MonitorsPublished on Jun 16, 2018
Energy News Monitor | Volume XV; Issue 1


Coal News Commentary: May - June 2018


CIL said the fuel dispatch to power sector grew by 15 percent in the April-May period of the current fiscal. With the objective to increase the consumption of coal in the power sector, CIL has requested the power ministry to prevail upon power plants situated within 20 km coal mines to lift their entire requirement by road from 2018-19 onwards and to increase the availability of rakes for movement to power plants located far away from the mines. According to CIL, the miner and railways through “their coordinated efforts” have increased rail loading from miner’s own sidings to sustain the spurt in demand from power sector. Besides enhancing dispatches through rail mode, power stations within the vicinity of 50-60 km of the mines having FSA are being offered coal through road and rail-cum-road mode to be lifted by their own transport for further augmenting the dispatch, it said. At the Dadri and Badarpur power plants located in the Delhi Region, CIL is now supplying at least 10 rakes of coal per day as against linked requirement of 7 rakes, to mitigate the immediate spurt in power demand in the region. CIL is holding a stock of about 44 mt of coal as on May 31 and there is “no dearth of coal”, it said. As electricity prices soar with demand growing, GUVNL has invited bids from IPPs for 1,000 MW of electricity on a short-term basis, for eleven months, from August 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. Bids have been invited under the central government’s policy allowing flexible utilization of domestic coal at power generating stations. Also known as coal tolling, this mechanism allows more fuel-efficient power producers to generate electricity using coal allocated to public sector power utilities and supply the electricity so generated back to the utility at a tariff discovered through bidding. According to the tender document released by GUVNL, its subsidiary GSECL will provide coal to the successful bidder from mines allocated to GSECL. Coal will be made available from the Korea Rewa coalfield in Madhya Pradesh and Korba coalfield in Chhattisgarh. GUVNL has fixed a ceiling tariff of ₹ 3.01/kWh. Power producers believe coal tolling could help state utilities such as GUVNL reduce their procurement costs. In one of the first PPAs under flexible utilization of coal policy, GMR Chhattisgarh Energy Ltd is already supplying 500 MW power to GUVNL at a delivered tariff of ₹ 2.81/kWh at the border of the state. Despite the policy coming into force in May 2016, only Gujarat and Maharashtra have signed PPAs under this policy. The government had decided to augment coal supplies to centre/state power plants and IPPs from May 19 to June 30 to overcome shortage of the dry fuel and check power crisis. The decision was taken in a joint meeting of power, coal and railways ministries on May 17, 2018. With demand for power and consequently coal increasing with rising temperatures the government has cut of coal supplies to consumers from other sectors. One of the victims is the aluminium producer Vedanta, India’s biggest aluminium producer. Vedanta Ltd may be forced to reduce output if restrictions on coal supplies to the non-power sector drag on for another week. Vedanta has limited coal stockpiles left at its Jharsuguda smelter in Odisha after a unit of CIL stopped supplies from 18 May. Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd issued orders to halt deliveries to all non-power customers following a government directive to prioritize the electricity industry. The government has prioritized supplies to power stations to boost their inventories, which are near the lowest since mid-February. The decision is set to bring industries that generate their own electricity using coal to a standstill, the Indian Captive Power Producers Association said. An aluminium smelter once shut down needs at least six months to restart. Vedanta will take temporary steps such as purchasing electricity from the grid to prevent a shutdown. Jharsuguda requires 17 mt of coal a year to generate electricity at its captive power plant, half of which comes from contracts with CIL. It sources the rest from imports and auctions by CIL. Vedanta imported 2 mt for the smelter in the year through March. The government said it has finalised the methodology for rationalisation of coal linkages for IPPs. Under the new methodology, dry fuel can be supplied to IPPs plants by a coal company other than the one with which they have signed the pact. The methodology was approved on the basis of the recommendations of a an inter-ministerial task force to optimise transportation cost, among other benefits. It said an Inter-Ministerial Task Force was constituted to undertake a comprehensive review of existing coal sources of IPPs having linkages and consider the feasibility for rationalisation of these sources with a view to optimise transportation cost, given the various technical constraints. This linkage rationalization shall be considered only for IPPs having linkages through allotment route. It said the FSA of the rationalized source from any coal company would be signed/implemented only after the appropriate Electricity Regulatory Commission approves the supplementary agreement. On disputes, the government said these will be resolved as per the provision of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. It said the reduced landed price of coal will lead to savings in the cost of power generated as well as coal transportation. CIL is set to increase supplies by at least 15 mt annually with three new rail projects linked to high-capacity mines almost complete, the company said. The additional supply will be enough to fuel almost 4,000 MW of power plants through the year, which will rise as more coal is transported, the company said. The increased availability comes as demand for power rises with temperatures climbing in the summer. The new rail links will benefit mines belonging to CIL subsidiaries Central Coalfields, Mahanadi Coalfields and South Eastern Coalfields. To begin with, the first two subsidiaries will load seven additional rakes, which will be increased to 13 over the next few months. Each rake can typically carry about 3,800 tonnes of coal and an average of 1.4 million tonnes of coal annually. This near 44 km stretch of railway track in Jharkhand will facilitate transportation of coal from Central Coalfields’ Magadha and Amrapali open cast mines in Jharkhand’s Latehar and Chatra districts, respectively. The second rail project would facilitate supplies from Mahanadi Coalfields’ Basundhara and Kulda open cast mines in Odisha’s Sundargarh district. This 52 km stretch between Jharsuguda and Sardega is complete and is already carrying two rakes a day. It can be increased to five rakes a day within a short , CIL said. There are two railway sidings at Sardega. CIL produced 567.37 mt of the fuel in the year ended March. CIL will try out a new customer-friendly billing system for consumers with NTPC Ltd on a pilot basis, in line with a global quality practice framework. The new billing mechanism will compute prices on every unit of GCV of coal, doing away with the grade policy at present. The GCV unit-based pricing of coal was first announced in January this year. The trial will be conducted with 1-2 plants of NTPC and 1-2 mines of CIL in the first round. If the initial results are positive then the new pricing will cover all the NTPC plants in the second round before extending the new billing system to all consumers. CIL had also met the stakeholders to deliberate on the proposed pricing mechanism and claimed that most of them had supported it. CIL has 17 grades, from 2000 to 7000 GCV, with difference of 300 GCV between two grades. CIL expects the new mechanism to bring down corruption and leave a positive impact on coal production. Earlier, mining workers were not encouraged to cross a grade which was difficult but all miners will now be encouraged to produce more. India’s thermal coal imports rose by more than 15 percent with Indonesia accounting for about three-fifths of total supplies, according to vessel arrival data from Dubai-based coal trader American Fuels & Natural Resources. India’s rising coal imports are contributing to higher demand across Asia this year, which has pushed benchmark Australian coal cargo prices above $100/tonne, a price not seen at this time of year in more than half a decade. Imports rose to 39.6 mt during the three months ended March 31, the data showed. That is up from 34.4 mt of thermal coal during the first three months of 2017, according to Indian government data which matched the data from American Fuels. Government data for the first three months of 2018 has not been released yet. India will likely increase 2018 thermal coal imports after two straight years of declines because of domestic logistic bottlenecks, regulatory changes and surging power demand. However India’s coal import fell by 9 percent to 17.32 mt in April on the back of ample supply of dry fuel from domestic sources. Import demand from thermal power plants remained low due to ample supply from domestic sources, mjunction services said. Of the 17.32 mt dry fuel imported, the import of non-coking coal was 12.3 mt, followed by coking coal at 3.5 mt, among others. The lower volume of coal and coke imports in April could be attributed to a fall in non-coking coal and pet coke imports during the month under review. Also, met coal imports remained flat on a yearly basis, and subdued compared to the previous month, mjunction services said. World Coal Association said that in FY’19 India will see rise in coal imports. According to the CEA data, coal imports by the power utilities came down to 3.731 mt in April this year from 4.798 mt in April 2017 mainly due to lower deliveries at imported coal based plants. In April 2018, however, the total coal imports by power utilities for blending with domestic coal rose to 1.427 mt from 1.078 mt in April last year. The scope of reducing coal import is always more at power plants using domestic coal as they use high gross calorific value imported fuel for blending. The data shows that the coal imports came down by imported coal based power plants in April this year. These plants imported 2.304 mt of coal in April 2018 down from 3.720 mt in the same month a year ago. Experts think that higher international coal prices may have been affecting imports by the power plants based on imported coal.  During April, among imported coal based plants, Tata Power's Mundra Ultra Mega Power Project received 0.509 mt compared to 0.689 mt in the same month a year ago. Similarly, Adani's 4620 MW Mundra Plant received 0.091 mt imported coal down from 1.322 mt a year ago. Essar's 1200 MW Salaya plant and Simhapuri Energy 600 MW plant did not get any imported coal during April this year. However, the two plants had received 0.109 mt and 0.004 mt imported coal during April last year. Coal imports by power utilities in January, February and March this year stood at 4.339 mt, 4.060 mt, 4.396 mt respectively, which indicates a good start in April this year. However, the power sector experts said that there may be increase in coal imports by not only power utilities but by other sectors as well mainly due to transportation issues. The government, however, is doing everything needed to reduce dependence on coal imports particularly by power sector in view of shortage of the dry fuel faced by those. The government has accelerated exploration and drilling of coal in the northeastern states of the country, according to the coal ministry. The ministry is focussing on clean coal technologies for producing clean coal as it would stay on as a primary input for producing thermal power in near future. The government has also issued directives to all coal companies to set up washeries at their coal mining plants to enable them generate Swachh Coal or clean coal for energy generation as well as meet requirements of steel plants. Meghalaya has formed group of ministers to study the current status on the NGT ban on coal mining. The ban on coal mining by NGT in Meghalaya was one of the major issues in assembly election held recently. On April 17 2014, NGT banned the rat hole mining, a practice unique to Meghalaya. About 50% of CIL's receivables from power companies, estimated at ₹ 90 billion, are from four state-owned companies. Damodar Valley Corporation, Mahagenco and West Bengal Power Development Corp together owe CIL about ₹ 10 billion, CIL said. In the case of Damodar Valley Corp, which sells bulk of its power to states like Bihar and Jharkhand, payments from these two states are irregular, leading to large dues. It affects the power company’s ability to settle the outstanding with CIL, though the company is in regular touch with these states for settling dues. CIL’s dues from power companies had touched ₹ 123 billion in February 2018, which has declined to about ₹ 90 billion in May following regular follow up by the executives.

