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Rosatom to train Indian engineers at a jointly set up centre in Ranchi
India’s Heavy Engineering Corporation Limited (HEC) and CNIITMASH a sister concern of Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation ROSATOM are jointly working on establishing a Center for General Engineering and Technical Training in the India’s city of Rachi. First 200 engineers from HEC Ltd. will start their education program by the end of 2017 or early 2018, said a press release. The training will be given nine different courses of one to four months duration and will be carried out by CNIITMASH specialists.  The initiative aims at skill development of technical people, working in various engineering enterprises in India. Currently, CNIITMASH specialists are preparing training materials for the centre. The Center is expected to raise efficiency of production in national energy and engineering sectors and to develop qualification of Indian engineers. It may be mentioned here that Rosatom has undertaken an extensive programme to develop and train human resources for Bangladesh in its nuclear energy sector. The Russian state company is implementing the first ever nuclear power plant of Bangladesh at Rooppur of Pabna district.
Solar power price slump casts shadow on India`s green future
June 10, 2017 Saturday 1:03 PM By AFP
Solar power prices in India have hit rock bottom, but it is not all good news for the electricity-starved country as the phenomenon has hit investor confidence and threatens the country`s effort to push its green credentials. Cut-throat competition has driven prices down to unsustainable levels, undermining the booming sector`s viability, according to experts. After the United States withdrew from the Paris climate deal last week, India said it would stick to its huge renewable energy programme. India is the headquarters of an international solar energy alliance and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is keen to reinforce the notoriously polluted country`s green credentials. But the price slump could hinder India`s efforts to meet its solar energy goals and limit temperature-raising emissions. Delays in generating more electricity also mean that nearly 250 million Indians without power will remain in darkness, analysts said. Indian authorities hold regular auctions for power supply companies and the most recent, in May, saw a bid of 2.44 rupees -- less than four US cents -- per kilowatt hour. That was a record low for India at a fifth of the price at the start of the decade and energy minister Piyush Goyal called it a step to a "green future". The price is cheaper than for coal-powered electricity, which overwhelmingly dominates the power grid. However, the effect of the falling cost of solar modules, cheaper financing, aggressive competition and a surplus power supply in some states has been to unleash chaos, with companies and state governments clamouring for suppliers to match the new, low prices. "Prices have come down too much, too soon and that doesn`t bode well for the overall health of the sector," said Vinay Rustagi, managing director of renewable energy consultancy Bridge to India. - Solar `curse` - "In the past 17 months, tariffs are down nearly 50 percent and this is leading to buyer`s remorse for projects already built and under development," he added. "There`s a reasonable chance that these projects will face some trouble in the future." Modi turned to renewable energy to meet the vast needs of an economy that grew by 7.1 percent last year. The government has set an ambitious target of harvesting 100,000 megawatts of solar power by 2022 -- but has installed just 12,500 MW so far. Of India`s 329,000 MW of installed capacity, 67 percent comes from coal and gas. The rest is a combination of nuclear and renewables including, hydro, wind and solar. India is the fastest growing of the world`s major economies and needs uninterrupted electricity to maintain its expansion. It also needs renewable energy to meet its 2015 Paris commitment to reduce emissions relative to gross domestic product by up to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels. The state governments of Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana have refused to sign purchase agreements to buy power at the rates of 4-5.50 rupees a unit reached at auction over the past year, hoping to secure a cheaper deal. This is "creating uncertainty," said Rustagi. "Ethically we shouldn`t do that," said Sanjay Sharma, general manager at the state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India which conducted the latest auctions. He warned that the government could "lose the confidence of the foreign bidder who is investing in India." Critics also question if the new contract winners can provide low price electricity and remain viable. A day after India saw its new cheap solar prices, Amplus Solar founder Sanjeev Aggarwal was bombarded by clients asking him to slash rates to match the new prices. "People are falling over each other to grab a piece of the pie, but the question is if they can ever deliver at these rates," Aggarwal told AFP. Sumant Sinha chief executive of ReNew Power, one of the largest Indian renewable power companies and a losing bidder in the latest auctions, predicted a "winners curse." "Extremely low tariffs don`t help anyone. Ultimately people have to raise debt financing, banks have to be brought on board, all of that looks very dicey at these levels," Sinha said.
