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National News Bulletin

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Daily Newsletter 2020

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Friday, March 20, 2020

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Infraline Comprehensive Power , Oil & Gas & Coal Only Detailed Newsletter

What’s New

Acts and Regulations

§  Pragati Power Corporation Ltd. (PPCL). Versus Central Electricity Regulatory Commission & Ors. RP. No. 1 of 2019 in A.No. 175 of 2015

§  DCM Shriram Limited. Versus Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission & Ors. A.No. 70 of 2017

§  Aavanti Solar Energy Private Limited. Versus Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company Limited & Ors. A.No. 9 of 2019

§  Century Rayon. Versus The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission & Anr. A.No. 252 of 2018

§  Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited & Ors. Versus Power System Operation Corporation Limited & Ors. A.No. 240 of 2018

View More...

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Performance of State Discom

New!

Power

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Kalpataru Power board to consider buyback

Kalpataru Power Transmission on Wednesday (18 March 2020) said that its board will consider share buyback on 24 March 2020.

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Safe Power for All is the need of the hour

Safety needs thought, commitment and focus 24x365 days and hence needs continuous communication with customers to nudge them to take action and make themselves safe

§  Power demand shows signs of recovery as total generation rises by 11percent

§  Tata Power expands rooftop solar service to 90 cities across India

§  Ministry asks for Cabinet nod to monetise PGCIL assets

§  Tamil Nadu: Plea to cancel licence issued for quarrying near KKNPP dismissed

§  Villagers getting electricity bill without connection in Chhattisgarh

§  Maharashtra: Work-from-home pushes up power peak demand

§  Will Budgetary Support to promote Hydro Electric (HE) Power encourage DISCOMS to purchase power from HEPs?

[Poll Question]

Projects Update

Project Name

Promoter

Capacity

State

Jameri Hydro Power Project

KSK Jameri Hydro Power Pvt. Ltd.

60 MW

Arunachal Pradesh

Tidding II Hydro Power Project

Sai Krishnodaya Industries Pvt. Ltd.

75 MW

Arunachal Pradesh

Dardu Hydro Power Project

KVK-ECI Hydro Energy Private Limited

60 MW

Arunachal Pradesh

Attunli Hydro Power Project

Attunli Hydro Electric Power Company

680 MW

Arunachal Pradesh

Kolodyne Hydro Power Project Stage-2

NTPC

460 MW

Mizoram

Renewable Energy

 

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Raising a PV system’s yield by 20percent with mirror reflectors

A group of Scientists in India has demonstrated a 20% increase in a PV system’s energy yield through the use of mirror reflectors in the summer season. Though the technology is still far from being economically viable, the research shows that higher power yields can be reached without significantly affecting the module temperature.

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SmartCity Kochi Wins Award for its Go-Green Efforts

SmartCity Kochi has won an award for ecological sustainability in recognition of the IT township’s go-green efforts that save energy, conserve water, etc.

§  Only 521.69 MW of Renewable Energy Capacity Installed in Odisha

§  Tata Power Expands Rooftop Solar Service to 90 Cities Across India

§  NEXTracker Completes Delivery of Trackers for 3.4 GW of Solar Portfolio

§  IIM Ahmedabad Tenders for Grid-Tied Rooftop Solar Plants

§  Maharashtra: Metro installing solar panels atop stations at fast pace

§  GAIL in talks to buy stake in ACME Solar Holdings

§  Does Anti-Dumping probe benefit Domestic Solar Manufacturers in India?[Poll Question]

§  Solar power tariffs increase in Gujarat auction

§  Solar power equipment manufacturers need interest subvention: Industry body

§  Gujarat floats tender for 700 MW solar power capacity in Dholera Park

Projects Update

Project Name

Plant Owner

Capacity (MW)

State

Chhayan Solar plant

Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited (TPREL)

150

Rajasthan

Ramanathapuram Solar Project

Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited (NLC India Limited)

95

Tamil Nadu

Tirunelveli Solar Power Plant

Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited (NLC India Limited)

100

Tamil Nadu

Ibrahimpatanam Solar Power Project

Bharat Dynamics Ltd.

5

Telangana

Kothagudem Solar Photovoltaic Power Project

Singareni Collieries Company limited (SCCL)

37

Telangana

Oil & Gas

 

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Oil India to invest 57 bln rupees on 167 wells, pipeline in Assam

Hydrocarbon producer Oil India Ltd plans to invest around 57 bln rupees on drilling 167 wells and constructing additional production facilities and a pipeline in Assam's Dibrugarh district, a senior official of the state-owned company told Cogencis.

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India LNG Buyers Rethink Spot Purchases After Oil Market Slump

Indian liquefied natural gas buyers, which have helped soak up a global glut, are re-examining their spot buying plans as the collapse in oil prices may make other fuels more attractive.

§  Can India attain the objective of decreasing 10% crude oil import by 2022?

[Poll Question]

§  Crude Oil Prices Could Slide To $20 Per Barrel; India Eyes Boosting Strategic Petroleum Reserves With Cheap Oil

§  Petrol, diesel prices remain frozen for fourth day

§  Coronavirus: Global oil demand set to dip 2.8 per cent in 2020

§  Crude oil futures up 7.78 per cent on global cues

§  India's fuel demand drops 11 pc in March as Covid-19 hits aviation, transport sectors

§  GAIL in talks to buy stake in ACME Solar Holdings

Oil & Gas Technical

New!

 

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As virus destroys fuel demand, global refiners prepare run cuts

Falling prices for crude oil are usually a good thing for global refiners - except when nobody is driving.

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Oil products markets in turmoil as coronavirus infects demand

The oil products markets globally are caught between a rock and a hard place as the impact of ultra cheap oil, which should be a boon for refiners, is mitigated by record low prices for gasoline and jet fuel.

§  Oil industry may fill global storage in months as record glut builds

§  Israel's Oil Refineries Q4 profit stays at zero

§  India's Torrent Power seeks 12 LNG cargoes for delivery in 2021

§  Russia faces $39 B budget gap in 2020 from lower oil, gas revenues

Daily International Coal Prices

New!

Coal

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CIL’s capital spend on equipment and project less than annual target

Law and order issues have delayed land acquisition, which may delay projects and pose obstacles for the company in achieving its target of producing 1billion tonnes of coal by 2024. It is expected to produce 610 million tonnes this year. The target for 2020-21is 750 million tonnes.

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Coal India to convert redeemable preference shares held in BCCL into equity

Coal India Ltd (CIL) on Thursday said its board has approved converting Rs 2,539 crore-worth redeemable preference shares held in its arm Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL) into equity shares.

§  Will Commercial Coal Mining attract global players to invest in India?

[Poll Question]

§  MCL geared up to end FY’2020 on a high note

§  Coronavirus: Shipping industry outlook turns negative on coal demand disruption

Roads

 

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We will definitely achieve the goal of $5-trillion economy, says Gadkari

There are problems, but govt is sensitive and we’re will resolve them... There are always ups and downs, but one thing is clear that India is the fastest growing economy, says Gadkari

Central banks deploy trillions to keep economy running

Business confidence is sliding, meanwhile, suggesting major economies are diving into recession.

§  Dilip Buildcon gets LoA for Chhattisgarh highway project

§  Expressway lanes stay deserted amid novel coronavirus scare

§  ‘Bid process for Patna ring road likely in two months’

§  Spl team to speed up land acquisition for service road

§  Govt planning to start roadside amenities under NHAI: Gadkari

§  Dilip Buildcon bags Rs 860cr road project in Chhattisgarh from NHAI

§  Do you think NIP and recent budget allocation will help roads sector to achieve per day construction target?

