7 billion.


    Rio Tinto is to sell its 75 percent stake in a Queensland project to Australia’s Whitehaven Coal for $200 million, in its second deal to shed coal assets.


    Zimbabwe has attracted around $300 million in its coal industry that will quadruple production next year versus 2017. Investor interest is focused on coal, as well as on lithium and platinum. Coal output in Zimbabwe would reach more than 8 mt next year compared with around 2 mt in 2017. The world’s biggest shipper of export quality coal Glencore says the best coal will generate profits for the foreseeable future because of a shortage of new supply following a collapse in investment during the 2015-16 commodity downturn.

    Indonesia has capped the price of domestic coal for power stations at $70/tonne for two years, in new rules issued, the government said. The Southeast Asian nation is the world’s biggest exporter of the dirty fuel and the rules could hit miners currently enjoying coal prices at their highest level in five years. With elections looming in 2019, the government plans to keep electricity tariffs unchanged this year and next, and the cap on thermal coal for power is intended to shield state-owned utility PLN from price fluctuations. That price is based on coal with a calorific value of 6,322 kilocalories, the same specification as in the Indonesian Coal Benchmark Price. The rule will be applied retroactively to 1 January 2018, and will be reviewed in December 2019.

    Where the HBA price of Indonesian coal drops below $70/tonne the domestic thermal coal price for power stations will revert to HBA, the energy ministry said. The new rule allows coal miners supplying PLN to apply for an increase to their approved production quota for the year of up to 10 percent. Under the new rules, PLN, which uses coal with a calorific value of between 4,200 and 4,500 kilocalories, will pay around $37 per ton for coal while the HBA remains above $70. At the current HBA price, PLN pays around $55/tonne. PLN expects its coal demand to climb 18 percent this year to 90 mt. The government has been working on plans to regulate domestic coal prices since late 2017, under pressure from PLN, and the discussions have knocked back some coal miners’ share prices. The government has said national coal output could reach 485 mt in 2018, up from a realised output of 461 mt in 2017. About a quarter of this — 118 mt — is to be for domestic coal consumption, with the rest exported.

    At least three bidders are expected to submit final offers for global miner Rio Tinto’s Hail Creek and Kestrel coal mines in Australia, which could fetch up to $2.5 billion. The Anglo-Australian mining company made a strategic decision in 2017 to exit coal and focus on growth in iron ore, copper and its aluminium division. Hail Creek and Kestrel are Rio Tinto’s last two coal mines, following the $2.7 billion sale of its Hunter Valley coal operations in Australia to Yancoal last year. Australia’s Whitehaven Coal is expected to bid, as well as Australian private equity firm EMR Capital along with Indonesia’s Adaro Energy.

    Several Chinese firms have expressed interest in acquiring coal-fired plants Greece’s power utility PPC will divest to comply with an EU court ruling, the company said. Athens has agreed with its foreign creditors that PPC, which is 51 percent state-owned, will sell plants equal to about 40 percent of its capacity after a European court ruled the utility had abused its dominant position in the coal market. In a market test conducted by the European Commission’s directorate general for competition, fifteen investors have expressed interest in acquiring the plants. Athens is expected to pass relevant law by April in order for PPC to launch a tender by June. 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 mt of coal by cutting an open cast, or surface mine, near Druridge Bay, Highthorn. 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 China eliminated or suspended 65 GW of coal-fired power capacity in 2017, exceeding the national target of 50 GW.


    Greece’s power utility PPC will divest to comply with an EU court ruling.


    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 utilisation 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.


    CIL: Coal India Ltd, mt: million tonnes, kg: kilogram, GCV: gross calorific value, MW: megawatt, GW: gigawatt, CEA: Central Electricity Authority, JV: joint venture, MCL: Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd, WCL: Western Coalfields Ltd, EC: environment clearance, TOMPL: Talabira (Odisha) Mining Pvt Ltd, MDO: mine developer and operator, MTDC: Maharashtra Tourism Development Corp, NGT: National Green Tribunal, FSAs: Fuel Supply Agreements, MAHAGENCO: Maharashtra State Power Generation Company, PLN: Perusahaan Listrik Negara, HBA: Harga Batubara Acuan, PPC: Public Power Corp, EU: European Union


    NATIONAL: OIL

    energy, energy news, petrol, petrol prices, India, ORF

    Petrol at ₹73.95 a litre in Delhi, highest since September 2013

    3 April. Petrol prices continued to spiral, touching a nearly five year high of ₹73.95 per litre in Delhi. The previous high in the capital was ₹74.10 a litre in September 2013. In Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai too, prices climbed to new multi-year highs at ₹81.80, ₹76.66 and ₹76.72 a litre, the Indian Oil Corp (IOC) said. The previous high in these cities was ₹82.07 (Mumbai, March 2014), ₹77.88 (Kolkata, May 2012) and ₹77.53 (Chennai, May 2012). Diesel prices also touched new record levels. Prices of petrol and diesel have been on the rise off late after global crude oil prices increased due to trade tensions between the United States (US) and China.

    Source: Business Standard

    Inclusion of petrol and diesel in the GST will help consumers pay a rational price: Oil Minister

    3 April. An inclusion of petrol and diesel in the Goods and Services Tax framework will help consumers pay a rational price for the fuel, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said after fuel prices rose to record level prompting demand for tax cuts. Following a rapid rise in the international rates to which local prices are linked, diesel is selling at record rates in the country and petrol at four-year peak. Diesel was sold for ₹64.69 per litre and petrol for ₹73.83 a litre at Indian Oil Corp (IOC) outlets in Delhi. Petrol and diesel prices have gained ₹10.74 and ₹11.36 per litre respectively in the last nine months in which crude oil has gained $21.87 per barrel to about $70/barrel. Heavy duties imposed by the Centre and states is key to petrol and diesel being so expensive in the country. In Delhi, petrol bear about 100% and diesel 69% levies comprising excise duty and VAT (Value Added Tax), according to the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell data. The highest rate of tax applicable to products under GST (Goods and Services Tax) is 28%. Since fuel sale is a major source of revenue for states as well as Centre, it’s difficult to imagine them agreeing to cut rates sharply on petrol and diesel. Petrol, diesel, natural gas, crude oil and jet fuel are currently not included in GST.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Non-subsided LPG reduced by ₹35 per cylinder, jet fuel cut

    2 April. Prices of non-subsidised liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or cooking gas, have been reduced by ₹35.50 per cylinder, and that of the subsidised one by a marginal ₹1.74, according to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), even as public sector Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) hiked the rates for piped and compressed natural gas (CNG) supply to cities in the national capital region. As per the revised rates announced by Indian Oil Corp (IOC) that are effective from 1 April, a 14.2 kg non-subsidised cooking gas cylinder now costs ₹653.50 in Delhi, as compared to ₹689. Similarly, the non-subsidised LPG cylinder now costs ₹676 in Kolkata, ₹625 in Mumbai and 663.50 in Chennai. The price of the subsidised cylinder, which a consumer has a quota of 12 per year, was also cut marginally by ₹1.74. The 14.2 kg cylinder now costs ₹491.35 in Delhi as against ₹493 earlier. OMCs revise LPG and aviation turbine fuel (ATF), or jet fuel, prices on the first of every month. Jet fuel prices have been cut by ₹231 in Delhi and now sells at ₹61,450 per kilolitre. Prices vary with airports depending on local taxes. Jet fuel per kilolitre now costs ₹65,985 in Kolkata, ₹61,025 in Mumbai and ₹61,615 in Chennai.