Category: Regional
Russia signs agreement with India for construction of the third phase of Kudankulam nuke plant
June 3, 2017 Saturday 9:43 PM By News Desk, energynewsbd.com
ASE Group of Companies, a sister concern of Russia’s state nuclear power corporation-Rosatom and Nuclear Power Corporation of India signed a general framework agreement on the construction of the third phase of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu of India. Valery Limarenko, president of ASE group of companies, and Satish Kumar Sharma, chairman and managing director of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India signed the general framework agreement of during the18th India-Russia annual summit held in Saint-Petersburg of Russia. According to a press release from Rosatom, The agreement stipulates the construction of two Russian-designed power units, No. 5 and No. 6 at the Kudankulam NPP site.   India with the assistance from Russia has already constructed and commissioned power units No. 1, No. 2 in the first phase and started implementation of construction of power unit no. 3 and No. 4 in the second phase of Kudankulam NPP. All the power units of the project are with Russian VVER 1000 technology, which fully satisfies the requirements of up-to-date regulatory and technical documents of Russia, IAEA and is certified for compliance with European Utilities Requirements (EUR).     Earlier on December 5, 2008 Russia and India signed an inter- governmental agreement  on cooperation in construction of additional power units of the nuclear power plant at the Kudankulam site, as well as in construction of nuclear power plants of  Russian design at new sites in India.
Category: Regional
India becomes 2nd largest LPG importer
May 8, 2017 Monday 9:28 PM By LP GAS TODAY
India has toppled Japan as the world’s second-largest importer of LPG, it has been revealed. The news comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge to provide cooking gas cylinders to the poor and wean them off polluting fuels drove up consumption. Imports of LPG, mostly used as cooking fuel, soared 23% during the financial year to 31 March to 11 million tons, according to data from oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell. Japan’s imports slipped 3.2% during the same period to 10.6 million tons, according to its finance ministry. China remains the world’s top importer. A push to provide free cooking gas connections to women in poor households in India has resulted with a record distribution of 32.5 million new cooking gas connections during the year. India aims to increase LPG usage to cover 80% of its households by March 2019, compared with the 72.8% that now use it.
Category: Regional
Myanmar-China oil pipeline nears start-up
March 22, 2017 Wednesday 1:35 PM By Reuters
Nearly a decade in the making, a project to pump oil 770 km (480 miles) across Myanmar to southwest China is set for imminent start-up, with a supertanker nearing the port of Kyauk Phyu, marking the opening of a new oil trading route. Dogged by sensitive relations between Naypyitaw and Beijing, the $1.5 billion oil pipeline has been sitting empty for two years, but the two sides are now close to a deal, said Myanmar-based government and industry sources, despite some last-minute tensions. An agreement between China`s PetroChina and Myanmar`s government will allow the state energy giant to import overseas oil via the Bay of Bengal and pump it through the pipeline to supply a new 260,000-barrels-per-day (bpd) refinery in landlocked Yunnan province. The new oil gateway fits with China`s "One Belt, One Road" ambitions, linking it with central Asia and Europe, and will provide a more direct alternative route to sending Middle Eastern oil via the crowded Malacca Straits and Singapore. It would also be a rare win for China in Myanmar after a diplomatic offensive aimed at forging better ties with its resource-rich neighbour, which has often been wary of Beijing`s economic clout. Aung Myat Soe, deputy director of planning under the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), said the project was awaiting a final sign-off by the Minister of Electricity and Energy. Major issues including transport tariffs and Myanmar`s tax take on the oil have been settled, but port fees have yet to be finalised, said a Myanmar-based industry source familiar with the matter. "The two sides are working to finalize the terms and sign the contract," the person said, declining to be named as the information is not public. "I cannot say for sure when the deal would be sealed - it could be in a couple of days or early April." The pipeline will have an eventual capacity of 400,000 bpd, about 5 percent of China`s daily import demand, but the start-up of the Yunnan refinery has been held up as PetroChina and Myanmar negotiated final terms for delivering the oil. PetroChina plans to start test production at the refinery in June, aiming to expand its foothold in China`s fuel-short southwest which has so far relied largely on rival Sinopec for supplies, said two Beijing-based oil officials familiar with the Yunnan refinery. Before then, PetroChina is expected to purchase another 7 million barrels of crude for the pipeline, to stock up fuel for about one month`s production at its new refinery, said one of the officials. While the deal is still to be finalised, oil is already on its way to supply the pipeline, straining relations with Myanmar. Shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon shows the oil tanker United Dynamic, carrying one million barrels of Azeri crude, is currently off the coast of southern India and expected to unload its cargo at Kyauk Phyu this week. A Myanmar government official said there had been "a big argument with the Chinese" over the move to ship in crude before the contract was finalised, while a second official said the entry of the tanker was pending approval from Myanmar`s navy. PetroChina did not respond to requests for comment. Any delay would be costly for the oil shipper, which is carrying crude worth over $50 million and which has a daily tanker charter cost of nearly $20,000, excluding fuel and crew costs. The deal is also controversial in China as it has been tainted by a graft probe into PetroChina`s ex-chairman Jiang Jiemin, a supporter of the project. Critics have raised conerns about the economic viability of the project, which also includes a natural gas pipeline, which was touted as providing "strategic new channels" for China`s energy needs. At the same time, the prolonged squabbling over key features of the deal, first discussed back in 2004, has soured Chinese enthusiasm for the project. "There are open questions about the economics and future cooperation with Myanmar, given the repeated delays and under-utilization," noted a senior PetroChina official who requested anonymity as he`s not authorized to speak to press.
