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Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) to decide freeing of petrol and diesel prices  

PM forms EGoM to deal with fuel price rise

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has constituted an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) to decide the freeing of petrol and diesel prices from government controls. A decision is likely after Parliament session ends on May 7.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will head the EGoM and its decisions would not be required to be approved by the cabinet, a government official said. "We expect a decision (on fuel prices) to be taken in the next 10-12 days."

Petroleum secretary S. Sundaresan confirmed the constitution of the EGoM.

Freeing of petrol and diesel prices from government control would mean a hike of Rs 7 per litre for petrol and Rs 6 per litre for diesel.

Cooking fuels, LPG and kerosene, may continue to be subsidised, the official said. Cooking gas (LPG) is being sold at a loss of Rs 265.27 per 14.2-kg cylinder. On PDS kerosene, oil firms lose Rs 18.42 per litre.

However, given the political fallout of such a steep rise in fuel prices, "the EGoM may even suggest a midway or a phased decontrol," the official said.

The hike in petrol and diesel prices was last implemented on February 26 as part of Budget 2010 proposals following changes in excise duties. Petrol price went up by Rs 2.71 a litre while diesel price was increased by Rs 2.55 a litre.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora had asked the PM to constitute this EGoM in the backdrop of rising financial losses of the state-owned fuel retailers.

Source:Hindustan Times, New Delhi, April 30, 2010

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Nuclear Power Corp to conclude agreements with IOC & Nalco  

Nuclear Power Corp to team up with IOC, Nalco

After its recent agreement to form a joint venture with NTPC to set up nuclear power plants, Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) is now in the process of concluding similar agreements with the country's biggest oil retailer Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and aluminium major National Aluminium Company (Nalco) in the next few months.


This is part of NPCIL's efforts at bringing in a clutch of equity partners to raise financial resources to fuel the country's nuclear power programme that aims at achieving a generation capacity of 35,000 MW by 2020 and 45,000 MW by 2032.

Mr S.K. Jain, NPCIL's Chairman and Managing Director, said within the next two weeks the boards of NPCIL and NTPC would meet to finalise the modalities for setting up a new joint venture company, which will be a subsidiary of both the partners.

The new entity will then identify nuclear power projects and explore ways to finance them, he told presspersons on the sidelines of a function here on Thursday to mark the delivery of fuelling machine head for the advanced heavy water reactors.

Mr Jain said the agreements with IOC and Nalco would be slightly different in that the oil and aluminium companies would be primarily equity partners for certain specific projects. "Other organisations like the Indian Railways have also approached us to participate in India's nuclear power programme for their captive power requirement - we are evaluating the proposals," he added.

Dr Srikumar Banerjee, AEC Chairman and Secretary to the Department of Atomic Energy, said India currently produced 4,560 MW of nuclear power with 19 reactors at six sites. Four reactors were under construction that would enhance generation capacity 7,280 MW by 2012, he added.

The four reactors include two light water reactors (1,000 MW each) at Kudankulam and one 500 MW fast breeder reactor at Kalpakkam.
Dr Banerjee said between 2012 and 2017, four pressurised heavy water reactors would be set up in Gujarat (two) and Rajasthan (two) to add 2,800 MW. "This will take our total generation capacity to over 10,000 MW by 2017," he said.

He said in the longer term there were plans to set up nuclear energy parks at coastal sites in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, with each park designed to have a total generating capacity of 10,000 MW with about six reactors.
Source Business Line, New Delhi, April 30, 2010

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Government asks Renewable energy sector to invest in R&D  

Renewable energy sector told to invest in R&D

Dr Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy, flanked by Mr B.A. Parmar (left), Senior Director, Suzlon Group of Companies, and Mr Deepak Gupta, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, at a conference on `Maintaining Green Energy', Chennai on Thursday. —
Our Bureau::: Chennai, April 29
The renewable energy sector, particularly solar energy, should now focus on technology and bringing down costs, said Dr Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy.Addressing a seminar on mainstreaming green energy here on Thursday, he emphasised that the Government was keen on supporting the industry in viable ventures. But he cautioned the industry against bringing in ‘cheap' technology. Go for better technology available with developed countries but also invest in R&D to ensure long-term growth. India needs excellence in renewable energy sector, he said.On development of wind energy, he said the MNRE was now working closely with the Ministry of Environment and Forests to address the delays in getting clearances for setting up wind mills. The industry also needs to look at increasing the mast height, he said.
Grid interactive projects
Mr Deepak Gupta, Secretary, MNRE, said that while the renewable energy sector was largely focussed on grid interactive projects, the ‘off-grid' potential should not be ignored. There was nearly 1,300 MW opportunity in generating power from industrial waste but just about 70 MW has been tapped.The Ministry has decided to support the State Government in its bid to set up cogeneration facilities in the cooperative sector sugar mills with the subsidy eligible for bagasse-based projects, he said.The MNRE is also targeting expansion of solar power sets to power telecom towers which now use diesel powered generators. The MNRE will provide 30 per cent subsidy for the solar power units, Mr Gupta said.
Mr R Christodas Gandhi, Chairman and Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency, said that Tamil Nadu has exploited nearly 100 per cent potential in wind energy sector.As of March, the installed capacity was 4,889 MW out of the estimated potential of about 5,000 MW. But new opportunities were available in tapping wind power more efficiently through repowering – setting up newer and larger capacity wind mills in the place of small capacity units, increasing mast height and tapping new sites including offshore locations. Ghosh from the pages of THE HINDU BUSINESS LINE newspaper

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Phasing out diesel autos from the city roads  

The implementation of Punjab and Haryana High Court orders to phase out diesel autos from the city roads might pose problems for the commuters. The administration is not prepared with any alternative mode of commuting like CNG or LPG-run autos. CNG has not reached the city and there are only two fuel pumps of LPG gas here.

Jatinder Moudgil, who had filed the writ in the court to ban diesel autos, said the administration lacks in its attempt to provide proper infrastructure for implementing the orders. The transport authorities would submit an affidavit in the high court during the next hearing on May 3, mentioning its plan to act on the orders. The gas agencies are prepared to lay CNG pipelines but the lackadaisical attitude of the state government that is delaying the matter would pose transportation problems for the residents, Moudgil added.

Speaking about the preparedness, deputy commissioner Rahul Tiwari said, “I convened a meeting with auto-driver unions on Tuesday evening. I explained to them that the issue is sub judice. If the court accepts the stay request petitioned by the unions against the May 1 deadline to take diesel autos off-road, we will approach banks for loans to convert the diesel autos to LPG ones.”

via City not ready with CNG, LPG vehicles - Ludhiana - City - The Times of India.

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Indian natural gas output up 69% in March  

Domestic natural gas output up 69% in March

The domestic crude oil production registered an increase of 3.5
percent in March year-on-year, continuing with its upward trend for
the fourth consecutive month. The crude oil output stood at 2.96
million tonnes or 6, 99,190 barrels a day during the month under

According to data released by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural
Gas, ONGC produced 2.1 million tonnes of oil in March, an increase of
1.3 per cent Output from ONGC's Mumbai High fields, which account for
about half of the country's annual crude oil production, registered an
increase of 1.4 per cent to 1.5 mt Natural gas production in March
registered a 69.4 per cent increase year-on-year to 4.79 billion cubic
metres (BCM), according to the data. However, the current gas
production is not comparable year-on-year, as Reliance Industries Ltd
commenced gas production from its Krishna Godavari Basin block only in
April 2009.