[Poll Question]

Projects Update

Project Name

Promoter/Client

State

Length (Km)

Six Laning of Vijaywada Bypass (NH-16) Package- IV

NHAI / Adani Enterprises

Andhra Pradesh

17

Six Laning Mumbai Pune Expressway (NH-4)

MSRDC/ IRB

Maharashtra

94

Narnaul Bypass (Ateli Mandi to Narnaul Section) NH-11

NHAI/H G Infra Engineering

Haryana

39

Eight Laning Delhi-Vadodara Greenfield Alignment (NH-148N) (Package- VIII) Start of RoB near junction with NH-11A - Baonli Jhalai Road

NHAI / HG Infra

Delhi,Gujarat

33

Eight Laning Delhi - Vadodara (Package- IX) (Baonli-Jhalai Road to Start of RoB near village Itawa)

NHAI / HG Infra

Delhi,Gujarat

45

Power(8 News Items)

General


Kalpataru Power board to consider buyback

·         Kalpataru Power Transmission on Wednesday (18 March 2020) said that its board will consider share buyback on 24 March 2020.

·         On a consolidated basis, Kalpataru's net profit surged 16.5% to Rs 127 crore on a 15.1% rise in net sales to Rs 3162 crore in Q3 December 2019 as against Q3 December 2018.

·         KPTL is one of the largest and fastest growing specialized EPC companies in India engaged in power transmission & distribution, oil & gas pipeline, railways, infrastructure development, civil contracting and warehousing & logistics business with a strong international presence in power transmission & distribution.

·         Shares of Kalpataru Power Transmission were down 1.61% at Rs 214.40. The stock traded in the range of Rs 204.25 to Rs 220.90 so far.

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Safe Power for All is the need of the hour

·         As we have celebrated the National Safety Week in the first week of March, it is worth reflecting how risk (i.e. lack of safety) is an overlooked aspect for us in our day-to-day lives. It is often seen that people ignore risks and adopt unsafe practices – whether it is crossing the road while the signal is red, walking with mobile phones on the stairs, working at height on an infrastructure project without adequate protective equipment or living with unsafe wiring in old houses etc. overlooking the consequences.

·         We seem to live by the mantra of ‘Trust the Almighty’ (Bhagwan Bharose) when it comes to safety and are probably the biggest “Khatron ke Khiladi”. This maverick and callous attitude has resulted in huge losses in terms of life and property. As a nation, we have seen it all – industrial accidents, train accidents, building or bridge collapse, road accidents and the perennial fire or electric accidents.

·         Of all the above, as an organization involved in electricity distribution the fire accidents in customer premises pose unique challenges. ‘Beyond the Meter’ responsibility like household wiring and correct usage of electric appliances lies with the consumer, and hence necessary precautions must be taken at all times. As per the recent National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, the analysis of fire incidents revealed that more than 50 per cent of total fatalities were due to electrical short circuits. More alarming is a recent newspaper report mentioning that electrocution kills nearly 30 Indians a day while highlighting the gaps in the overall power supply value chain in the wake of India’s mass electrification program ‘Power For All’, a joint initiative of the Government of India and the State Governments to provide 24x7 electricity to the end users.

·         It has been seen that customers are either unaware or are not sensitized enough about the risk or have accepted this risk as normal. Meanwhile, fire accidents in factories, hotels, educational centers, homes etc. are on the rise and hit the national headlines on a regular basis. Who can forget the major fire incidents in a Surat’s Educational Center, Mumbai’s Phoenix Mall, Delhi’s Uphaar Cinema and the recent fire at Anaj Mandi in Delhi which have claimed hundreds of innocent lives. But in addition to these major incidents, there are several smaller scale ones that don't make it to the headlines.

·         The key question for all of us to answer is “What can make people take action to safeguard themselves and others from electricity related fire accidents which makes us so vulnerable?”

·         A responsible distribution utility is expected to take measures such as extensive customer communication particularly on the usage of a simple safety device – the Earth Leakage Circuit breakers (ELCBs) which is the most critical defense in case of a short circuit and can play a very critical role in preventing shocks. In case of any short circuit, the ELCB detects current leakage and automatically trips and disconnects the electricity supply to the premise or the equipment in use. This is as good as a seat belt or an air bag in a car – a protective device which can save lives in case of an accident. Distribution utilities must facilitate their customers to install and replace older ELCBs at their premises and take this up a special drive.

·         Besides ELCBs, the major issue of electric safety emanates from the poor or improper wiring or cabling. Inadequate capacity or low quality wiring may cause short circuit and can lead to major accidents. We all have to make it a practice to ensure proper checking or replacement of internal wires every five years. Perhaps the exercise can be best coupled with whitewashing or painting of houses.

·         The extension of houses or balconies near the electric installations (poles, network) especially in congested areas (unauthorised colonies and busy markets) also poses a great threat to the inhabitants and the public at large. This issue is extremely challenging as demolition of these structures is a herculean task in our legal system. So we continue to live with these risks. Additionally, awareness about the standards of several electric appliances (geysers, irons, immersion roads, room heaters et al) which are used in daily life is not sufficient. These appliances may not necessarily be made or used as per the stringent quality certifications or standards laid down by the National Standard Body of India - Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) with ISI Schemes causing accidents at the users’ side.

·         In such an alarming situation, safety needs thought, commitment and focus 24x365 days and hence needs continuous communication with customers to nudge them to take action and make themselves safe. Further, technology solutions readily available can help vanquish this risk and enable them to keep enjoying the empowerment of electricity without being jolted by it!

·         DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETEnergyworld.com does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETEnergyworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.

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Power demand shows signs of recovery as total generation rises by 11percent

·         The country’s power sector is on the recovery trajectory following the second straight month of demand uptick in February after four successive months of decline.

·         Conventional electricity generation rose 11 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) in February.

·         “The demand uptick was broad-based and across states. Coal-based generation increased 10 per cent y-o-y, hydro generation rose 18 per cent while nuclear generation was up eight per cent”, a report by Motilal Oswal noted.

·         Coal stocks at power plants increased, led by ramp-up in coal production. Output of Coal India Ltd (CIL) was up 14 per cent y-o-y in February. Stocks at power plants stand at 37 million tonnes (mt), corresponding to 21 days of consumption. The coal inventory has shown a marked improvement over 26 mt recorded in the corresponding period of FY19.

·         Availability at NTPC’s power stations at Sipat and Korba that were grappling with critical coal stocks has recovered after heavy monsoons. However, Plant Load Factor (PLF) at NTPC’s plants remained low at 67 per cent owing to muted power demand.

·         During April-February period of FY20, the country added fresh capacity of 5,700 Mw in thermal power. This was marked by concomitant retirement of 1,600 Mw of retirement in capacities of obsolete thermal power units.

·         Coal despatches to the power units inched up two per cent y-o-y in January to 57.3 mt. Coal consumption by the power plants, too, went up four per cent y-o-y in the same period to 54.4 mt.

·         Recovery in the power sector was manifest in the short-term market as Da Ahead Market (DAM) volumes on the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) spiked by 53.5 per cent y-o-y in February. Average prices at the exchange increases two per cent month-on-month to Rs 2.92 per unit.

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Top

Tata Power expands rooftop solar service to 90 cities across India

·         Tata Power on Thursday said it has expanded its rooftop solar service to 90 cities across the country. The big rollout from Tata Power comes at a time when consumers across all major categories including commercial, industrial, residential and public sector are adopting solar energy as a reliable and sustainable solution to meet their energy needs that also holds tremendous potential to save costs.

·         "Preparing for a future-ready India, Tata Power is making a big push for a stronger adoption of clean energy by expanding its rooftop solar offerings to 90 cities," the power major said in a filing to BSE.