Category: Regional
IEA ties with India continue to strengthen
March 11, 2017 Saturday 9:43 PM By News Desk, energynewsbd.com
International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol and India’s Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan met to share views on a range of energy issues and to discuss further ways to heighten cooperation on Friday. The meeting took place while both were attending the CERA Week oil conference in Houston. Dr. Birol congratulated the Minister on India’s efforts to solve its energy challenges and increase private energy investment, according to IEA website. He called India’s new Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) an important step to encourage necessary investment in energy exploration and production and noted that early plans for the initiative had been discussed  in early 2016 during a meeting he had attended with Prime Minister Modi in Delhi. Dr. Birol highlighted the IEA and India’s joint efforts on energy security. The IEA’s close cooperation with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is based on the Memorandum of Understanding on “Cooperation on Oil and Gas Security” signed in 2011.  Dr. Birol also expressed support for India’s prioritization of the use of renewables and gas to meet its growing energy needs and to address air pollution concerns. Dr. Birol welcomed India’s active engagement with the IEA, saying “As India moves to the centre of the global energy stage, it is my hope that our very productive relationship will continue to grow closer.”
Category: Regional
Ricardo holds advanced training for Bihar Power Holding Company
March 9, 2017 Thursday 10:38 PM By News Desk, energynewsbd.com
Power utility experts from Ricardo delivered a five-day training programme to Bihar State Power Holding Company Ltd and its subsidiaries to support the company in its goal to deliver world leading electricity distribution services for Bihar- while enhancing efficiency, financial performance and competitiveness within India’s developing energy market. India’s power network is undergoing a period of rapid development, with substantial investments in modernising distribution assets. As part of its leading role in electricity distribution in the Bihar region, The Bihar State Power Holding Company appointed Ricardo to support its staff training programme with technical guidance drawn from power network development projects in the UK and around the world, said a press release. Held in London, England, the face-to-face training sessions focussed on providing delegates the tools required to overcome key challenges in India’s power utilities sector. This included providing best practice on operating load dispatch centres, guidance on long term maintenance of distribution assets, advice on adapting to demand side management and insight into the commercial strategies of successful UK retail utilities. Ricardo runs a range of online and in-country training courses for power sector utilities across India, South East Asia and Africa, which are designed to support development and growth in these rapidly electrifying regions. Managing Director of Bihar Power Distribution Company (BPDCL), Sandeep Kumar Ramchandra Pudakalkatti said: “Our company is committed to enhancing the performance of Bihar’s distribution network. Training with Ricardo’s power sector specialists in London provided an excellent opportunity to expose our teams to global best practice and industry leading technologies which they can apply to strengthen the utilities sector in India. It allowed us to not only expand the skill sets of our most valued employees but to reward their hard work and dedication whilst preparing them to take a leading role in India’s dynamic energy industry going forward.” In addition to class-room based training sessions, the delegation received a guided tour of London’s Distribution System, attended an Energy Future’s Lab presentation on emerging power generation technology at Imperial College London, and visited The Crystal - one of the world’s most energy efficient and sustainable buildings. “It was an honour to be joined by delegates from the Bihar State Power Holding Company and its subsidiary companies and to share knowledge and expertise between the UK and Indian power network systems,” said Rahul Desai, a senior consultant at Ricardo Energy & Environment. “I hope that the sessions will support the company’s ambitious goals for the growth and development of the Bihar energy distribution network, and I look forward to welcoming their return to London for further training in 2017.” Ricardo supports organisations around the world to identify techno-economic solutions to their generation, transmission and distribution needs. This includes the design and implementation of energy policies and regulations, master planning, feasibility studies, transaction advice and renewable energy requirements. Its consultants have a range of international experience supporting global partners in the implementation and reform of robust, efficient and sustainable power network infrastructures and markets.