    Source: Business Standard

    IOC to invest ₹1.4k billion to double refining capacity

    31 March. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) said it plans to invest about ₹1.43 lakh crore to nearly double its oil refining capacity to 150 million tonnes and boost petrochemical production by 2030. The company currently owns and operates 11 out of the country's 23 refineries. Its refineries have a total capacity of 80.7 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). IOC is investing ₹16,628 crore in upgrading its refineries to produce Euro-VI emission norm compliant petrol and diesel as against Euro-IV fuel being produced now. This investment cycle would be completed by 2020, the company said. Besides, the company is investing ₹15,600 crore in expansion of petrochemical projects and another ₹74,600 crore in raising the capacity of its existing refineries. The company said another ₹36,500 crore worth of projects are in pipeline but haven't been approved by the company board as yet. India's current refining capacity of 247.6 mtpa exceeds consumption but with demand growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 3.5-4%, it will need to add more capacity to meet the rising fuel needs. IOC plans to raise the capacity of its Panipat refinery in Haryana to 25 mtpa from current 15 MTPA, while Koyali refinery in Gujarat would be expanded to 18 mtpa from 13.7 mtpa. While 3 mt will be added in IOC's Barauni refinery in Bihar, a 1.2-mtpa capacity addition is planned for Uttar Pradesh's Mathura refinery to take its capacity to 9.2 mtpa. IOC is also looking at adding a 9 mtpa capacity to its subsidiary Chennai Petroleum Corp Ltd (CPCL). India is targeting blending of up to 10 percent ethanol in petrol to cut reliance on imports to meet oil needs.

    Source: Business Standard

    Four lakh Tripura families to get free LPG

    31 March. Over four lakh poor families in Tripura will be provided free cooking gas or LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana to ensure clean energy access to all and to protect the health of rural women, Indian Oil Corp (IOC) said. Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb flagged off 50 mobile publicity vans to help PMUY (Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana) benefits to reach across Tripura.

    Source: The Times of India


    NATIONAL: GAS

    Oil ministry asks regulator to resolve conflict in GAIL

    1 April. The oil ministry has asked sector regulator PNGRB (Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board) to look at unbundling of companies like GAIL (India) Ltd to resolve the conflict of interest in being both the transporter and marketer of natural gas. The reference to the PNGRB follows a revival of a plan to split GAIL by hiving off gas marketing business into a separate firm, leaving just pipeline transportation with GAIL. Over a period of time more players have come into gas marketing. Gujarat government entity GSPC is a major player in gas marketing and also in gas transportation. The Government had in 2006 issued the Policy for Development of Natural Gas Pipelines and City for Local Natural Gas Distribution Networks which envisaged that in the long run and with the maturing of gas markets, the authorised entities will have transportation of natural gas as their sole business activity and will not have any business interest in the gas marketing or city or local gas distribution networks. GAIL had in the past resisted the split on grounds that its gas marketing and transmission businesses operate at arms length, and hence do not need to be separated. GAIL's marketing business formed 71 percent of its 2016 -17 total sales, and 25 percent pre-tax profit. The government has 54.89 percent stake in GAIL.

    Source: Business Standard

    RIL, Essar Oil, Great Eastern step up CBM gas production

    30 March. Oil and gas companies are boosting production of coal-bed methane (CBM) gas that they are free to sell at market prices. Natural gas price is capped at $2.89 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu) by the government, while CBM gas fetches $5.7-$10.64 per mmBtu. Among companies ramping up CBM output are Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Essar Oil Ltd, and Great Eastern Energy Corp Ltd (GEECL). Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) has already begun test production from its CBM blocks. Vilas Tawde, Director and CEO (Chief Executive Officer), Essar Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Ltd, believes the share of CBM gas in India’s natural gas basket will go up from the present 3% to 10% in four-five years. Essar Oil will also double CBM production this fiscal from Raniganj block in West Bengal, up from 1 million metric standard cubic meter per day (mmscmd) , to nearly 2 mmscmd, Tawde said.

    Source: Livemint

    India gets 1st US LNG shipment at Dabhol

    30 March. India received its first LNG (liquefied natural gas) cargo from the United States (US) under a long-term supply deal when a ship carrying super-cooled natural gas arrived at Dabhol in Maharashtra. A charter ship, MV Meridian Spirit arrived at Dabhol after 25 days voyage from Louisiana, GAIL (India) Ltd said. GAIL has contracted 3.5 million tonnes per annum of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from US energy firm Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass liquefaction facility in Louisiana. The first cargo from the project arrived at Dabhol, the cite of India's biggest gas-fired power plant. It has also contracted long-term volumes for another 2.3 million tonnes at Dominion Energy's Cove Point liquefaction plant. GAIL had signed a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) with the US LNG exporter Cheniere Energy in December 2011. The SPA went into effect March 1. Under terms of the agreement, Cheniere will sell and make available for delivery to GAIL about 3.5 million tonnes a year of LNG. GAIL said India's trade with the USA, which stood at $126.1 billion in 2017, is expected to increase owing to large-scale imports of LNG and crude oil in coming years.

    Source: The Times of India

    R-Series gas field in D6 block to start output in 2020: BP

    29 March. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and BP Plc will start natural gas production from R-Series gas field in the flagging KG-D6 block in the Bay of Bengal by 2020, BP said. Gas production from other newer fields will start by 2021, BP said. While RIL-BP are implementing project to bring to production R-Series of gas field in the KG-D6 block, a government oversight panel headed by upstream regulator DGH (Directorate General of Hydrocarbons) had approved their $4 billion investment plan in two other sets of gas discoveries. In June last year, the partners had announced that they had taken an investment decision to progress development of the R-Series deepwater gas fields in Block KG D6 off the east coast of India, BP said. BP, which holds 33.33 percent stake in KG-D6 block, said in October last year, field development plans for the Satellite Cluster and D55 developments were submitted for requisite approvals. RIL is the operator of the block, holding the remaining 66.67 percent. BP had in mid-June last year announced investing ₹40,000 crore in the three sets of finds to reverse the flagging production in KG-D6 block. These finds were expected to bring a total 30-35 million cubic metres (1 billion cubic feet) of gas a day onstream, phased over 2020-22. The so-called Management Committee headed by the DGH, has already approved separate field investment plans for MJ (D55) as well as a set of six satellite fields and R-Series discovery. MJ gas find is located about 2,000 metres directly below the currently producing Dhirubhai-1 and 3 (D1 and D3) fields in the eastern offshore KG-D6 block and is estimated to hold a minimum of 0.988 Trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of contingent resource. Besides MJ-1, four deepsea satellite gas discoveries — D-2, 6, 19 and 22 are planned to be developed together with D29 and D30 finds on the block. The third set is the D-34 or R-Series find. RIL-BP kept the $3.18 billion investment plan for D-34 or R-Series gas field in the same block, which was approved in August 2013. About 12.9 million metric standard cubic meter per day (mmscmd) of gas for 13 years can be produced from D-34 discovery, which is estimated to hold recoverable reserves of 1.4 trillion cubic feet. RIL has so far made 19 gas discoveries in the KG-D6 block. Of these, D-1 and D-3 — the largest among the lot — were brought into production from April 2009, but output has fallen sharply from 54 mmscmd in March 2010. They together with MA oil and gas field, the only field in production, currently produce 4.9 mmscmd. Other discoveries have either been surrendered or taken away by the government for not meeting timelines for beginning production.

    Source: Business Standard

    India raises locally produced natural gas prices for April-September to $3.06 per mmBtu

    28 March. India has raised the price of its locally produced gas by nearly 6 percent to $3.06 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu) for the April-September period, compared with the previous six months, the website of the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell of the oil ministry showed. India has also set the ceiling price for gas to be produced from difficult fields at $6.78 during April to September compared with $6.30 per mmBtu in the previous six months, the website showed. The prices will be applicable on gross heat value basis. Higher gas prices will lead to higher earnings for Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL).

    Source: Reuters


    NATIONAL: COAL

    CIL to have around 1.5k railway rakes in 7 years: Goyal

    3 April. The government said Coal India Ltd (CIL) has the potential to invest around ₹20,000 crore over the next five to seven years to own around 1,500 to 1,600 railway rakes. The government, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said, is also working towards expanding the rail network. CIL accounts for over 80 percent of domestic coal output. The PSU (Public Sector Undertaking) is eyeing one billion tonnes of coal output by FY2019-20.