·         Tata Power launched customisable rooftop solar solutions on a pan-India basis in September 2018, as pee the company.

·         Shares of the firm were trading 4.97 per cent lower at Rs 33.45 apiece on the BSE.

Source

 

Top

Ministry asks for Cabinet nod to monetise PGCIL assets

·         The power ministry has moved a cabinet note seeking approval for monetisation of the transmission lines of the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) through infrastructure investment trust (InvIT). It aims to raise ₹10,000 crore through this to help boost PGCIL’s spending plan, a senior official, told ET, requesting not to be named.

·         According to the official, although these are turbulent times, the government is going ahead with those asset monetisation plans that have a definite revenue stream, like the transmission lines. “Once approved, government will invite bids as it aims to complete the process by middle of this year,” the official said.

·         The idea is to help PGCIL raise funds for its spending plan and reduce its debt burden, while increasing the dividend payout to the government and other stakeholders.

·         PGCIL spends between ₹15,000 and ₹20,000 crore every year on network expansion. The company has a total asset size of over ₹2 lakh crore and investments of about ₹1 lakh crore in setting up transmission infrastructure. The official cited earlier said the plan is to set up InvIT and transfer some of PGCIL’s operational transmission assets to the proposed trust. In return for such transfers, the company will get tradable units from the trust that could be used in the market to mobilise funds.

·         This would allow the company to monetise its existing assets, which under normal circumstances would have given returns only after years of operation. Transmission projects are long-gestation projects where returns start accruing only after 20-25 years.

·         The Securities and Exchange Board of India has allowed Indian firms to launch investment trusts to help cash-strapped developers get easier access to funds, while also creating a new investment avenue for institutions and high net worth individuals.

Source

 

Top

Tamil Nadu: Plea to cancel licence issued for quarrying near KKNPP dismissed

·         Madras high court has dismissed a plea which sought to cancel the licence issued to a company to quarry near the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) in Tirunelveli district. A division bench passed the order while hearing a plea filed by N Chendurpandi.

·         The judges observed that the petitioner in his petition said the authorities concerned had given quarrying licence to a private company within 2.8km radius of the Kudankulam plant and sought the licence to be cancelled.

·         The authorities have placed materials before the court to show that the quarry licence was given to the company in respect of the area, which is 5.98km from the plant and 2.9km from the compound wall of the site. The counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted that a GO dated April 29, 1991 states that whenever any activity is to be permitted by the revenue authorities within 2 to 5km radius around the nuclear power station, permission of the project local committee should have to be obtained, whereas, in this case, such permission has not been obtained.

·         The judges observed that the necessity to obtain clearance from the Kudankulam Project Local Committee would arise only where the proposed activity falls within the radius of 2 to 5km and not beyond it. The judges noted that the project director of the plant sent a communication stating that there was no objection for the quarry. Citing that the petition is devoid of merits, the judges dismissed the petition.

Source

 

Top

Villagers getting electricity bill without connection in Chhattisgarh

·         Residents of Paradol village here complaint that they are receiving electricity bills every month even as the village doesn't have a power supply.

·         Villagers here live in mud houses and cook in dark. They told that despite of repeated complaints to the authorities nothing has been done to resolve their grievances.

·         "There is no electricity supply but every month we receive bills. We complaint several times but to no avail," said a villager.

·         Paradol village is located in Manendragarh Tehsil of Koriya district in Chhattisgarh.

·         Notaby, with an aim to provide last mile electrical connectivity and ensure electrification of all the willing rural and urban households, the Prime Minister had launched Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, also known as Saubhagya Scheme in September 2017.

·         The funds are provided largely by the central government to all the States and Union Territories.

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Maharashtra: Work-from-home pushes up power peak demand

·         The demand for electricity, specially from residential users, has increased to more than 20,000 MW as more people are working from home.

·         According to MSEDCL, the peak load consumption across Maharashtra is 17,000-18,000MW. During the weekend, the peak load consumption was 20,573MW and it now gone up to 20,747MW, indicating that there is more demand for power across state while citizens tackle the coronavirus threat by working from home.

·         Meanwhile, state energy minister Nitin Raut on Wednesday directed MSEDCL to "maintain proper power supply for the convenience of the people who prefer to work from home...considering coronavirus threat".

·         In Mumbai, BEST, Adani Electricity and Tata Power officials said they were geared up to tackle any peak power demand and will ensure uninterrupted supply.

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Renewable(11 News Items)

Raising a PV system’s yield by 20percent with mirror reflectors

·         Researchers from India’s National Institute of Technology, the Centre for Energy and Environmental Engineering and Shoolini University have developed a new modeling technique to enhance the output of a PV system using mirror reflectors. Using this model, the group demonstrated a more than 20% energy yield increase with a PV system comprising multicrystalline modules installed at a high altitude in India’s Himalayan region.

·         The researchers note that mirror reflectors have been widely used in the past to increase the power generation of solar modules, and that they have proven to raise output by between 20% and 30% depending on the season, site of installation and type of reflector. “Several studies have been done to determine the optimum tilt angle of a reflector, but only a few have discussed the temperature effects on augmented PV panels,” the group also states.

·         The proposed model, according to its creators, was conceived to determine optimum tilt angles for reflectors during which maximum reflected radiation falls on the PV panel throughout the day, during both summer and winter months.

·         Temperature

·         The MATLAB-based model was validated experimentally at a PV system located in Hamirpur, a town in the state of Himachal Pradesh, in the western Himalayas region of India. The location was key to the research, because it enjoys the combination of good solar radiation and relatively low ambient temperatures that is typical of the mountainous western Himalayas region.

·         The reflected irradiation, in fact, is expected to increase the temperature of the modules in comparison to a PV system without a reflector. “However, since the temperature rise due to reflector is small, in the present study, the effect on PV efficiency is probably not substantial,” the scientists state. “In this study the maximum rise in PV panel temperature is found to be 59 degrees Celsius in summer season under sunny conditions, but the average rise is found between 48 and 50 degrees, only 0-4 degrees higher than for a PV system without a reflector.”

·         In the winter, average rises were found to be between 23-25 and 36 degrees Celsius, 0-2 degrees higher than a comparable system without a reflector.

·         Increased output

·         The average improvement was measured by taking an average over the course of the day from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm at 30-minute intervals. The measurements allowed the group to ascertain that the main power enhancement period was between 9.00 am and 1.00 pm, while lower improvement was registered between 2.00 pm and 5.00 pm.

Source

 

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SmartCity Kochi Wins Award for its Go-Green Efforts

·         SmartCity Kochi, a joint venture company formed by the Kerala government and Dubai Holding, has won an industry body’s award for ecological sustainability in recognition of the IT township’s go-green efforts that save energy, conserve water, recycle waste, avoid plastic and promote overall cleanliness.

·         Known to be the best of the best within the facility management sector, the honour – FM Excellence Award for 2019- 2020 – comes from the Infrastructure, Facility, Human Resource and Realty Association (iNFHRA) that enables government and industry bodies to deliberate on policy issues.

·         Aiming to promote high standards among its members and encourage best practice in the industry to improve positioning and competitiveness, the organisation also interacts with international partners to promote globalisation and economic development of the Indian industry.

·         SmartCity Kochi Infrastructure Pvt Ltd was shortlisted for the award along with other majors such as Bosch, Ramanujan IT City, and Yamaha Motors, considering their contribution to green energy, water management, and environmental management, a release issued by the iNFHRA said.

·         SmartCity Kochi CEO Manoj Nair, while hailing the iNFHRA award, as a great honour and recognition, said the 2016-founded special economic zone gives high priority to sustainable energy and other green initiatives in all its projects.