Category: Regional
Second unit of India’s Kudankulam nuclear power plant reaches 100% power
January 25, 2017 Wednesday 10:39 PM By News Desk, energynewsbd.com
The Second unit of India’s Kudankulam Nuke Plant, built with Russian assistance for the first time reached 100% power level recently. Earlier it was operating at 90% power level. Currently, after the power unit has reached the nominal power level, it is planned to perform comprehensive dynamic tests for 15 days. The tests will confirm the design parameters of the power unit main system and its dynamic stability in certain modes of disturbance of normal operation, said a press release.            On 29 August 2016 Kudankulam NPP unit No 2 constructed with the technical assistance of Russia’s ASE Group of Companies was connected to the power grid of India. Physical start-up of the unit commenced on 11 May 2016 when the first fuel assembly was loaded into the reactor. Loading of 163 fuel assemblies was successfully completed on May19, 2016. All the works were conducted jointly by Indian and Russian specialists in automatic mode in strict compliance with the schedule and safety regulations. АSE Group of Companies, engineering division of Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation – ROSATOM. ASE group of Companies is one of the world leaders in nuclear power engineering and holds over 30% of the global NPP construction market. The group has representative offices, branch offices and operational offices in 15 countries around the world, with almost 80% of its portfolio coming from projects abroad. Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Bangladesh is being constructed by ASE.
Category: Regional
CNG prices go up to Rs70-71 per kg after deregulation
December 31, 2016 Saturday 12:09 PM By DAWN
The deregulation of compressed natural gas (CNG) price proved highly shocking for vehicle owners ahead of the New Year as station owners in Sindh have increased the gas price to Rs70-71 per kg from Rs67.50. All Pakistan CNG Association Sindh chairman Shabbir Sulemanji said: “We have not notified the new enhanced price. Now dealers are free to fix the prices on their own.” He claimed that the CNG prices now ranged from Rs70 to Rs71 per kg at various stations of Sindh, showing a raise of Rs2 to Rs3 per kg after entering into the deregulated regime from Dec 13, 2016. CNG deregulation is not a new phenomenon as consumers have witnessed it prior to 2009. Mr Sulemanji claimed that CNG would still cost 30 per cent less than petrol for vehicle owners. In case petrol price went up from Jan 1, 2017, CNG would still be more than 30pc cheaper than petrol. He said the CNG price in Punjab was already deregulated, selling between Rs73 and Rs74 per kg as compared to Rs75 per kg price in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.  “The CNG price in Sindh is still the cheapest as compared to other provinces despite the price jump,” the CNG body chief said. He said Rs70 per kg gas price in Sindh meant that it would cost consumers Rs 46-47 in terms of per litre. Taking Rs68 per litre price of petrol meant that the CNG in terms of litre was still cheaper by Rs21 per litre, he added. He said consumers had not seen any price hike in CNG for the past four years. He said the cost of gas had risen due to injection of LNG in Sindh, which caused exorbitant increase in the gross chloriphic value in the gas supplied by the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) to CNG stations, coupled with manpower cost and soaring utility expenses in the last four years. “We are now in the revival stage after the new gas price as the CNG sector was actually on ventilator,” he said. Surprisingly, consumers had not shown any anxiety at the stations as many of them were unaware about the new price. Rickshaw and taxi owners would definitely bring out new gas price from the consumers’ pocket. Rickshaw owners usually charge Rs100 for five to six km distance and for 12kms their charges hover between Rs280-300. In case of CNG load-shedding, they charge Rs120-150 for five to six km and Rs320-350 for 12km. A rickshaw owner at a CNG station in FB Area said that rickshaw drivers might start charging extra Rs10-20 from travellers after implementation of the new price.