    Source: Business Standard

    Western Coalfields sees record 46.22 mt production in FY18

    1 April. Western Coalfields (WCL), a Coal India Ltd (CIL) subsidiary, has registered a rise in coal production for the fourth consecutive year with 46.22 million tonnes (mt) during 2017-18, surpassing its own record of 45.7 mt coal production during 2009-10. This is after the company registered a continuous negative growth for five years from 2009-10 to 2013-14, the company said. Growth in production in consecutive years was possible because of opening of 19 projects during last three years which added to more than 27 mt during 2017-18, it said. In order to have enhancement in production for future sustainability, WCL has taken steps to enhance the existing mine capacity, which will be adding about 6.5 mt during 2018-19, it said. Meanwhile, WCL achieved a new record in despatch of coal as well during 2017-18 by despatching 48.76 mt against the highest ever of 45.509 mt achieved during 2009-10, it said. It also created a record by achieving a growth of 23.5 percent in coal off-take during 2017-18, which is the highest among all the subsidiaries of CIL. During the year, the company despatched 9,204 rakes of coal, which is 28.84 percent higher over last year. With a coal stock of 11.60 mt in the mines as on April 1, WCL said it could successfully despatch coal to its consumers as per their demand. The company expects to cross the 50 mt level of coal production in 2018-19, to achieve a target of 52.5 mt. It will also gear up to achieve the coal despatch target of 58.7 mt during 2018-19. WCL has been successful in getting four coal blocks in Odisha during 2017-18. The company said it plans to have two large opencast mines of 25 mt each to achieve 50 mt production from these four blocks.

    Source: The Times of India

    Mahanadi Coalfields achieves highest ever coal production at 143 mt

    1 April. Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) said it has recorded highest ever coal production in 2017-18 which is 2.8 percent higher than 139.21 million tonne dry fuel mined during the previous fiscal. MCL is the second largest coal producing subsidiary of Coal India Ltd (CIL) and contributes 25 percent of its total production. The company, which operates 15 open cast and 5 underground coal mines in Angul, Jharsuguda and Sundergarh districts of Odisha, has supplied 138.27 million tonne dry fuel to consumers, 112 million tonne of which was dispatched through eco-friendly mode like railways, Merry Go Around (MGR) belt, A K Jha, Chairman and Managing Director of MCL, said. Stating that the 53 km Jharsuguda-Barpalli-Sardega railway line and Sardega Siding would be commissioned shortly, Jha said, The new rail link will have a capacity to evacuate 30-35 million tonne coal annually. MCL is also setting up 10 million tonnes (mt) annual capacity coal washers, two each in Ib Coalfields and Talcher Coalfields, Jha said, asserting that the company is committed to reduce the impact of air pollution in its operational zones.

    Source: Business Standard

    NITI Aayog seeks exploration of coal reserves in Andhra Pradesh

    29 March. NITI Aayog member V K Saraswat met with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to highlight the possibility of exploring coal reserves in the state and using them as a source of income. Saraswat explained that ethanol can be produced from coal reserves available at Chintalapudi, Nuzividu areas in the state, which can then be directly supplied to thermal power plants, thus facilitating the production of electric power at a lower cost. He also suggested that the state government could take assistance from Israel, where advanced technology for producing ethanol from coal is available.

    Source: Business Standard

    CIL meeting with customers over new pricing policy: Chairman

    29 March. Coal India Ltd. (CIL) has planned several meetings with its customers to address their concerns over the new pricing policy which is coming into force from the first week of April, its Chairman Gopal Singh said. Under the new policy, CIL will charge on every unit of gross calorific value (GCV) of the dry fuel, doing away with the grade policy at present. Power producers have raised concerns that the new pricing policy may increase the cost of power production as it does not take into account the weight of moisture in coal.

    Source: Business Standard


    NATIONAL: POWER

    Private power plants’ PLF seen rising in FY19 on CEA estimate

    3 April. The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has set the electricity generation target from conventional sources, which include coal, gas, nuclear and hydro power plants, at 126,000 million units (MU) for FY19, 6.7% higher than power produced from these sources in FY18. In order to achieve this target, state and private power plants would have to raise their annual production by 9.2% and 13.4%, respectively, while generation from central government-owned plants would slip by 0.7%, data from the CEA report showed. The estimate sounds positive for private power plants which are running at very low utilisation levels due to less-than-expected growth in power demand. The plant load factor (PLF) for central government-owned thermal power plants in FY18 was 72.4%, while private power plants were running at 55.1% in the same period. PLFs of less than 60% make it difficult to service debts. Stressed assets in the power sector consist of 34 private power plants with an outstanding debt of ₹1.74 lakh crore. Uttar Pradesh is expected to produce 129,423 million units of power, the highest in the country. It would be followed by Maharashtra at 132,643 million units and Chhattisgarh at 111,858 million units.

    Source: The Financial Express

    BSES, SECI sign power sale agreements

    3 April. Power sale agreements have been signed by the BSES discoms with the with Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI) to procure 200 MW of wind energy, a move which would be helpful in effectively meeting Delhi's peak power demand, the BSES said. The BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd. will procure 150 MW and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd will procure the remaining 50 MW of wind power, the BSES said. A mix of wind and solar power in the discom's power portfolio will be helpful in effectively meeting Delhi's peak power demand. Delhi experiences peak power demand twice in a 24-hour period and this wind power being sourced from the coastal area of Gujarat is expected to support the night peak demand, the BSES said. Last year, the BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd (BRPL) had signed an agreement to procure 100 MW of wind-power with PTC.

    Source: Business Standard

    NTPC’s power generation capacity reaches 53 GW

    2 April. NTPC Ltd, India’s largest power generator, announced it has commissioned two units of 660 MW capacity each at Meja Thermal Power Project in Uttar Pradesh. With the commissioning of the two units, the company’s total capacity has reached 53,651 MW. A joint venture between NTPC and the Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd (UPRVUN), Meja Urja Nigam Private Ltd (MUNPL) achieved its full load of 660 MW from the first unit on 31 March. The state-owned firm is currently building an additional capacity of over 19,000 MW at multiple locations across the country.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Ghaziabad becomes first district in UP to have 100 percent electrification

    31 March. Ghaziabad has become the first district in the state to have electricity in all its households. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath praised the Centre’s Saubhagya scheme and said his government’s efforts to augment the power infrastructure through it would cover the entire state in the future. Since the launch of central government’s Saubhagya scheme on December 17 last year, a total of 80,000 households were given with electricity connection.

    Source: The Times of India

    In Madhya Pradesh, get ready to pay 3 times more than Delhi as power tariff

    31 March. If a power tariff hike proposal from discoms (distribution companies) gets a stamp of approval, you will end up paying three time more than what consumers pay for the same number of units in Delhi. To put it simply, consumers in the state will pay ₹3012 for use of same power consumption for which Delhites shell out ₹961. Madhya Pradesh power distribution companies submitted their annual revenue requirement before the Madhya Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (MPERC) for year 2018-19, seeking a tariff hike of 4%. Experts, however, feel there is an urgent need to review existing tariff in the state, where power tariff is highest in the country. A comparison of the power tariff in Delhi after recent hike there reveals startling difference. In its annual revenue requirement filed before the MPERC, discoms have claimed 70% reduction in losses and hence went for nominal losses. Last year, the discoms had sought a 14% hike in tariff.