·         It is not just about developing infrastructure and buildings, we are into protecting the environment. That is the need of the hour and each one of us has to do one’s part, he added. SmartCity Kochi has established a 564-kWP rooftop solar photovoltaic plant with the objective of reducing dependency on conventional sources by at least 10 percent.

·         A rainwater harvesting tank of capacity 400 KL is in place even as the treated water is fully used as per the norms of the State Pollution Control Board. Also, aerators are used in taps to optimise water usage.

·         Further, SmartCity Kochi has set up ODS (ozone depletion substance) restriction, banned single-use plastics and promoted digital advertising platforms, besides having installed organic waste composting and rooftop gardening.

·         The iNFHRA awards for 2019-2020 were supported by major international property consultants such as CBRE South Asia, Cushman & Wakefield, Jones Lang LaSalle and Knight Frank India Pvt Ltd as outreach partners.

Source

 

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Only 521.69 MW of Renewable Energy Capacity Installed in Odisha

·         According to data provided by the Minister of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) the coastal state of Odisha has a total of 521.69 MW of renewable energy capacity installed in the state as on February 29, 2020.

·         As per the data, the capacity is divided between solar energy, small hydropower plants and biopower. Solar with 397.84 installed capacity accounted for more than 3/4th of the entire renewable energy capacity in the state. Behind solar was small hydropower with 64.635 MW of installed capacity and biopower with 59.22 MW of installed capacity.

·         As per the Green Energy Development Corporation of Odisha Limited (GEDCOL), the Government of Odisha has proposed the following renewable energy projects:-

·         Development of 275 MW Solar Park in Sambalpur & Boudh districts through GEDCOL.

·         Setting up of 19 MW of grid-connected rooftop solar projects on Government buildings in 17 cities of Odisha through GEDCOL.

·         Setting up an 8 MW ground-mounted solar project on surplus lands available in Baripada, Jayanagar & New Bolangir EHV sub-stations of OPTCL and Mukhiguda & Manmunda powerhouse of OHPC & GEDCOL.

·         Development of cumulative capacity of 75 MW through ground-mounted solar projects at Boudh, Bargarh & Bolangir (each 25 MW capacity).

·         Development of small hydro-electric projects at Kanpur (4.2 MW), Jambhira (3 MW) & Mandira (10 MW) in Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj & Sundargarh districts respectively.

·         Development of a cumulative capacity of around 500 MW of floating solar power plants on various reservoirs in the state in collaboration with NHPC.

·         In another response to a question raised in the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy RK Singh has informed that the MNRE had given “in-principle approval‟ for developing Kakinada and Narsapur towns as solar cities under the scheme “Development of Solar Cities”. And that no project/activities were undertaken by the Municipalities of Kakinada and Narsapur before the closing date of the scheme i.e., March 31, 2017.

·         Answering another question, the minister said that MNRE had given approval for developing Vijayawada as a pilot solar city in 2011 under the scheme “Development of Solar Cities”. Under this, 5 number of solar PV projects of 100 kWp capacity each have been installed at 5 different locations of Vijayawada Municipal Corporation.

Source

 

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Tata Power Expands Rooftop Solar Service to 90 Cities Across India

·         Preparing for a #futureready India, Tata Power, the country’s largest integrated utility is making a big push for a stronger adoption of clean energy by expanding its rooftop solar offerings to 90 cities.

·         The big rollout from Tata Power is also coming at a time when consumers across all major categories including commercial, industrial, residential and public sector are now adopting solar energy as a reliable and sustainable solution to meet their energy needs that also holds tremendous potential to save costs, the firm issued in a statement.

·         Praveer Sinha, CEO & MD, Tata Power said, “solar rooftops not only offer an economical and clean alternative to conventional energy sources but also deliver reliability. With the increased adoption of RTS by consumers, we are confident that our solar rooftop solutions will play a big role in improving energy access across the country, in both urban and rural parts.”

·         Since the launch of customisable rooftop solar solutions on a pan-India basis in September 2018, ringing testimonials of happy customers continue to pour in on the value of Tata Power rooftop solar solutions across all categories of power consumers.

·         For Abid Siddiqui, Plant Head, Bisleri International, the main factor that accentuates the importance of rooftop solar panels is that they are a clean mode of energy and require very low maintenance.

·         Ashish Khanna, President, Tata Power (Renewables), said, “It is our endeavour to offer consumers the option of clean and green energy, which is not only cost-effective but also helps them in energy conservation. With RTS, we aim to achieve our Company’s objective of ‘Lighting up Lives’.”

·         The rising popularity of RTS within the Indian power sector is also an outcome of the increasing share of renewable or green energy in the country. So far, Tata Power has installed over 375+ MW of rooftop projects, including some of the most industrialised states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

·         Tata Power Solar has also built utility-scale projects in 13 states in the country with a total capacity of around 2.76 GW. In 2017, the company executed a 2.6 megawatt (MW) solar rooftop plant at the carport of Kochi International Airport. Incidentally, this is India’s largest solar-powered carport.

Source

 

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NEXTracker Completes Delivery of Trackers for 3.4 GW of Solar Portfolio

·         NEXTracker has announced that it was selected by 174 Power Global, an affiliate of Hanwha Group, to supply its smart solar trackers across 174 Power Global’s 3.4 gigawatts (GW) US solar projects portfolio. The contract was executed in the second half of 2019. The commercial agreement marks one of the largest racking contracts in solar industry history.

·         NEXTracker has a proven track record for on-time delivery, flexibility and the capacity to scale and meet customer’s requirements,” stated Henry Yun, CEO of 174 Power Global. “NEXTracker’s distributed architecture and exemplary yield gain technology were critical to our decision. Having an assured tracker supply and cost savings guaranteed through Safe Harbor as we continue to plan our project pipeline is critical in advancing our mission of creating a more sustainable future.”

·         Businesses are looking to maximise the benefit of the solar investment tax credit (ITC) before the end of the year when the ITC phases down. The ITC dropped from 30 percent in 2019 to 26 percent this year and will decline an additional four percentage points in 2021 before falling to 10 percent in 2022, the firm issued in a statement.

·         “174 Power Global has developed an impressive solar portfolio and we are honored that our innovative, smart solar trackers were included across its projects,” said Dan Shugar, CEO of NEXTracker. “This announcement demonstrates our ability to scale and offer our customers strong engineering support, bankability and on-time delivery in the context of fluid and challenging global supply conditions.”

·         In June 2019, we had reported that the firm had announced its latest industry milestone, with 20 gigawatts (GW) of its smart solar trackers delivered and under active fulfilment globally. The firm was named the No.1 supplier of photovoltaic (PV) tracker systems globally in 2018, a title it has held for four consecutive years, according to research and consultancy firms IHS Markit and Wood McKenzie Power and Renewables.

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IIM Ahmedabad Tenders for Grid-Tied Rooftop Solar Plants

·         The Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad (IIM-A) has issued a tender for setting up of 50 kWp grid-connected rooftop solar PV system on a turnkey basis on two locations on the campus. As per the tender, the projects will be developed at two locations. The first a 30 kWp system on the roof of the CIIE Building on the new campus and the second a 20 kWp system on the roof of the RJM Library Building on the heritage campus.

·         The scope of work for the selected bidders will include the design, supply, installation, and testing and commissioning of the two rooftop solar projects on a turnkey basis with five years (1+5) comprehensive maintenance contract.

·         The last date for bid submission is April 14, 2020, and the techno-commercial bids will be opened on April 15, 2020. A pre-bid meeting has been scheduled for March 24, 2020, to address the concerns raised by the prospective bidders. The date and time of opening of the financial bids will be intimated later to the cleared technical bidders.