Rest of the World

China’s thermal coal prices jumped more than 4 percent and were on track for their biggest one-day gain since November 2016 as investors continued to fret about supplies due to strong demand. China’s state planner’s order for utilities to stop stockpiling coal and for miners to slash prices triggered a big sell-off. But with inventory at power plants and major ports lower than last year’s levels and the operating rates higher, analysts said worries about supplies linger. Two major Chinese coal-fired power generators have banned spot purchases of thermal coal above certain prices as they expect the market to fall in coming months. China Huaneng Group and China Huadian Corp Ltd, blamed the rally in coal prices since mid-April for “irrational market expectations”, according to internal notices from the two firms. Benchmark thermal coal futures on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange have gained more than 7 percent over the past month, reaching 643 yuan ($101) a ton, the highest level since late February. China’s coal output rebounded from a five-month low in March to 293 mt as miners ramped up domestic supplies after import curbs were tightened. Most of Huaneng’s coal supplies this year have come from long-term contracts with coal miners, with prices lower than spot cargoes. Huaneng and Huadian also called on customs to speed up cargo checks to support coal imports and asked local governments to boost coal output. The eastern Chinese province of Fujian has temporarily banned foreign coal imports into the small port of Luoyan from April 1. China will take steps to bring down coal prices because the recent rally is not supported by market fundamentals, the NDRC said. Two major coal-fired power producers banned spot purchases of thermal coal above certain prices amid a bearish outlook for the market in the coming months. Benchmark thermal coal futures on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange have gained more than 7 percent over the past month, reaching 643 yuan ($100.83) a ton, the highest level since late February. To bring coal prices back within a “reasonable price range”, the NDRC will encourage miners to boost output, adding at least 300,000 tonnes a day from mines in Shanxi, Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia. NDRC puts reasonable coal prices at 500-750 yuan a ton. NDRC expects coal output in the three regions to increase by about 250 mt this year. Combined coal production in these area was 2.3 bt last year, accounting for two thirds of the country’s total coal output. Plans are also being made to improve rail capacity for coal transportation from miners in the western part of the country to coal-fired power plants in eastern regions. China produced 293 mt of coal in April, up 4.1 percent from the same month a year earlier, data from the National Statistics Bureau showed, as miners ramped up domestic supplies after China tightened import curbs. April’s production was also an increase from 290 mt in March, which was the weakest level since October. For the January-April period, output climbed to 1.1 bt up 3.8 percent compared with the same period of last year. China’s second-largest producer, China Coal Energy Company, previously said it produced 6.4 mt of coal in April, up more than 6 percent compared with the same period last year. China adopted tighter anti-pollution restrictions on imports of the fuel in the eastern provinces of Zhejiang, Guangxi and Fujian, helping thermal coal prices bottom out from an eight-month low on April 13. China approved an expansion of a coal mine project owned by Shenhuo Group in Henan province to 2.4 mt from current 900,000 tonnes, the National Energy Administration said. Total investment of the expansion will reach 2.2 billion yuan ($347.4 million). Expansion is part of China’s effort to ensure stable energy supplies and optimise its coal industry. Some North Korean traders are offering cheap coal to Chinese buyers who are stockpiling it at ports inside the isolated country, hoping recent diplomatic moves lead to an easing of sanctions barring purchases of North Korean coal, Chinese traders said. Data shows China has not imported any coal from North Korea since October last year, after the UN banned Pyongyang from exporting coal in September. In 2016, China, Pyongyang’s main trading partner, bought 22.5 mt of coal from North Korea worth almost $2 billion. But the Chinese traders said offers of coal had surged with the meeting of the US President and the North Korean leader. The Chinese traders said they had not personally purchased North Korean coal, but all said they were aware of stockpiling in the hope of sanctions being eased. North Korean coal producers and coal trading houses are allowed to decide prices and volumes for export, even though they are owned by the state and don’t operate in a fully liberalized market, one trader said. If UN sanctions were lifted, the coal could be sold on to steel mills in China. Anthracite produced in China’s Shanxi province currently sells at around 1,020-1,100 yuan ($160-$172) per tonne, data provided by China Sublime Information Group shows. China’s smog-prone Hebei province plans to phase out 12.17 mt of coal capacity at 22 mines in 2018, accounting for 13 percent of its total capacity, local authorities said. Of the 22 mines, 10 belong to state-owned Jizhong Energy Group and eight are owned by Kailuan Group. The province aims to cut a total of 51.03 mt of coal capacity by 2020, leaving 70 mt of capacity. In 2018, China aims to cut 150 mt of coal capacity across the country. Global miner BHP Billiton said that its joint venture with a unit of Mitsubishi Corp would sell a coal mine in Queensland in Australia to Japan’s Sojitz Corp for A$100 million ($74.89 million). The Gregory Crinum hard coking coal mine had ceased production by the end of 2015. BHP said its annual capacity was 6 mt prior to that. Asia’s coal miners, shippers and traders are seeing strong demand and rising prices for their fuel, and they expect this happy situation to persist for several years to come. It was a challenge to find anybody pessimistic about the outlook for coal in Asia, the world’s largest producing and consuming region, at annual gathering of the industry on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. Prices are also performing better recently, with Australian benchmark thermal coal at Newcastle Port up to $101.35/tonne in the week ended May 6, a gain of 11.6 percent from the low so far this year of $90.68 at the end of March. Even low-rank Indonesian coal is performing better, with Argus Media assessing 4,200 kilocalorie per kilogram (kcal/kg) coal at $42.79 a tonne in the week to May 4, up from the 2018 low of $41.08 on April 13, and 18.2 percent higher than the low for 2017 of $36.20 in May of that year. The main driver of coal’s improving performance is Chinese demand, with traders reporting buying interest from China for a variety of coal grades, from low-rank Indonesian fuel to higher quality coal from Australia. Germany could reduce its coal-fired power generation capacity by half in the coming years if planned grid expansion and the addition of new gas-fired plants come online on schedule. Lack of grid capacity is likely to have raised the cost of ensuring a stable energy supply system to a record of more than €1 billion ($1.18 billion) in 2017. The Netherlands will ban the use of coal in electricity generation in the coming decade and shut down two of its five coal-fired plants at the end of 2024 unless they switch fuels. The law applies to plants build in the 1990s, while newer ones will have to shut by the end of 2029, and marks the first step towards the government’s goal of shutting all coal-fired plants by 2030. The first two plants are run by Germany’s RWE and Sweden’s Vattenfall in Geertruidenberg and Amsterdam, respectively, and have been in operation since 1994. The remaining three were built in 2015 and 2016. RWE, which also operates one of the newer coal-fired plants, said it was displeased by the decisions, as they offer no compensation for the ban on coal and for the €3.2 billion ($3.8 billion) RWE said it invested in its newest plant at the request of the government. A federal judge in California struck down the city of Oakland's ban on coal shipments at a proposed cargo terminal, siding with a developer who wants to use the site to transport Utah coal to Asia. In a scathing ruling, US District Judge said the information the city relied on to conclude that coal operations would pose a substantial health or safety danger to the public was "riddled with inaccuracies" and "faulty analyses, to the point that no reliable conclusion about health or safety dangers could be drawn from it." The decision cheered coal proponents while opponents said they would continue to fight for cleaner air. The issue over coal has rocked then San Francisco Bay Area city that is environmentally friendly but also economically depressed in spots.
CIL: Coal India Ltd, FSA: fuel supply agreement. mt: million tonnes, FY: Financial Year, GUVNL: Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd, IPPs: independent power producers, GSECL: Gujarat State Electricity Corp Ltd, kWh: kilowatt hour, PPAs: power purchase agreements, MW: megawatt, km: kilometre, GCV: gross calorific value, CEA: Central Electricity Authority, NGT: National Green Tribunal, NDRC: National Development and Reform Commission, bt: billion tonnes, US: United States, UN: United Nations, kcal: kilo calorie, kg: kilogram


India's petrol, diesel demand rise to record highs in May

11 June. India’s domestic sales for diesel and petrol rose to record highs in May, pushing the country’s overall fuel consumption for the month higher year-on-year, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the oil ministry showed. Fuel consumption, a proxy for oil demand, totalled 18.72 million tonnes last month, during which diesel sales soared to 7.55 million tonnes (mt) and petrol consumption climbed to 2.46 mt - the highest monthly sales figures in PPAC data going back to April 1998. India, the world’s third-largest oil consumer, used 35.2 mt of diesel during January to May this year, up 6 percent from the corresponding period last year. The country’s monthly diesel sales have averaged 7.05 mt in 2018, compared with a monthly average consumption of 6.6 mt last year. Sales of gasoline, or petrol, rose 7.6 percent in May from April and are up 2 percent from the same month last year. Monthly demand for petrol has averaged 2.27 mt this year, up 7 percent from the 2017 average of 2.12 mt. Diesel consumption growth during the calendar year of 2018 may be more than double from last year, analysts and traders told Reuters, aided by an expected regular monsoon that should boost demand for diesel used in harvesting, while the government targets massive infrastructure spending. More than half of India’s population is employed in the farm sector, which depends on diesel to fuel the pumps for land irrigation. Higher domestic consumption in India, however, may cap the country’s capacity to export diesel. India’s diesel exports during March to April this year were 3.79 mt, down 22 percent from 4.87 mt of the industrial fuel exported during the same time last year. Source: Reuters

