MonitorsPublished on Oct 06, 2021
Energy News Monitor | Volume XVIII, Issue 13

Quick Notes

Energy price spikes: Intermittency of renewables and the call on firm capacity    

The call on Natural Gas

The price of natural gas and coal as fuels for power generation has increased across the world, and one of the key reasons is the weather. Cold winters and warm summers drove up demand for electricity, but it also reduced supply from renewables. This meant an unexpected call on coal and gas-based power generation capacity that drove up the price of electricity.

The first to hit the headlines was Europe and the United Kingdom (UK) with record high price for natural gas and electricity. In the first quarter of 2021, a cold winter along with increase in remote working pushed up demand for heating in Europe which translated into a more than 7 percent increase in the demand for natural gas (used for power generation). This was followed by the end of pandemic-related lockdowns, economic recovery, and an increase in industrial output all of which increased demand for energy. Warmer than expected summer increased the demand for cooling from households. This added to the pressure on gas demand in Europe and the UK, but gas demand was increasing across the world, particularly in LNG (liquefied natural gas) importing Asia Pacific countries. Russia reduced pipeline gas supplies to Europe because of high domestic demand or to highlight the case for Nord Stream 2 as some suspect. Gas demand is weather dependent which is why gas suppliers invest in storages that act like batteries filling in whenever needed. Storages are replenished in summer when prices are low, but this time summer was warm and household demand for cooling increased that used up gas reserves. With low gas reserves Europeans and Asians competed for LNG imports that pushed up gas prices even further.

The European gas market is exposed to international market fluctuations as gas-on-gas competition underpins roughly 80 percent of the market. Though natural gas supplies only about 20 percent of Europe’s electricity, gas-fired power plants have become price-setters because of higher electricity demand. Demand for gas in Europe increased also on account of high carbon prices that meant a switch from coal to gas. But then, high gas prices made coal competitive even with high carbon prices driving up the demand for coal. Natural gas prices soared by around 280 percent in Europe in 2021 which also led to a 100 percent increase in gas prices in the USA. According to Reuters, the average LNG price for November delivery into Northeast Asia was estimated at about US $24-25/ metric million British thermal units (mmBtu), while benchmark European natural gas prices have surged to around US $25/mmBtu from around US $6-7/mmBtu at the start of the year.

Chart 1: Price of Natural Gas in Different Markets  

Source: S&P Global, Note: JKM: Japan Korea Marker; TTF: Title Transfer Facility (Dutch)

The Call on Coal

The coal story revolves around China and India that jointly account for over 65 percent of global coal use. India and China are also the world’s biggest coal importers. The price of thermal coal imports is now nearing record levels as growing demand for electricity in China and India is coming to terms with the reluctance to invest in new coal-based power generation capacity in a world heading for decarbonisation. The benchmark coal price (traded coal) was US $177.50/tonne the highest in the past 11 years in early September was more than double the level at the beginning of the year and much higher than the US $50/tonne price a year ago. Growth in demand for electricity following economic recovery and the hot summer pushed up demand for coal in India and China. China generated 13 percent more electricity in the first seven months of this year than in the same period of 2020, partly to make up for lower output from hydropower following a drought. The result was that in July, China was importing 16 percent more coal than the same month last year.

In India, the economy rebounded in the first quarter of India’s financial year (April-June) that GDP (gross domestic product) grew at a record pace. Overall electricity generation rose by over 16 percent in August, while coal-fired power output increased by over 23 percent from a year earlier.  According to Reuters, half of India’s 135 coal-fired power plants had less than a week’s supply of coal left, six ran out of coal and 50 had less than three days’ supply. The government intervened and asked Coal India Limited (CIL) to prioritise supplies to power plants—rather than supply aluminium, cement and steel plants—and also asked power generators to import coal.  In the first eight months of 2021, coal-fired electricity generation increased by over 19 percent.


The common factor in the developments above is that the weather increased demand for electricity (heating and cooling) and decreased supply (power generation from wind, solar and hydro). Weather independent coal and gas-based generation capacity stepped in as swing producers to meet the demand for electricity in European and Asian markets. The key issue to ponder over is why the market continues to embrace coal and gas, fuels that the climate sensitive world has criminalised.

Chart 2: Price of Traded Coal in $/tonne

Source: Trading Economics

Monthly News Commentary: Oil

Petroleum Demand Rebounds



India’s fuel demand rose 7.9 percent in July compared with the same month last year. Consumption of fuel, a proxy for oil demand, totalled 16.83 million tonnes (mt), as per the data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the oil ministry. Sales of gasoline, or petrol, were 16.4 percent higher from a year earlier at 2.63 mt. Cooking gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sales increased 4.6 percent to 2.37 mt, while naphtha sales fell 5.3 percent to 1.21 mt. Sales of bitumen, used for making roads, were 3.8 percent up, while fuel oil use edged lower 5.1 percent in July.

According to Moody’s Investors Service earnings for state-owned oil firms Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) will grow over the next 12-18 months as a gradual easing of pandemic restrictions drives a rebound in economic activity and fuel demand. While earnings stability of marketing operations will help to offset low refining margins, rising fuel demand will in turn increase refinery throughput. The rating agency is of the view that the combination of better demand and improving fuel cracks will also support an improvement in Asian refining margins from current levels. Demand for petroleum products in India declined substantially in April and May 2020 following a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus. This led to a drop in capacity utilisation for most refiners in the fiscal year that ended on 31 March (FY21). Rebound in fuel demand and gradual recovery in refining margins will drive earnings improvement. Stating that earnings stability of marketing operations will help to offset low refining margins, the rating agency said this primarily because of the oligopolistic structure of the fuel retailing industry in India where IOC, BPCL, and HPCL together control 90 percent of the fuel retailing network. At the same time, all three companies are ultimately owned by the government, which ensures a stable industry environment without any severe competition. Capital spending by the three refiners will remain high on strong demand for petroleum products and government efforts to boost investment spending to support economic growth.