Though the crude oil output was up, domestic refiners processed 0.4
per cent less of crude in March, its first fall since last July. The
refiners processed 13.92 mt of crude as against 13.98 mt. The marginal
drop in crude processing was mainly propelled by decline in refining
margins, and some of the public sector refineries shutting down units
for up-gradation.

According to the data, the public sector refiners processed 2.4 per
cent less crude during the month under review. The private refiners,
such as Reliance Industries and Essar Oil, processed 4.5 percent more
crude year-on-year. However, RIL did not report its March refinery
output data, and an average of last six months was taken into
consideration, the Petroleum Ministry said. As regards its second
refinery in Jamnagar, which is in SEZ, the company did not report its
targets and production.

The domestic refiners had a capacity utilisation of 110 per cent in March.

Source: Business Line, New Delhi, April 28, 2010

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Government considering independent performance assessment for PSU  

PSU brass may break free from parent ministry shackles
Dheeraj Tiwari / The Economic Times

NEW DELHI: The government is considering independent performance
assessment for top managers of large state-run companies, as it looks
to reduce influence of administrative ministries in the functioning of
such firms. Performance appraisal of the chairmen and functional
directors of public sector units (PSUs) is currently done by
administrative ministries. A part of PSU salaries is linked to the
employees' performance, giving administrative ministries an undue
influence over the management.

"The appraisal should be conducted by an independent body like the
department of public enterprises (DPE) to ensure transparency in
appraisal and reward system," said an official with the ministry of
heavy industries, which has moved the proposal. DPE is the nodal
agency for all public enterprises. This will give more functional
autonomy to the management, particularly those eligible for the
'maharatna' status. Of the 18 'navaratna' companies, only 5 will
qualify for this status.

Maharatna status requires a three-year track record of annual net
profit of over Rs 5,000 crore, net worth of Rs 15,000 crore and a
turnover of Rs 25,000 crore. SAIL, ONGC, Indian Oil and NTPC are the
only PSUs that meet the criteria. Only listed entities are eligible to
become 'maharatnas'. The proposal is part of a larger government plan
to achieve better corporate governance and provide more autonomy to
public sector companies.

There is also an informal proposal to bring DPE under ministry of
corporate affairs. Earlier, Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid
had said that the proposal of bringing PSUs under MCA can be
discussed. Maharatna companies are allowed to take investment
decisions involving investment of up to Rs 5,000 crore. Earlier a
committee set up on performance appraisals in PSUs had also
recommended that department of public enterprises (DPE), being the
nodal department for central PSUs, should monitor the performance

"It is felt that the appraisal should also be used as a tool for
career planning rather than a mere judgmental exercise. Moreover, it
will also help to identify the future leaders," said a DPE official,
who asked not to be named. The appointment of top PSU management is
done in a three-stage process, in which the administrative ministries
have a major say.

Dheeraj Tiwari / The Economic Times

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Public sector oil refining companies lose on subsidy  

Refiners lose Rs 70,000 cr on fuel subsidies since 2004-05

The Centre's compensation formula for losses incurred on subsidised
fuels has cost the public sector oil refining companies dearly over
the last few years. Since 2004-05, IndianOil, Hindustan Petroleum
Corporation and Bharat Petroleum have cumulatively lost over Rs 70,000
crore on sale of petrol, diesel, kerosene and cooking gas. This is
because, barring 2008-09, their losses have never been squared up in
full. In addition, the companies generally lost out on selling oil
bonds in the open market. Simply put, had the dues been settled in
full since 2004-05, the trio would have been in a stronger financial
position unlike the present where their combined borrowings are in
excess of Rs 110,000 crore.

Compensation arbitrary
"For the last six years, the compensation has been arbitrary with 75
per cent levels during one year or a little over 80 per cent in
another. There was no compelling reason for the Centre to stretch
itself since crude prices were relatively benign and the three
companies were making profits," an oil sector official told Business
Line. It was for the first time in 2008-09, when crude touched $147 a
barrel and threatened to put IOC, HPCL and BPCL on the mat, did the
gravity of the situation sink home. Even here, the damage had already
been done because the oil bonds were issued into the end of the third
quarter when the companies were losing over Rs 500 crore daily at the
peak of the crisis. The bonds and support from the upstream sector
helped IOC, HPCL and BPCL report profits for 2008-09. "It was still
gut wrenching to think that top navratnas were scraping the bottom of
the barrel thanks to the fuel subsidies and the delay in making good
the losses," the official said.
Tunnel still dark
Little wonder, therefore, that the top management of these companies
is not too hopeful of anything dramatic happening for 2009-10. What is
worrying them is the prospect of absorbing a part of the Rs
19,000-crore still due from the Centre for losses incurred on LPG and
kerosene. The Finance Ministry has already paid Rs 12,000 crore in
cash for the third quarter of last fiscal, which helped the three
companies post profits. The general consensus is that the next outgo
will be less than this sum, which means the balance would come from
the upstream oil companies. IOC, HPCL and BPCL may then just have to
write off a part of the balance. The refining trio may have made some
gains on crude inventories but are reportedly hard-pressed to find
other positives for 2009-10. They are, in any case, expected to post
combined net losses of nearly Rs 10,000 crore in the fourth quarter,
which could wipe out the gains made in the first nine months of the
Murali Gopalan…in the HINDU BUSINESS LINE

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Tripathi committee recommended a 4.5-6 million tonne (mt) refinery in Barmen  

Tripathi panel moots refinery in Rajasthan

The Tripathi committee, appointed by the Rajasthan Government to study
future prospects of oil and gas sector in the State, has recommended a
4.5-6 million tonne (mt) refinery in Barmen.

"The committee, headed by the former Petroleum Secretary, Mr S.C.
Tripathi, on Wednesday presented the report to the Chief Minister, Mr.
Ashok Gehlot, recommending a 4.5-6 mt refinery in the initial stage,
which can later be expanded to 9-12 mt," an official spokesperson

The report, 'The utilisation of hydrocarbon resource in Rajasthan with
special emphasis to Rajasthan refinery project1, said that in the last
five years, the country's refining capacity has expanded considerably
and there is uncertainty about prices of crude and refinery products.


Higher percentage of residue in Banner crude requires higher capacity
of conversion units, which increases capital as well as operating

"Because of these factors, the State Government should consider
supporting the promoter of refinery in Banner," the report said,
suggesting the Government to market tie-up with oil marketing
companies and equity participation to the extent of 26 per cent of the


"The committee studied the anticipated production profile of
Cairn/ONCG (Banner Block). The earlier estimate made by Cairn India
was 480 mt crude oil, which has now been increased to 900 mt, while
3-6 billion cubic metres gas is also available in the Banner block,"
the spokesperson said.

According to the report, 25 mt of heavy oil and 53 mt of bitumen have
been assessed in the Bikaner-Nagaur basin while the State's lignite
resources have been assessed at 4,909.9 mt in 46 locations.
Business Line, New Delhi, April 15, 2010

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More about Biofuel programs  

Govt's biofuel dream fails to take off Kumar Jha & Sanjay Jog / Business Standard newspaper.

It was supposed to replace a fifth of India's diesel consumption by
2011 – a projection that led the government to identify 4,00,000
square kms (98 million acres) of land where it could be grown.'It'
here being jatropha, a genus of around 175 succulent plants, shrubs
and trees, touted as one of nature's answers to the global energy
crisis. The seed produces an oil substitute for diesel — each seed
containing 30-35 per cent oil and 65-70 per cent oil cake. A single
hectare can yield 1,500-1,755 litres of jatropha oil, equivalent to
1,668 litres of biodiesel.