    Source: The Times of India

    Electrified 7 lakh households in 10 years: Schneider Electric

    31 March. Schneider Electric India has said it has electrified 7 lakh households in the last 10 years in the country, as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR). Targeting the rural areas, the initiative was undertaken by Schneider Electric India Foundation (SEIF), the CSR wing of Schneider Electric India, a leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation. The company achieved the landmark figure in ten years beginning 2008 to 2018, benefiting about 3.5 million people in remote areas without grid supply, Schneider Electric India said.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Power companies oppose NTPC's supply pact with Bangladesh

    30 March. The Association of Power Producers, a lobby of Indian power companies, has raised objections to an NTPC Ltd subsidiary signing a power supply agreement with Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), arguing that the proposed cross-border sale will be in violation of government policy and detrimental to Indian consumers. The association said it appears that NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) will use discounted coal purchased from Coal India Ltd (CIL) to generate electricity for export to Bangladesh, which should have ideally been supplied to domestic consumers. NVVN has signed a long-term agreement with BPDB for supply of 300 MW of electricity. The supplies are set to start soon. The association has requested the ministry to issue instructions so that coal meant for power generation and supply to Indian consumers is not utilised for BPDB long-term tenders. It has also requested the ministry to issue necessary clarification so that cross-border power supply is done only with imported or coal procured from e-auctions. BPDB invited tender for supply of 500 MW power from India under short-term (1 June 2018 to 31 December 2019) and long-term (1 January 2020 to 31 May 2033) contracts. The bid for this tender was submitted on 11 January.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Delhi government seeks to allay concerns over power subsidy

    29 March. Delhi Power Minister Satyendar Jain sought to allay concerns that the hike in fixed charges, announced by the power regulator, will put extra burden on those availing the government's subsidy scheme. Jain said the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) government would continue with the power subsidy for which a separate amount has already been allotted in the budget. Jain said that contrary to popular perception, the government provides a flat rebate of ₹2 per unit for consumption between 0-200 units and around ₹2.98 per unit for consumptions in the bracket 201-400, instead of a 50 percent subsidy on the actual energy charges. Jain issued a chart according to which a household with a 1 KW connection that consumes 100 units will pay only one rupee more from April while for consumption of 200 units one will save ₹116. The chart shows that in each category of sanctioned load — be it 1 KW, 2 KW, 3 KW or 4 KW - the savings will be more for more consumption.

    Source: Business Standard


    NATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    India to achieve 60 GW wind capacity before 2022: IWTMA

    3 April. The Indian wind industry is on course to achieve the government's 60 GW capacity target ahead of the 2022 deadline as it has already crossed 34 GW mark, the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA) said. IWTMA said that the wind industry witnessed a transition from the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) to the competitive bidding regime in FY2017-18 which resulted in a temporary drop in volume. There was a clear business visibility of 10-12 GW even before the start of this financial year with announcement and plan of bids by the New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) Ministry. The industry is confident of the government's continuous support, IWTMA said. India looks to achieve the target of 175 GW of installed renewable energy capacities by 2022.

    Source: Business Standard

    Cabinet nod soon for ₹500 billion KUSUM scheme on solar farming

    3 April. The KUSUM (Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthaan Mahaabhiyan) scheme, with over ₹50,000 crore government support to promote the use of solar power among farmers, is likely to get the Cabinet nod by this month end and will be rolled out in the first half this fiscal. New and Renewable Energy Secretary Anand Kumar said that under the revised draft of the scheme to be placed before the Cabinet, the amount of central government assistance has been enhanced from earlier proposal. Under the scheme, the government plans to incentivise farmers to run solar farm water pumps and use barren land for generating power for extra income — up to ₹60,000 per acre every year. The Centre's contribution was proposed at ₹48,000 crore under the scheme to aid total solar power generation capacity of 28,250 MW over the next 10 years. He said that India would have half of the installed power generation capacity from non-fossils or renewables like solar, wind and hydro. Apart from 175 GW renewable energy target from sources including solar, wind and hydro, 10 GW each would come from offshore wind power and floating solar project taking the total clean energy capacity to 195 GW by 2022, he said. He said that under the new hydro policy, the large hydro projects (above 25 MW) would also be brought under the definition of renewables and therefore, India would achieve around 250 GW clean energy by 2022 which would be almost half of 520 GW installed capacity planned till that time. India plans to auction 20 GW of solar and 10 GW of wind energy in the current fiscal and same capacities would be auctioned next fiscal also. Thus India would complete the auctions of the planned capacities by March 2020 in view 18 months long implementation period of these projects. He said India's renewable energy capacity excluding large hydro has increased to 68 GW by the end of March this year compared to 57 GW last year around this time.

    Source: Business Standard

    SoftBank, China's GCL team up for $930 million Indian solar venture

    2 April. Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp has agreed to launch a $930 million Indian joint solar energy venture with Chinese firm GCL System Integration Technology Co as part of its India solar investment roadmap. The venture will work on photovoltaic technology, which is used in solar panels. GCL will provide technology and SoftBank will assist in obtaining land and regulatory approvals, GCL said. SoftBank said in 2015 that it would invest up to $20 billion along with Foxconn Technology and Bharti Enterprises in solar projects in India and aimed to have a capacity of up to 20 GW. India has set a target to achieve an operational solar power capacity of 100 GW by 2022, five times current levels, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s renewable energy strategy. The country plans to have a total renewable energy capacity of 175 GW by 2022 through a mix of sources such as solar, wind, biomass and small hydro. India has also been urged to strengthen its power grids and focus on a clear policy framework to bring down the cost of capital investment, the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency said.

    Source: Reuters

    Avaada Power in talks state governments for floating solar projects

    1 April. Renewable energy firm Avaada Power is in talks with various states governments to set up floating solar projects and expects some large tenders to be floated in the next two months, the company said. The company plans to increase its installed solar capacity to 5,000 MW in the next four years, from 1,000 MW at present, and expects a significant share to come from the floating solar power segment. Avaada group chairman Vineet Mittal said the floating solar segment has a potential to generate 300 GW of power across the country. Currently, Kerala has the largest floating solar power plant in India with a capacity of 500 KW. Mittal said that he is also hopeful of some policy framework to come up on feed in tariffs (FiT), which encourages floating solar projects. States like Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal are likely to float tenders for floating solar projects in the coming months. Apart from that, the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) has announced its plans to set up 600 MW of floating solar capacity at the 1,960 MW Koyna hydel power project in Maharashtra. It has also proposed to set up projects in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. According to Mittal, floating solar projects should be encouraged as land becomes a constraint while setting up ground-mounted solar capacities. Avaada has embarked on a plan to invest ₹25,000 crore to set up and own over 5,000 MW of capacity not just in India but across Asian and African countries. Through its engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) business, the company has also set up many solar and wind projects with a capacity of over 5,000 MW across 10 states in India.

    Source: Business Standard

    CIL sets 20 GW solar power generation target in next 10 years

    1 April. Coal India Ltd (CIL) is planning to generate about 20,000 MW in the next 10 years as part of its diversification plan. India has set a target to generate 100 GW of solar power by 2022. According to industry estimates, a sum of around ₹5 crore is required to install 1 MW solar project. Today coal-based power is the cheapest. Renewable naturally will be costly. But the ways work is being done in renewable the day is bound to come when it will be affordable may be after two or three decades, CIL Gopal Singh said. He said that the plan will require 40,000 hectares of land and which is already available with the company. Operating through 82 mining areas, CIL is an apex body with seven wholly-owned coal producing subsidiaries and 1 mine planning and consultancy company spread over 8 provincial states of India.

    Source: Business Standard

    Biggest waste-to-energy plant to come up in Gurugram

    1 April. The city is going to get the country’s biggest waste-to-energy plant with a power generation capacity of 25 MW, which is being developed as part of the integrated solid waste management plant in Bandhwari. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is expected to lay the foundation stone for the project around mid-April even as green activists and local residents are worried about its impact on the environment and viability of the model that has not been very successful anywhere else in the country. The greens claimed a decentralised model of segregation and composting was a better way to deal with the city’s thrash. Ecogreen Energy Pvt Ltd claimed the energy plant coming up on Gurugram-Faridabad road would be bigger than the one (with 24 MW capacity) located in Delhi’s Bawana. The plant was likely to be operational by the middle of 2019 and process up to 2,500 tonnes of waste daily. Gurugram currently generates around 850-900 tonnes of solid waste while another 600 tonnes come from Faridabad on a daily basis.