Congress attacked the central government over the rising prices of LPG cylinders. Earlier on 11 August, Congress had slammed the Central Government over the issue of inflation and also asked the Centre to give subsidies to the poor on Ujjwala LPG cylinders. The Prime Minister (PM) launched Ujjwala 2.0, the second phase of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), by handing over LPG connections in Mahoba in Uttar Pradesh. After the formal launch, the PM distributed free gas connections to 10 women virtually. During Ujjwala 1.0 launched in 2016, a target was set to provide LPG connections to 50 million (mn) women members of BPL households. Subsequently, the scheme was expanded in April 2018 to include women beneficiaries from seven more categories such as SC and ST communities and forest dwellers. Also, the target was revised to 80 mn LPG connections. This was achieved in August 2019, seven months ahead of schedule. In the Union Budget for 2021-22, provision for an additional 10 mn LPG connection under the scheme was announced. These 10 mn additional connections under Ujjwala 2.0 aim to provide deposit-free LPG connections to those low-income families who could not be covered under the earlier phase of PMUY. Along with a deposit-free LPG connection, Ujjwala 2.0 will provide first refill and hotplate free of cost to the beneficiaries. The enrolment procedure will require minimum paperwork. In Ujjwala 2.0, migrants will not be required to submit ration cards or address proof, and a self-declaration will suffice.

Retail Prices

According to Tamil Nadu Finance Ministry the previous AIADMK government had raised petrol prices by five times during its one-decade rule from 2011 to 2021. While the previous government had raised the petrol prices five times, it did not have the courage to reduce it even once. The current government reduced the price of petrol by INR 3/litre, it was welcomed across the state. The ministry had then said that the government’s move was aimed at two-wheeler riders and small car users and that the consumption of petrol has increased after the government reduced its price by INR 3/litre.

Revenue earned by the Madhya Pradesh government in the form of Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol in the first quarter of this financial year is 98.92 percent more than last year’s first quarter. Rise in VAT collection on petrol was more than the collective rise of diesel and petrol, which is 51.68 percent and 40.54 percent more respectively this year in comparison to last year’s first quarter. As per Finance Ministry in 2020-21 till June, VAT of INR 5.19 bn (US $70.5 mn) was collected on petrol and INR 9.2 bn (US  $125 mn) on diesel. In 2021-22 till June this year, INR 10.33 billion (US $140 mn) was earned as VAT from petrol and INR 13.95 bn (US $189.7 mn) from diesel. The yearly increase from last year to this year for the period was 98.92 percent on petrol and 51.68 percent on diesel. The ministry also ruled out any reduction in tax, pointing that the state government fixes the rates considering its financial needs to carry out development. The rise in VAT collection on petrol is many times more when compared to the financial year 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. The increase in percent in VAT collection for the whole year in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20 was 22.39 percent on petrol and 15.88 percent on diesel. Overall, the yearly government revenue on petrol and diesel increased in the last two years despite pandemic and lockdowns to control the spread of coronavirus.


The government has granted auto fuel retailing licence to seven new entities including Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and a joint venture of Reliance and BP. The licences were given under a new liberalised rule that allows any entity with a minimum net worth of INR 2.5 bn (US $34 mn) to apply for authorisation to retail petrol and diesel. RIL already had a fuel retailing licence, under which it had set up over 1,400 petrol pumps in the country. But this licence was transferred to its subsidiary Reliance BP Mobility (RBML). Besides doing away with the earlier requirement of investing INR 20 bn (US$ 272 mn) in oil and gas sector to be eligible for a fuel retailing licence, the new liberalised petrol pump norms require licensees to set up a minimum of 100 outlets with at least 5 percent of them in remote areas. State-owned oil marketing companies, IOC, BPCL, and HPCL, currently own most of the 77,709 petrol pumps in the country. BP had a few years back secured a licence to set up 3,500 pumps but has not yet started doing so. It has since decided to venture into the business with RIL with plans to scale up RIL’s present network strength to 5,500.


IOC, the nation’s biggest oil firm, may sell some of its over 32,300 petrol pumps to a joint venture (JV) with Malaysia’s Petronas with a view to monetising the firm’s vast fuel marketing network. IOC has an over two-decade-old 50:50 JV with Petronas for the import of LPG. The scope of this joint venture, IndianOil Petronas Pvt Ltd (IPPL), is being expanded to include fuel and natural gas marketing. For one, IPPL will not be governed by the tedious petrol pump allotment rules that require public sector oil marketing companies to appoint dealers through a draw of a lottery. The JV can choose a site and operator quickly and on commercial terms. IPPL can set up petrol pumps that will not just sell petrol and diesel but also have Electric Vehicle (EV) charging and battery swapping points as well as CNG (compressed natural gas)/LPG and LNG  dispensing stations. State-owned fuel retailers such as IOC have to allot dealerships through a lottery of all eligible candidates. IPPL currently sells LPG to commercial customers who are not allowed to use subsidised cooking gas sold to households by state energy firms. IOC owns 32,303 out of 77,709 petrol pumps in the country.


India’s crude oil production continued its declining trend, falling by over 3 percent in July as ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) produced less than the target. The country’s crude oil production declined by 3.2 percent in July to 2.5 mt when compared with the previous year, and by 3.37 percent in April-July to 9.9 mt, according to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. ONGC produced 1.6 mt of crude in July. This was 4.2 percent lower than last year and 3.8 percent less than the target of 1.7 mt. During April-July, ONGC’s oil output fell 4.8 percent to 6.4 mt. As fuel demand rebounded, oil refineries processed more crude oil in July. At 19.4 mt, crude processing in July was 9.6 percent higher than the year-ago period. The crude throughput in July was the highest in three months, as the easing of coronavirus restrictions boosted economic activity and fed demand for fuel. Public sector refineries processed 5.6 percent more crude at 11 mt while private refiner RIL turned 14.4 percent more crude into fuel. Refineries produced 6.7 percent more petroleum products in July at 20.7 mt and 13 percent more in April-July at 80.6 mt. Overall, the refineries operated at 91.34 percent of their installed capacity.

Rest of the World


United States (US) President’s top aides are pressuring Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC ) and its oil-producing allies to boost production in an effort to combat climbing gasoline prices that they see as a threat to the global economic recovery. Biden’s national security adviser criticised the world’s major oil producers, including Saudi Arabia for insufficient crude production in the aftermath of the global COVID-19 pandemic. OPEC+ has been gradually easing a record output cut of 10 million barrels per day (bpd), about 10 percent of world demand, made in 2020 as oil use and prices recover from the pandemic-induced slump. As of July, the cut had been eased to about 5.8 million bpd.

US investment bank Goldman Sachs lowered its oil demand forecast for China for the next two months, citing rising concerns over the impact of the next wave of COVID-19 infections. The Wall Street bank, which had already cut expectations last month for emerging market demand because of the Delta variant, now expects a demand hit of a million barrels per day (bpd) in China. However, the bank said the net impact from Delta on its global oil demand forecast remained moderate and lowered demand forecast for next two months to 97.8 million bpd from 98.4 million bpd realized in July. China’s latest surge of COVID-19 cases entered its fourth week with the highly infectious Delta variant detected in more than a dozen cities since 20 July. Oil prices dipped as analysts cut forecasts for fuel demand in China following mobility curbs over the spread of coronavirus, offsetting a bullish outlook for US fuel demand. Goldman projects the oil market deficit to shrink to 1 million bpd in coming weeks as the Delta impacts peak, but expects the demand hit to be transient while supply shortfalls persist.