And so, many private companies, from Reliance Industries to many small
and non-household names, plus public sector majors Indian Oil
Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum
(HPCL), made huge investments in jatropha and solvent extraction
plants to produce bio-diesel.But, nothing's so easy in nature.
Initially, the industry thought jatropha could be grown on wasteland,
without irrigation. They got it wrong, as good care is required for at
least three years of the total plant life of 40-45 years, in which
moderate irrigation is also required, says Preeti Kaur, an analyst
with the Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA).

And so, investments worth over $5 billion across the country are stuck
due to failure of jatropha plantations. The companies in question are
now putting money in research and development to introduce
high-quality drought-tolerant seeds in a bid to save their

"The plans have almost failed and our investments are stuck due to the
poor quality of jatropha seeds. Other than this, small land holdings
is a major reason for failure of jatropha plantations," said Kaur.It's
not that jatropha is an unknown commodity. The oil from jatropha
curcas seeds is used to make biodiesel fuel in the Philippines and
Brazil. Jatropha oil is also being promoted as an easily-grown biofuel
crop in hundreds of projects across the globe. In India, too, jatropha
has been planted along the railway line between Mumbai and Delhi. The
train fuel itself has 15-20 per cent biodiesel.

According to a study by Mumbai-based Jatropha Agro, one tree yields up
to two-three kg jatropha seeds per year under normal conditions
without drip irrigation. One hectare can have 2,500 plants,
constituting a total yield of 5,000 kg, or five tonnes. That is not
enough. At present, 76 leading research institutes are working
overtime to introduce a new genotype of a higher yield.The national
biofuel policy had mooted that jatropha be grown on a big enough scale
to produce 'green' fuel, enough to replace as much as 20 per cent of
petrol and diesel consumption by 2017. This would require bio-energy
plantations over between 30 million and 40 million hectares, more than
the total area under wheat today. The Centre has allocated Rs 5,000
crore to spur the cultivation of the plant.

For instance, petroleum ministry sources say BPCL has planted jatropha
trees on vacant land at various depots is to launch a project to set
up a biodiesel value chain in UP. The project envisages planting
biofuel on land belonging to panchayats, covering a million acres of
wasteland over a period of time. The UP government has accorded its
approval and the process to identify the wasteland is on.

IOC has entered into a deal with the railways to study what can be
done. It has taken up plantation on 62 hectares railway land at
Surendranagar in Gujarat. About 1,50,000 saplings have been planted at
the site.IOC has also formed a venture with the Chhattisgarh
government to produce 30,000 tonnes biodiesel per annum by planting
jatropha over 30,000 hectares of revenue wasteland. However, progress
has been tardy: Of the 30,000 hectares, plantation has been done only
on 626 hectares.

Similar plans were prepared for Madhya Pradesh, where the state
government made an offer of 2,000 hectares of wasteland in Jhabua
district. However, IOC could get only 241 hectares during 2009. In
Rajasthan, in 2008, the state government asked IOC to undertake
plantation on 20,000 hectares of degraded forest land in Dungarpur. A
feasibility study is underway.

"We are aware of the problems and are working with research institutes
to develop high-yield seeds to make the project viable," said Dinesh
Shahra, managing director of Ruchi Soya Industries, which plans to
become India's largest biodiesel producer by 2020. The company is
looking at one-million-tonne biodiesel production by the end of the
decade, of which about 600,000 tonnes will be jatropha oil.Ruchi Soya
has entered into a 50:50 partnership with IOC for planting jatropha in
Uttar Pradesh. The project will cost Rs 437 crore, a part of which
will be funded by the UP government under the National Rural
Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) scheme. This will also enable the
company claim carbon credits. However, the feasibility report is still
being prepared.

Companies will succeed only if they invest on research and
development, work in close relationship with farmers and provide for
the latter's livelihood during the three gestation years. Without such
backing the effort will die, says Souparna Lahiri of the National
Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers. Kumar Jha & Sanjay Jog / Business Standard newspaper

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New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) got approval for construction of another POL berth  

New Mangalore Port gets nod to build new oil berth
The New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) is all set to strengthen the
capacity of its crude/POL (petroleum, oil and lubricant) product
handling facility, as the port has got approval from the Union
Shipping Ministry for the construction of another POL berth at an
estimated cost of Rs 79 crore. The berth no. 13, which will be the new
addition to the existing four berths for handling such cargoes, will
have a handling capacity of 7.8 million tonnes per annum (mtpa).Mr P.
Tamilvanan, Chairman of NMPT, told Business Line that that the
approval has been received from the Union Shipping Ministry, with
concurrence from the Union Finance Ministry, to take up the project
from the internal resources of the port.
Tenders invitation soon
Mr S.V. Madabhavi, Deputy Chief Engineer of NMPT, who is the nodal
officer for the implementation of this project, said that tenders will
be invited shortly, probably by the first week of May, for the
construction of the berth.The capacity of the berth will be 7.8 mtpa,
and it will be completed in two years.He hoped that the berth should
be ready by June 2012. The berth will have a draught of 15.1 metres
and a length of 300 metres. Vessels of 85,000 DWT to 1 lakh DWT can
call at the berth.
At present, NMPT has four berths for handling liquid cargoes. While
berth no. 9 handles LPG, berth nos. 10, 11 and 12 handle crude and POL
products.Recently, the port has allowed the vessels to call at berth
no. 12 for handling LPG cargo, Mr Madabhavi said.It may be mentioned
here that all the four berths have the total capacity to handle 22
mtpa of cargo.With proposed construction of another POL berth at New
Mangalore Port, the capacity would be increased to 30 mtpa.

Source:.A.J. Vinayak.......(Mangalore, April 21) from the pages of

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Joint strategic crude oil response considered by India, Japan, China, South Korea and US  

India, US and China consider joint strategic crude oil response

To protect themselves against disruptions in crude oil supplies,
India, Japan, China, South Korea and the US will meet in June in Seoul
to work on a joint response mechanism based on their combined
strategic crude oil reserves. The five nations together account for
44% of global demand.

Strategic crude oil reserves are a country's answer to counter
short-term supply disruptions. They are state-funded and meant to
tackle emergency situations.

The third meeting of the five energy ministers will determine a joint
response framework in Seoul.

"We have to work out a joint strategy," said an official of India's
ministry of petroleum and natural gas, who didn't want to be

A joint strategy could promote regional and global energy security to
counter supply disruptions. The first of the meetings to discuss the
issue was held in Beijing in December 2006.

"This is a very important international development," said another
official at the petroleum ministry, who also did not want to be

The Seoul meeting plans to address the growing concern that oil
supplies will not be able to match demand and may cause severe
disruptions such as high prices as the recent global financial crisis
has led to reduced investment in the hydrocarbon sector.

"It is very important for significant stakeholders to work very
closely together in a strategic partnership for smooth supply of
resources, particularly at a time when a completely new international
economic order is emerging," said Monish Chatrath, executive director
at consultancy firm Mazars India.

Nobuo Tanaka, chief of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said in
a recent interview to Mint that he wants a lot of investments in
upstream hydrocarbon sector to happen, "for decline of the current
production level from the existing oil fields is a serious concern".
"We need a huge investment just to offset this decline," he said.

The other areas of discussion include the facilitation of China and
India's entry into IEA, of which Japan, the US and South Korea is
already members. A country that is a net importer of oil must maintain
emergency oil reserves equivalent to at least 90 days of net imports
to be eligible for IEA membership.