    Source: The Times of India

    Madhya Pradesh set to use solar thermal-based technologies in industries

    31 March. After solar power, Madhya Pradesh is actively considering to push use of concentrated solar thermal technology (CST) in industrial clusters in the state because of inherent advantages. In CST, mirrors are used to concentrate (focus) solar radiation and convert it into heat to create steam, which can be used in an industry. A meeting with experts and representatives of the United Nations was held in the state to discuss promotion of concentrated solar thermal-based technologies. The state has already installed 1200 MW capacity of solar projects and further 1100 MW installation is in progress. It was decided that industries operating in the five industrial clusters in the state — Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Gwalior and areas bordering Nagpur, shall be targeted for promotion of this technology. Industries where steam is a major input in industrial process can benefit from use of concentrated solar thermal based technologies. Textile, pulp and paper, food processing and chemical industries are some of industries where heated steam is used, said sources.

    Source: The Economic Times

    JERC turns down Chandigarh Municipal Corp’s solar power sale-grid request

    29 March. In a setback to Chandigarh Renewal Energy, Science and Technology Promotion Society (CREST) and Chandigarh Municipal Corp, Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) has turned down the request for allowing solar power generated by the Corp to be fed to grid in gross metering arrangement but to get the billing done on net metering. Net metering is an agreement that allows a consumer to sell excess solar energy to the utility, while in gross metering total solar power generated is exported to grid. According to the solar tariff, the administration has fixed a buying rate at ₹8.57 per unit for gross metering connection. According to JERC regulation 2015, 15 MW solar plant cannot be allowed to be installed against the total sanctioned connection load of 3,913 KW under net-metering. CREST has installed solar power plant with sanctioned load of 3,913 KW at Sector 39 water works. CREST had submitted a petition before the petition stating that it can install 15 MW solar power plant at water works in Sector 39 as per gross metering arrangements but the power department has objected in purchasing the solar power at a higher tariff on grounds that it will increase the average power purchase cost. Chandigarh has been selected by the central government to be developed as a “model solar city” and has set an ambitious target of generating 50 MW of solar energy — both residential and government — by 2022. CREST is struggling due to shortage of space in the city, which is spread in an area of just 114 square kilometre. The society has done well by installing solar plants in 159 government buildings. The response from private sectors has not been impressive so far despite various initiatives taken by the administration. On a request by CREST, JERC cumulative capacity to 50% of the distribution capacity of a transformer, which was earlier restricted to 30%. Last year, CREST had also framed building bylaws making installation of solar power plant on new private buildings mandatory. In the past three years, CREST has generated 20.36 million units, equivalent to reduction of 1,410 metric tonne of CO2 and planting a total of 15.3 lakh trees. Of 20.36 million units, bulk of power has been produced by plants on government buildings.

    Source: The Times of India

    Solar power tariffs rise in Gujarat reverse auction

    29 March. Winning tariffs in Gujarat’s latest solar reverse auction showed significant increase over those in its last auction in September last year, lending further credence to the view that solar tariffs have bottomed out. The lowest bid in the 500 MW auction conducted by Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd. (GUVNL) came from Kalthia Engineering and Construction Ltd, which sought and won 50 MW at a tariff of ₹2.98 per unit. Other winners were Gujarat State Electricity Corp (GSECL), which has also turned developer, and which won 150 MW at ₹3 per unit, Acme Solar Holdings, which won 100 MW at ₹3.06 per unit and Azure Power, which got 200 MW at the same price of ₹3.06 per unit. In the last solar auction held by GUVNL in September 2017, also for 500 MW, winning tariffs had varied between ₹2.65 and ₹2.67 per unit. GSECL and Azure Power had been among the winners in that auction as well, picking up 75 MW at ₹2.66 per unit, and 260 MW at ₹2.67 per unit respectively. This amounts to a 33-39 paise increase in solar tariff in the same state within just six months. The lowest tariff reached so far has been ₹2.44 per unit at a Solar Corp of India (SECI) held auction at Bhadla Solar Park, Rajasthan, in May last year. However, tariffs have been climbing steadily since then. Indeed, recent solar auctions by Maharashtra and Karnataka have evoked tepid response and there was much speculation as to how Gujarat’s auction would fare. GUVNL’s auction, however, was oversubscribed more than three times, attracting technical bids of 1,750 MW against the 500 MW tendered. The main reason, developers believe, is that GUVNL did not set any reserve price for the auction, but allowed them to reach their own level. Gujarat’s solar tariffs are lower than those in Maharashtra and Karnataka because it is among the states with very high solar radiation.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Jamia University to go fully solar from June-end

    29 March. Jamia Millia Islamia will be only using solar energy on its campus from June-end. The University signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI) approved company, Sunsource Energy, that would execute the project on a turnkey-basis and maintain the plant for the next 25 years under Renewable Energy Service Company (RESCO) model. Jamia would be supplied electricity at ₹3.39 per unit for 25 years. The MoU is in line with the central government’s target of installation of 40 gigawatt peak (GWp) grid connected solar rooftops by 2022. After an agreement with SECI, the University would be placing a 2.50 megawatt peak (MWp) solar photovoltaic system on several buildings. Vice-chancellor Talat Ahmed said the university had been working on the plan for the past two years and has been in touch with SECI. The university is looking at a possible future where it would rely on solar energy and have minimum carbon footprint. He said the solar plant would be beneficial for students studying BTech and BVoc.

    Source: The Times of India


    INTERNATIONAL: OIL

    CNPC sells first gasoline to Americas as fuel stocks hit record

    3 April. China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) said it has sold its first ever gasoline to the Americas, with a 35,000 tonne cargo setting sail for the Bahamas on 30 March. The long journey of Chinese gasoline to the Americas is the latest indicator of a refined product supply overhang building in Asia as well as in Europe and as China’s refined fuel inventory hit a record high in February. China’s stocks of refined products hit 21.55 million tonnes at the end of February, up from 18.97 million tonnes in January, data showed. CNPC’s tanker storage asset in Bahamas also allowed the company to put excess fuel and even play arbitrage, traders said. The gasoline was produced at its Qinzhou refinery in Guangxi province, CNPC said. CNPC, parent of PetroChina, started selling its diesel to the Americas in 2015 due to the domestic surplus.

    Source: Reuters

    Russian oil output hits 11-month high in March

    2 April. Russia’s oil output edged up in March to an 11-month high of 10.97 million barrels per day (bpd), slightly above a limit agreed under a global supply pact, the energy ministry data showed. It was the first increase in Russian output since December and the highest level since output of 11 million bpd in April 2017. Under an agreement by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers that came into effect last year, Moscow pledged to cut output by 300,000 bpd from a baseline of 11.247 million bpd based on its output in October 2016. The energy ministry said that in March it cut output by around 280,220 bpd from the October 2016 level. Russian output in March rose from 10.95 million bpd in February. In tonnes, it totaled 46.39 million versus 41.836 million in February. Russian oil pipeline exports in March stood at 4.163 million bpd, slightly up from 4.162 million bpd in February. The current global supply deal lasts until the end of 2018. According to the energy ministry data, Russia’s largest oil company Rosneft and No.2 producer Lukoil both increased their output by 0.1 percent last month from February.

    Source: Reuters

    UAE's Ras Al Khaimah launches petroleum licensing round

    2 April. The government of the UAE's Ras Al Khaimah launched its first petroleum licensing round in a drive to develop the emirate’s natural resources and open up the sector to international oil companies. The licensing round offers seven areas, including four shallow water offshore blocks and three onshore blocks, the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) government said. The round will offer access to existing petroleum infrastructure, including pipelines and oil and gas processing facilities, RAK said. Bids for the licensing round are expected to be received in November 2018. A new exploration and production sharing agreement will govern the petroleum rights for the round.