Category: Regional
10 dead in Jharkhand mine cave-in, many still missing
December 30, 2016 Friday 10:50 PM By NDTV
Rescuers pulled out two more bodies today from the rubble of a collapsed coal mine in Jharkhand, taking the number of deaths to 10, police said, as many were still feared trapped. A massive mound of earth caved in late Thursday at the Lalmatia open cast mine, burying at least 23 miners and dozens of vehicles as hundreds of workers battled overnight to rescue them. "Up till now, 10 bodies have been recovered after two more were pulled out. Coal mine authorities believe that there may be 2-3 more dead bodies inside," Jharkhand police spokesman, RK Mallick, told AFP. "Total dead should not be more than 13 or 14, as per assessment." He added that it was difficult to know how many may be trapped, but said close to a dozen were still unaccounted for. Some of the workers had escaped the disaster site following the collapse, Mallick said. Images showed the dead covered with white sheets on makeshift quilts as colleagues and locals looked on at the rescue efforts. Police and emergency workers used sniffer dogs, earth movers and their bare hands to remove giant rocks and mangled, overturned trucks to locate the trapped workers under tons of earth. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his grief on Twitter, promising to help the state government in its rescue operations. "Saddened by the loss of lives at a mine in Jharkhand. My prayers are with those trapped inside," he said.  Federal disaster and rescue authorities have dispatched more than 200 rescue workers to the site. The mine is operated by the government-owned Eastern Coalfields Limited. Its top official, Niladri Roy, told AFP that more than 250 metres (820 feet) of the mine collapsed as workers headed towards the exit around 7:30 pm Thursday. There was no immediate explanation for the collapse, but the government has launched an investigation into the "unprecedented" incident. In a separate incident on Thursday, four miners were injured at a government-run coal mine in Jharkhand`s Dhanbad district. A mine official said the workers were hit after the roof of the Putki Balihari coal mine partially collapsed. Two of the workers were critically injured. Jharkhand is one of the richest mineral zones in India, accounting for around 29 percent of the country`s coal deposits. However it is also one of India`s poorest areas and the epicentre of a Maoist insurgency. In 2015, India recorded 38 deaths across 570 mining sites. The last major mining accident in India occurred in 1975, when 372 workers were killed following the flooding of Chasnala mine in Dhanbad.  
Category: Regional
Pakistan govt reluctant to burden gas consumers with price hike
December 26, 2016 Monday 10:37 AM By DAWN
Pakistan`s government is unlikely to pass on the impact of the increase in gas prices to consumers because of political reasons, sources said on Saturday. Consumer prices can potentially rise up to 10 per cent due to the recent revision in the wellhead price of natural gas produced in Sui. Under a new arrangement between the Balochistan government and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources over the extension of the Sui gas mining lease, the wellhead price will be fixed at 55pc of 2012 Petroleum Policy. Under the agreement, consumer gas prices will go up 9.7pc, which will help gas companies recover additional Rs25.4 billion. The decision to increase the wellhead price received approval from the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) as part of the agreement for the extension of the Sui gas mining lease for the next 10 years. It will allow state-owned exploration and production company Pakistan Petroleum (PPL) to stay on as the operator of the Sui gas field until 2026. Under the revised agreement, PPL will also pay 10pc of the wellhead value as the lease extension bonus to the government of Balochistan besides corporate social responsibility-related activities. PPL will also invest Rs20bn in exploration activities in Balochistan during the lease period. The Sui mining lease was originally set to expire on May 31, 2015. It was a legal requirement to have an arrangement in place for the continuation of gas production from the field. The federal government allowed PPL to continue gas production from the Sui mining lease for one year with effect from May 31, 2015. While the price will increase for the gas companies, officials expect consumer prices will not go up accordingly. “The exploration and production company will be selling costly gas to Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL). But our demand for an increase in the consumer rate has been turned down by the government,” said an official of SSGC. Currently, the average purchase price for the gas companies is Rs510 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) whereas the average consumer price is Rs450 mmBtu. Due to the sale of gas at a lower price, SNGPL’s claim of the price differential subsidy was around Rs60bn at the end of June. However, an official of SNGPL said the company will file a petition with Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) for an increase in consumer prices from July 2017.