While the Japanese embassy did not comment on the matter citing
unavailability of information, questions emailed to the embassies of
China, South Korea and the US were unanswered at the time of going to

Nations have been cautious in disclosing the size of their strategic
reserves. While the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the Japanese
National Oil Co. maintain huge reserves, India is building three
strategic storage facilities at Visakhapatnam, Mangalore and Padur
with a combined capacity of five million tonnes, equivalent to around
14 days of consumption.

Countries such as India that are dependent on imports to meet their
oil needs are particularly vulnerable to price volatility. India the
world's fifth largest energy consumer imports 75% of its requirements
and accounts for around 3.5% of global consumption. Extreme volatility
has marked the crude oil price, which reached a record $147 (Rs. 6,556
today) per barrel in July 2008, but has since fallen to around $82.

India has been inviting oil-producing West Asian nations to set up
storage facilities on the country's coastline to help them serve their
energy markets in Asia such as Japan. In turn, the facilities will
augment India's oil storage infrastructure, helping it meet domestic
demand in the event of any short-term disruption in supplies.

Source:Mint, New Delhi, April 21, 2010

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Pay for what you are consuming  

Consumers have to be prepared to pay for what they are consuming.

S Sundareshan, secretary in the ministry of petroleum and natural gas,
has often been in-charge of executing radical changes in state policy
in his 34-year long career. This includes the trade liberalisation
programme of the government in the early nineties in the capacity of
joint chief controller of imports & exports and subsequently in
implementing the disinvestment programme as a joint secretary in the
finance ministry. Sundareshan is now steering the petroleum ministry's
efforts to reform the auto and cooking fuel-pricing regimes and to
bring in uniformity in the consumer price of natural gas both having a
significant impact on the second-fastest growing major economy in the

Sundareshan spoke to Gireesh Chandra Prasad and KG Narendranath of FE
on these topical issues.
Financial Express, New Delhi, April 22, 2010

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Why this Lethargy in energy sector?  

India's lethargy in energy sector

The Indian sub-continent is reeling under an unusually hot summer
combined with a complete lack of rainfall due to certain weather
conditions. The national capital region (NCR) too has been
experiencing temperature levels th¬at are 8 - 9°C above normal for
this time of the year. As such, it is no surprise that due to
increased space conditioning load on the system, the demand for
electricity has been higher than expected. However, should we not plan
for some uncertainties in weather conditions, be it relating to an
increase in demand arising from temperature abnormalities or a
reduction in supplies because of rainfall patterns? Why is it that on
every occasion, when we are faced with severe power crises, we seek to
find excuses in such vagaries of nature?

The power situation for the 11-month period from April 2009 to
February 2010 reveals shortages of nearly 10 per cent in energy supply
and peak capacity shortages of nearly 13 per cent. These nu¬mbers are
conservative as the huge investments that are made into back-up power
generation systems and battery storage systems mask the extent of
shortages. In the past ten years, the peak deficit in the country has
never gone below the 10 per cent mark and has peaked at 16 per cent in

The two major factors contributing to this dismal state of affairs
are: A consistent under achievement in relation to capacity additions
targets. The eleventh five-year plan (2007-12) too had set a capacity
addition target of 78,700 mw, which, following the mid-te¬rm review,
has been downscaled to about 62,000 mw a 20 per cent reduction. In the
first three years of the plan period, we have commissioned only about
20,000 mw of new generation capacity, making it difficult to believe
that in the next two years we would add another 42,000 mw capacity.

The second major issue contributing to these shortages is the
near-complete lack of attention being given to energy efficiency.
Having done a detailed study on the energy demand profile in Delhi and
an analysis of the price elasticity of demand as also the
technological solutions that are available, Teri had estimated that
nearly 25 per cent of the electricity demand could be reduced in the
residential sector through efficiency measures. However, the concerned
decision-makers in the city could not get themselves to either send
the right price signals to the consumers nor put in place any
incentive systems to ensure realisation of these efficiency benefits.

The situation in rural India is possibly worse than the ur¬ban areas.
The Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana was launched with much
fanfare in April 2005. The scheme was launched with a view to
providing a 100 per cent household electrification by 2012. Aiming at
a qualitative transformation of rural energy infrastructure, the
scheme envisaged that there would be no discrimination between rural
and urban areas in respect of power supply and implicitly pr¬omised 24
hours of good quality power supply. The subsidy sc¬heme to enable this
transformation was also linked to a pa¬rtnership deployment of
fra¬nchisees in the form of NGOs and CBOs. As of 31 January 2010,
about 96,000 villages still remained to be electrified. In the first
ten months from April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010, 1,344 villages were
electrified. At this rate, India would take nearly 70 years more to
reach the target of 100 per cent of rural electrification.

A similar lethargy is visible in the energy resource sectors of coal,
oil and gas as well. The gas-pricing dispute between the Ambani
brothers has not been resolved yet but the concerned entities in the
government have allowed a dark sh¬adow to be cast on their
objectivity. With major multinational corporations exiting from their
commitments on the exploration side, little or no pro¬gress is being
made on effectively exploiting the natural gas resources that we have
put in place. The last major expansion of the natural gas pip¬eline
grid took place in 1997 when the HBJ pipeline was commissioned.
However, In¬dia has no real network to talk about. Domestic oil
majors, on the other hand, are deliberately being starved of due
financial returns due to an incoherent, ineffective and inefficient
pricing policy for petroleum products.

The coal sector has completely dropped off the horizon. It is
difficult to remember that it still exists. With the ultra mega power
projects getting captive coal mines, where they are loudly
demonstrating the productivity potential that India has been losing
out on, the public sector coal companies seem to be languishing. No
really inspiring strategy seems to be emerging from the resource
sectors that would give the ray of hope that India needs for its
energy security.

That really makes us turn to look at the renewable energy sector.
After the announcement of the National Solar Mission in November 2009
with great fanfare, no progress is visible. What is ailing the energy
sector? Every major pronouncement that the pri¬me minister has made in
recent years recognises the criticality of the energy sector to
India's economic growth. In¬dia is once again failing on execution and
seems to have nobody to hold accountable.
Source Financial Chronicle, New Delhi, April 22, 2010

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IOC to launch its first biodegradable lubricant next year  

IOC to market bio-lubricant next year

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the nation's biggest oil marketer and
refiner, will launch its first biodegradable lubricant next year. The
company is conducting trial runs on the lubricant and would soon
evolve a marketing and branding strategy for the product.

The product would be marketed as a separate brand. "Lab tests for the
product are over. We are doing extensive engine trails at present. In
the next one year, the product should hit the market under a suitable
brand name," said a senior executive from IOC. The research on the
product had begun two years earlier.

A biodegradable lubricant can be vegetable oil-based or based on
synthetic esters manufactured from modified renewal oils, from mineral
oil-based products. Most liquid lubricants used at present all over
the world are petroleum-based mineral oils. "Use of biodegradable
lubricants which are mainly derived from genetically modified
vegetable oils, would be used in agricultural and forest machinery,
and the transport sector," said a Mumbai-based analyst.

There are 44 lubricant companies in the market including Total, Gulf,
Shell and Vedol, besides brands from the three government-controlled
oil companies - IOC, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan
Petroleum Corporation - which together hold over 50 per cent share.
IOC, however, is the dominant company in the country's lubricant
market, with its Servo brand of lubricants. The Servo range includes
over 500 lubricants and 1,200 formulations.