Haryana CM approves e-auction for allotting petrol pumps, CNG sites

11 June. Haryana Chief Minister (CM) Manohar Lal Khattar has approved introduction of e-auction with an amendment in the policy for allotment of petrol pumps, CNG (compressed natural gas) or PNG (piped natural gas) sites to various oil companies in the urban estates of Haryana Shehari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP). Rajiv Jain, Media Advisor to the CM, said that the decision was taken by a committee set up under the chairmanship of the chief administrator, HSVP. The committee has reached the conclusion that in order to inject transparency in the allotment process, e-auction would be adopted and only OMCs (oil marketing companies) and city gas distribution (CGD) companies would be allowed to participate. The sites would be on leasehold basis and designated as filling-cum-charging stations. Jain said with the introduction of e-auction, the existing system of branding the site as petrol or diesel pump, would be discontinued. Source: Business Standard

Centre to challenge HC order on Barmer contract extension

7 June. The government will appeal against a Delhi High Court (HC) order asking the Centre to extend Cairn India Ltd's contract for the Barmer oil field in Rajasthan for 10 more years beyond 2020 on original terms and conditions set in 1995. Cairn's 25-year contract for the Barmer block RJON-90/1 is due for renewal on May 14, 2020. But a new policy approved in March last year allows extension of contracts beyond the initial 25-year period only if companies operating the fields raise the government's profit share by 10%. Source: The Times of India

IOC's crude production jumped 65 percent last fiscal

6 June. Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the nation's largest fuel retailer, recorded a 65 percent jump in crude oil production to 2.66 million tonnes last financial year (2017-2018), the company said. The company plans to source 10 percent of its crude requirement from its own oil and gas assets. The company is engaged in exploration activities in nine domestic blocks and 10 overseas blocks, with participating interest ranging from 3 percent to 100 percent. The 10 overseas blocks are located in nice countries including- UAE, Russia, Canada, USA, Venezuela, Libya, Nigeria, Gabon and Iran. IOC had acquired 3 percent participating interest in Lower Zakum Concession in Abu Dhabi last year in consortium with ONGC Videsh Ltd and Bharat PetroResources. IOC’s share of reserves increased by 150 million barrels of oil equivalent and daily production increased by 12,000 Barrel of oil equivalent per day. Source: The Economic Times

Petrol, diesel will not be allowed to go out of reach of common man: Oil Minister

6 June. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan vowed to not allow petrol and diesel prices go out of reach of the common man, saying the government is working on a holistic solution to price volatility without going back on reforms. Blaming geopolitics of oil, exchange rate fluctuations and local taxes for petrol and diesel prices touching a record high, he said the government is sensitive and will ensure that "poor, middle class are not pained." The government had deregulated or freed petrol pricing from its control in June 2010 and diesel in October 2014. It allowed revision of prices on daily basis since mid-June last year to reflect changes in cost instantly. Pradhan refused to say if the solution being considered includes asking oil producers like ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corp) cough-up some money so that fuel can be subsidised, like it used to do till 2015. He said taxes on petrol and diesel are made up of excise duty charged by the centre, and sales tax (VAT) charged by state governments. Source: Business Standard


22 more UP cities to get piped gas at home

11 June. As many as 22 more towns and cities of Uttar Pradesh (UP) will soon be supplied piped natural gas (PNG), Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan announced. In the state capital to take part in a road show, he said that the cities and towns that would be added to the PNG network include parts of Allahabad, Bulandshahr, Meerut, Moradabad, Unnao and Hathras, Bhadohi, Aligarh, Kushinagar, Kaushambi, Amethi, Pratapgarh, Rae Bareli, Etawah, Auraiyya, Kanpur rural, Sultanpur, Faizabad, Gorakhpur, Sant Kabeernagar, Shamli and Muzaffarnagar fully. The cities already on the PNG loop include Bareilly, Agra, Meerut, Mathura, Kanpur, Firozabad, Khurja, Jhansi, Moradabad, Allahabad, Lucknow, Saharanpur, Bulandshahr, Baghpat and Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Pradhan also announced that the Modi government had sanctioned Rs 10,000 crore to strengthen the gas network in Uttar Pradesh through which the 2000 kilometre (km) pipeline in the state will be taken up to 3,000 km. Source: Business Standard

Oil Minister inaugurates 2 CNG stations in Cuttack

10 June. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated two compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in Cuttack district of Odisha. With this, four CNG-dispensing stations have become commercially operational in the twin city of Odisha- Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. Two more CNG stations are coming up at Khandagiri and Tamando. Over the coming years, more than 20 CNG stations will be commissioned in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack to supply CNG to vehicles. Earlier in December 2017, the Minister had inaugurated two CNG stations at Chandrasekharpur and Patia in Bhubaneswar. Meanwhile, Pradhan attended the 9th City Gas Distribution (CGD) bidding round programme in Bhubaneswar. He further sought Odisha government's help to set up CGD networks in the state. Source: Business Standard

Arbitration award in RIL-ONGC gas row next month

10 June. An international arbitration tribunal has concluded hearing in the $1.55 billion claims made against Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and its partners for allegedly syphoning gas from deposits they had no right to exploit and is expected to pronounce a judgement next month. The panel headed by Singapore-based arbitrator Lawrence Boo has concluded hearings on the validity of the government's demand that RIL and its partners BP plc of UK and Canada's Niko Resources pay for "unfairly" producing natural gas belonging to Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC). The three-member panel is likely to give its award in July. The oil ministry on November 4, 2016, slapped a demand of $1.47 billion on RIL-BP-Niko combine for producing in seven years ending March 31, 2016 about 338.332 million metric British thermal units (mmBtu) of gas that had seeped or migrated from ONGC's blocks into their adjoining KG-D6 in the Bay of Bengal. RIL is the operator of the KG-D6 block with 60 percent interest while BP holds 30 percent. The remaining 10 percent is with Niko Resources. Source: Business Standard

Gujarat Gas raises CNG, PNG prices

7 June. Consumers of industrial piped natural gas (PNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) will have to cough up more as Gujarat Gas Ltd (GGL) has hiked the retail price of CNG and industrial PNG. The state PSU (Public Sector Undertaking), however, has kept PNG prices for residential and commercial users unchanged. The city gas distribution company has increased CNG price by Rs 1.10 per kg, raising it from Rs 49.65 per kg to Rs 50.75 per kg (inclusive of taxes) with effect from June 6. GGL supplies CNG to 6 lakh vehicles in several parts of the state including Gandhinagar, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Surendranagar, Morbi, Nadiad, Anand and areas from Bharuch to Vapi in South Gujarat. The company operates 291 CNG stations across Gujarat. PNG for industrial category has been raised by Rs 1.75 per standard cubic meter (SCM) from June 5. Source: The Times of India


CIL ensures better coal quality, output: Goyal

11 June. The government has worked to ensure superior coal quality for consumers along with a focus on lowering costs of electricity, Railway and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said. He said the historic reforms undertaken in the coal sector, including allowing commercial mining, have led to increased energy capacity and fuel efficiency in the country. He described commercial coal mining as the "most ambitious reform" in the sector. As many as 89 coal mines have been auctioned and all the revenues allotted to coal mining states, he said. He said that the 105 million tonnes of increased production achieved by Coal India Ltd (CIL) in the last four years took almost seven years to achieve in the period prior to 2013-14. Source: Business Standard

India using lesser coal to generate power under Modi government

11 June. India burns 8 percent less coal to generate the same quantity of power as it did 4 years ago leading to reduced power cost, thanks to improved efficiency in using the dirty fuel. Also, in the past 4 years, total production by state-run miner Coal India Ltd (CIL) has jumped by 105 million tonne (mt) while the same growth could be achieved in 7 years before 2013-14. These are some of the highlights of the Modi government’s 4 years’ achievements shared by the coal ministry. The ministry said 55.6 mt of coal quantity movement has been rationalised leading to annual potential savings of Rs 3,359 crore. The government has also established timeline for setting up 14 critical projects for coal evacuation to increase transportation of the fuel, according to the statement. Source: The Economic Times

Coal India’s realisation from e-auctions rose 20 percent last fiscal

11 June. Coal India’s average realisation from e-auctions has jumped 31% during the March quarter and 20% for FY18 on higher demand and international prices. However, its realisation from sales through fuel supply agreements rose only 2% in the quarter from a year ago, but was up 19% from the preceding three months after the company raised prices. For the full fiscal year, price realised from fuel sales agreements fell about 3% as it had to deliver more coal to power plants to meet additional demand. This fetches a lower price than e-auctions.  KPMG India said coal output was lower than the initial target. Coal India said the trend was likely to continue this fiscal also. Source: The Economic Times

CIL refutes Nabha Power allegation of coal shortage

9 June. The claim of the Nabha Power to shut down its 750 MW plant at Rajapura in Punjab due to inability of the Coal India Ltd (CIL) to offer coal is not true, CIL said. The L&T group firm Nabha Power closed its Rajapura plant stating that it was forced to take the decision due to shortage of coal supplied by the CIL. CIL said the Nabha Power should gear up lifting the allotted coal and rush it to its plant instead of blaming coal crisis for the shutdown of the plant. Source: Business Standard