    Source: Reuters

    Bahrain discovers largest oilfield in decades

    1 April. Bahrain said it had discovered the country’s largest oilfield in decades, located off the west coast of the kingdom. The new tight oil and deep gas resource is expected to contain many times the amount of oil produced by Bahrain’s existing oilfields, as well as large amounts of gas. The oil discovery is the kingdom’s largest since 1932.

    Source: Reuters

    Iraq cabinet approves raising crude oil output capacity

    1 April. The Iraqi cabinet approved a plan to raise the nation’s crude oil output capacity to 6.5 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2022, according to a government statement. Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said in January capacity was currently close to 5 million bpd. The country is producing more than 4.4 million bpd in line with an agreement between the 14-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other exporters including Russia to cut supply to boost oil prices. OPEC’s second-largest producer, after Saudi Arabia, Iraq plans to award oil and gas exploration and development contracts in 11 new blocks on 15 April. The Iraqi government depends on the sector for more than 90 percent of its income.

    Source: Reuters

    Japan's crude imports fall to lowest February level in 49 years

    30 March. Japan’s crude oil imports last month fell 15.4 percent from a year earlier to 2.99 million barrels per day (13.33 million kilolitres), the lowest for the month of February since 1969, monthly data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) showed. Total oil sales last month rose 1.7 percent from a year earlier to 3.55 million barrels per day (bpd), or 15.79 million kilolitres. Kerosene sales rose nearly 8 percent last month from a year earlier as temperatures were colder than normal. Japan imported Tapis Blend crude from Malaysia for the first time since 2013.

    Source: Reuters

    Shanghai oil on par with US market as local traders bet on lower prices

    30 March. Shanghai crude oil futures fell further and were at parity with the United States (US) market, as state oil majors and local traders piled on more bearish bets amid concerns about domestic refinery demand. The latest drop takes the fall since the contract’s launch to 10 percent, underperforming the dominant western benchmarks and raising questions that refiners in the world’s top crude importer were pushing to bring down import costs. For a second day, trading volumes were skewed to the overnight session, with more than 50,000 lots, equal to 25 million barrels of oil. Another factor that could limit demand from the teapots for the Shanghai contract is that the teapots still need to apply for crude import quotas for the second half of the year, China-based traders said. Furthermore, selling pressure from China’s large state-owned oil companies, who are the primary crude buyers for the country, could explain the recent decline in prices.

    Source: Reuters

    Iraq to reduce fees paid to foreign oil companies

    29 March. Iraq will exclude oil by-products from foreign oil companies’ revenues in new contracts expected to be awarded in June, the oil ministry said. Oil producers in Iraq currently receive a fee from the government linked to production increases, which include crude and oil by-products such as liquefied petroleum gas and dry gas. OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries)’s second largest producer after Saudi Arabia decided to change the contracts after a glut caused oil prices to crash in 2014, reducing the government’s ability to pay the fees. Iraq has invited foreign companies to bid for contracts to explore and develop petroleum reserves in 11 new blocks as it seeks to boost output capacity. Companies including BP, Exxon Mobil, Eni, Total and Royal Dutch Shell helped grow production in the past decade by over 2.5 million barrels per day to about 4.7 million barrels per day. The new contracts offered by Baghdad will also set a time limit for companies to end gas flaring from oil fields they develop on territory under its control.

    Source: Reuters

    China taking first steps to pay for oil in Yuan this year

    29 March. China is taking its first steps towards paying for imported crude oil in yuan instead of the US dollar, a key development in Beijing’s efforts to establish its currency internationally. Shifting just part of global oil trade into the yuan is potentially huge. Oil is the world’s most traded commodity, with an annual trade value of around $14 trillion, roughly equivalent to China’s gross domestic product last year. A pilot program for yuan payment could be launched as early as the second half of this year. Regulators have informally asked a handful of financial institutions to prepare for pricing China’s crude imports in the yuan. China is the world’s second-largest oil consumer and in 2017 overtook the US as the biggest importer of crude oil. Its demand is a key determinant of global oil prices. Under the plan being discussed, Beijing could possibly start with purchases from Russia and Angola, one of the people said, although the source had no details of anything in the works. Both Russia and Angola, like China, are keen to break the dollar’s global dominance. They are also two of the top suppliers of crude oil to China, along with Saudi Arabia.

    Source: Reuters

    Some oil exporting countries suggest six-month supply cut extension: Iraqi Oil Minister

    28 March. A number of oil exporting countries have suggested a six-month extension to the oil supply cut deal agreed by OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) countries and non-OPEC crude producers, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said. OPEC and non-OPEC producers led by Russia agreed in November to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018 as they try to finish clearing a global glut of crude while signaling a possible early exit from the deal if the market overheats.

    Source: Reuters

    OPEC to stick to supply curbs despite oil rally to $71

    28 March. OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and its allies look set to keep their deal on cutting oil supplies for the rest of 2018, although some producers are starting to worry that high prices may be giving too much stimulus to rival output. OPEC, Russia and several other non-OPEC producers have curbed output since January 2017 to erase a global glut of crude that had built up since 2014. They have extended the pact until the end of 2018, and meet on June 22 to review policy. The deal has boosted oil prices LCOc1, which topped $71 a barrel this year for the first time since 2014. They were close to $70. But it has also encouraged a flood of US (United States) shale oil, fuelling a debate about how effective the curbs are.

    Source: Reuters


    INTERNATIONAL: GAS

    Argentina outlines plan for $1.6 billion in late natural gas subsidy payments

    3 April. Argentina will pay the $1.6 billion in subsidies it owes to oil companies that increased natural gas production in 2017 in 30 monthly quotas starting in January 2019, the energy ministry said. The incentive program was implemented in 2013 to attract investment to the South American country’s natural gas sector, but Argentina’s cash-strapped government has struggled to pay subsidies on time since it began. Energy Minister Juan Jose Aranguren had outlined the government’s repayment plan, but had not clarified the exchange rate that would be used to calculate the payments, a source of concern for oil companies given that the peso currency has depreciated substantially since last year.

    Source: Reuters

    China cuts resources tax on shale gas production

    3 April. China has cut resources tax on shale gas production by 30 percent from 1 April, the finance ministry said, as the world’s largest energy consumer aims to lift domestic gas supplies. Resources tax on shale production was reduced to 4.2 percent from the previous 6 percent, according to the ministry. The new tax rate will be effective for three years, the ministry said.

    Source: Reuters

    Petronas successfully delivers first LNG cargo to Hokuriku Electric

    3 April. Petronas, though its subsidiary Malaysia LNG Sdn Bhd (MLNG), has successfully delivered its first liquefied natural gas cargo to Japan’s Hokuriku Electric Power Company. The cargo was delivered from the Petronas LNG Complex in Bintulu, Sarawak, which is operated by MLNG, to the Toyama-Shinko Terminal by Seri Amanah, the LNG (liquefied natural gas) vessel chartered by MLNG and operated by Petronas’ subsidiary MISC Bhd. The delivery marks the beginning of MLNG’s supply to Hokuriku Electric via a Sale and Purchase agreement (SPA) signed on 6 December 2016. Under the terms of the agreement, Petronas will supply up to six cargoes of LNG per year for 10 years, through MLNG.

    Source: Rigzone

    Baker Hughes explores sale of gas metering business

    3 April. Baker Hughes, the oilfield services company controlled by General Electric Company, is exploring a sale of its gas detection and metering business that could be worth around $900 million. Oilfield services firms are seeking to tighten their focus to their core operations, as oil prices continue their recovery from their January 2016 lows.