·         All bidders must submit an Earnest Money Deposit of Rs 50 thousand along with their bids.

·         To be eligible for participating in the bidding process, the bidder should have been in the Solar PV Module business for a minimum period of five years. And should have a similar experience of implementation of rooftop solar projects.

·         Experience of having successfully completed similar works during last 5 years ending last day of the month before the one in which applications are invited should be either of the following:

·         Three similar completed works costing not less than the amount equal to Rs 7 lakh. OR

·         Two similar completed works costing not less than the amount equal to Rs 10 lakh. OR

·         One similar completed work costing not less than the amount equal to Rs 15 lakh.

·         Financially, the average annual financial turnover during the last 3 years, ending March 31 of the previous Assessment year (For FY 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19) shall be minimum Rs 20 lakh. And the bidder must be a profit-making organization in the last three consecutive assessment years.

·         As per the tender document and matching the university culture, the bidders will have to give a presentation for the overall assessment of the firm based on technology leadership, technical capabilities, work experience, quality, and team expertise before the IIM-A Core Committee.

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Maharashtra: Metro installing solar panels atop stations at fast pace

·         MahaMetro, which aims to meet 65 per cent of its energy requirement from solar, is installing panels atop its stations at a fast pace. Its aim is to install total 14MW and so far 1MW has been installed and work is going on another 1.5MW.

·         A Metro spokesperson said that solar energy was a win-win situation for the agency. “A private operator installs the panels through Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), a central government undertaking. We don’t spend a penny on it. We just provide the space in our stations. The operator sells power to us when the panels are installed. We get electricity at less than half of MSEDCL’s power tariff,” he added.

·         “At present we are meeting 85 per cent of our electricity requirement of our stations through solar. Panels have been installed atop six stations and Metro Bhavan. The average monthly generation is more than one lakh units. Till date we have exported over 2.5 lakh units of electricity to MSEDCL. More than 10.5 lakh units of solar energy has already been generated, which saved more than Rs82 lakh for Nagpur Metro Rail Project so far,” said the spokesperson.

·         He further said that work on installation at five Metro stations and two depots for 1.5MW capacity was in progress. “MahaMetro is in the process of signing agreements for development of another 3MW for upcoming 10 stations and depot buildings. More than 5MW will be installed by March 2021,” he added.

·         MahaMetro is one of the first Metro Rail agencies to go for solar energy right from inception. Many agencies started switching to solar when they were asked by central government and when their electricity bill ran into crores.

·         Going green helped MahaMetro secure loans worth around Rs4,500 crore from German agency KfW and French agency Agence Francaise de Developpment (AFD). According to the spokesperson, foreign lending agencies prefer projects that are green.

·         “We are using green energy wherever possible as our aim is to reduce pollution in Nagpur. Our feeder vehicles will run on electricity or LPG. Our stations have bio-digesters to recycle water. Our stations have got Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) ratings,” he added.

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GAIL in talks to buy stake in ACME Solar Holdings

·         GAIL has entered exclusive discussions to buy a stake in privately owned solar power generator ACME Solar holdings, according to four people aware of the matter.

·         The state-owned company formerly known as Gas Authority of India is said to be carrying out due diligence on solar power plants owned by ACME Solar.

·         It is yet to discuss financial terms with ACME’s shareholders, as per these sources.

·         “The discussions are at an early stage. The proposal has not been taken up by GAIL’s board”, an executive said.

·         The state-run player could pick up anywhere between 49-74 per cent stake in ACME Solar holdings if discussions progress towards a deal, according to the sources.

·         “The talks are open-ended. The deal could involve an investment in the parent company and also separate investments in certain SPV’s that house individual projects”, another executive briefed on the matter said.

·         GAIL is the largest processor and distributor of natural gas in India.

·         The company is said to be exploring investments in the renewable energy space as part of a strategy for diversification of its businesses and to create a hedge against volatility in natural gas prices which are linked to crude oil.

·         Spokespersons for GAIL and ACME Solar declined comment when contacted.

·         ACME Solar’s portfolio of 5.8 gigawatts places it amongst the largest standalone solar power generation companies in the country and could be worth over $1.6 billion, as per industry experts.

·         GAIL has a tie-up with state-owned BHEL for setting up renewable energy projects and also provides financial support to startups who are setting up businesses related to clean energy.

·         It was also amongst contenders to buy IL&FS’s wind power projects that were put up for sale as part of a plan for financial reconstruction of the debt-ridden non-bank finance company.

·         ACME Solar has a pan-India portfolio of solar power generation plants covering twelve Indian states. It’s operational plants produce nearly 3 gigawatts of solar energy which is supplied to state electricity boards with whom it has long term power purchase arrangements some of which extend upto 25 years.

·         The company is also in the midst of setting up new solar plants that have the capacity to generate a further 2.8 gigawatts of power. It generated free cash flows of Rs. 800 crore in the current fiscal leaving it with ample liquidity after accounting for its capital expenditure.

·         Pension funds, private equity players and global strategic investors have also explored the possibility of investing in ACME Solar or purchasing some of its assets after it shelved a planned initial public offering of shares (IPO) a few years back.

·         State-owned energy companies are increasingly pursuing inorganic growth opportunities. National Thermal Power Corporation recently outbid Adani group in a bidding process for the purchase of Avantha’s group’s power plant in Madhya Pradesh. Similarly, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation acquired a power plant from Lanco group last year after winning in a bidding process.

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Solar power tariffs increase in Gujarat auction

·         Solar tariffs increased to Rs 2.61 per unit compared with Rs 2.50 per unit in the last auction conducted in February.

·         Vena Energy, Juniper Energy and Tata Power won 40MW, 190MW and 120MW at tariffs of Rs 2.61, Rs 2.63 and Rs 2.64 per unit, respectively in an auction conducted by Gujarat's main distribution company, Gujarat Urja Vikas Limited (GUVNL) on Wednesday for 350MW of solar capacity.

·         A GUVNL executive told ET last week that although the size of the tender is 500MW, only 430MW of bids were received, forcing the discom to scale down allotment. "We were expecting to get at least 700-800MW, but somehow people have not participated," said the executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

·         In a solar auction conducted by the renewable energy ministry’s nodal agency Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) last month, the lowest winning tariff was Rs 2.50 per unit.

·         “As far as international investors go, the risk assessment is lower for central tenders. So they are able to finance the capital at a lesser rate,” said Jyoti Gulia, founder of renewable energy consultancy firm, JMK Research.

·         The ceiling tariff for this auction was set at Rs 2.65 per unit. Industry executives told ET that it is too competitive, especially given that the practice of setting a ceiling tariff is being done away with.

·         The ministry of new and renewable energy has directed all state discoms and central agencies not to prescribe an upper ceiling tariff in future wind and solar auctions.

·         GUVNL had conducted a 500MW solar auction in May 2019 where tariffs ranged between Rs 2.65-2.70 per unit.

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Solar power equipment manufacturers need interest subvention: Industry body

·         Domestic solar power equipment manufacturers need interest subvention to stay competitive in the market and enjoy level playing field against foreign firms, according to National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI).

·         "Interest subvention will encourage the industry and will greatly help in making domestic manufacturing competitive. The scheme will go a long way and help create a level playing field for Indian manufacturers to compete with foreign manufacturers," NSEFI Chairman P R Mehta said. There are total 73 companies which are part of NSEFI as; trustee, patron, associate and ordinary members working as solar developers, manufacturers, engineering, procurement and construction contractors, rooftop installers, system integrators, and small and medium enterprises.