The total lubricant market in India is 1.6 billion litres, of which
automotive use is about 950 million litres. Castrol India, the other
dominant player, claims to have 27 per cent of the market. While
analysts say Castrol cannot match public sector units in coverage due
to their 30,000-strong petrol station network, it has strong
distribution presence through workshops and spare parts suppliers-over
70,000 outlets, which compares well with the 40,000-plus for IOC's

IOC is also conducting research in areas like oil refining technology
and producing diesel from algae. The company will shortly commission a
project at its Faridabad centre, where it will install technology for
coal gassification and production of ethanol from biomass. The company
is also in talks with international energy institutes to tie up for
research and development.

Source:Business Standard, Mumbai, April 22, 2010

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India attracted $10.3 billion FDI in e oil and gas hunt till January this year  

FDI in oil exploration at Rs 46k crore till Jan

India has attracted a whopping $10.3 billion (about Rs. 46,000 crore)
private and foreign direct investment (FDI) in the oil and gas hunt
till January this year since advent of New Exploration and Licensing

Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, Jitin Prasada, Minister of
State for Petroleum and Natural gas, said natural gas production in
India has increased 75 per cent compared to 2008-09 and is expected to
double in near future.

Asked why not many companies were coming forward to participate in the
NELP, the Minister said, "the policy (NELP) is very clear, most
transparent and best in the world and this sometimes discourages
foreign or private companies to come."

He, however, hailed the participation of as many as 36 companies,
including domestic private firms, MNCs and Public Sector Undertakings
in the last eight round of NELP, saying it was good as it happened at
a time when the entire world was reeling under downturn.

He did not share the view that PSUs were inefficient in exploration of
oil fields where as private sector succeeded.
Political & Business Daily, New Delhi, April 23, 2010

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Bharat Stage III auto fuel for four wheelers in the country from October  

BS-III fuel to be mandatory from Oct

The government has decided to introduce Bharat Stage III auto fuel for
four wheelers in the country from October this year against the wishes
of the petroleum ministry. The original deadline for the introduction
of the fuel was April 1, 2010 but the public sector refiners could not
manage to meet the deadline.

Seeking to buy some time for the refiners, the petroleum ministry came
out with a new schedule, saying that the Euro III-compliant fuel can
be brought to some cities by June and for others by October 2010.
However, automobile manufacturers opposed such plans and demanded one
date for the introduction.

The automakers' contention was that a staggered schedule would be a
problem in launching of new vehicles with improved engines. "Society
of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), which had represented the
case with road transport minister Kamal Nath, said it will be
difficult to supply improved engines in cities in a staggered manner.
It wanted a standard schedule and the same has been decided by
Cabinet," a senior official in road transport and highways ministry
told FE. The Cabinet decision was taken on April 23. The auto
companies got support from road transport and highways ministry, which
is the implementing body for fuel standards in motor vehicles. The
ministry issued a draft amendment in Central Motor Vehicles Rules,
1989 in March this year. In the draft, it exempted vehicles
manufactured between April 1, 2010 and September 30, 2010 from
following the fuel standard norms under BS III.

As per the Auto Fuel Policy, approved by Cabinet on October 3, 2003,
the government was required to introduce the BS III fuel in the
country from April 1, 2010. On the same day, a cleaner BS IV-compliant
fuel was to be unveiled in 11 cities, including four
metropolises-Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

The petroleum ministry has been successful in introducing the BS IV
fuel in 13 cities across the country on April 1.
Financial Express, New Delhi, April 26, 2010

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56 Indian companies in Forbes’ Global 2000  

56 Indian companies in Forbes' Global 2000; key index firms on
list...from the pages of HINDUSTAN TIMES
As many as 56 Indian companies, including Reliance Industries and
State Bank of India, have been named among the world's 2,000 most
powerful listed companies, according to US magazine Forbes.The Global
2000 list of the biggest and most powerful companies worldwide has
been topped by US banking giant JPMorgan Chase and is followed by
General Electric, Bank of America and ExxonMobil.Among Indian high
performers, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries leads the pack and
has been ranked at the 126th place in the global list.
Other Indian companies named in the list include State Bank of India
(130), ONGC (155), ICICI Bank (282), Indian Oil Corp (313), NTPC
(341), Tata Steel (345), Bharti Airtel (471), Steel Authority of India
(502), Larsen & Toubro (548) and HDFC Bank (632).The global rankings
span 62 countries, with the US (515 members) and Japan (210 members)
dominating the list. The number of companies from developing nations
in the Global 2000 is fast increasing.This year, countries that gained
the most ground include China (113 members), India (56 members) and
Canada (62 members), Forbes said.
Forbes' ranking of the world's biggest companies used an equal
weighting of sales, profits, assets and market value to rank companies
according to size and this year's list reveals the dynamism of global
business."In total, the Global 2000 companies now account for $30
trillion in revenues, $1.4 trillion in profits, $124 trillion in
assets and $31 trillion in market value. All metrics are down from
last year, except for market value, which rose 61 per cent," Forbes
said.Two companies from the Anil Ambani Group, Reliance Communications
(742) and Reliance Infrastructure (1,702), have also made it on the
Other Indian firms in the list include Punjab National Bank (695),
Tata Consultancy Services (741), HDFC (783), Infosys (807), DLF (923)
and Hero Honda Motors (1,571).Meanwhile, Toyota Motor, beset by huge
safety recalls and a host of lawsuits over deaths linked to its cars,
tumbled from third to 360th on the list.The car maker trailed far
behind rivals Ford, Honda, and Hyundai. It ranked third last year and
10th five years ago.US car makers General Motors and Chrysler, which
are currently turning around their businesses after filing for
bankruptcy protection last year, were absent from the list.Germany's
Daimler was ranked 388th and Volkswagen dropped off the list due to
the complexity surrounding its 2009 merger with Porsche.

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Reliance Industries posted 30 percent rise in quarterly profit  

 Reliance Industries posted a 30 percent rise in quarterly profit .

India's largest listed conglomerate with interests in petrochemicals, refining, oil and gas exploration, and retail, posted January-March net profit of Rs 4710 crore ($1.1 billion) versus Rs 3,627 crore a year earlier.

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Commissions of once-through Hydrocracker Unit (OHCU)  

IndianOil commissions hydrocracker unit

To enhance the distillate yield of the refinery and improve the bottom-line, besides producing EURO-IV grade diesel and superior quality products, IndianOil's Haldia Refinery has commissioned the prestigious Once-Through Hydrocracker Unit (OHCU) Project. This Unit has been completed and commissioned in a record time of 39 months and 20 days.

The capacity of Haldia Refinery has also been augmented from 6.0 MMTPA to 7.5 MMTPA by revamping the 2nd Crude Distillation Unit (CDU-II) from 2.5 MMTPA to 4.0 MMTPA. Carrying out of revamp-job in a operating unit is a very complex job demanding high degree of preparedness, skill & safety measures and this was completed within schedule. Sharing the commissioning feat, B.N. Bankapur, director, IndianOil (Refineries) said that the OHCU, which was a secondary processing unit, produced EURO-IV Diesel and other products like Superior Kerosene Oil (SKO), Naphtha, and LPG.
Times of India, New Delhi, April 20, 2010

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Petroleum product subsidies worldwide rising upwards  

Petroleum subsidies

As the global crude prices touch new peaks, petroleum product
subsidies worldwide have started rising upwards. After declining along
with oil prices during the second half of 2008, subsidies have started
rising again, creating concerns about the fiscal costs.

A recent IMF report underlines that in 2003 global consumer subsidies
for petroleum products totalled nearly $60 billion and are projected
to reach almost $250 billion this year. Tax-Inclusive subsidies are
estimated to be much larger at $740 billion this year, which will be
1% of global GDP.