Middle East

Iraq plans to increase oil production to 8 million bpd by the end of 2027, according to Iraq Oil Ministry. As per the oil ministry oil-producing countries reconsidered their plans because of the challenges facing the oil market.


Libya will struggle to sustain its levels of oil production unless lawmakers overcome a lengthy dispute and pass the OPEC member’s first nationwide budget in about seven years, according to the Energy Ministry The North African nation is pumping roughly 1.3 million bpd of crude, and aims to increase that to 1.5 million bpd by the end of 2021.The ministry has requested 7 bn dinars (US$1.5 bn) for projects to develop the oil sector, but only 3 bn dinars (US$0.64 bn) have been earmarked in the draft budget. The state-run National Oil Corporation has long complained it needs more money to fix Libya’s aging infrastructure.


An oil spill off Russia’s Black Sea coast spread over an area of nearly 80 square kilometres and was much larger than initially thought, scientists at Russia’s Academy of Sciences (RAN) said. A leak occurred as the Greek-flagged Minerva Symphony tanker took on oil at the Yuzhno-Ozereyevka sea terminal near Novorossiysk in southern Russia, the Caspian Pipeline Consortium that owns the terminal said. The consortium, which transports oil from Kazakhstan, said the spill had spread over 200 square metres and involved 12 cubic metres of oil. It said the spill was quickly contained and posed no threat to people or wildlife.

USA & N America

The US is holding its largest sale of oil from strategic reserves since 2014 at a time when the outlook for fuel demand is darkening amidst the resurgent COVID-19 virus. The US Energy Department plans to auction off 20 million barrels of crude, twice as much as it offered for sale three and a half months ago. The oil will be delivered during the fourth quarter, when US demand for gasoline and other fuels typically falters and refineries slow down oil purchases while they shut down equipment for repairs and maintenance. The sale comes after crude prices have dropped 15 percent since touching a six and a half-year high in early July as the spread of the delta variant threatens to derail the economic recovery and return to business as usual. Companies including BlackRock Inc. and Jefferies Financial Group Inc. are postponing plans to return workers to offices. But the US would not have problems to sell the barrels because production has not entirely caught up with demand. The market will still be in a deficit in the fourth quarter, and the 20 million barrels released from the nation’s emergency reserves should be absorbed.

US energy firms added oil and natural gas rigs for the fifth time in six weeks although growth in the rig count over the past few months has slowed as drillers continue to focus on capital discipline despite firmer oil prices. The oil and gas rig count, an early indicator of future output, rose three to 491 in the week to 6 August. US oil rigs rose two to 387, while gas rigs held steady at 103. Pioneer, the largest producer in the top US oilfield in the Permian Basin, this week forecast tepid shale growth in coming years. US crude futures were trading around US $68 a barrel, putting the contract down about over 7 percent due to worries that rising coronavirus cases will hurt oil demand. Even though oil prices were over 40 percent higher so far this year, most energy firms remain focused on returning capital to investors. Some, however, are raising spending in 2021 after cutting drilling and completion expenditures over the past two years.

Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petrobras has not decided to participate in social programmes to fund free LPG bottles to families in need. Brazilian President said Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) would spend 3 bn reais (US $575.5 mn) to pay for free LPG bottles to the low-income population. According to the company a decision will be taken according to its governance rules. As per the company it has paid the Brazilian government 3 bn reais in dividends so far this year.

News Highlights: 25 – 31 August 2021

National: Oil

Cairn operated Mangala oil field in Barmer completes 12 years of output

30 August: Discovered in 2004 as the largest offshore crude oil reserve in the country, the prolific Mangala oil field in Barmer completed 12 years of production. Since first oil was drilled out on August 29, 2009, Mangala field has produced more than 473 mmstb (million stock tank barrels) as on July 2021. The oil fields operated by Cairn Oil & Gas contributes over 25 percent to India’s domestic crude oil production. Production from Mangala, and its sister fields Bhagyam and Aishwariya, has contributed US$19 billion to the national and state exchequer as on 2021-21, the company said. The cumulative production from the block has crossed 600 mmboe (million barrel of oil equivalent), playing a significant role in fulfilling the country’s energy demands.

Source: The Economic Times

UP CM distributes 20 lakh free LPG connections under Ujjwala-2

26 August: With assembly polls over six months away, the state government distributed free gas connections to 20 lakh beneficiaries under the second phase of the Centre’s flagship Ujjwala scheme. Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Minister (CM) Yogi Adityanath, who interacted with beneficiaries, said the second phase would benefit those left out of the first phase, particularly migrant workers and labourers. The second phase of the scheme was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Mahoba district on 10 August. In this phase, beneficiaries have been identified from 10 districts, including Sonbhadra, Banda, Mahoba, Chitrakoot, Rae Bareli, Hardoi, Badayun, Amethi, Fatehpur and Farrukhabad and they need not produce documents for getting a LPG connection. The Ujjwala Yojana was launched on 1 May 2016, with the aim of providing free gas connections to 8o mn families. Of these, 13.7 mn were from UP. He said that he instructed district administrations to ensure that one representative of a company’s gas agency is deputed to visit houses and train women in safe use of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) cylinders.

Source: The Times of India

IOC to deploy drones to check fuel thefts from pipelines

25 August: Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is deploying drones to monitor its vast network of pipelines across the country as it doubles down on the use of technology to thwart attempts to steal fuel, helping not just save the commodity but also avoid accidents. The country’s top oil company already uses a combination of sophisticated technology and patrolling to detect any leakage from the pipeline network spanning over 15,000-kilometers. And now, it is adding drones to monitor the vast network. Use of technology helped throttle 34 attempts to pilfer fuel and arrest 53 persons in the 2020-21 fiscal year, they said adding the latest incident was in Sonipat, Haryana on 17 August. IOC recently started drone monitoring of the 120-km long Delhi-Panipat section of the Mathura-Jalandhar pipeline. Pipelines are the lifeline of an economy and any attempt to disrupt flows through the underground energy highways has widespread ramifications. Pilferage from these pipelines, which carry highly inflammable petroleum products such as petrol and diesel at high pressure, can cause serious accidents that threaten lives and damage property besides interrupting energy supplies. IOC has deployed a SCADA-based system to closely monitor the flow in the pipeline network and is using a leak detection system (LDS) to identify tentative vulnerable points. The firm, which operates over 15,000 km of cross-country pipeline network that carries fuel like petrol and diesel from oil refineries to consumption centres, has deployed a robust round-the-clock monitoring system to track pipeline pilferage or any other such disruptive attempts on its pipeline network. To further boost the security of its pipelines, IOC has undertaken focused digital initiatives like the optical fibre based Pipeline Intrusion Detection and Warning System (PIDWS). This system is presently under implementation in 5,474 km of its pipeline length. The system is already functional for 997 km of the pipeline network, and the remaining will be commissioned by 2022-23.