Reliance Power's plea seeking increase in coal production rejected

6 June. Reliance Power contended that the plant faced shutdown due to a shortage of coal. Reliance Power sought permission to mine 19 mtpa (million tonnes per annum) coal per year beyond 2017-18. The High Court said that the Government is already examining requests to increase variations in mining cap. Reliance Power also sought an increase production limit from 17 mtpa to 19 mtpa from Moher, Moher-Amlohri coal blocks for captive use of Sasan Power project. Source: Business Standard


6-hour power cut across Ludhiana leaves residents fuming in dark

10 June. The five to six hour-long power cuts left city people sitting in the dark. Jalandhar bypass, Salem Tabri, Pakhowal, Haibowal, BRS Nagar and several small localities in Ludhiana witnessed the power cuts. The people received got respite only after six in the morning. Giving a reason, Punjab State Power Corp Ltd said the broken electrical poles during the storm and rainfall led to the prolonged power cuts. Source: The Times of India

Rs 6.6 bn recovered for power theft in Haryana

9 June. The vigilance wing of Haryana power department claimed to have set a record by collecting Rs 666 crore through fines imposed on defaulters indulging in theft of electricity during 2017-18. Director (vigilance wing) K K Sharma attributed the achievement to the efforts made by the vigilance teams and the officials of power utilities on this achievement. According to information, the joint teams recovered Rs 337 crore as penalty on electricity thefts, Rs 275 crore was recovered as default amount from consumers whose connections had been disconnected and Rs 53 crore under a special drive in Gurgaon and Bahadurgarh. Source: The Times of India

KMC asks electrical department to elevate feeder boxes

8 June. Taking a lesson from three electrocution deaths in the city in past two years due to inundation of streets, the Kolkata Municipal Corp (KMC) has asked the CESC and officials of its own electrical department to elevate all electrical feeder boxes, especially in the low-lying and waterlogging-prone areas. This matter was discussed with due importance at a pre-monsoon meeting at the KMC headquarters which was attended by mayor Sovan Chatterjee, state irrigation minister Soumen Mahapatra and senior officials of the KMC, irrigation, PWD, KMDA, CESC and state fire services department. Chatterjee himself raised the issue during the meeting and asked the KMC officials to take the initiative to coordinate with the CESC officials so that the feeder boxes are elevated on war footing before monsoon sets in. Chatterjee said that the both the KMC and the CESC officials were asked to work hand in hand so that no jurisdiction problem arises. Source: The Times of India

Use underground cables for mega power grid: Farmers

8 June. A group of farmers, who have come out against the Power Grid Corp of India’s mega project of linking Pugalur in Karur district and Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh, have demanded that the transmission lines should be laid underground. The co-federation of various farmers’ associations was involved in talks with the officials of Power Grid Corp of India and Tamil Nadu Transmission Corp in Chennai for the last two days. The Rs 5,700 crore project will consist of a whopping 1,830 kilometre link to connect southern states with the northern states to transmit about 6,000 MW. In Tamil Nadu, the transmission lines will cross at least 14 districts including Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Karur, Dindigul, Trichy, Namakkal, Salem, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Vellore, Villupuram and Tiruvannamalai. The Power Grid corporation has established an electrical sub-station in Pugalur in Tirupur district, which is reportedly Asia’s second largest. Five mega transmission lines from Arasur and Edaryarpalayam and Maivadi of Coimbatore district, Thrissur of Kerala and Tiruvannamalai will reach the sub-station. More transmission lines from various other places are also likely to reach the sub-station. Since the transmission lines will be established through agricultural lands, farmers fear that it will affect their livelihoods. Source: The Times of India

Sweltering heat pushes peak power demand in Delhi to all time high of 6.9 GW

8 June. Amid sweltering heat, the peak power demand of the national capital soared to an all time high of 6,934 MW, showed Delhi State Load Despatch Centre figures. On June 1, the peak power demand soared to 6,651 MW breaking the record of 6,526 MW on June 6, 2017. This is the fourth time in the current month that last year's all-time high record of peak power demand of 6,526 MW has been broken, power discom (distribution company) BSES said. The Power department and distribution companies of the Delhi government have expected the peak demand to breach 7,000 MW mark in June this year. Delhi's Power Minister Satyendar Jain had earlier predicted 7,000 MW power demand saying enough electricity was available to meet the rising demand. This year, the peak power demand crossed the 6,000 MW mark eight times, BSES said. Power demand had crossed the 6,000 MW only twice (6,021 MW on May 16 and 6,001 on May 26, in 2017. In 2016 too, the peak power demand had crossed the 6,000 MW twice (6,044 on May 19 and 6,188 on May 20). The fact that the city's power demand crossed the 6,600 MW shows the robustness of the capital's distribution and transmission system, which has been able to measure up, BSES said. The peak power demand in BSES discom BRPL areas -- South and West Delhi -- had reached 2,745 MW during the summers of 2017 and is expected to cross 2,880 MW this year. In BYPL's areas of East and Central Delhi, the peak power demand which had reached 1,469 MW last year is expected to touch around 1,670 MW, he said. The Tata Power DDL, which supplies to north and northwest Delhi, expects peak demand to touch 1,850 MW and said it has prior arrangements of meeting up to 2,200 MW power demand. Source: Business Standard

Power rates in Haryana may be reduced soon: CM

8 June. Haryana Chief Minister (CM) Manohar Lal Khattar said electricity rates may be reduced soon in the state. He said consumers with no electricity metres would be given an opportunity to pay their bills on the basis of the average of last one year. He said other defaulters would also be given two years-time to pay their pending bills in 12 instalments, adding that no penalty would be levied on them. He said the power rates in the state may be reduced soon. In Kaithal district, power losses ranging from 20 to 83 percent are registered in villages only. The state government has been successful in reducing power losses through the 'Mhara Gaon Jagmag Gaon' scheme. Under this scheme, five districts of the state namely, Gurugram, Panchkula, Ambala, Sirsa and Faridabad, are being provided 24-hour electricity. Source: Business Standard

All electricity meters to be smart prepaid in 3 yrs: Singh

7 June. Power Minister R K Singh said all electricity meters in the country will be smart prepaid meters in the next three years. He was addressing a meeting with meter manufacturers. The Minister advised them to scale up the manufacturing of smart prepaid meters as the demand would go up in the coming years. Singh also advised the officials of the ministry to consider making such meters mandatory after a particular date. This will revolutionise the power sector by way of reduced AT&C (aggregate technical and commercial) losses, better health of discoms (distribution companies), incentivisation of energy conservation and ease of bill payments etc. Further, it will generate employment for skilled youth, the ministry said. The meeting discussed various aspects of smart meters like BIS certification, compatibility with RF/GPRS, harmonisation with existing digital infrastructure. Source: Business Standard

Adani wins power transmission bid for UP power plant

6 June. Adani Group company Adani Transmission Ltd has won the bid for laying the transmission line for the 1980 MW Ghatampur thermal power plant in Uttar Pradesh (UP). Adani pipped two other bidders, including Power Grid Corp of India Ltd (PGCIL) and Kalpataru Power Transmission Ltd by emerging as the lowest bidder for laying the transmission lines for the much-delayed power plant. The plant is estimated to cost Rs 156 billion, while the contract for laying 4 transmission lines for the unit has been awarded for a consideration of Rs 22.60 billion. The contract would be valid for 35 years and the state power utility would pay rent for using these transmission lines for relaying power. The Yogi Adityanath cabinet last evening approved the name of Adani Transmission to develop the transmission lines for the Kanpur-based Ghatampur unit, which would feed energy to the Western UP and Agra regions. The power plant is likely to go full steam by 2011, although a 660 MW unit is projected to be complete by November 2020, followed by two other 660 units by May 2021 and November 2021 respectively. Meanwhile, the Yogi Adityanath government has also decided to set up anti-power theft police stations in all the 75 districts of UP. Manned by 28 police personnel, each thana would be headed by an inspector and comprise 5 sub-inspectors apart from head constables, constables and support staff. The infrastructure is being created to curb rampant power theft across the 5 power distribution companies (discoms) in the state, which results in massive financial losses and power outages. In all, the energy department would recruit 2,157 personnel to man these anti-power theft police stations. At the end of 2015-16 fiscal, the accumulated losses of UP power discoms had breached Rs 600-billion mark. Under Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY), the state had made budgetary provisions of Rs 400 billion to issue bonds to discoms to partly clean their books. UP has always grappled with high aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses of about 40%, which was targetted to be tamed to 10%. Source: Business Standard

All UP districts to have special police stations to check power theft

6 June. UP (Uttar Pradesh) cabinet gave its nod to establishment of dedicated police stations in all 75 districts of UP to check power theft. The move comes amid recurrent incidents of power pilferage to the tune of over 30% causing massive revenue losses to the state government. Power Minister Shrikant Sharma said that at least 28 police personnel headed by an inspector would be deployed in each police station in every district. The proposal to establish a dedicated police station was mooted during the previous Akhilesh Yadav regime but it could not be implemented after it was kept pending in the cabinet. Soon after the BJP stormed to power it expedited the proposal and formalized the rules and act under which cases of power theft would be registered. The energy department wrote to the home department seeking its permission to establish police outposts in selected few districts. Agra was initially selected for the purpose. UP government to get cracking of power pilferers also comes in the wake of recurrent line losses to the tune of over 30% despite the Central Electricity Authority asking the state government to bring it down to at least 15%. Source: The Times of India