Category: Regional
Pakistan turns to China in energy binge
December 21, 2016 Wednesday 1:10 PM By The Wall Street Journal
When Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif came to office in 2013, rolling power outages across the country were plunging homes and businesses into darkness for up to 12 hours a day. Now the Pakistani leader is betting on a $21 billion Chinese-backed splurge on energy projects to boost the economy—and his re-election bid. More than 10,000 Chinese workers are now building at least 10 partly Beijing-financed energy projects across Pakistan that are set to grow the country’s energy output by 60% within two years in the first major boost to supply in two decades. Sharif’s government plans to inaugurate a nuclear plant this month and a pipeline network in January that will carry large-scale gas imports upcountry. “Never in the history of Pakistan has there been such a big package of electricity plants in the pipeline,” said Syed Akhtar Ali, in charge of energy at the Planning Commission, the ministry tasked with long-term development. Sharif’s promise to solve the electricity crisis propelled him to office at a time when the energy deficit was knocking some 2 percentage points off growth, economists say, stifling industry and leaving school children to study by candlelight. Pakistan’s economic growth has risen to almost 5% annually under Mr. Sharif and his government set a 7% target for the years ahead. That, his government hopes, will boost the moribund private sector, reduce unemployment and provide youth with more alternatives to extremism. The energy plan is a centerpiece of that economic aspiration. Sharif is racing to fulfill his pledge and become the first incumbent to be re-elected in a country whose voters—or the interventionist military—have long ousted its leaders for their poor performance. Sharif, who led Pakistan twice before in the 1990s, hasn’t previously even completed a term in office. “Electric power is going to be the swing factor in the election,” said Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the minister for petroleum. “If we don’t deliver on power, we won’t be seen as having delivered.” Sharif’s plan depends heavily on ​China, which​ is translating its long-term strategic ties with Pakistan into an economic partnership, part of a broader infrastructure push across Eurasia. China is financing many plants as commercial investments. But to expedite projects, the Pakistani government is funding ​some​ power stations in the run up to the election, including three gas-fired plants in Mr. Sharif’s home province of Punjab. The eventual aim is to more than double Pakistan’s current output of around 16,000 megawatts. By comparison, Washington’s multibillion-dollar civilian aid program for Pakistan has been far less ambitious, adding 1,000 megawatts to the country’s power generation in recent years by enhancing existing power stations. The plan is to add 10,000 megawatts of the new China-backed infrastructure, a mixture of coal, gas and hydro electricity, by early 2018, months before elections, at a cost of $21 billion. The schedule is tight. The massive amounts of natural gas and coal needed for the plants require an extensive delivery system of ports, pipelines and railways. The country also needs to upgrade its power distribution network to be able to carry the extra electricity. “My concern is that gaps in longer term planning, including much needed structural, regulatory and market reforms, will once again fall by the wayside in the euphoria of having achieved a temporary electricity supply surplus,” said Jamil Masud, a partner at Hagler Bailly Pakistan, an energy consultancy, The projects could become a political issue. The Chinese-financed plants enjoy a generous return guaranteed by Islamabad. Less highly populated provinces complain that Mr. Sharif’s Punjab has scooped an unfair share of the projects. Beyond the election, billions of dollars of more Chinese power projects are also planned. At Karachi’s Port Qasim, a $2 billion coal-fired plant is taking shape. After only 1.5 years under construction, one 400-foot high cooling tower is up and the second is almost complete. The hulking metal frames for the boilers are in place and a jetty for imported coal is taking shape. Around 4,000 people work on the site, 24 hours a day—half of them Chinese workers who aren’t allowed to step outside its boundary. On the other side of the port, a massive tanker ship serves as a terminal for liquefied natural gas imports, which are piped across Pakistan. Three more terminals are planned by the government. The Chinese hope that, over time, greater economic success for its Pakistani ally will act as a source of stability and help to de-radicalize society, said Andrew Small, author of The China-Pakistan Axis. “If you have a more normalized Pakistani economy and closer economic linkages within the region, this will at least mitigate some of the long standing conflictual tendencies that exist there,” he said.