Source: Business Standard

National: Gas

IGL hikes CNG price by 90 paise, PNG rates up too

30 August: Indraprastha Gas Ltd, the sole supplier of natural gas in the NCR, has raised CNG (compressed natural gas) price by 90 paise to INR 45.20 per kg and PNG (piped natural gas) price by INR 1.25 to INR 30.91 per unit (SCM), stretching household budgets already bearing the burden of high petrol and diesel prices. The company said prices have been raised to cover the increase in input costs. The company has been forced to service CNG and PNG consumers with imported gas, which costs eight times more than domestic gas, because of rising demand. After the revision, CNG costs INR 50.90 per kg and PNG INR 30.86 per unit in Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad. In Gurgaon, PNG costs INR 29.10 per unit. In Kaithal, CNG costs INR 52.30 per kg. In Karnal, CNG costs INR 52.30 per kg and PNG INR 29.71 per unit. In Muzzaffarnagar, Meerut and Shamli, CNG sells for INR 58.15 per kg and PNG INR 33.92 per unit.

Source: The Economic Times

IOC expands JV with Petronas to focus on LNG plants

27 August: Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is expanding its joint venture (JV) with Malaysia’s state-run Petronas to include building liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, fuel retailing and gas distribution, Chairman S M Vaidya said. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) imports some liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) through IndianOil Petronas Pvt Ltd, its equal joint venture with the Malaysian firm. IOC is investing INR 1 trillion (US$13.49 billion) to raise its refining capacity by 25 million tonnes (mt) a year in next two to five years, Vaidya said.

Source: Reuters

India’s new LNG plant starts next year, to boost import capacity by 12 percent

26 August: India will boost liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from next year as private firm Swan Energy starts its floating terminal, raising the country’s capacity to ship the super chilled fuel by 12 percent to 47.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). New demand for LNG from India is expected to support Asian gas prices which rose to record highs earlier this year, partly aided by the transition from coal or oil to gas in developing countries. The 5-mtpa floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), located at Jafrabad in western Gujarat, will be commissioned in April, Swan LNG Ltd said. India, the world’s fourth largest LNG importer, wants to raise the share of natural gas in its energy mix to 15 percent by 2030, from the current 6.2 percent to cut emissions. Companies are investing billions of dollars in India to build gas infrastructure as Prime Minister Narendra Modi supports the vision. Swan is setting up a jetty and will build more tanks to eventually double the LNG import capacity. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), and exploration firm Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) have leased 1 mtpa capacity each at Swan’s terminal. ONGC earlier this year invited bids from potential suppliers for regular participation in its spot LNG buy tenders.

Source: The Hindu

Gujarat Gas raises CNG, industrial PNG prices

25 August: The city gas distribution (CGD) company Gujarat Gas Limited (GGL) has raised the compressed natural gas (CNG) price across its authorised geographical areas within and outside Gujarat. GGL has also hiked the price of industrial PNG (piped natural gas) supplied to the ceramic and sanitaryware units in Morbi and Surendranagar. However, the company has kept unchanged the price of natural gas supplied to its residential consumers. According to GGL, the CNG price has been increased to INR 54.45 per kg (inclusive of taxes and duties) in Gujarat, which shows a rise of INR 2 per kg over its previous tariff of INR 52.45/kg. The new price is effective from 24 August. The company serves about 7 lakh CNG consumers through its network of around 450 CNG stations in Gujarat. Meanwhile, GGL also hiked industrial PNG prices to INR37.51 per standard cubic meter (SCM) for ceramic and sanitaryware units in Morbi and Surendranagar. Gujarat Gas provides 6.5 million metric standard cubic meter per day (mmscmd) to ceramic and sanitaryware units in Morbi and Surendranagar.

Source: The Times of India

National: Coal

Odisha: MGR system to transport coal from mine to power station inaugurated

31 August: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated a Merry-Go-Round (MGR), a dedicated rail transportation system between the production and consumption points, for carrying coal from a mine to a power generation station of the Odisha Power Generation Corporation Limited (OPGC) through virtual mode. The 47-kilometre long MGR system will ensure hassle-free coal transportation, enhancing fuel security to the power plant operated by OPGC. The Manoharpur coal mine was allocated to the OCPL in 2015 to cater to the dry fuel requirements of power generating units of OPGC.

Source: The Economic Times

Regulation of coal supply to power plants to free up 1.77 lakh tonnes: Power ministry

30 August: Regulation of coal supply to power plants that have more than 15 days of fuel stock will free up around 1.77 lakh tonnes of coal from 26 stations, the power ministry said. Power Secretary Alok Kumar reviewed the report of the core management team (CMT) to ensure daily close monitoring of coal stock position at thermal power plants (TPPs), the ministry said. CMT comprises representatives from the power ministry, Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Coal India Ltd (CIL) and Railways. During the meeting, some facts emerged which will ease out the coal stock position at TPPs and will ensure uninterrupted power supply. Firstly, it stated, the regulation of the coal to the power plants having more than 15 days’ stock would free up around 1.77 lakh tone of coal from 26 stations. This coal has been redistributed to the plants having supercritical and critical coal stocks at power plants. NTPC Daralipali (2 x 800 MW) plant is getting coal supply from captive mine of Odisha Coal and Power Ltd (OCPL). The second unit of NTPC Daralipali will achieve commercial operation from 0000 hrs of 1 September, and thus additional 800 MW generation would be added in the total fleet. Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) will clear dues to the tune of INR 12 bn to the different CIL subsidiaries within a week, which will augment the coal supply to different plants of DVC. This would ramp up the power generation from DVC plants from the current level of 61 percent to a PLF (plant load factor) of 90 percent. CMT is closely monitoring the coal stocks on a daily basis and ensuring follow-up actions with CIL and Railways to improve the coal supply to power plants, the ministry said.