Solar installations in India rise by 34 percent in Q1

12 June. Solar installations in India increased by 34 percent to 3,269 MW in the first quarter (Q1) of 2018 compared with the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Mercom Communications. Mercom Communications said that the surge in installations in first quarter of ongoing calendar year was primarily on account of completion of projects which were scheduled for commissioning the previous quarter, but had experienced delays due to grid connection issues. This was the first quarter of over 3 GW installed in the Indian solar market and the fifth quarter in a row where at least 2 GW of solar installations. The cumulative solar installed capacity totalled 22.8 GW at the end of Q1 2018. Source: Business Standard

BHEL bags Rs 1.2 bn contract for solar power plants in Gujarat

12 June. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) announced it has bagged two orders worth Rs 125 crore for setting up solar photovoltaic power projects in Gujarat. The first order for a 20 MW plant has been placed by Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd (GACL), while the other for setting up a 10 MW power plant has been received from Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC). Both the solar power plants will be set up at Gujarat Solar Park at Charanka. Source: The Economic Times

Tamil Nadu to study feasibility of 250 MW floating solar power plant

12 June. In a bid to reduce evaporation of reservoir water and increase sourcing of solar power, Tamil Nadu is looking at the feasibility of setting up a floating solar power plant, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said. He said that the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corp and another company will study the feasibility of setting up 250 MW floating solar power plant at an outlay of Rs 1,125 crore. He said the government will come out with a new Energy Policy. He said the state's Solar Power Policy will be aligned with the Vision Tamil Nadu 2023 document that has set a target of 8,884 MW of solar power capacity by 2023. Source: Business Standard

Tata Power Renewable signs power purchase pact with GE

12 June. Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd said it has entered into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with GE to provide solar rooftop solutions for six manufacturing and services sites in India. The project would be executed on build-own-operate basis, the company said. The installation of the solar rooftop projects will help to generate over 1 million kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity per year, and will lead to an average tariff reduction of around 30 percent, the company said. GE will also be able to curb the emission of over 13,000 kilogram (kg) of carbon dioxide per day. Source: Business Standard

Tata Power bags 150 MW solar project in Maharashtra

11 June. Tata Power said it has bagged the contract for setting up a 150 MW solar project in the state from the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL). The company's subsidiary Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd (TPREL) has bagged the contract and will sign a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with MSEDCL. This project is a part of MSEDCL's 1,000 MW grid connected solar power projects for which the state utility had invited bids through competitive bidding process and e-reverse auction for a period of 25 years. Tata Power's vision is to have 35-40 percent of the company's total generation capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2025. Currently, the company's renewable energy capacity has crossed 2,000 MW and green generation portfolio (consisting solar, wind, waste heat recovery and hydro) has crossed the 3,400 MW mark. Source: Business Standard

HC stays construction of all hydro power plants in Uttarakhand

11 June. The Uttarakhand High Court (HC) ordered a stay on construction of all hydro power plants in the state and directed the district magistrates to identify sites within eight weeks for disposal of debris from every project. The court prohibited waste disposal within 500 metres of rivers, sternly rejecting the state government's request to reduce the range from 500 metres to 200 metres, and said all district magistrates shall be personally held responsible if any waste is disposed of at any place other than the ones earmarked for the purpose. Noting with concern the receding glaciers and depleting water levels of the rivers flowing through the state, the court set a deadline of 8 weeks within which all district magistrates of Uttarakhand have to identify and demarcate the muck disposal sites for every hydro power project under construction in a scientific manner. Putting a stay on all ongoing hydro power projects in the state, the court said building hydro electricity projects on rivers like the Ganga and its tributaries was tantamount to overburdening them. Source: Business Standard

Kerala gets solar-powered school in Alappuzha

9 June. Thampakachuvadu Government UP School in Alappuzha has become the first school in the state to run on solar power. Power Minister M M Mani will make a declaration in this regard in last week of June. The 56-year-old hi-tech school in Mannancherry grama panchayat with 975 students and 31 teachers has installed solar panels with the help of the Energy Management Centre (EMC), Kerala and can now save up to Rs 4,000, which was spent on power bills. Now, all the 23 classrooms, including 14 smart classrooms of LP and UP sections equipped with laptops, projectors and screens, five classrooms of the nursery division and the school office are functioning using solar power. It all started with a promise made by the EMC after the students of the energy conservation club at the school who took part in its festival during the last academic year won prizes in various competitions. The installation works of the solar panel was kicked off in February this year and the project was completed in March. Source: The Times of India

Indian companies wary of China dumping solar equipment

9 June. China’s decision to scale down its solar energy targets and subsidies will deliver another blow to Indian manufacturers who are already facing an onslaught of cheap imports from the neighbouring country. China’s decision is a blessing for Indian solar power developers as the existing capacity in China would be diverted to India, further bringing down prices here, but it could make the already troubled Indian solar manufacturers sore. Domestic manufacturers say they are already rattled by the ripple effects of further dumping by the Chinese manufacturers in India, once their internal demand is met. The module prices in India are likely to come down by up to 25%, industry experts say, which would render the equipment manufacturers in India uncompetitive. Indian Solar Manufacturers’ Association last year filed a safeguards petition to probe the solar imports from China and Malaysia. Source: The Economic Times

Agra students develop solar car to protect Taj from pollution

8 June. A four-seater solar car that can attain a top speed of 30 kilometres per hour (kmph) has been developed by students of an engineering college to protect the Taj Mahal which, as per some reports, is slowly turning brownish-yellow due to rising air pollution in the city. Priced at Rs 50,000, the car named 'Nexgen' has been created by students of ACE college of engineering and management, Agra using recycled and scrap materials. With petrol and diesel vehicles contributing overwhelmingly to the city's already polluted skyline, the zero-fumes solar car can help clean up the air, Sanjay Garg, Chairman of the college Garg said. The students said solar cars for one or two people have been developed abroad, but theirs can easily seat four. Source: Business Standard

IIT Madras team's solar powered system can convert plastic into fuel

7 June. Scientists from IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Madras have developed a solar powered system to convert non-recyclable plastic into fuel that can substitute diesel used in generators, furnaces and engines. The technology - which consists of a mobile unit that can collect and process waste - currently yields around 0.7 litres of fuel oil per kilogramme of plastic, researchers said. The team showcased its project on the occasion of the World Environment Day, hosted by the United Nations in New Delhi. The theme of this year's World Environment Day was "Beat Plastic Pollution". The conversion of plastic to fuel involves a process called pyrolysis - a thermochemical treatment that exposes the material to high temperature in the absence of oxygen, leading it to go through physical and chemical changes. This creates a low density fuel oil by breaking down the polymer chain of plastic at the temperature of 350- 500 degrees Celsius. This oil can be used as a substitute for diesel to power generators, furnaces and engines. Source: Business Standard

Punjab has potential of over 1.5 GW solar projects

7 June. Punjab Power Minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar said the State has the potential of more than 1,500 MW for installation of canal top solar power projects after conducting the mapping on the main canals. He said the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has sanctioned 100 MW capacity in the country, out of which, 20 MW capacity pilot-cum-demonstration project for development of Grid Connected Solar PV Power Plants on canal tops has been allotted to Punjab. Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) has successfully completed and commissioned the entire 20 MW capacity projects allotted to the State, he said. He said that the two projects of 7.50 MW each have been commissioned on Ghaggar Branch Canal and Ghaggar Link Canal in March 2018 and two of 2.50 MW each were commissioned on Sidhwan Branch Canal and Ghaggar Branch Canal respectively in March 2017. Source: The Pioneer

Paytm Founder co-launches $150 mn environment protection fund

6 June. Paytm Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma and venture capitalist Shailesh Vickram Singh have joined hands to launch a $150 million environment protection-focused fund. The launch of the stage-agnostic, yet sector-focused Massive Fund is the second example of a notable entrepreneur and well-known venture capital investor coming together to launch a new investment vehicle, after UIDAI architect Nandan Nilekani and Helion Ventures cofounder Sanjeev Aggarwal launched their $100 million, consumer technology and software-focused fund - The Fundamentum Partnership - in July last year. The Delhi-based, deep science and deep IP-focused fund will undertake investments in startups, companies and individuals working on the agenda of pollution reduction aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It will look to back ventures operating in green city, clean food, carbonless future, reducing plastic pollution, clean energy and forest restoration. Source: The Economic Times

HCC bags Rs 7.3 bn contract for Bangladesh nuclear power plant

6 June. Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) announced that its JV (joint venture) with MAX Group has won a Rs 737 crore contract from Russia for a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh. The contract includes civil works of Turbine Island for Unit 1 of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). The Rooppur NPP will be built with Russian technology and is equipped with two VVER reactors of 1,200 MW each. These reactors are similar to the Kudankulam NPP in Tamil Nadu. HCC has become the first Indian company to participate in the international civil nuclear market. Recently, India signed an agreement with Bangladesh for civil nuclear cooperation, under which India has extended expertise and project support for Bangladesh's first NPP. India not being a member of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) cannot participate directly in the construction of atomic power reactors. But Indian companies can be involved in construction and installation works and in the supply of equipment of non-critical category. Source: Business Standard