    Source: Reuters

    Tokyo Gas President sees LNG destination flexibility spreading worldwide

    2 April. Japan’s biggest city gas seller Tokyo Gas Co expects that contracts for liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes with destination flexibility will spread from the West and Japan to be a common thing worldwide, Tokyo Gas President Takashi Uchida said. Japan’s Fair Trade Commission last June ruled that destination restrictions that prevent the reselling of contracted LNG cargoes breach competition rules. The decision is set to shake up the Asian market for the fuel in the same way as in Europe. LNG exports from the United States (US) are also free from destination restrictions. In Japan, only Shizuoka Gas has the capability to re-export fuel by re-loading LNG onto ships. Tokyo Gas and JERA, the world’s top LNG buyer, separately renewed their expiring contracts for the fuel from Malaysia, after decades of jointly procuring gas from the country, due to a difference in procurement strategy, Uchida said. Thanks to the buyer’s market, Tokyo Gas, Japan’s second-biggest buyer of LNG, renewed long-term contract for LNG from Malaysia with destination flexibility “at good terms” last month, he said. Tokyo Gas would increase its ratio of short-term and spot LNG cargoes to long-term contracts out of a total of about 14 million tonnes it buys annually. However, the company would not make a drastic cut in long-term LNG volumes of 50 percent by 2030 as that would be too risky, he said. Tokyo Gas is expected to take the first delivery of LNG from the Cove Point project in the US. state of Maryland some time in April to June. The company has a contract to buy 1.4 million tonnes per annum of LNG for 20 years from Cove Point, its first procurement of US shale gas. The company has been arranging with Centrica to exchange a part of its Cove Point offtake with LNG that the British firm procures in Asia Pacific markets, under a location swap deal, to cut transportation costs, but the exact volumes have not been fixed, Uchida said.

    Source: Reuters

    China's Sinopec to more than double LNG capacity, boost shale gas output

    2 April. China’s Sinopec group, parent of Sinopec Corp, aims to more than double its receiving capacity of liquefied natural gas (LNG) over the next six years and lift domestic shale gas production by two thirds by 2020. The plans are part of the state energy firm’s efforts for clean fuel production to account for half of its total energy supply by 2023. Sinopec will have 60 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas supply capacity, which includes both imports and domestic production, by 2023, the group said. It produced 27 bcm of gas in 2017. The group plans to add new receiving facilities for imported LNG along China’s east coast to a total of 26 million tonnes annually by 2023, up from the current 9 million tonnes including the recently launched terminal in Tianjin.

    Source: Reuters

    IMF urges Ukraine to free up gas prices as government stalls

    30 March. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Ukraine should allow the market to determine gas prices as promised under a $17.5 billion loan program, after the government extended a below-market level pricing system for households. In 2016, Ukraine agreed to adjust gas prices to be in line with external market rates, but the government’s failure to implement the decision means the IMF held back disbursing further loans since it approved a tranche last April. The IMF representative to Ukraine, Goesta Ljungman, said that low prices for households amounted to subsidies that were regressive and helped the largest users the most. He did not comment on how the government’s decision affected the outlook for the next loan tranche, but the Fund has previously made clear that adjusting gas prices is a key requirement for further funding.

    Source: Reuters

    Petrobras signs $587 million agreement to build gas processing unit

    29 March. Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has signed a 1.95 billion real ($587.2 million) contract to build a natural gas processing unit in Rio de Janeiro state. Petrobras will begin construction in the second half of 2018, with operations scheduled to begin in the second half of 2020. The unit, located in the city of Itaboraí, will hold a capacity of up to 21 million square meters per day.

    Source: Reuters

    Netherlands to halt gas production at Groningen by 2030

    29 March. The Dutch government said it will phase out gas production at the Groningen field, once Europe’s largest, by 2030 as part of efforts to reduce the danger caused by small but damaging earthquakes. Production is set for 21.6 billion cubic meters (bcm) this year, already down from a peak of 53.8 bcm in 2013, following a series of cuts as decades of extraction have led to dozens of earthquakes each year, damaging thousands of homes and buildings. Economy Minister Eric Wiebes said the cuts will be achieved in part by forcing large industrial users to seek other sources of energy by 2022. The Netherlands is building a conversion plant to make high-calorific foreign gas suitable for use in Dutch systems. Foreign users of Dutch gas in Germany and Belgium will be encouraged to seek other sources, and their contracts not renewed, while Dutch households will be incentivised to reduce gas use and switch to non-gas heating systems. The government said that it intended to cut production at the field from current levels of 21.6 bcm per year to 12 bcm as quickly as possible, after the country’s northern region was hit by the strongest earthquake in years in January.

    Source: Reuters


    INTERNATIONAL: COAL

    China's Luoyan port bans coal imports temporarily from 1 April

    3 April. The eastern Chinese province of Fujian has temporarily banned foreign coal imports into the small port of Luoyan from April 1, according to a government notice. The notice, issued by the city of Fuzhou in Fujian where the port is located, said the ban is aimed at curbing coal imports, but it did not give a reason. The ban may boost domestic thermal coal prices even as demand wanes following the end of the winter heating season, one of the busiest periods of the year for the nation’s coal-fired power plants. In December, China temporarily halted coal imports at some small ports by delaying customs clearance after the total import volume exceeded an unofficial government target.

    Source: Reuters

    Coal tempting after high-value Rio sale: Anglo Pacific

    28 March. A global lack of investment in coal helped to create a record full-year profit for mining royalty company Anglo Pacific and is likely to continue to boost its earnings as many funds shun the sector, its CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Julian Treger said. Anglo Pacific said its income from mining royalties had risen 90 percent last year and its free cash flow more than tripled. Its flagship royalty is for the Kestrel mine in Australia, which Rio Tinto said it had sold for $2.25 billion. The Kestrel royalty deal kicked off Anglo Pacific’s business model. It bought the rights in the 1980s for A $180,000 ($137,970) when coal was discovered on land it owned. Since then, the royalty has delivered more than A$400 million. Treger said Anglo Pacific aimed to diversify and increase exposure to minerals such as copper, nickel and zinc, as well as metals used for alloys to help make vehicles lighter and reduce emissions. Coal, however, may be too good an opportunity to ignore.

    Source: Reuters


    INTERNATIONAL: POWER

    CenterPoint Energy completes $285 million BVC transmission line project in Texas

    3 April. CenterPoint Energy has announced the completion of the Brazos Valley Connection project (BVC), a $285 million transmission line project in the US state of Texas. The 60 mile, 345 kilovolt (kV) electric transmission line is the southern portion of the Houston Import Project. Completed ahead of schedule, the BVC transmission line runs from Grimes County through Waller County, ending in Harris County, Texas. CenterPoint Energy's total project capital cost is approximately $285 million, in line with the estimated range of approximately $270 to $310 million in the Public Utility Commission of Texas' original order regarding the project. The estimated impact to a residential customer within CenterPoint Energy's service territory using 1,000 kilowatt hour (kWh) per month is less than $0.20 per month. In 2014, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas identified the Houston Import Project as critical to providing additional transmission capacity to import power into the Houston area by June 2018. The entire project consists of a 130 mile, 345 kV electric transmission line running from Limestone County to Harris County.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    Europe's digital clocks back to speed after grid operators fix lag

    3 April. Tardy Europeans have one less excuse for being late after Europe’s power network operators fixed a lag of nearly six minutes in mains-powered digital clocks that was caused by a power grid dispute between Kosovo and Serbia. Digital clocks that use the mains frequency in an electric power grid to keep time, like those on microwaves and clock radios, began falling behind earlier this year when the frequency in Europe’s transmission network dropped. The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) said that 26 of its members had carried out a compensation scheme to return the mains frequency across Europe to its standard of 50 Hertz (Hz) from 49.996 Hz. ENTSO-E said that to do so the grid operators had put more energy into the system, maintaining an average electric frequency at 50.01 Hz during March. Serbia and Kosovo maintain conflicting claims of ownership of Kosovo’s power grid.