Source: The Economic Times

Coal India arm NCL dispatches 3.87 lakh tonnes of highest-ever coal in single day

29 August: Coal India Ltd (CIL) arm Northern Coalfields Ltd (NCL) dispatched the highest ever coal in a single day on 27 August, the coal ministry said. NCL also sent the highest ever, 38 coal rakes of Indian Railway to upcountry coal consumers of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Delhi, and other states fulfilling the energy requirements of the country in this pandemic time. NCL dispatches its majority of coal through eco-friendly modes like Indian Railway Rakes, merry-go-round (MGR), and belt pipe conveyor. In FY’21, NCL dispatched over 87 percent of its coal through these modes of transportation. In a pro-environmental step, 24 percent reduction in coal transportation from the road was seen in the last fiscal. Keeping up the pace with the growing demand for energy, NCL has dispatched 46.19 million tonnes (mt) of coal till date with Y-o-Y growth of 17 percent in 2021-22. The company has been entrusted with 119 mt of coal production and 126.5 mt of coal dispatch in this fiscal. In a step towards ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’, the company is also supplying coal as import substitution to Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and other state’s coal consumers.

Source: The Economic Times

National: Power

Delhi government to create 600 MW network of ‘power banks’

30 August: State Power Minister Satyendar Jain said that Delhi government is planning to create a 600 MW network of ‘power banks’ around the national capital on the lines of the 10 MW ‘Battery Energy Storage System’ created by Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) plant in northwest Delhi’s Rohini. Jain said the Rohini facility costs around INR550 mn, but Delhi government is looking to reduce costs by innovating further.

Source: The Economic Times

Tata, Adani’s Mundra plants allowed to sell power on exchanges for a month

30 August: The power ministry has decided to issue a statutory order allowing about 4,400 MW capacity of two plants run by Tata Power and Adani Power at Mundra in Gujarat to sell electricity on the power exchanges for a month. About 3,200 MW capacity of Tata Power’s Mundra Ultra Mega Power Project and nearly 1,200-Mw of Adani Power’s project at the same location will be allowed to run and sell on the power exchanges to ease the electricity supply and also take pressure off the domestic coal based plants. The projects of total 8,000 MW capacity on India’s western coast have imported coal stocks but were not operating fully in the absence of compensation for high fuel cost.

Source: The Economic Times

Power ministry sets up regulatory compliance wing to monitor discoms

26 August: The union power ministry has set up a regulatory compliance division to monitor the various regulatory parameters and their compliances by power distribution companies (discoms) as well as state commissions. The ministry will soon have a separate wing to watch over compliance by all regulatory commissions. Power and renewable energy minister R K Singh held an interaction with electricity regulators. The forum of regulators resolved to prepare norms on various regulatory parameters and issues. The ministry is working on resource adequacy guidelines and guidelines for procurement of power in line with load fluctuation requirement, contract-term, energy mix, and renewable obligations etc. Both guidelines are expected in the next two to three months.

Source: The Economic Times

Protest in Mizoram over 20 percent hike in power tariff

25 August: Youth Congress activists protested in Aizawl over the steep hike in power tariff, demanding the resignation of State Power Minister R Lalzirliana. State Youth Congress president Lalmalsawma Nghaka accused the government of robbing the people by hiking power tariffs and issuing bogus power bills. He said the government has hiked power tariff by 20.7 percent, which came into effect in April, at a time when people are facing hardship and livelihood crisis due to the pandemic. Lalmalsawma claimed that power bills issued in August were mostly high and some poor families, who consumed very less units, were asked to pay consumption charges ranging from INR10,000 to INR1 lakh. The government should withdraw all the bogus bills and re-issue correct bills to the consumers, he said.

Source: The Economic Times

National: Non-Fossil Fuels/ Climate Change Trends

ONGC eyes offshore wind energy projects

31 August: ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) is eyeing generating electricity from wind at its vast offshore acreage as it looks to augment its renewable energy portfolio, its chairman Subhash Kumar said. ONGC has oil and gas fields both in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. That experience of operating in shallow and deep-sea is now being tapped to set up wind turbines to generate electricity that could be wired to land. Last year, ONGC signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with India’s largest electricity generator NTPC Ltd to explore setting up offshore wind projects along with the 7,600-km coastline. The government has set a target of 5 GW of offshore wind installations by 2022 and 30 GW by 2030. ONGC, Kumar said, is pursuing opportunities in the renewable energy field in India and abroad.

Source: The Economic Times

India adds 4.5 GW of solar capacity in second quarter of 2021: Report

31 August: India added 2,488 megawatts (MW) of solar in the second quarter (Q2) of the calendar year (CY) 2021, a 19 percent increase quarter-over-quarter, compared to 2,090 MW installed in Q1 2021, according to the report by Mercom India Research. It said that solar energy’s share of new power capacity additions was the highest ever in the first half of any year. It said that in the first half (H1) of 2021, India added 4,578 MW of solar, a 251 percent increase compared to the same period previous year. Installations exceeded 3.2 GW of solar installed in all of CY 2020. According to the report, installations were significantly higher than the previous quarter despite various state level lockdowns because of the second wave of COVID-19. The report has increased its forecast by 23 percent in the medium-case scenario to about 8 GW to 9 GW in 2021. It said that by the end of Q2 2021, cumulative solar installations stood at 43.6 GW. According to the report, solar’s share of new capacity additions was the highest ever in the H1 of any year, accounting for 53 percent of all power capacity added in 1H 2021 while renewables made up about 71 percent of capacity additions in the H1 of 2021.

Source: The Economic Times

India to make it mandatory for auto makers to offer biofuel vehicles in 6 months: Gadkari

31 August: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said India will make it mandatory for auto manufacturers to offer vehicles running 100 percent on bio-fuels in the next six months. Such a move will be cost-effective for consumers, who are hassled by the high petrol prices, the minister said, pointing out that a litre of bioethanol costs INR 65 as against INR 110 paid for petrol. The alternative fuel is also less polluting and saves forex. The Minister said consumers will have a choice between petrol and bioethanol and a switch to the alternative is also essential for the country because of the surplus production of crops like rice, maize, corn and sugar, from which bioethanol is made. Gadkari said manufacturing of electronic vehicles is also on at a fast pace across categories and estimated that there will be a flood of such automobiles on the roads in a year.

Source: The Economic Times

Showstopper Ladakh solar power project hits land hurdle

30 August: The government is eyeing to build a global showstopper in Ladakh by raising the capacity of the proposed mega solar power project to 10,000 MW along with a 5,000 MW battery storage and 3,000 MW wind farm. But a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced it during his Independence Day speech in 2020, the plan continues to stumble over land issues. The original blueprint envisaged a photovoltaic set up of 7,500 MW capacity split in roughly 70:30 ratio between Leh and Kargil districts, respectively. But the topography of Zanskar region of Kargil, where a packet of 2,500 MW was to be built, was found unsuitable for the transmission line. So the entire project was shifted to the Leh district with packets of 5,000 MW each in Hanle-Khaldo and Pang regions.