India aims to partner with UN to promote use of solar energy

6 June. India aims to partner with the UN (United Nations) to use solar energy at the world body's premises as part of the efforts to protect and preserve environment, the country's Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin has said. India was the global host for the World Environment Day celebrations this year. Marking the day, the Indian government announced its pledge to eliminate by 2022 all single use of plastics in India. It also committed to making a 500-metre area around 100 historic monuments, including the iconic Taj Mahal litter-free and free from plastic pollution through the Taj Declaration. He expressed hope that by next year's World Environment Day commemoration, solar energy will be part of the energy mix used in the UN headquarters. Akbaruddin said while the human civilisation has made all-round progress in controlling diseases and benefiting from technological marvels, the rapid change is also impacting the planet's environment in various ways, through over reliance on fossil fuels and unsustainable consumption and production patterns. He said that a series of efforts were being undertaken in India to reduce the single-use-plastic pollution. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has personally led the campaign for more sustainable lifestyles, including campaigns on improving cleanliness of the country's cities and villages and cleaning of rivers, he said. The University Grants Commission in India, the body that oversees Universities in the country, directed all institutions of higher learning to stop the use of plastic cups, plastic packaging, plastic bags, disposable food service cups, plates, containers made in polystyrene foam and plastic straws on their campuses and restrict single-use plastic water bottle and encourage the use of refillable bottles. Outlining efforts undertaken in India to protect the environment, Akbaruddin said fishermen in Kerala were helping reduce, collect and recycle the plastic while in Mumbai, government and local community have come forward to undertake huge efforts to clean beaches. Kochi airport became the first airport in the world in 2015 to run completely on solar power, he said. Source: Business Standard

Government approves continuation of off-grid solar PV applications scheme

6 June. The government approved proposal to implement phase-III of off-grid and decentralised solar PV (photovoltaic) applications programme to have additional 118 MWp (megawatt peak) off-grid solar PV capacity by 2020. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs - chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi - has given approval for implementation of off-grid and decentralised solar PV application programme phase-III. As many as three lakh solar street lights will be installed throughout the country with special emphasis on areas where there is no facility for street lighting systems through grid power -- North Eastern States and Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts-- under the scheme. The solar power plants of individual size up to 25 KWp (kilowatt peak) will be promoted in areas where grid power has not reached or is not reliable. This component is mainly aimed at providing electricity to schools, hostels, panchayats, police stations and other public service institutions. The aggregated capacity of solar power plants will be 100 MWp. The off-grid solar systems will also open better livelihood opportunities for beneficiaries in rural and remote areas thereby increasing self-employment in such areas. It is estimated that, besides increasing self-employment, the implementation of Phase-III is likely to generate employment opportunity equivalent to 8.67 lakh man-days for skilled and unskilled workers. Off-grid and Decentralized Solar PV Applications Programme has high impact in the rural and remote areas of the country where grid power has either not reached or is not reliable. During the Phase-III, the scheme is likely to benefit 40 lakh rural households. Source: Business Standard


Venezuela oil upgraders halting operations amid export crisis

12 June. Venezuela’s state-run PDVSA and partners have halted operations at two upgraders that convert extra-heavy oil into exportable crude and plan to stop work at two others, a move aimed at easing the strains from a tanker backlog that is delaying shipments. Venezuela’s problems exporting oil this month led PDVSA to notify customers it would begin sea-borne transfers in an attempt to ease a bottleneck at its ports, where more than 70 vessels are waiting to load about 23 million barrels of oil. PDVSA also told clients they could not send new tankers until the ships waiting to load were serviced. In the January-April period, Venezuela’s crude production fell to the lowest annual average in over three decades and oil exports fell 28 percent to 1.19 million barrels per day (bpd). PDVSA President Manuel Quevedo, who is also Venezuela’s Oil Minister, recently said the upgrader at Petro San Felix would be halted for repairs in July, but the program was moved ahead to this month. PDVSA and its partners typically produce diluted crude oil (DCO), made with extra-heavy crude and imported naphtha, during maintenance, but production and export levels usually decline compared with regular output. Most of Venezuela’s upgraded oil is sold on the open market, not through long-term supply contracts. Source: Reuters

Norway's parliament approves plan for Arctic oilfield

12 June. Norway’s parliament gave a green light for Equinor’s 47.2 billion Norwegian crown ($5.85 billion) plan to develop the Johan Castberg oilfield in the Arctic Barents Sea. Parties from the center-right government and the main opposition Labour Party joined forces to ensure a 91-10 majority vote for the field development. Johan Castberg, which is expected to start in 2022, would become the second producing oilfield in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea after Eni’s Goliat field, which started in 2016. Equinor, which changed its name from Statoil last month to become a broader-based energy firm ning everything from oil to wind, has dropped plans to build an onshore oil terminal to handle exports from the 558 million barrel field, to cut costs. Parliament nevertheless asked the government to look into the option and report back by the end of 2018. Norway’s largest union of oil workers, Idustri Energi, has welcomed parliament’s push for the terminal, saying it could create more jobs in the country’s Arctic region. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) estimates the Barents Sea holds more than half of yet-to-be discovered oil and gas resources on the Norwegian continental shelf. Six oil companies plan to drill about 10 exploration wells in the Barents Sea off Norway this year. Source: Reuters

Saudi Arabia to supply full July crude oil volumes to some Asian buyers

12 June. Saudi Arabia has informed five Asian refiners that it will supply full contractual volumes of crude oil in July. The world’s top crude exporter has also reinstated contracted volumes of Arab Heavy crude to one buyer after cutting supplies in the previous month. Three other refiners in Asia said they have not received their July allocation. The state oil giant maintained full contractual supplies to Asia for June supplies by replacing Arab Heavy with Arab Light. Saudi Aramco raised the official selling prices for all crude grades for its Asian customers in July, with flagship Arab Light rising to the highest in four years. Source: Reuters

Iraq to expand Nasiriya oilfield production to 100k bpd: PM

12 June. Iraq’s government voted to expand production from its Nasiriya oilfield to 100,000 barrels per day (bpd), Prime Minister (PM) Haider al-Abadi said. The oil ministry said that Iraq planned to increase production from the oilfield to 200,000 bpd from 90,000 bpd in the next few years without seeking assistance from international firms. Source: Reuters

Iran to issue bonds for investment in oil sector

12 June. Iran will issue bonds in the coming months to fund oil projects, the head of its Securities and Exchange Organization (SEO) said, a month after the United States (US) withdrew from a nuclear deal and said it would reimpose unilateral sanctions. The US sanctions on Iran’s petroleum industry will take effect on November 4, but many European refiners, as well as buyers in Asia, are already winding down Iranian oil purchases. In May, French oil major Total said it might pull out of its investment in Iran’s South Pars gas field if it cannot secure a waiver from the US government. Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said that foreign investment was needed to develop its oil industry, but that it could survive if foreigners decided to stay away. Source: Reuters

Exxon starts drilling at offshore Guyana projects

12 June. Exxon Mobil Corp said it started development drilling in three offshore Guyana projects, which could produce more than 500,000 barrels of oil per day. The company said it expects to start producing oil from these developments in 2020. The projects include the conversion of an oil tanker into a floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which would have a production capacity of 120,000 barrels of oil per day. A second FPSO with a capacity of 220,000 barrels per day is being planned and a third is under consideration, the company said. Source: Reuters

Some French petrol stations run dry as farmer blockade continues

12 June. Oil and gas major Total said that 3.5 percent of its petrol stations in France had run out of fuel on the second day of a blockade of refineries and fuel depots by farmers that has disrupted distribution. Farmers are protesting against France’s decision to allow Total to use imported palm oil at a biofuel plant, which would compete with biodiesel made from locally produced oilseed crops, further souring relations between the EU (European Union)’s biggest farm sector and the government of President Emmanuel Macron. Total, which operates 2,200 petrol stations and five of France’s seven refineries and nine depots, said the depots and four refineries were still blocked. The refineries were still operating. Total had urged customers not to rush to petrol stations to fill their tanks, which could spark panic buying and shortages. French authorities last month gave Total permission to use palm oil as a feedstock at its La Mede biofuel refinery in southern France, infuriating farmers who grow crops such as rapeseed. Environmentalists also blame palm oil cultivation for deforestation in southeast Asia. Total argues its plans call for using less palm oil than allowed by the authorities, offer an outlet for 50,000 tonnes of locally produced rapeseed and will develop large-scale recycling of used oil and fat. Source: Reuters

Finland to reduce stake in oil refiner Neste

12 June. Finland said it would sell 12.8 million shares in oil refiner Neste, representing about 5 percent of the company. After completion of the sale, Finland’s holding in Neste will fall to 44.7 percent from 49.7 percent, the Finnish state said. The oil refiner’s shares will be offered to Finnish and international institutional investors via an accelerated bookbuild, the Finnish state said. Earlier in the year, Finland gave up control of the oil refiner by donating shares to a charitable foundation when it donated shares worth 50 million euros ($58.79 million) to a Finnish foundation. Source: Reuters

Iraq will look at oil output after OPEC makes decision

11 June. Iraq will look at whether to increase oil output if OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) decides to lift production at a meeting on June 22, Iraq's Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said. Luaibi said Iraq’s current oil output was within the agreed limit with OPEC at around 4.325 million barrels per day. Source: Reuters

Russia's Gazprom Neft readies for oil output hike as global deal seen easing

9 June. Gazprom Neft, the fastest-growing Russian oil major in terms of output, is ready to hike crude production if the global deal on output cuts is eased, company head Alexander Dyukov said. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other leading oil producers including Russia have agreed to cut their combined output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in order to smooth out global oil stockpiles and support oil prices. The OPEC and non-OPEC ministers will meet in Vienna on June 22-23 to discuss the future of the deal, which is valid until the end of the year. He said that the company would be able to hike its oil production by 5,000 tonnes per day (36,650 barrels per day) if the restrictions are scrapped. He said that if the deal is kept in place, Gazprom Neft’s oil production will be stable, at 62.3 million tonnes (1.25 million bpd) this year. Source: Reuters