The report notes that G-20 countries account for over 70% of
tax-inclusive subsidies, with the emerging G-20 nations accounting for
a major chunk. It says that halving tax Inclusive subsidies could
reduce the fiscal deficits by one-sixth in subsidising countries and
will also help to reduce the greenhouse emissions by 15% in the long

IMF projections are based on the commodity futures market which
Indicates that International crude prices will increase by almost
one-third between mid-2009 and end of 2010. Of the 58 countries with
pre-tax subsidies in 2010, 46 have a projected fiscal deficit in 2010,
with the deficit expected to exceed 3% of GDP in 27 of these

The report says reducing pre-tax subsidies by half will decrease the
average projected deficit in these subsidising countries from 2.1% to
an average deficit of 0.8% of GDP.

By reducing tax-inclusive subsidies by half, IMF estimates that the
average deficit in subsidising countries will fall by about one-sixth,
from 6 3% of GDP to around 5.3% of GDP. Whereas emerging and
developing countries account for all of projected pre-tax subsidies,
they account for 75% of tax-Inclusive subsidies. G-20 countries
account for 57% of global pre-tax subsidies but over 70% of
tax-Inclusive subsidies.

IMF calculates unit subsidies as the difference between an appropriate
benchmark price and domestic (tax-inclusive) retail prices. The
benchmark price Is taken as the International US dolla price for the
relevant product at the nearest International hub adjusted cost of
shipping the product within the country.
Financial Express, New Delhi, April 20, 2010

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Essar signes agreement with Paradip Port Trust (PPT) Essar Bulk Terminal  

Essar Bulk Terminal signs pact with Paradip Port
Mechanisation of berth for handling dry, bulk cargo.

The Essar Group, which has executed ports and terminals at Vadinar,
Hazira and Salaya in Gujarat, has now signed licence agreement with
Paradip Port Trust (PPT) for mechanisation of multi-user berth for
handling dry and bulk cargo with a total capacity of 16 million tonnes
per annum (mtpa). For this purpose, Essar Bulk Terminal Paradip Ltd
(EBTPL) will invest about Rs 500 crore for mechanisation of Central
Quay-III berth, taking the total port sector investment of the Essar
Group at Paradip to over Rs 1,000 crore, the company said in a
statement here on Tuesday.
With the completion of this, the total terminal capacity planned by
Essar Group at Paradip would be enhanced to 30 mtpa, comprising both
third party cargo as well as captive cargo.The project is scheduled to
be commissioned in April 2011. The licence is for a period of 10
years, extendable by another five years with mutual consent, the
company said.EBTPL is a part of Essar Shipping Ports and Logistics Ltd
(ESPLL), a major port owner and operator and an integrated logistics
solution provider having substantial investments in ports and
terminal.ESPLL is a logistics services company with presence in sea
transportation, ports and terminals, logistics and oilfields services.
This is the second port project of ESPLL with PPT for handling third
party cargo.
BOT basis
Earlier, ESPLL, which is building a cargo handling capacity of over
150 million tonnes (both dry and bulk cargo), was awarded the project
for development of 14 mtpa deep draught coal berth at Paradip on
build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis for a concession period of 30
years, with a project cost of Rs 560 crore.ESPLL has a shipping fleet
of 25 vessels, with 12 new ships on order. It would be investing more
than $0.6 billion to procure these vessels. ESPLL has been contracting
drilling services to global oil majors, with a fleet of 12 onshore
rigs and one semi-submersible offshore rig, while two new jack-up rigs
are on order.Currently, the company is executing expansion of oil
terminal capacity from 46 mtpa to 58 mtpa at Vadinar, building a 50
mtpa, all-weather deep draft port and jetty for import of iron, coal
and limestone and export of finished steel products at Hazira and a 20
mtpa integrated terminal facility for handling coal and pet coke used
in power plant at Salaya, all in Gujarat.
Ahmedabad, April 2010 :::::::::::: from the pages of THE HINDU
BUSINESS LINE newspaper.

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Additional fuel allocation for gas-based power projects  

Petroleum Ministry assures more gas allocation to plants

The Ministry for Petroleum and Natural Gas has assured additional fuel
allocation for expansion of gas-based power projects, some greenfield
plants of the State-owned AP Genco and fertiliser plants in the next
round of gas allocation.During a meeting between the Union Petroleum
Minister, Mr Murali Deora, and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Dr K.
Rosaiah, held at New Delhi earlier this week, the former assured
additional fuel allocation from KG basin gas, urging the State to
identify entrepreneurs and industrial consumers for gas linkage.
Addressing a press conference here, Dr Rosaiah said that the Union
Minister also assured the State that the Centre will clear 15 lakh
additional LPG connections for consumers in the State.This is in
addition to the earlier announcement of 15 lakh new connections. These
new gas connections are aimed at providing gas to below poverty line
women under the Deepam scheme.All the gas-based projects in the State
owned by Lanco Infratech, GVK Power & Infrastructure, GMR, Spectrum
Power and Konaseema, among others, have drawn up plans for expansion
projects at their plants in the States.
In addition, AP Genco is setting up a mega gas-based power plant near
Karimnagar expecting fuel linkages in the next round of allocation.
All necessary clearances for expansion projects have been secured.The
Chief Minister thanked the Petroleum Ministry for releasing 19 mcmd of
gas to the State, conceding the State's request.Referring to an
interaction he had with the Union Minister for Transport and National
Highways, Mr Kamal Nath, the Chief Minister said the Government was
requested to help upgrade 20 State roads into national highways apart
from providing a grant of Rs 350 crore under a National Highways
project and Rs 50 crore for periodical renewals.Admitting that some
issues were raised by the Planning Commission with regard to budgetary
estimates and difference of about Rs 703 crore, the Chief Minister
said the State's stand was specifically explained and "we are hopeful
of securing additional funds."
….from the pages of HINDU BUSINESS LINE newspaper………Hyderabad, April 18

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Can we meet biofuel blending of 20% by 2017?  

Can India get to a 20% biofuel blend by 2017?