Source: The Economic Times

Kerala to get India’s first solar fishing boats

30 August: India’s first sea-going solar fishing boats will be ready by December 2021 at Vypeen and Munambam in Kerala. Funded by Shell Foundation, the charity arm of British-Dutch petroleum company, five boats are in various stages of development and the works are done by a startup named NavAlt Solar and Electric Boats. CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of NavAlt, Sandith Thandasherry said there are over 2.5 lakh small fishing boats in India and 1.13 tonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide) are released/tonne of live weight of marine fish netted. Shell Foundation is supporting the project with INR 50 mn, which includes the cost of developing the boats as well as financing the buyers to cover the extra cost compared to a traditional boat. NavAlt made headlines when it launched a solar water taxi and the country’s first solar ferry in Kerala.

Source: The Economic Times

Kanjirangal panchayat earns PM’s praise for making power from waste

30 August: The efforts by Kanjirangal panchayat in Sivaganga district to recycle daily waste to generate electricity has earned praise from Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi in his Mann Ki Baat programme. Panchayat president K S M Manimuthu said the project has helped to scientifically deal with the garbage generated by the panchayat and also help reduce its electricity bill. The plant was set up at a cost of INR 65 lakh under National Rurban Mission following Sivaganga district collector P Madhusudhan Reddy’s idea. Manimuthu explained that the plant grinds the wastes and converts it into biogas, which is subsequently used to generate electricity. He said that before work on the plant began, a meeting was organised with the villagers where they were asked to hand over biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste separately. He said that six battery operated vehicles are used to collect the biodegradable wastes for the plant from houses. Now these vehicles are charged using the electricity generated from the plant. Around 70-80 kg of biodegradable waste is collected from the panchayat daily. Apart from this, they receive waste from Sivaganga municipality and hotels situated in towns. Nearly 200 kg of wastes is collected per day for generating electricity.

Source: The Economic Times

Puducherry will purchase 100 MW solar power, 140 MW wind power: Tamilisai

26 August: The Puducherry government has signed a power sale agreement with NTPC Ltd to purchase 100 MW solar power from its proposed solar power plant at Nokh in Rajasthan. The government had already signed a power sale agreement with Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited to purchase 140.64 MW wind power.

Source: The Economic Times

Kerala State Electricity Board eases procedures for setting up solar power units

25 August: In a bid to ease the procedure for consumers interested in setting up grid connected solar rooftop power generating system, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has decided to set up a single point of contact at the corporate office level. The board would also set up a user-friendly, convenient and transparent web portal for solar rooftop applications so that applicants can monitor the status of their requests without any difficulty. The decision to set up a single point of contact for the rooftop solar installation scheme is one of the first set of consumer-friendly initiatives being adopted by the electricity board. The board has been receiving good response from consumers for setting up the grid connected solar plant.

Source: The Economic Times

ABB expands capacity at Faridabad facility powered by renewable energy

25 August: Expanding its current capacity for manufacturing of low voltage motors, ABB has added a new manufacturing line at its Faridabad plant. The expansion will increase plant capacity by more than 20 percent and strengthen ABB’s presence in the region and global markets. The company said its Faridabad facility has been at the forefront of promoting sustainable practices and is adopting renewable energy usage and improving energy efficiency across the plant. The new line will develop energy efficient motors up to 55 kW for customers operating in different industrial segments such as F&B, water and wastewater, cement, metals and mining, HVAC, textiles, rubber and others.

Source: The Economic Times

PFC signs agreement with NHPC to finance hydro power projects

25 August: Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC) said it has signed a pact with NHPC Ltd to lend funds for the development of hydro projects. NHPC is engaged in the development of hydropower in India and has also diversified into solar and wind power. It also provides consultancy services to hydropower and renewable energy projects, PFC said.

Source: The Economic Times

International: Oil

INEOS completes US$150 mn acquisition of Hess Corp’s Danish oilfields

31 August: UK-based chemicals and energy group INEOS said it has completed its acquisition of Hess Corp’s stake in two Danish oilfields for US$150 million. Under the deal announced in March, INEOS Energy will acquire 61.5 percent of the Hess-operated Syd Arne oilfield, in which INEOS already holds the remaining stake, and a 4.8 percent stake in the INEOS-operated Solsort field. INEOS is one of the largest oil and gas producers in the British and Danish regions of the North Sea. The deal should unlock operational and cost synergies between the Siri field area in Denmark, which INEOS operates already and Syd Arne, INEOS said. While Denmark’s government last year decided to put an end to all oil and gas exploration and extraction in the North Sea by 2050, production from the fields would be finished by then.

Source: The Economic Times

Era of leaded petrol finally over globally: UN

31 August: When service stations in Algeria stopped providing leaded petrol in July, the use of leaded petrol ended globally. This development follows an almost two decades long campaign by the UNEP-led global Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV). Since 1922, the use of tetraethyllead as a petrol additive to improve engine performance has been a catastrophe for the environment and public health. By the 1970s, almost all petrol produced around the world contained lead. When the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) began its campaign to eliminate lead in petrol in 2002, it was one of the most serious environmental threats to human health. The year 2021 has marked the end of leaded petrol worldwide, after it has contaminated air, dust, soil, drinking water and food crops for the better part of a century. By the 1980s, most high-income countries had prohibited the use of leaded petrol, yet as late as 2002, almost all low- and middle-income countries, including some Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) members, were still using leaded petrol.

Source: The Economic Times

OPEC+ likely to keep oil output policy from September unchanged

30 August: US (United States) President Joe Biden’s administration has urged OPEC  and its allies to boost oil output to tackle rising gasoline prices that it views as a threat to the global economic recovery. OPEC+ is likely to keep its oil output policy unchanged when the group meets and continue with its planned modest production increase. But the OPEC+ sources said the recent rise in oil prices was temporary, driven mainly by disruption of supply in Mexico and the severe storm hitting the US Gulf Coast over the weekend. Kuwait oil minister Mohammad al-Fares said that OPEC+ would discuss whether it would continue with its planned increase or reconsider it and halt the rise adding that economies of East Asian countries and China were still affected by COVID-19 and caution should be exercised.