Category: Regional
Experts call for India-B`desh cooperation in gas exploration
November 10, 2016 Thursday 8:47 AM By Business Standard
India and Bangladesh should get together for joint exploration of gas to overcome the hurdle of resource and logistic mobilization, poor connectivity and most important reduction in the cost of exploration. This was expressed by the experts of both nations during the recent two-day `International conference on the present and future of natural gas : challenges and opportunities in NE India` organized at the Pragya Bhavan here by the Synergy For Energy Challenges and Opportunities in N-E (SECONE), an organization funded by Indian energy companies like ONGC, GAIL, IOL etc. "Gas is a clean fuel and is part of the energy. The focus of the conference is natural gas and we have chosen Tripura because it is lying between Bangladesh and Myanmar. There is gas in the entire region starting from Bangladesh to Myanmar. At present in the northeast (India), Tripura is producing the maximum quantity of natural gas. If more focus is given then there will be more production of gas, more exploration and more gas based industries will come and there will be more development of the region," said Anil Kr Saikia, Secretary, SECONE. Saikia said the biggest hurdle in the exploration of gas in this region is logistics and tough terrine and due to which the exploration cost is very high. "Moreover, there is transportation bottleneck along with the law and order problem but things are fast improving," he added. Most of the experts expressed that both nations should cooperate in using each other`s expertise, territory for resource mobilization and equipment in exploration sector to bring down the cost and for viability of the project. "Bangladesh, Northeast India and Myanmar and these areas are endured with natural resources. Our resource is so big but our reserve is small because we could not explore it. What were the major hindrances the political boundaries, logistically difficult and because of these two it becomes costlier in exploration. That is why Bangladesh could not do very good, nor India or the Burmese in the north-eastern part. If we cooperate each other; politically these are different countries but geologically it is one. There are seven to eight borders connected with very well road, communication. Hence, within no time we can mobilize our equipment and material to the sites," said Md Maqbhul E Elahi, former director of Petro Bangla of Bangladesh and an energy expert. Elahi added: "To drill one well you need to mobilize 1200 tonnes of equipments. If we use Bangladesh roads and mobilize the equipments to Tripura or Myanmar side then in no time we can reach at almost no cost. Even to reach Digboy and these areas, it only takes six to seven hours time from Sylhet which has good road and communication. So, if we use it then the exploration cost reduces and initiative from the private partners will grow up. So, if we can cooperate then definitely we can in a very short time develop much faster compared to other parts of the world." Meantime, ONGC Tripura Asset Manager S.C. Soni said there is a need for regional cooperation in energy sector between India, Myanmar and Bangladesh for development and prosperity. "But there is a misconception or misunderstanding in this regard. There should be cooperation between Indian and Bangladesh because we are sharing the boundary and our fields are very nearby and so we can exchange our technical expertise and our data to them and they are also actually ready to share their data so that actually we can have a mutual cooperation. We also need to have a gas grid system between India, Myanmar and Bangladesh," he added. Soni further said that both Bangladesh and Northeast India have gas which needs to be tapped in a planned way, adding a gas grid shall come up in north-east India by 2030 which shall be connected with the neighouring nations.
Category: Regional
Petrol price up by 89 p/litre, diesel by 86 paise
November 6, 2016 Sunday 11:23 PM By News Desk, energynewsbd.com
Petrol price was raised on Saturday by 89 paise a litre, the sixth increase in rates since September, and diesel by 86 paise a litre, the third increase in a month. The price hike announced by Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is excluding local sales tax or VAT and will be effective from November 5th midnight. After including VAT, petrol in Delhi will cost Rs. 67.62 a litre from midnight tonight, up Rs. 1.17 from Rs. 66.45 a litre currently. Similarly, diesel will cost Rs. 56.41 a litre after including VAT in Delhi, up Rs. 1.03 as compared to Rs. 55.38 at present. This is the sixth increase in petrol price since September 1, the last hike being on October 16, 2016, by Rs. 1.73 a litre. The five previous hikes had totalled to Rs. 6.36 a litre and after including Saturday’s increase, the price of petrol has gone up by Rs. 7.53 per litre in just over two months. In case of diesel this is the third price increase in a month, the previous being of Rs. 2.77 a litre on October 16. The three price increases total to Rs. 3.90 a litre. “The current level of international product prices of petrol and diesel and rupee-U.S. dollar exchange rate warrant increase in selling price of petrol and diesel, the impact of which is being passed on to the consumers with this price revision,” IOC said in a statement. IOC said the movement of prices in the international oil market and INR-USD exchange rate shall continue to be monitored closely and developing trends of the market will be reflected in future price changes. Source: The Hindu    
Category: Regional
Ashok Leyland launches circuit series first electric bus made in India
October 20, 2016 Thursday 10:21 AM By News Desk, energynewsbd.com
Ashok Leyland, flagship of the Hinduja Group on October 17 unveiled in Chennai the country’s first circuit electric bus, designed and engineered entirely in India by Indians, for the Nation. In line with Ashok Leyland’s vision for the future of mass mobility, the country’s first made in India 100% electric bus is a zero-emission vehicle created by Ashok Leyland specifically for Indian road and load conditions. This new circuit range of vehicles will be offered on multiple platforms, said a press release. Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, chief guest on the occasion, Ambuj Sharma, Additional Chief Secretary, Industries and Commerce of government of Tamil Nadu, said, “Today is a very significant day for us as a state and as a country. India’s first ever fully electric bus, developed for India and made in India, is a big leap in mass public transport and we are glad that Ashok Leyland has been able to deliver this. This vehicle will support the Government initiative of reducing India’s eight lakh crore fuel import bill and is a promise for a brighter and cleaner future for all of us and for our future generations.” Vinod K. Dasari, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland, said, “The circuit series of buses is another testament to Ashok Leyland’s commitment to leverage India’s technological innovation to deliver relevant and best-in-class solutions for India and the world. In April 2015, at FAME Delhi workshop, we had committed to vehicles with full electric power trains by January ’17. I am happy to dedicate the first vehicle in this new circuit series, ahead of schedule. As a world leader in public transport, we can proudly say that we have created a product that will enhance the environment in the cities - this is in keeping with Ashok Leyland’s philosophy of ‘Aapki Jeet, Hamari Jeet’.”  