Iran to increase oil production by 460 mn barrels in 3 yrs: Oil Minister

9 June. Iran is pursuing a plan to increase its oil output by 460 million barrels within three years, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said. The plan will focus on increasing output from 29 oilfields, including in Ilam, Khuzestan, Gachsaran, Falat Qareh and Fars, Zanganeh said. The bulk of the work to increase the output at the oilfields will be carried out by Iranian companies, Zanganeh said. Source: Reuters

BP complains to Canada regulator about Enbridge oil pipeline actions

8 June. Oil producer BP Plc complained to Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) regulator about Enbridge Inc’s implementation and then abrupt reversal of new rules for shipping crude on its Mainline pipeline system, NEB documents showed. Enbridge notified shippers that it would introduce a supply verification procedure to determine each company’s volumes on the Mainline, but then scrapped the policy. Source: Reuters

Valero Memphis refinery plans large crude unit overhaul in July

6 June. Valero Energy Corp plans to overhaul the large crude distillation unit (CDU) at its 190,000-barrel per day (bpd) Memphis, Tennessee, refinery in July. The 110,000 bpd Crude East CDU is scheduled to be shut for about a month to complete the overhaul. Source: Reuters


America's gas exports may double prices by 2040

12 June. American gas prices could double by 2040 as the US (United States) exports more liquefied natural gas, but consumers will be shielded as production of the fuel increases and trade balances improve. That’s the conclusion from a study commissioned by the US Department of Energy that found an almost 50 percent chance of gas reaching $5 to $6.50 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu) over the next two decades. US consumers won’t suffer, the study said, because LNG exports will boost the economy while higher output helps mitigate the cost. The US is already shipping record amounts of super-cooled natural gas overseas as production from shale basins surges. The nation is now a net exporter of the fuel for the first time since the 1950s, putting the US on course to rival Qatar and Australia for global LNG (liquefied natural gas) dominance in the next five years as new Gulf Coast terminals start up. US gas futures have averaged about $2.90 per mmBtu over the past year amid ample supply. Some groups, including several Democratic lawmakers and manufacturers, have argued that a jump in LNG exports would send prices sharply higher, hurting consumers. Source: Bloomberg

Albania's Albgaz and Italy's Snam sign gas JV deal

11 June. Snam has signed a joint venture (JV) deal with Albania’s newly-created Albgaz to provide operational and maintenance services for gas pipelines in Albania, the Italian company said. Albania is looking to make the most of the opportunities offered by the arrival of gas in 2020 by the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, of which Snam is one of the shareholders, but requires investment to bring its gas infrastructure up to scratch. Albgaz will distribute natural gas in Albania but has said the system requires “massive rehabilitation works”. Albgaz manages 500 kilometre (km) of gas pipes built 40 years ago. The planned JV follows the purchase of a majority stake in neighbour Greece’s DESFA gas grid operator in April for €535 million ($662 million) by a consortium led by Snam. Source: Reuters

French regulator recommends 8.1 percent increase in gas tariffs

11 June. French energy market regulator CRE has recommended an 8.1 percent increase in gas tariffs paid by 4.7 residential and business in France to Engie from July 1, due to the global increase in gas prices. The CRE, which recommends regulated gas and electricity tariffs to the government for a final decision, said Engie’s supply costs are expected to increase by around 3 percent as of July 1 due to higher natural gas prices. Regulated gas prices are expected to end in France after a decision by France’s highest administrative court in July last year said the regulated gas tariffs fixed by CRE, hurt competition and were against EU (European Union) regulations. Source: Reuters

Sonatrach signs gas exploration deal with Total, Repsol

11 June. Algeria’s Sonatrach signed an exploration and development contract with France’s Total and Spain’s Repsol for the Tin Foye Tabankort gas field in block 238, the state energy firm said. The three firms will invest $324 million to keep output at 3 billion cubic metres of gas per year for the next six years, Sonatrach said. Source: Reuters

CNPC gas pipeline explosion injures 24 people in southwest China

11 June. A gas pipeline operated by China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) exploded in Guizhou province in southwest China, injuring 24 people, with three in critical condition. The blast occurred in the Shazi district of Qianxinan city in Guizhou province. The pipeline is an extension of a Myanmar-China gas line that delivers natural gas from Kyaukpyu on Myanmar’s coast to southwest China. After the explosion, automatic safety control systems closed the pipeline. A similar blast caused by heavy rains and a landslide near the same section of pipeline in Shazi killed eight and injured 35 in July 2017. Source: Reuters

LNG trade grows 10 percent in 2017 as US, Australia boost exports

11 June. Global liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade grew by 10 percent last year due primarily to growing liquefaction capacity in the Australia and the United States, the US (United States) Energy Information Administration (EIA) said. LNG trade reached 38.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in 2017, up 3.5 bcfd from 2016 and the largest annual volume increase on record, the EIA said, citing the Annual Report on LNG trade by the International Association of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers. New liquefaction export capacity commissioned in Australia, the US and Russia, collectively added 3.4 bcfd of liquefaction capacity. Russia’s new capacity only came online in December. The world’s first floating liquefaction plant, Malaysia’s 0.2 bcfd PFLNG Satu, was also commissioned in 2017, EIA said. Including additions in the US and Australia, liquefaction projects currently under construction are projected to increase global capacity by 13.5 bcfd by 2022, EIA said. One billion cubic feet of natural gas is enough to fuel about five million US homes for a day. In 2017, there were 19 LNG exporting countries and 40 importing countries. Besides Australia and the US, EIA said several other countries also increased LNG exports in 2017, including Angola, Nigeria, Malaysia, Algeria, Russia and Brunei, which together added another 1.4 bcfd of exports. That more than offset a combined decline of 0.6 bcfd in exports from Qatar, Indonesia, Norway, Peru, the United Arab Emirates and Trinidad, the EIA said. Asian countries led growth in global LNG imports, accounting for 74 percent, or 2.6 bcfd, of the increase in 2017. Japan remained the largest LNG importer at 11.0 bcfd in 2017. China had the largest growth in LNG imports globally at 1.5 bcfd and became the world’s second-largest LNG importer at 5.2 bcfd in 2017, surpassing South Korea. LNG imports also increased in South Korea, Pakistan, Taiwan, and Thailand, which collectively added 1.0 bcfd. Europe increased its LNG imports by 1.4 bcfd, primarily in Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, and Turkey. In North America, Mexico’s LNG imports increased by 17 percent as the country continued to rely on LNG supplies amid declining domestic production and construction delays in infrastructure connecting the Mexican domestic grid to gas pipeline exports from the US. Source: Reuters

Italy's ENI on track to double Ghana's gas output

8 June. Italy’s ENI is on track to deliver the first gas from its Ghana operations this month, with output rising to 180 million cubic feet per day, enough to more than double national output by year end. ENI, which began oil production from a 45,000 barrel per day reserves a year ago, will start pumping natural gas on June 26 from its Sankofa reserves in a second phase of the company’s $7.9 billion Offshore Cape Three Point project. Ghana currently pumps oil-associated gas from two offshore fields operated by UK’s Tullow Oil, including its flagship Jubilee reserves which came on stream in late 2010. Ben Asante, chief executive of Ghana Gas, said he expected Ghana’s total output to be between 300 million and 350 million cubic feet per day by year end, when ENI’s project is on tap. Presently, the country uses around 95 percent of its gas supplies on power generation, Asante said. Ghana is obliged to use light crude oil to supplement. Source: Reuters

Possible to reduce Groningen gas output faster: Dutch Economic Affairs Minister

7 June. Production at the Groningen natural gas field could be reduced to less than 12 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year by October 2020, faster than planned, the Dutch Economic Affairs Minister Eric Wiebes said. Output was projected to drop to below 12 bcm from its current cap of 21.6 bcm per year within four to five years under plans announced by Prime Minister Mark Rutte in March aimed at ending production at Groningen by 2030 due to the damaging earthquakes it causes. But that goal is likely to be reached earlier, Wiebes wrote, as measures to reduce demand for Groningen gas have made promising progress in recent months. Extra capacity to convert high-caloric imported gas to the low-caloric gas needed for the Dutch network and switching large industrial users off Groningen gas could cut production to less than 12 bcm by 2021, Wiebes said. Reductions in German demand and purchases of nitrogen to mix with imported gas could even see that target reached a year earlier. These measures combined could allow for a fall in Groningen production to less than 4 bcm by 2022 in an average year, or 7.5 bcm in a cold year, Wiebes said. He will present a draft plan for setting Groningen’s production cap for the year beginning in October by the end of August, he said. That plan will be based largely on the projections made in March, the Minister wrote, as the extra reductions identified are mostly expected in the year starting October 2019. Source: Reuters

Exxon seeks to sell out of Tanzanian gas field

7 June. Exxon Mobil is seeking buyers for its stake in a large undeveloped gas field off Tanzania, as the company focuses on the development of an even bigger project in neighbouring Mozambique. Exxon holds a 35 percent stake in Tanzania’s deepwater Block 2 field that was discovered earlier this decade. It holds an estimated 23 trillion cubic feet of gas, according to the Norway’s Equinor, which operates the block and holds a 65 percent stake. The prospect has faced repeated delays in recent years due mainly to a lack of infrastructure and regulation for the country’s nascent oil and gas sector, complicating any sale. Tanzania has moved down the priority list for Exxon after it acquired a 25 percent stake in the gas-rich Area 4 development offshore Mozambique $2.8 billion from Eni last year. Area 4, holding an estimated 85 trillion cubic feet of gas, is one of the world’s largest gas discoveries in recent years, and far bigger than the Tanzanian field. The project is also far more advanced - it is already under development and expected to start production in 2022. Houston-based Exxon has also taken charge of the development of the liquefied natural gas plant at the site. Source: Reuters