Source: Livemint

China’s Sinopec posts US$6 bn H1 profit on rebounding oil prices, better demand

30 August: China Petroleum & Chemical Corp reported a 39.15 billion yuan (US $6.05 billion) net profit for the first six months of 2021 on the back of renewed fuel demand and a rebound in oil prices amidst a recovery from the impact of COVID-19. Asia’s biggest oil refiner, known as Sinopec, posted a 23-billion-yuan loss during January-June last year as the coronavirus pandemic walloped fuel demand and knocked oil prices. The 2021 interim profit compares with a 31.338-billion-yuan profit in the same period in 2019. Revenue in the first six months rose 22.1 percent from last year’s low base to 1.26 trillion yuan, following a recovery in global oil prices and robust demand for fuel and petrochemical products. During the period, Sinopec processed a total of 126.11 million tonnes (mt) crude oil, up 13.7 percent on a year earlier, with gasoline output increasing by 20.8 percent as more people drove as China recovered from the COVID-19 shock. Sinopec produced 138.15 million barrels of crude oil, down 1.5 percent year-on-year, while its natural gas output rose 13.7 percent to 582.6 billion cubic feet.

Source: The Economic Times

Storm cuts US Gulf of Mexico oil output by 91 percent

28 August: Energy companies had cut 91 percent of US (United States) Gulf of Mexico crude oil production, or 1.65 million barrels, according to regulator Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), as Hurricane Ida churned through offshore oilfields. Oil and gas companies evacuated 290 offshore facilities and shut in 91 percent of their usual offshore production ahead of the storm’s arrival. They also moved 11 drill vessels out of harm’s way by midday Saturday, the offshore regulator said.

Source: Reuters

Aramco Trading to join Platts oil pricing process in Asia

25 August: Aramco Trading Company (ATC) will be participating in S&P Global Platts’ price assessment process for crude cargoes in Asia, the price reporting agency said. Platts said in a notice that it had reviewed the trading arm of the world’s top oil exporter Saudi Aramco, and would consider information from ATC in the Asia Market on Close (MOC) price assessment process for Asia crude cargoes. Some industry players have raised concerns about a potential conflict of interest as ATC is wholly-owned by Saudi Aramco and the Platts Dubai crude market structure is used by the world’s top oil exporter to set monthly prices for millions of barrels of Saudi crude sold in Asia. ATC handles crude procurement and sales of oil products from joint-venture refineries in Asia and does third-party trading. The company is already participating in the MOC processes for oil products trading in Asia. Trading activities on the Asia MOC platform for Middle East crude picked up this month with TotalEnergies and Gunvor purchasing nine cargoes so far.

Source: The Economic Times

Indonesia seizes tanker wanted over Cambodian oil heist

25 August: Indonesia’s navy said it has seized a tanker and its crew who were wanted on charges of stealing nearly 300,000 barrels of crude oil from Cambodia’s reserves. The Bahamian-flagged MT Strovolos was picked up off the coast of Sumatra, they said, days after Phnom Penh issued a red notice on Interpol to seize the ship over claims it stole the kingdom’s crude. The tanker had been rented by Singapore’s KrisEnergy for storage as part of Cambodia’s recent bid to extract its own oil, authorities said.

Source: The Economic Times

International: Gas

Indonesia approves plan to develop Ubadari gas field

31 August: Mitsubishi Corp and other Japanese firms said an Indonesian regulator has approved their plan to develop the new Ubadari gas field and raise output at the existing Vorwata gas field using carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS). SKK Migas – Indonesia’s upstream oil and gas regulator – has approved the plan of development (POD) for Ubadari field and Vorwata CCUS at BP’s Tangguh liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Papua Barat, Indonesia, the companies said. The new development has an estimated potential additional recovery of 1.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas in total from new Ubadari field and enhanced Vorwata field, they said. The Tangguh LNG Project currently produces 1.4 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day of gas through two LNG trains and will reach 2.1 Bcf per day once Train 3—currently under construction—is online.

Source: The Economic Times

Bangladesh reviews oil-fired power plants lease renewals as gas prices soar

27 August: Bangladesh is reviewing the lease renewals of five oil-fired power plants as they near expiry, despite a government plan to move away from oil and instead use natural gas for power generation. Bangladesh has been a critical growth market for LNG, with annual imports climbing six-fold since 2018, according to Refinitiv data. Extended use of oil-powered plants beyond their expected lifespan may slow LNG purchases going forward, however. Last year, the country idled several oil-fired power plants and imported LNG as the price of gas in Asia fell to record lows from coronavirus-induced demand slump. For now, Bangladesh is considering increasing imports of fuel oil to 3 million tonnes in the financial year starting from July, this year, from 2.75 million tonnes (mt) from the previous financial year, Bangladesh Petroleum Corp said. Currently, more than half of Bangladesh’s electricity comes from natural gas, though some power plants also run on heavy fuel oil and diesel. Benchmark Asia spot LNG prices hit record highs earlier this year, driven by production losses combined with cold weather and increased use in China, India and elsewhere. Prices are currently at their highest ever for this time of the year, as low inventory levels in Europe sees Asia competing for the fuel amidst a hot summer.

Source: The Economic Times

International: Coal

Asia’s coal importers split between rich north and poorer south

30 August: Thermal coal’s rally to 13-year highs in Asia has done little to dampen overall demand, but the region is increasingly becoming split between those countries willing and able to pay high prices, and those who are cutting now unaffordable imports. Imports of thermal coal in wealthier north Asian countries, such as Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan are set to record month-on-month increases in August, with some reaching the most this year, according to vessel-tracking and port data compiled by commodity analysts Kpler. Prices of thermal coal have surged in Asia since September last year, when demand started to recover after the initial economic lockdowns across the region to try and combat the coronavirus pandemic started to lift. Lower-quality Indonesian coal with an energy value of 4,200 kilocalories per kilogram has also soared, rising 222 percent since its 2020 low in September to end the week to 27 August at US$73.04 a tonne, a record high. High-grade Australian thermal coal is favoured by utilities in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan for its energy content and lower impurities. China, the world’s biggest coal importer, and second-ranked India, have tended to buy more lower-grade Indonesian coal, with Chinese utilities using it as a blend with domestic coal with higher impurities, while India bought it because it was cheaper and geographically closer than alternatives. That trade has switched around in recent months given Beijing’s unofficial ban on importing Australian coal as part of an ongoing political dispute with Canberra. China is buying higher volumes of Indonesian coal, bidding up the price and encouraging Indian buyers to switch to mid-quality Australian thermal coal, which had been popular in China prior to the ban being implemented last year. While the coal flows around Asia, the top-importing region, have been affected by China’s prohibition on Australian cargoes, the main story so far in 2021 has been one of strong demand amidst increasing electricity production as economies start to recover from the pandemic. But the recovery has been uneven, and may be starting to show the impact of the surge in prices. China’s imports of thermal coal in August are estimated by Kpler at 24.35 million tonnes (mt), up from 20.57 million in July and the highest so far this year.