·         Interest subvention allows subsidy or rebate in the rate of interest on which financial institution provides loan to companies. The subsidy is borne by the government to promote an industry.

·         Experts say lending rates in India hover in the range of 10-12 per cent for setting up a solar manufacturing business as against China which provides cheap loans at 3 per cent to 5 per cent. "This has helped Chinese companies to lead the race in manufacturing solar equipment since they produce at mass scales already," said Ameya Pimpalkhare, a renewable energy expert and an Associate Fellow at Observer Research Foundation.

·         The present domestic manufacturing capacity for solar cells in India is around 3 to 4 gigawatt and that of module manufacturing is about 9 to 10 gigawatt annually. "India needs to reach about 20-25 GW of capacity to fulfill its domestic needs itself. Also, there are good opportunities in South Asia and Africa for Indian modules which also need to be explored," Pimpalkhare said. Chinese panel manufacturers cut module prices by up to 35 percent after China’s curtailment of its solar industry beginning mid-2018.

·         Speaking at an industry event earlier this year, renewable energy secretary Anand Kumar had said, MNRE has recommended to its commerce and finance counterparts to impose basic custom duty on imported solar cells and modules. He also said that to focus on domestic manufacturing, the ministry has brought in manufacturing-linked tender, where the subsidy is inbuilt in the parallel.

·         Pimpalkhare said given the outdated technology employed by Indian manufacturers, there is a need for investments in research and development by both the government and the industry to establish domestic manufacturing units.

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Gujarat floats tender for 700 MW solar power capacity in Dholera Park

·         Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL), the holding company of all the power utilities in the states, has floated a tender for 700 Megawatt (MW) capacity solar power projects to be set up in Dholera solar park.

·         "In order to fulfill the renewable power purchase obligation and to meet the future requirements of discoms, GUVNL intends to procure 700 MW solar power from the projects to be located in 1000 MW Dholera Solar Park through competitive bidding process on build-own-operate basis," the company said in a Request for Selection (RfS) document.

·         The selected companies will set up solar power projects in Dholera park on Build-Own-and-Operate (BOO) basis in line with the provisions of the tender conditions and the standard power purchase agreement (PPA).

·         GUVNL is re-tendering the 700 MW capacity which remained unallocated in solar tenders invited in January last year. A pre-bid meeting was also held at that time. It has now incorporated all the acceptable suggestions made during the pre-bid meeting in the tender document and the PPA.

·         The company has also given an option to bidders to raise queries before 3 April 2020. The deadline for submission of interest is 18 April. The opening of the financial bid and reverse e-auction will start on 27 April.

·         GUVNL will enter into PPA with successful bidders for 25 years beginning the scheduled commercial operation date of the project. The maximum tariff that can be quoted by the bidders has been set at Rs 2.92 per unit.

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Oil & Gas(8 News Items)

Oil India to invest 57 bln rupees on 167 wells, pipeline in Assam

·         Hydrocarbon producer Oil India Ltd plans to invest around 57 bln rupees on drilling 167 wells and constructing additional production facilities and a pipeline in Assam's Dibrugarh district, a senior official of the state-owned company told Cogencis.

·         The location of the project is Dibrugarh district's Tengakhat-Kathaloni-Dikom area, where the state-owned company already produces crude oil and gas.

·         The project, which will cover seven petroleum mining leases in the area, will involve drilling 31 exploratory wells and 136 development wells, apart from construction of seven production installations and laying an interconnecting pipeline, said the official, on condition of anonymity.

·         The project is primarily aimed at increasing oil and gas production from the Tengakhat-Kathaloni-Dikom area. Over the years, Oil India has drilled around 150 development wells in the area. With this project, the company aims to increase oil production from the area by 0.5 mtpa.

·         Unlike exploratory wells, which are drilled to explore an area for hydrocarbon reserves, development wells are drilled to exploit known hydrocarbon reserves. Usually, if development drilling is successful, the wells are converted into production wells for commercial production of hydrocarbons.

·         The proposed development drilling project is awaiting some government clearances and Oil India intends to start work on it as soon as it receives the necessary approvals, which could take a few months. The project is part of the government's push to increase domestic oil and gas production.

·         In this project, the development wells are planned to be drilled at depths of around 3,900 mtr and the project, including construction of production facilities and laying the pipeline, is expected to be completed in seven years.

·         The Tengakhat-Kathaloni-Dikom area is spread over around 830 sq km and includes the Dibrugarh, Chabua, Tinsukia, Hugrijan, Naharkatiya Etxtn, Dholiya and Dumduma petroleum mining leases. Hydrocarbon exploration in the area began back in 1963.

·         At 1157 IST, shares of Oil India traded at 77.65 rupees on the National Stock Exchange, 6.7% lower from the previous close.

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India LNG Buyers Rethink Spot Purchases After Oil Market Slump

·         Indian liquefied natural gas buyers, which have helped soak up a global glut, are re-examining their spot buying plans as the collapse in oil prices may make other fuels more attractive.

·         At least two Indian importers may slow spot LNG purchases amid concerns industrial customers will shift toward oil products, according to traders with knowledge of their plans. A third will likely be able to continue buying LNG unless oil prices stay subdued for six to nine months, the traders said, speaking on the condition their companies aren’t identified.

·         India’s imports of LNG, which it buys mainly for industrial use, have boomed over the past year as record-low spot prices made it the fuel of choice. But since it also competes against oil products in some sectors, tumbling crude prices are erasing that edge. Oil has fallen about 60% this year as Saudi Arabia and Russia fight for market share and the coronavirus pandemic clobbers demand.

·         “We expect a downside risk to India’s LNG imports in 2020 due to a large drop in crude prices,” Abhishek Rohatgi, an analyst at BloombergNEF, said by email. “This could make fuel oil cheaper than spot LNG cargoes and reduce demand from industrial users such as the manufacturing sector.”

·         The shifting fuel preference may mean sellers can no longer count on India to help absorb cargoes after China’s demand was dented by efforts to contain the virus. India imported a record amount of LNG last month, according to Kpler SAS analyst Rebecca Chia.

·         Indian companies have issued almost 40 tenders this year seeking cargoes for delivery in 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s far more than the eight from all of North Asia, which includes Japan, China and South Korea, where buyers struggled with brimming inventories, weak demand due to a milder winter and Covid-19.

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Crude Oil Prices Could Slide To $20 Per Barrel; India Eyes Boosting Strategic Petroleum Reserves With Cheap Oil

·         Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic crisis, global oil prices have remained suppressed. The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $23.41 per barrel on Wednesday (18 March), while Brent crude was trading at a 16-year low of $26.02 per barrel, reports Livemint.

·         Goldman Sachs, a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm expects crude prices to touch the $20 per barrel mark.

·         The reduction in demand due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 coupled with enhanced supply of oil in the wake of Russia's refusal to back deeper output cuts at a meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have led to the historic fall in oil prices.

·         This will also have a huge impact on the US shale oil producers.

·         However as per the report, India, which is the world's third-highest importer and consumer of oil, is exploring ways to leverage the drop of oil price and boost its ambitious Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves programme (ISPRL).

·         Saudi Arabia and the UAE have also said that they will increase output while cutting prices, giving big consumers the chance to fill up at discounted prices.

·         The LiveMint reports quotes an official as saying that the oil ministry has written to the finance ministry to release about 5,000 crores to buy oil for filling up the storage.

·         It should be noted that to ensure energy security, the Government of India had decided to set up 5 million metric tons (MMT) of strategic crude oil storages at three locations – Visakhapatnam, Mangalore and Padur (near Udupi).

·         These strategic reserves would be in addition to the existing storages of crude oil and petroleum products with the oil companies and would serve as a cushion during any external supply disruptions.