Brazil court suspends sale of gas pipeline network TAG

6 June. Brazil state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) said that an appeals court has suspended the sale of gas pipeline company Transportadora Associada de Gás, known as TAG. Petrobras, as the oil company is known, is currently in discussions with France’s Engie SA over the sale contract. TAG is expected to be sold for more than $7 billion. Source: Reuters

Cove Point LNG facility in US set for planned outage in autumn

6 June. Dominion Energy Inc’s Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) production facility in the eastern United States (US) will undergo a brief maintenance shutdown in the autumn, the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thomas Farrell said. Asked whether there would be any interruption in LNG exports from the site on the coast of the state of Maryland, Farrell said that would depend on whether gas storage tanks with capacity to hold nearly 15 billion cubic feet of the commodity were exhausted. The Cove Point facility, with a nameplate annual capacity of 5.25 million tonnes of LNG, has been at full production of LNG from natural gas since April, Farrell said. Source: Reuters


China's Inner Mongolia to close 22 small coal mines this year

11 June. China’s top coal mining region Inner Mongolia will shut 22 small coal mines this year with a combined annual capacity of 11.1 million tonnes (mt), local authorities said. The closures are in line with Beijing’s push to streamline the industry by shutting down small, inefficient mines and adding new capacity at bigger, more modernised mines. Inner Mongolia expects to complete a 2020 target of cutting 54.14 mt by 2018, the authorities said. The region will also continue to phase out more small coal mines with outdated equipment and give their capacity quota to big miners, the authorities said. China has targeted cutting its total coal production capacity by about 150 mt this year as part of a drive to cut pollution. Source: Reuters

Australian coal prices hit 6-year high as Asia demand spikes

8 June. Australian thermal coal prices have risen to their highest level since 2012 as hot weather across North Asia spurs buying ahead of the peak summer demand season. Spot prices for thermal coal cargoes for export from Australia’s Newcastle terminal last closed at $115.25 per tonne, the highest level since February 2012. Thermal coal, the world’s most used fuel for electricity generation, has surged by 130 percent since its record lows below $50 per tonne in 2016 following a years-long decline. In recent weeks, a heat-wave in North Asia and restocking ahead of the hottest summer months in July and August have led to soaring demand for both residential and industrial cooling, traders said. The increased demand for the North Asian summer has led to a traffic-jam of dozens of ships waiting at Newcastle to load coal. The bull-run is providing Australian coal miners like New Hope and Whitehaven Coal with a revenue boost in an industry that is being increasingly shunned by investors because of its high levels of pollution. Source: Reuters

China May coal imports flat as government controls stifle buying

June 8. China’s coal imports in May were almost unchanged from the same month a year earlier as tight government curbs on shipments, designed to cool an overheating market, kept a lid on foreign coal buying. Coal arrivals in May inched up to 22.33 million tonnes (mt) from 22.28 mt in April, data from the General Administration of Customs showed - less than 1 percent up from May 2017. For the first five months of 2018, coal imports were up 8.2 percent at 120.73 mt, customs data showed. Source: Reuters

US Interior Department weighs plan to save Navajo coal plant from closing

7 June. The US (United States) Interior Department may use executive powers to prevent a large coal-fired power plant from shutting down next year in Arizona, the latest attempt by the Trump administration to throw a lifeline to at-risk coal and nuclear plants. The Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation said that a 1968 law gives Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke power to require an Arizona water project to buy energy from the Navajo Generating Station, or NGS, a 2,250 MW coal-fired power plant that is scheduled to close in 2019. The proposal fits neatly with a broader effort by the administration of President Donald Trump to keep aging coal and nuclear plants from retirement, arguing their closure would constitute a threat to national energy security. Source: Reuters

Germany sets up body to plan exit from coal

6 June. Germany’s government appointed a commission to decide this year on the timetable for a withdrawal from coal as an energy source, ending a months-long tug-of-war over the line-up of the decision-making body. With brown coal mines being the only truly domestic resource in a country reliant on energy imports, Germany faces a lot of internal wrangling over when to abandon coal-burning to meet ambitious climate goals by 2030, as it also wants to be free of nuclear by 2022. The cabinet appointed a 24-strong group which includes Matthias Platzeck and Stanislaw Tillich, former prime ministers of brown coal-mining states Brandenburg and Saxony, which are industrially weak regions where losses of thousands of jobs, even if spread out over years, will hurt. Coal-to-power production both from brown coal and imported hard coal accounts for 40 percent of Germany’s total power production, making the exit from coal difficult while maintaining reliable supply to industries and households. Source: Reuters


Egypt to cuts electricity subsidies in latest austerity move

12 June. Egypt announced new cuts to electricity subsidies, raising prices by an average of 26 percent from July, the latest in a raft of tough economic reforms. Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker said electricity costs for factories would rise by 42 percent and for households by 21 percent. Egypt has committed to deep cuts to energy subsidies and other tough fiscal measures as part of a three-year, $12 billion International Monetary Fund loan programme begun in 2016. The government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, re-elected for a second term this year, intends to take further tough measures, including fuel subsidy cuts expected in the summer. The government has said electricity subsidies will be phased out completely by the end of the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Source: Reuters

NRG sheds US power plants to focus on retail customers

6 June. US (United States) power company NRG Energy Inc wants to boost the size of its retail business as it sheds more than half of its power plants, Chief Executive Officer Mauricio Gutierrez said. NRG serves around three million homes and businesses. In the past, NRG racked up billions of dollars of debt by diving into the renewable energy business at the same time US power prices sank as cheap and abundant natural gas from shale formations flooded the market. Gutierrez wants to grow the retail business, especially in the Northeast where NRG still has more generation than it needs to serve customers. Gutierrez wants to increase the size of the retail business through organic growth, but will consider acquisitions if the right opportunity presents itself, like its purchase of retail provider Xoom Energy earlier this year. Source: Reuters


No growth in US solar installations this year

12 June. New US (United States) solar installations in 2018 will stay at the same level as last year due to weakness in several major residential markets and a slowdown in big projects after a rush to beat a tax credit deadline, GTM Research said in the report commissioned by the Solar Energy Industries Association. The zero-growth forecast came despite a 13 percent rise in the first quarter to 2.5 GW, accounting for 55 percent of total US generating capacity added, the report said. New solar installations, which surged for much of the last decade, fell almost 30 percent in 2017 to 10.8 GW because developers in 2016 completed a slew of projects ahead of a scheduled expiration of a key tax credit that ultimately was extended, the report said. Government policies that supported renewable energy and a sharp fall in the price of the technology propelled expansion. The tariffs will be felt mostly next year and beyond, GTM said, reducing its 2019 utility-scale forecast by 600 MW. Source: Reuters

Rosatom deal to build China nuclear power units worth $3.6 bn: CNNP

10 June. China National Nuclear Power (CNNP) said that two deals signed with Russian state nuclear company Rosatom for the construction of four nuclear power units in China were worth a combined $3.62 billion. Rosatom said it would construct two units each at the Xudabao and Tianwan nuclear plants. All four units will feature Russia’s latest Gen3+ VVER-1200 reactors. The reactors and all other necessary equipment will be developed and supplied by Russia. Source: Reuters

Global solar forecasts lowered as China cuts support policies

7 June. China’s unexpected move to slash incentives for solar power has sent stocks into a free fall and prompted analysts to lower forecasts for global installations this year amid expectations that a glut of excess panels would send prices tumbling. China announced on June 1 changes to the subsidies that has underpinned its rise to become the world’s largest solar market in recent years. IHS Markit, a market research firm, was preparing to lower its global solar installation forecast for this year by between 5 and 10 GW, or up to 9 percent, analyst Camron Barati said. The impact in China, which accounts for half the global market, could be up to 17 GW, the firm said. Another market research firm, Wood Mackenzie, said that China’s capacity additions would likely be about 20 GW lower than it had expected. Source: Reuters

BlackRock and Lightsource BP acquire 57 MW in UK solar assets

6 June. BlackRock Real Assets and Lightsource BP acquire 57 MW of solar assets across seven sites in the United Kingdom (UK), Lightsource BP said. The acquisition was made through BlackRock-Lightsource BP’s 1 billion pound ($1.34 billion) Kingfisher partnership, which targets UK solar power farm investments. The deal bolsters Lightsource BP’s UK solar portfolio to 2 GW. BlackRock Real Assets is invested in more than 40 UK solar projects, representing about 450 MW of capacity. Source: Reuters

EDF renewables unit steps up solar and wind projects in France

6 June. The renewables unit of French utility EDF is on track to meet its objective of installing 200 MW of onshore wind power capacity this year after surpassing its 2017 target with 290 MW of projects completed. EDF Energies Nouvelles has connected two wind farms with 100 MW of capacity, and has seven others with a total capacity of 120 MW to be completed by the end of the year. Source: Reuters


Coal Production in India: Target & Achievement

Million Tonnes

All India Target All India Achievement
2011-12 554 539.95
2012-13 574.4 556.4
2013-14 604.55 565.77
2014-15 630.25 609.18
2015-16 700 639.23
2016-17 724.71 662.79
2017-18 662* 676.51^
* only for CIL (600 Million Tonnes) & SCCL (62 Million Tonnes) ^Provisional figure Coal Production by Sectors Source: Ministry of Coal & Questions of Rajya Sabha & Lok Sabha  

Publisher: Baljit Kapoor

Editorial Adviser: Lydia Powell

Editor: Akhilesh Sati

Content Development: Vinod Kumar Tomar

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