Category: Regional
India to speed up hydropower building on rivers flowing into Pakistan
September 28, 2016 Wednesday 1:24 PM By Reuters
India will accelerate its building of new hydro-power plants along three rivers that flow into Pakistan, a source familiar with the plan said on Monday, in a move likely to aggravate already tense relations with its neighbour a week after an attack on an Indian army base. Disagreements over how to share the waters of the Indus and other rivers have dogged relations between the nuclear-armed arch-rivals since independence in 1947. The dispute looks set to be reignited after Prime Minister Narendra Modi told officials on Monday that India should use more of the rivers` resources, speaking a week after the Sept 18 attack on an army base in the disputed region of Kashmir that New Delhi blames on Pakistan, a source with knowledge of the meeting attended by Modi said. India has vowed to respond to the raid, in which at least 18 of its soldiers were killed, but any military option risks escalation. Some officials have called for a renewed diplomatic offensive instead. Modi said on Saturday that India would mount a global campaign to isolate Pakistan, including through the United Nations, where Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj spoke on Monday. India has long accused Pakistan of backing militant groups operating in the Himalayan state of Jammu and Kashmir, through which several of the countries` shared rivers flow. Pakistan denies the allegations and says India has not provided adequate proof to support its claims. A spokesman for Pakistan`s foreign office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Modi`s hydropower plans. At Monday`s meeting, Modi and officials discussed ways to increase exploitation of the Chenab, Jhelum and Indus rivers but said they would not violate a long-standing water treaty between the countries in the process. “We want to see that all these (hydropower) projects are put on a really fast-track basis,” the source told Reuters, speaking on the condition he was not named because of the sensitivity of the meeting. “Our entire approach was done to create an atmosphere of goodwill. But in this atmosphere, we want to exploit all our rights under the (Indus Waters) treaty,” the source said. The Indus Waters Treaty was signed in 1960 in a bid to resolve disputes, but India`s ambitious irrigation plans and construction of thousands of upstream dams has continued to annoy Pakistan, which depends on snow-fed Himalayan rivers for everything from drinking water to agriculture. India says its use of upstream water is strictly in line with the 1960 agreement.  India currently generates about 3,000MW of energy from hydropower plants along rivers in India-held Kashmir, but believes the region has the potential to produce 18,000MW, the source said. New Delhi will also review whether to restart construction of the Tulbul navigation project, which was suspended several years ago. The project proposes diverting water from one of the shared rivers to a city in India-held Kashmir that could impact flows downstream, the source said. A spokesman for Modi`s office declined to comment.  
Category: Regional
India aims to reduce hydrocarbon imports by 10% by 2022
September 10, 2016 Saturday 12:27 PM By Reuters
India aims to reduce its hydrocarbon imports by 10 percent by 2022 through increasing domestic output, fuel efficiency and the use of alternative energy, its oil minister said on Friday. India currently imports 70-75 percent of its energy requirements, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan told reporters. The minister spoke on the sidelines of a roadshow in Singapore for investors to explore oil and gas in India. “A good number of companies are taking our data,” Pradhan said, although he declined to name those who have shown interest. The minister also said there will no cess or duties assessed on new oil and gas exploration projects.
Category: Regional
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