Source: The Economic Times

International: Power

Kuwait seeks investors to finance three power projects

31 August: Kuwait plans to attract outside investors to fund several power projects under a public-private partnership programme that will cover more than half of its future electricity needs over the next two decades. About 7,500 MW of the 14,000 MW it needs over the next 20 years will come through these partnerships, which industry sources say will require investments of billions of dollars. The projects under the public-private partnership (PPP) umbrella include the Al-Zour 2 & 3 plant, which has a capacity of 2,700 MW; Al-Khiran, with 1,800 MW of capacity; and Al-Shaqaya and Al-Debdiba, with a combined capacity of 3,000 MW, the authority said. Kuwait’s electricity capacity is estimated at 17,000 MW, and about 14,000 MW are scheduled to be added over the next 20 years.

Source: The Economic Times

International: Non-Fossil Fuels/ Climate Change Trends

Solar boom, pandemic curbs drive Australia’s carbon emissions down 5 percent

31 August: Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions fell 5.3 percent in the year to March 2021 as coronavirus lockdowns reduced transportation exhaust and increases in solar and wind power cut emissions from electricity generation, government data showed. Australia’s emissions fell to 494.2 million tonnes (mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) as of March 2021 from 521.9 million tonnes CO2-e a year earlier, the Department of Industry said in a report. Australia remains one of the world’s worst greenhouse gas emitters per capita. Its conservative government faces international pressure to step up its commitment to cut emissions by 2030 ahead of United Nations climate talks in Glasgow in November. Under the Paris Climate Agreement, Australia has committed to cut emissions by between 26 percent and 28 percent by 2030, while other nations, including the United States, Britain and Canada, have ramped up targets, committing to reduce emissions by 40 percent or more by 2030. As of March 2021 Australia’s emissions were down nearly 21 percent from 2005. Emissions from the transport sector dropped 13 percent in the year to March 2021 because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Department of Industry report said. Emissions from the power sector, the biggest source of carbon emissions, fell 5.6 percent as wind and solar power output jumped, displacing some coal- and gas-fired generation. Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) forecasts Australia’s uptake of rooftop solar, already the highest in the world with one in four homes having solar panels, is expected to jump 64 percent to 22.9 GW by 2025 from current levels.

Source: The Economic Times

Biden administration aims to cut costs for solar, wind projects on public land

31 August: The Biden administration plans to make federal lands cheaper to access for solar and wind power developers after the clean power industry argued in a lobbying push this year that lease rates and fees are too high to draw investment and could torpedo the president’s climate change agenda. Washington’s decision to review the federal land policy for renewable power projects is part of a broader effort by the government of President Joe Biden to fight global warming by boosting clean energy development and discouraging drilling and coal mining. The push for easier access to vast federal lands also underscores the renewable energy industry’s voracious need for new acreage: Biden has a goal to decarbonize the power sector by 2035, a target that would require an area bigger than the Netherlands for the solar industry alone, according to research firm Rystad Energy. Under that policy, implemented by the administration of President Barack Obama in 2016, some major solar projects pay US $971 per acre per year in rent, along with over US $2,000 annually per MW of power capacity. For a utility-scale project covering 3,000 acres and producing 250 MW of power, that is a roughly US $3.5 million tab each year. Wind project rents are generally lower, but the capacity fee is higher at US $3,800, according to a federal fee schedule. To date, the Interior Department has permitted less than 10 GW of solar and wind power on its more than 245 million acres of federal lands, a third of what the two industries were forecast to install nationwide just this year, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Source: The Economic Times

Shell unit commits to renewable-powered Timi gas project offshore Malaysia

30 August: Royal Dutch Shell plc said its subsidiary Sarawak Shell Berhad (SSB) has taken a final investment decision on the Timi gas development project offshore Malaysia, which will be powered by solar and wind sources. The offshore wellhead project, developed with its partners Petronas Carigali and Brunei Energy Exploration, could see peak production of up to 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) and will move gas to the F23 production hub via an 80-kilometer-long pipeline, the company said. The unmanned platform, about 200 km (124 miles) off the coast of Serawak, was a step towards Shell’s commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, Shell Upstream Director Wael Sawan said.

Source: The Economic Times

China’s CNOOC launches first offshore carbon capture project

30 August: China’s top offshore oil and gas producer, CNOOC, has launched the country’s first offshore carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in South China Sea, which is expected to store more than 1.46 million tonnes (mt) of carbon dioxide. As one of the auxiliary facilities at Enping 15-1 oilfield in the Pearl River Mouth basin of the South China Sea, about 190 km southeast of Hong Kong, the CCS project is designed to reinject as much as 300,000 tonnes of CO2 per year into seabed reservoirs. CNOOC Ltd, a listed arm of CNOOC, announced that it would channel up to 10 percent of annual spending to green energy by 2025 as the firm seeks to reduce its carbon footprint. Other major Chinese oil firms have also been exploring carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) at their oilfields onshore. Sinopec is planning a project in east China which is estimated to inject 10.68 million tonnes of the climate warming gas into an oilfield over the next 15 years. China, the world’s biggest CO2 emitter, vowed to reach carbon neutrality by around 2060. To achieve that, as much as 1.82 billion tonnes of CO2 needs to be cut via CCUS each year by that time, according to a study conducted by a research institute affiliated to China’s environment ministry in July.

Source: The Economic Times

Iraq signs agreement with POWERCHINA to build two GW solar plants

26 August: Iraq has signed an initial agreement with POWERCHINA to build solar power plants with a capacity of 2,000 MW, the government said. The first stage of the project will have a capacity of 750 MW. Power from Iraq’s main grid suffers year-round from hours-long cuts each day, but shortages worsen during the hot summer months when temperatures regularly reach 50 degrees and households rely on air conditioning.

Source: The Economic Times

California to boost solar and wind capacity to meet renewable energy goals

25 August: The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) region plans to increase its solar and wind power capacity in 2021 to help meet the state’s target of 50 percent renewable generation by 2025, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said. The CAISO plans to add an additional 1.6 GW of utility-scale solar capacity and 0.4 GW of onshore wind turbine capacity this year, the EIA said. CAISO is also planning to add 2.5 GW of battery storage capacity this year, the EIA said. California said it would lean more on fossil fuels in coming weeks to keep the power on if scorching heatwaves stretch its grid, demonstrating the challenges grids face by relying more on large amounts of wind and solar energy that only run when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining.

Source: The Economic Times

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