The World Economic Outlook (WEO) 2009 underscored that the transport
sector would have an incremental share in the future flows of GHG
emission, especially carbon dioxide. The WEO further emphasised that
the growth pattern of this sector, balanced or otherwise, will have a
serious implication for future energy consumption and hence the energy
security of developing nations like India. The lion's share of
transport's energy comes from petroleum—a scarce, exhaustible resource
concentrated in the hands of a few producer countries, essentially
making the sector more vulnerable to oil shocks. Recognising the dire
importance of alternate sources of energy for reducing transport's
dependence on petroleum in India, the government finally gave its nod
to the National Biofuels Policy (NBP) in December 2009 after a lot of
Ethanol and biodiesel are the two biofuels primarily used in
transport, either in pure or blended form, along with petrol and
diesel. The NBP has set a target level of biofuel blending of 20%, to
be achieved by 2017. The blending level will be reviewed periodically,
depending on the availability of feedstock crops. At present, the
government mandates only 5% blending of ethanol with petrol. The NBP
has tried to allay the concerns about the food-fuel trade-off by
emphasising that in the Indian context bioethanol is produced from
molasses—a by-product of the sugar industry—and biodiesel is produced
from non-edible oilseeds grown in degraded lands. It also envisages a
minimum support price for oilseeds for biodiesel production, besides
allowing production of ethanol directly from sugarcane juice. The
policy also envisages a focus on innovation, research and development.
It provides encouragement for international cooperation for sharing
technologies and funding biofuel production, conversion and
utilisation. Moreover, activities related to biofuels will be declared
a priority sector for financial agencies and banks. States will be
asked to set up or designate agencies for development and promotion of
biofuels. These agencies will decide matters of land use for
plantation of non-edible oilseed plants and allot government wasteland
for such plantations.
The multi-pronged policy prescriptions for the development and
promotion of biofuels are in the right direction. However, given the
existing infrastructure and the institutional set-up, the achievement
of 20% blending in the next decade seems a remote possibility. First,
the ethanol industry is facing acute shortage of sugarcane molasses,
besides countering restrictive government policies and unsustainable
prices. Second, the involvement of multiple government agencies poses
a serious challenge in terms of coordination. The food and consumer
affairs ministry controls sugar and molasses production. The supply of
ethanol for industrial use is the concern of the ministry of industry
and chemicals. The petroleum and natural gas ministry is responsible
for the procurement, pricing and marketing of biofuels. The
agriculture ministry manages the R&D for production of sugar,
ethanol and biofuel feedstock crops. State governments control the
allotment of cane, the licensing of new sugar factories and
distilleries as well as their expansion. They also control the
movement of molasses that affects prices and supply for the ethanol
industry. Finally, the Centre is in charge of the ethanol blending
For the biodiesel industry, the foremost problem is the availability
of land for planting jatropha. The Planning Commission estimated in
2003 that in order to reach a blending target of 20%, the requirement
of land would be around 14 million hectares for jatropha cultivation.
While the land may exist on the ground, a part of it may be occupied
by landless and marginal farmers who need to be persuaded to grow only
jatropha. In the case of wasteland, local farmers may participate only
if they are assured adequate returns. Development of high-yielding
varieties of jatropha oilseeds may take a couple of years to be
As envisaged in NBP, the timely announcement of remunerative prices
for oilseeds and instituting rebates and subsidies for bridging the
gap in the prices of biofuels and petroleum fuels needs to be taken up
on a priority basis. In order to facilitate faster development of
improved oil expellers and economical transesterification plants for
biofuel production, private sector participation is essential and
ought to be strongly encouraged. The author is former advisor at the
shipping, road transport and highways ministry of the Government of
India Thukral .....from the pages of FINANCIAL
EXPRESS...Fri, Apr 16 01:41 AM

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Petrobras to exit its stake in an exploration block off India's east coast  

Petrobras to exit Indian gas block

Brazil's Petrobras wants to exit its stake in an exploration block off
India's east coast that is operated by Oil and Natural Gas Corp, an
official at the Indian state-run company said on Thursday.

O.K. Sarraf, finance director at ONGC, did not give a reason for the
request. Petrobras holds 10 per cent in the deep-sea exploration block
in the gas-rich Krishna-Godavari basin. Norway's Statoil will continue
as a partner in the block with a 15 per cent stake, he said.

"A couple of weeks ago Petrobras had informed us about their intention
to exit the block," Sarraf told reporters on the sidelines of a

"It's all about risk sharing and technology," he said, adding ONGC
would rope in a new partner for the block.

ONGC, which produces around three-fourth of India's total oil output,
plans to invest 270 billion rupees ($6 billion) in 2010/11 for
exploration and better techniques to boost output from its ageing
fields, he said. That is up from 250 billion rupees it had spent in
the past financial year that ended in March.

ONGC could raise funds this year to fund a petrochemical project by
its subsidiary Petro Additions Ltd (OPaL), he said. The company has
already tied up 80 billion rupees for the project, which was initially
Political & Business Daily, New Delhi, April 16, 2010

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Indin's first strategic crude oil storage by October 2011  

Strategic oil reserve by 2011

India will complete building its first strategic crude oil storage by
October 2011 in an effort to insulate itself from supply disruptions.

India, which is 75% import dependent to meet its crude oil needs, is
building underground storages at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and
Mangalore and Padur in Karnataka to store about 5.33 million tonnes of
crude oil. This is enough to meet nation's oil requirement of 13-14

"The storage at Visakhapatnam will be mechanically completed by
October 2011," said Rajan K. Filial chief executive officer of India
Strategic Petroleum Reserves, - the state-owned firm building the
strategic stockpile.

Economic Times, New Delhi, April 16, 2010

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Green signal to IndianOil (IOC) and Adani Power to utilise forestland in Wild Ass Sanctuary in Gujarat  

 SC: IOC, Adani pipelines can pass through Guj sanctuary

The Supreme Court (SC) has given green signal to IndianOil (IOC) and
Adani Power to utilise huge reserved forestland in the Wild Ass
Sanctuary in Gujarat. The IOC had sought the court's permission to
use 21.006 hectares of marshy forestland for laying underground oil
pipeline. A central-empowered committee appointed by the court then
said the IOC plea could be considered if the oil major complied with
certain conditions.

As IOC agreed to the conditions, a special bench headed by Chief
Justice KG Balakrishnan on Monday allowed laying underground pipeline
in the sanctuary.

The IOC, however, will have to get approval under the Forest
Conservation Act and deposit 5% of the project cost for the portion
falling in the sanctuary. This money would be utilised to construct
and protect works in the sanctuary, the bench said.

The oil company will also pay the net project value (NPV) as per the
rates applicable for the use of the forestland falling within the
sanctuary. Besides, IOC will have to comply with the conditions laid
down by the chief wildlife warden of Gujarat, the State Advisory Board
for Wild Life and the Standing Committee of National Board for

In another order, the court allowed Adani Power Limited to use 89.7364
hectares of land for construction of the Mundra-Mahendragarh 500 KV
and the Mundra-Dehgam 400 KV double-circuit transmission lines passing
through the sanctuary.

Adani will also comply with all the conditions that are stipulated for
IOC and it will deposit 5 % of the project cost (Rs. l7.6 crore) for
the portion of the transmission lines passing through the sanctuary.

DNA, Mumbai, April 16, 2010

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Green credentials to biofuels  

CII establishes biofuels green credentials

In what may provide a big boost to the fledgling biofuel economy in
the country, a study undertaken by industry body Confederation of
Indian Industry (CII) has clearly established that biofuels in India
are indeed environment friendly and can help in reducing the country's
carbon footprint in a big way. The Indian transport sector accounts
for 7-8% of the country's greenhouse emissions. This figure is
projected to rise sharply in coming years as the transport sector is
growing fast. That makes a strong case for mandatory blending of
bio-fuels like ethanol and bio-diesel with petrol and diesel for use
in vehicles.

But the government has failed to come out with a clear policy in this
regard. One of the reasons: questions have been raised about green
credentials of bio-fuels and also about their effectiveness in
reducing carbon footprint."There are two main criticisms of biofuels:
first, whether they really add energy and second, whether they can
help in reducing carbon footprint," says Pramod Chaudhari, chairman,
CII national committee on bio-fuels who was closely involved with
preparation of the report.

Feedstocks like molasses, sweet sorghum, bagasse, rice straw and
jatropha were included in the study 'Estimation of Energy & Carbon
Balance of India.'The study has found that energy gain and carbon
reduction potential of biofuels produced from these feedstock's,
though varying in extent, are positive.For example, the net energy
ratio of bio-fuels - that is, the ratio of energy output obtained from
the end use of the biofuel and energy input used for the production of
biofuel -produced from molasses is 4.57% while their carbon emissions
are 75% less compared to fossil fuels.