·         The 2017-18 budget announced setting up of additional 6.5 Million Metric Tonne (MMT) Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR) facilities at Chandikhol in Odisha and Padur in Karnataka.

·         The construction of the Strategic Crude Oil Storage facilities is being managed by Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL), a Special Purpose Vehicle, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Oil Industry Development Board (OIDB) under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

·         ISPRL has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UAE’s national oil company ADNOC in November 2018 and it also has an MoU with Saudi Aramco for the lease of a quarter of Padur SPR.

·         India's other strategic petroleum reserve located in Visakhapatnam has stored oil from Iraq, which is also a member of OPEC.

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Petrol, diesel prices remain frozen for fourth day

·         Retail prices of petrol and diesel across the country remained unchanged for the fourth day on Thursday even as global oil markets crashed to 16 year lows.

·         The price of petrol in the national capital stands at Rs 69.75 per litre while diesel is priced at Rs 62.44 per litre. Analysts expect India’s petrol, diesel prices to further fall 6-8 per cent over the next few days as the drop in global oil prices starts reflecting in domestic fuel prices.

·         American investment bank Goldman Sachs said in a note oil prices could go as low as $20 per barrel in the second quarter of the current year based on the demand-supply dynamics.

·         The domestic fuel price freeze follows an 18-day declining streak in rates on the back of a slump in global crude and commodity prices. Automobile fuel prices have followed a downward trajectory since the start of the year with petrol and diesel prices falling in the range of 7-8 per cent since 1 January 2020.

·         Fuel prices this month have dropped to a level last seen in January 2019 but the decline has not resulted in increased demand as Coronavirus outbreak starts restricting public movement in India.

·         Domestic demand for petrol, diesel, jet fuel and shipping fuel has contracted 10 per cent in the first fortnight of March, the first such decline in several years. Petrol pump dealers in Mumbai have requested oil firms to run outlets for a limited number of hours in order to minimise the risk of infections among staff members.

·         Oil prices rebounded slightly on Thursday after falling more than 13 per cent on Wednesday with Brent crude prices trading around $26 per barrel in early trade.

·         While domestic fuel prices are not directly linked to global prices of crude oil, petrol and diesel prices typically trail global oil prices. Oil marketing companies fix the price of petrol and diesel at retail outlets based on a rolling average of the past 15 days of the benchmark prices of petrol and diesel in West Asia.

·         The fall in global oil and commodity prices has also resulted in a drop in the prices of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) and auto LPG prices in India.

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Coronavirus: Global oil demand set to dip 2.8 per cent in 2020

·         With travel restrictions and quarantine obligations being announced daily around the world on the back of the spread of Coronavirus, global oil demand is set to dip 2.8 per cent, or 2.8 million barrel per day (mbpd) in 2020 on a year-on-year basis.

·         "Total oil demand in 2019 was approximately 99.9 million bpd, which is now projected to decline to 97.1 million bpd in 2020. To put the number into context, last week we projected a decrease of just 600,000 barrels," Oslo-headquartered energy research firm Rystad Energy has said.

·         The month of April is expected to take the biggest hit, with demand for oil falling by as much as 11 mbpd year-on-year. This downgrade takes into account developments that happened within the course of last week such as the new quarantine lockdowns across Europe and the declaration of a state of emergency in the US and also updated simulations of the virus’ growth patterns this year.

·         "We believe that global demand for road fuels will fall by 2.2 per cent or 1.1 million bpd year-on-year, a strong downgrade from last week’s report, where road fuels were expected to stay mostly flat," Rystad said.

·         Road fuel demand in 2019 is estimated to have reached 49.7 million bpd. Prior to the coronavirus the firm expected this demand segment to grow to 50.3 mbpd in 2020, but it is now seen reaching only 48.6 mbpd.

·         Almost all of this reduction will occur due to decreased road traffic in the first half of 2020. In China alone, demand for gasoline and diesel road fuel was down by about 1.5 million bpd in February. Traffic in the country is now gradually returning to more normal levels.

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Crude oil futures up 7.78 per cent on global cues

·         Crude oil prices on Thursday rose by 7.78 per cent to Rs 1,745 per barrel as participants created fresh positions tracking a positive trend overseas.

·         On the Multi Commodity Exchange, crude oil for delivery in March traded higher by Rs 126, or 7.78 per cent, to Rs 1,745 per barrel in 69,680 lots.

·         Crude oil for April delivery was up by Rs 104, or 5.98 per cent, to Rs 1,843 per barrel with an open interest of 17,811 lots.

·         Analysts said raising of bets by participants kept crude prices higher in futures trade here.

·         Globally, West Texas Intermediate was trading higher by 12.52 per cent at $22.92 per barrel and, Brent crude was up by 5.02 per cent to $26.13 per barrel in New York.

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India's fuel demand drops 11 pc in March as Covid-19 hits aviation, transport sectors

·         India's fuel demand has dropped by a steep 10-11 per cent in the first two weeks of March as the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19) led to the cancellation of flights and reduction in industrial activity. The country had consumed 19.5 million tonnes of petroleum products in March 2019, official data showed. Assuming consumption in two halves of the month was almost the same, as much as 10 million tonnes of fuel was consumed during the first fortnight of March 2019.

·         "The petroleum industry is witnessing the impact of coronavirus on sales of all petroleum products. The overall demand for liquid fuels has gone down by 10-11 per cent in the first fortnight of March 2020," said Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the country's largest fuel retailer, in a statement.

·         Restrictions and travel advisories, as well as a slowdown in industrial activity, has led to the fall in demand.

·         While diesel sales as dropped by over 13 per cent, jet fuel sales has slumped by over 10 per cent. Petrol sales have seen a decline of over 2 per cent.

·         "Due to restriction in movement and travel advisories, the aviation turbine fuel (ATF) sales have dropped by over 10 per cent. The bunker fuel sales are also down by approximately 10 per cent," IOC said.

·         Crisil said the Covid-19 pandemic has made the already subdued demand outlook ever grimmer.

·         "The airlines industry accounts for 6-8 per cent of total crude consumption. As more countries are implementing bans over Covid-19 in both international and domestic travel, the impact is likely to worsen. And if the pandemic is not contained over the next two-three months, the consequences will be severe," it said in a note.

·         Covid-19, it said, is further drying up demand from the road transport and airlines segments in India as well.

·         "Hence, consumption growth of petroleum products is expected to be low at 2-3 per cent in fiscal 2021," it said.

·         Separately, Morgan Stanley cuts India's fuel demand estimate for the next financial year by five per cent.

·         Prior to the outbreak of coronavirus, Oil Ministry's Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) had projected fuel demand to grow to 222.79 million tonnes in the fiscal year starting April (2020-21) from an estimated 216 million tonnes in 2019-20.

·         ATF consumption was projected to rise to 8.7 from an estimated 8.19 million tonnes in 2019-20 while diesel demand was to grow to 86.5 million tonnes from 84.26 million tonnes. Petrol consumption was projected to rise to 33.4 million tonnes from almost 31 million tonnes in the current fiscal.

·         In the first 11 months of 2019-20, fuel demand was 197.6 million tonnes. ATF consumption came at 7.5 million tonnes in April 2019 to February 2020 while diesel demand was 77 million tonnes. Petrol consumption came at 27.8 million tones in April-February.

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GAIL in talks to buy stake in ACME Solar Holdings

·         GAIL has entered exclusive discussions to buy a stake in privately owned solar power generator ACME Solar holdings, according to four people aware of the matter.

·         The state-owned company formerly known as Gas Authority of India is said to be carrying out due diligence on solar power plants owned by ACME Solar.