    Source: Reuters

    Germany's Amprion seeks permission for new power line to North Sea

    29 March. German power network company Amprion is seeking permission from the country’s Bundesnetzagentur (BnetzA) energy regulator to install a high-voltage line that would send offshore wind power from the North Sea further inland, BnetzA said. The 300 kilometre (km) line, called A-Nord, would run from the port of Emden to Osterrath, representing a missing link in the energy transition underway in Germany towards reliance on renewable sources and away from fossil fuels. The cables will use direct current (DC) electricity transmission to speed up point-to-point delivery, differing from alternating current (AC) lines common in Europe. BnetzA said it planned to publish the plans in May, coinciding with the opening of a public consultation. Two more such north-south lines, SuedOstLink and SuedLink, are also being planned and may be completed around 2025.

    Source: Reuters

    Zimbabwe adds 300 MW to national power grid, Hwange expansion soon

    28 March. Zimbabwe added 300 MW to its national power grid and President Emmerson Mnangagwa said work to expand the coal-fired Hwange plant by 600 MW would start soon now that financing had been secured from Chinese investors. The southern African nation has struggled to produce enough electricity due to ageing equipment, with the most recent power plant having been built in 1987. It produces 1,200 MW against a demand of 1,600 MW. The balance is imported from Mozambique and South Africa.

    Source: Reuters


    INTERNATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    Portugal looks to renewables as March output tops mainland power demand

    3 April. For the first time in at least four decades, Portugal’s monthly renewable energy production in March exceeded power demand on the mainland, the report by the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association and the Sustainable Earth System Association said. Renewable energy accounted for 103.6 percent of mainland electricity consumption last month, the report said. While fossil fuel plants still worked for short periods to complement the electricity supply, those were fully compensated by other periods of greater renewable production. Separately the government suspended subsidies for guaranteed power supplies paid to producers, worth about 20 million euros a year, most of which goes to fossil fuel plants left in stand-by mode. Hydroelectric dams in March accounted for 55 percent of monthly consumption followed by wind power at 42 percent. Portugal, with its long Atlantic coast line, was one of the early pioneers in the mass use of wind power. The renewable generation reduced Portugal’s carbon dioxide emissions by 1.8 million tons and helped the country’s export balance.

    Source: Reuters

    NextEra Energy to sell Canadian wind and solar assets to CPPIB for $582 million

    3 April. NextEra Energy Partners has signed an agreement to divest 396 MW of fully contracted wind and solar generation assets in Canada, to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) for $741 million ($582 million). Developed and operated by the affiliates of NextEra Energy Partners, the projects include four wind and two solar farms located in Ontario, Canada. They have an average contract life of approximately 16 years. As per the deal, CPPIB will purchase the 59.9 MW Bluewater wind farm , 22.9 MW Conestogo wind farm; 149 MW Jericho wind farm; 124.4 MW Summerhaven wind farm; 20 MW Moore solar project; and 20 MW Sombra solar farm. In December last year, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Votorantim Energia had agreed to form a joint venture to acquire two operational wind farms in Brazil, totaling 565 MW.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    Vestas bags 10 year contract renewal for 1.1 GW wind portfolio in US

    wind energy, Texas, energy, energy news, ORF

    2 April. Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has secured a 10 year renewal from an undisclosed customer for a 1,150 MW service portfolio made up of four wind projects in the United States (US). Vestas has provided service for the projects, covering multiple Vestas platforms, since their commissioning, and will, with the renewals, extend the service agreements to 10 year terms, including Balance of Plant management. With the long-term service agreements, the customer obtains unparalleled access to Vestas’ global footprint and service expertise, which increase performance through enhanced data driven fleet optimisation services, predictable operations costs and lower energy cost. The long-term service agreements are designed to maximise uptime, performance and energy production. With over 76 GW of projects under long-term service agreements globally including 24 GW in North America, Vestas is the largest service provider in the world.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    Canadian Solar buys 97.6 MWp solar farm in Argentina

    2 April. Canadian Solar, one of the world's largest solar power companies, has acquired 97.6 megawatt peak (MWp) solar photovoltaic (PV) project in Cafayate, Salta Province, Argentina. Canadian Solar plans to start construction on the plant in July 2018. Once connected to the grid by Q2 of 2019, the plant will generate approximately 235,777 MWh of electricity per year, which will be sold to CAMMESA (Compañía Administradora del Mercado Mayorista Eléctrico).

    Source: Energy Business Review

    FirstEnergy to deactivate 4 GW nuclear power plants in US

    29 March. FirstEnergy Solutions (FES) is all set to deactivate three US (United States) nuclear power plants - Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station, Beaver Valley Power Station and Perry Nuclear Power Plant in the next three years, owing to market challenges. The FirstEnergy subsidiary has notified the PJM Interconnection (PJM), the regional transmission organisation of its plans to retire the nuclear power plants, which have a combined capacity of 4,048 MW. FirstEnergy revealed that the 908 MW Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station, located in Oak Harbor, Ohio, is slated to be retired in 2020. The Davis-Besse nuclear power plant was commissioned in 1978 and was built with an investment of $2.22 billion. The 1,872 MW Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport, Pennsylvania and the 1,268 MW Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Perry, Ohio, will both be retired in 2021. The first unit of the $8.52 billion Beaver Valley nuclear power plant was commissioned in 1976 while the second unit was put into service in 1987. On the other hand, the Perry nuclear power plant, built with an investment of $6.02 billion, was commissioned in 1987. The closure of the nuclear power plants will be based on a review by PJM, which will look into possible reliability impacts in the absence of the power generated from them. Until then, the nuclear power plants will operate normally while FES will seek legislative policy solutions as an alternative to deactivation or sale. Nearly 2,300 employees at the three nuclear power plants are likely to be impacted by their ultimate deactivations.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    US President weighs dropping personal efforts on biofuel reform

    29 March. US (United States) President Donald Trump is seriously considering abandoning efforts to remake the nation’s biofuel laws after wading deep into an issue that divides some of his core constituencies. Advisers have urged Trump to instead let Congress tackle the biofuel reforms, but use the threat of administrative action to help rival lawmakers come together and solve the intractable issue. The US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has created reliable demand for corn farmers in the nation’s heartland, but merchant refiners like Valero Energy Corp say the costs to comply with the program have taken a huge financial toll. The largest and oldest US East Coast refinery, Philadelphia Energy Solutions, filed for bankruptcy in January, blaming its financial woes on the biofuels program and drawing Trump into the debate over fears of blue-collar job losses in the politically important state of Pennsylvania. The White House has hosted a series of meetings in recent months in an attempt to change the decade-old RFS, which requires refiners to cover the price of blending biofuels like corn-based ethanol into the fuel supply, creating a lucrative market for growers but a headache for refiners who say it costs them a fortune.

    Source: Reuters

    DATA INSIGHT

    Renewable energy in India: Targets & achievements

    in MW

    Sector2017-18
    Target 

    Achievement

    (April - February, 2018)

    Achievement as % of Target
    Grid-Interactive Power
    Wind Power4000678.1117%
    Solar Power - Ground Mounted90006925.4776.9%
    Solar Power - Roof Top1000369.8537%
    Small Hydro Power20096.848.4%
    Bio Power (Biomass & Gasification and Bagasse Cogeneration)340232.168.3%
    Waste to Power1000%
    Total14, 5508, 302.3357.1%
    Off-Grid/ Captive Power 
    Waste to Energy157.6250.8%
    Biomass (non-bagasse) Cogeneration6010.717.8%
    Biomass Gasifiers7.50.9212.3%
    Aero-Generators/Hybrid systems0.50.1428%
    SPV Systems150165.6110.4%
    Total233184.9879.4%
    Other Renewable Energy Systems 

    Family Biogas Plants

    (numbers in lakh)

    1.10.2320.9%

    Water mills/micro hydel

    (in numbers)

    150/2500%

    Source: Ministry of New & Renewable Energy


    Publisher: Baljit Kapoor

    Editorial Adviser: Lydia Powell

    Editor: Akhilesh Sati

    Content Development: Vinod Kumar Tomar

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