·         It is yet to discuss financial terms with ACME’s shareholders, as per these sources.

·         “The discussions are at an early stage. The proposal has not been taken up by GAIL’s board”, an executive said.

·         The state-run player could pick up anywhere between 49-74 per cent stake in ACME Solar holdings if discussions progress towards a deal, according to the sources.

·         “The talks are open-ended. The deal could involve an investment in the parent company and also separate investments in certain SPV’s that house individual projects”, another executive briefed on the matter said.

·         GAIL is the largest processor and distributor of natural gas in India.

·         The company is said to be exploring investments in the renewable energy space as part of a strategy for diversification of its businesses and to create a hedge against volatility in natural gas prices which are linked to crude oil.

·         Spokespersons for GAIL and ACME Solar declined comment when contacted.

·         ACME Solar’s portfolio of 5.8 gigawatts places it amongst the largest standalone solar power generation companies in the country and could be worth over $1.6 billion, as per industry experts.

·         GAIL has a tie-up with state-owned BHEL for setting up renewable energy projects and also provides financial support to startups who are setting up businesses related to clean energy.

·         It was also amongst contenders to buy IL&FS’s wind power projects that were put up for sale as part of a plan for financial reconstruction of the debt-ridden non-bank finance company.

·         ACME Solar has a pan-India portfolio of solar power generation plants covering twelve Indian states. It’s operational plants produce nearly 3 gigawatts of solar energy which is supplied to state electricity boards with whom it has long term power purchase arrangements some of which extend upto 25 years.

·         The company is also in the midst of setting up new solar plants that have the capacity to generate a further 2.8 gigawatts of power. It generated free cash flows of Rs. 800 crore in the current fiscal leaving it with ample liquidity after accounting for its capital expenditure.

·         Pension funds, private equity players and global strategic investors have also explored the possibility of investing in ACME Solar or purchasing some of its assets after it shelved a planned initial public offering of shares (IPO) a few years back.

·         State-owned energy companies are increasingly pursuing inorganic growth opportunities. National Thermal Power Corporation recently outbid Adani group in a bidding process for the purchase of Avantha’s group’s power plant in Madhya Pradesh. Similarly, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation acquired a power plant from Lanco group last year after winning in a bidding process.

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Coal(4 News Items)

CIL’s capital spend on equipment and project less than annual target

·         Coal IndiaNSE -14.82 %’s capital spending on projects and equipment in 11months this fiscal has been only 44% of the annual target. Company executives attribute the low level to land acquisition issues.

·         The state-run company had spent Rs 4,360 crore as of end of February, and is expected to fall short of target, according to a senior executive of Coal India. The expenditure was meant for land acquisition, heavy mining equipment, wagons and infrastructure at mines.

·         Law and order issues have delayed land acquisition, which may delay projects and pose obstacles for the company in achieving its target of producing 1billion tonnes of coal by 2024. It is expected to produce 610 million tonnes this year. The target for 2020-21is 750 million tonnes.

·         The Centre has reduced its investment target for the year from Rs 10,000 crore to Rs 8,000 crore. For 2020-21, the target has been fixed at Rs 9,500 crore.

·         Law and order problems in several states are affecting land acquisition for expanding existing mines and taking up new mining projects. Land acquisition involves payment of compensation to land losers and Coal India keeps aside funds for the purpose. It is spent as and when land is successfully acquired.

·         The company has set aside almost Rs 7,000 crore for expenditure on machinery over three four years.

·         Coal India has already placed bulk orders for equipment and they are yet to be delivered. Executives expect most of the deliveries to start towards the beginning of the next fiscal, spilling the investment into 2020-21. Investment on wagons is expected to be about Rs 700 crore.

·         To produce 1billion tones of coal, Coal India plans to spend almost Rs 56,000 crore on 66 coal projects, which would be able to produce 500 million tonnes a year.

·         About 55% of the capital outlay would be undertaken by South Eastern Coalfields, which is working on 23 projects with a peak capacity of 192 million tonnes.

·         Mahanadi Coalfields is working on 11 projects with peak capacity of around 156 million tonnes. Western Coalfields is working on 15 projects with peak capacity of about 35 million tonnes.

·         Eastern Coalfields, Bharat Coking Coal, Central Coalfields and Northern Coalfields will, among them, develop 30 projects with production capacity of 110 million tonnes.

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Coal India to convert redeemable preference shares held in BCCL into equity

·         Coal India Ltd (CIL) on Thursday said its board has approved converting Rs 2,539 crore-worth redeemable preference shares held in its arm Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL) into equity shares.

·         Pursuant to the conversion, the state-owned coal miner would get a total dividend of Rs 888.65 crore over a two-year period.

·         The approval was given by Coal India Ltd's board of directors during its meeting on Wednesday, according to a filing to the BSE.

·         The board has approved "conversion of Rs 2,539 crore of 50 per cent cumulative, redeemable preference shares into equity shares by BCCL... as per its Memorandum and Articles of Association," it said.

·         According to the filing, an amount of Rs 888.65 crore as dividend on preference shares at 5 per cent from the date of issue to the date of conversion into equity shares should be paid by BCCL in two years.

·         BCCL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Coal India.

·         Coal India accounts for over 80 per cent of domestic coal output.

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MCL geared up to end FY’2020 on a high note

·         The coal miners of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) are geared up to end the financial year 2020 in style, setting a new benchmark of daily and monthly coal production in Coal India.

·         Despite challenging situations due to prolonged monsoon, bandhs and unseasonal heavy rains in the current fiscal, MCL recorded the highest one day production of coal by a subsidiary in the history of Coal India.

·         Carrying a responsibility to support smooth industrial operations by ensuring adequate supply of energy-rich coal, the coal miners of MCL withered unfavourable conditions to check the double digit negative growth.

·         With the return of conducive business environment in the second half of the financial year, the project teams bounced back successfully steering company from turbulent conditions.

·         Last push to further minimise the negative growth of 3.5 per cent as on date has been planned and the employees’ unions have appealed to all production teams to put extra efforts to maximise production in the balance 13 days of the current fiscal year.

·         The last two weeks of the year will witness our resolve to become a coal company registering highest production on day to day basis ever, beating sister subsidiary South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL).

·         While a series of Production-cum-Safety Days are being observed to motivate the project teams across Jharsuguda, Sundergarh and Angul district of Odisha, Mr BN Shukla, CMD, has appealed all the coal production and dispatch teams to give utmost priority to safety while operating in the mines.

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Coronavirus: Shipping industry outlook turns negative on coal demand disruption

·         The earnings of shipping companies globally will decline in 2020 amid sharply reduced demand for shipping services in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Moody's Investors Service said in a report.

·         "This is because of the expected impact of the outbreak on Chinese manufacturing output and demand for coal and iron ore in China, especially during the first half of 2020, as well as related economic disruption," Moody's said.

·         Given the rapid and widening spread of the coronavirus outbreak and the deteriorating global economic outlook, there is a downside risk that the EBITDA of shipping companies globally could decline by 25-30 per cent, similar to levels last seen in 2016 when Hanjin Shipping Co went bankrupt in one of the largest recent failures in the sector.

·         Within the shipping industry, for the container shipping and dry bulk segments, the demand-supply balance is expected to tilt towards oversupply. The situation is more positive for tankers segment at the moment given the recent sharp drop in oil prices.

·         "The negative pressure on tanker shipping companies from reduced demand for oil and oil products because of the coronavirus outbreak has been unexpectedly mitigated by the recent sharp drop in oil prices," Moody's said.

·         Both the spot and charter rates have risen significantly in the past week and are likely to remain at elevated levels through April following the announcement of discounts on oil sales by Saudi Arabia.

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