The net energy ratio of biofuels produced from agri-residues like
bagasse and rice straw is between 3.32-4.39%. Biofuels produced from
jatropha also offer similar-sized energy gain. Meanwhile, carbon
reduction potential of biofuels produced from agri-residues is
estimated at 68-70%.Sweet sorghum comes on top of the list, with net
energy ratio and carbon reduction potential of bio-fuels derived from
it estimated at 7.06% and 86%. However, its production in the country
is limited.

The net energy balance - that is, the energy supplied by biofuels and
co-products at the end use minus the energy required during various
manufacturing stages of biofuels - for all these feedstocks is also
positive. Meanwhile, all of them were also found to have negative
carbon balance, which is defined as net quantity of greenhouse gases
emitted or avoided to the atmosphere during the various stages of
manufacture, distribution and end use of fuels. CII undertook the
study with support from the department of biotechnology. Financial
Express, New Delhi, April 15, 2010

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Hearing of petroleum product pricing by Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB)  

Oil regulator to hear case on fuel pricing
Business Standard, New Delhi, April 13, 2010

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) will resume
hearing the case on petroleum product pricing between private oil
companies and government oil marketing companies (OMCs).

Private companies, including Reliance Industries, Essar Oil and Shell
India had filed a petition before PNGRB against the OMCs Indian Oil
Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) alleging that they had
indulged in "predatory pricing" in sale of transport fuels.

The Supreme Court last month permitted the downstream oil sector
regulator to proceed with the case while asking it not to pass a final
order. "The Board is likely to resume hearing of the case by the month
end as the Supreme Court has allowed it to proceed," said a Board

The private companies had appealed to the Board to levy a penalty on
the government-promoted companies for the losses incurred by them. The
government companies sell petrol and diesel at cheaper rates and
control over 90 per cent of the market. Public sector oil marketing
companies, led by IOC, however, approached the Appellate Tribunal for
Electricity (Aptel), challenging the authority of the Board to decide
a petition by private oil companies last year.

Subsequently, Aptel upheld the Board's power to adjudicate the matter.
Aptel also asked the government to clarify its stand on pricing of
petroleum products since the OMCs told Aptel that the pricing of
petroleum products was a policy matter decided at the highest
government level and is beyond their control. However, even before the
Board could start proceedings, IOC filed a petition at the Supreme
Court against Aptel's order. While admitting the petition, Supreme
Court said the Board could proceed with the hearing.

The government determines prices of petrol and diesel even if it means
losses for the OMCs. The loss is made up by government bonds and
discounts by oil producers. The private oil marketing companies,
however, are not provided any such compensation and had to shut their
retail operations when crude oil prices rallied to three digits,
touching a high of $147 a barrel in July 2008.

Although the situation has improved, with crude oil prices hovering
around $86-87 a barrel, private companies are adopting a cautious
approach. While Essar has opened all its 1,339 outlets, Reliance is
just operating 600 of its 1,430 outlets.

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Growth in global demand for oil  

Oil may ride on global economic recovery

AS THE world remains well supplied, the growth in global demand for
oil will play a key role in maintaining the balance. Sustenance of the
global economic recovery is, therefore, vital.

THE recovery in the global crude oil prices that recently crossed $87
a barrel will remain closely linked to the economic growth in
developed countries, going forward, as supplies remain ample and
growing. The latest estimates put the incremental demand at 1.5
million barrels per day (mbpd) for 2010 and 1.6 mbpd for 2011 assumed
on a world economic growth of 3 % per annum. The global supply is
growing satisfactorily to keep the world well oiled throughout this
period. In fact, the OPEC's spare capacity the amount of additional
production that can reach market within a month's notice is likely to
continue rising beyond 5 mbpd, or 5.8%, of the estimated global
consumption of 2010.

The pace of the global economic recovery and the extent to which the
key economies continue their stimulus and other economic policies
remain the key uncertainty going forward. The Energy Information
Administration (ELA) of the US government mentioned in its recent
report that as long as the global economy continues to recover, and
the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) remains
satisfied with its constrained supply targets, global oil markets
should remain firm.

Despite continued positive signals about the global economic recovery
coming from the manufacturing and services sectors, there are some
signs that the momentum is slowing in some OECD regions in the first
and second quarters even as growth continues strongly in China and
India. In its monthly report on, the global oil industry, OPEC
mentioned: "In the US, data was mixed, while services picked up in
February, manufacturing growth moderated and the housing, sector
problems resurfaced, as indicated by the latest negative round of home
sales. Despite some improvement, unemployment also remains at
historically high levels."

In Europe, too, all is not well as shown by the latest problems with
the Greek economy. OPEC's report mentioned: 'Although the outlook for
the current and the coming quarters may be slightly better than in Q4
'09, the recent turbulence in financial markets related to Greece's
fiscal problems has unsettled the euro, and the fallout has impacted
confidence and drawn attention to the divergence in growth potential
and fiscal stance among the various countries in the euro-zone." In
Japan, while a recovery in exports has boosted industrial production,
the pace of recovery is expected to slow in the first quarter and high
government debt has initiated a debate on the need for increased
taxes. While the growth in demand continues to link with the global
economic recovery, the supply continues to grow. "The projected demand
for OPEC crude is still much less than current OPEC production by
around 1.5 mbpd, acknowledged OPEC. The natural fallout of such a
situation is increase in oil inventories. The crude oil inventories in
the US, which had touched an all-time high in April last year and were
on a downtrend since then, have again picked up pace. Sofarjn2010, the
inventories have gone up over 9% to 356.2 million barrels from 326
million barrels as at dose of 2009.

Increasing supply of alternative fuels, too, could prove a burden for
the recovery of oil prices. For example, ethanol consumption that was
just 1% of the US gasoline consumption in 2000 is likely to reach 9%
in 2010. Similarly, OPEC's natural gas liquids, which are not
regulated through quotas, are expected to grow 0.6 mbpd in 2010 and
0.7 mbpd in 201l. In the meantime, shift towards cheaper and cleaner
natural gas will also continue.

After witnessing a period of thin cushion in 2008, the oil industry
appears very comfortably placed with substantial and growing spare
capacity. In fact, the rising inventory levels hint at production
exceeding, the market needs. As a result, the crude oil prices lack
the fundamental support to move upwards from current levels.
Economic Times, New Delhi, April 12, 2010

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Preparedness to supply Bharat Stage-m auto fuel  

Govt. allays doubts over preparedness

Dispelling doubts about state-owned oil retailers' preparedness to
supply Bharat Stage-m auto fuel, the petroleum ministry has said
retailers have started supplying it in Goa earlier this month and are
set to cover all major states by June 30.

Ministry officials told FE that BS-III compliant fuel (the local
version of Euro-Ill) will be available in three more states
Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra by the end of next month.
It will be extended to 15 other states and to five union territories
by the end of June. That would cover more than half of the country.

The oil industry undertook a massive task of upgradation of
refineries, involving investments of over Rs.32, 000 crore.

The industry is fully prepared for introducing BS-III petrol and
diesel in the country By June 30, BS-III fuels will be available in
major parts of the country, in l9 states and in all union territories
except Lakshadweep," the official said. Nine other states and
Lakshadweep would get BS-III fuel by September this year, covering the
entire nation except the cities where higher grade BS-IV fuel is made
available from April, the official said on conditions of anonymity In
the mean time, the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control)
Authority for the national capital region chairman Bhure Lal told the
petroleum ministry that it supported the ministry's schedule for
introducing BS-HI fuel. The authority has asked the ministry of road
transport and highways, the implementing body for fuel standards in
motor vehicles, to adhere to the petroleum ministry's schedule for
BS-m and BS-IV fuel for ensuring compliance by automakers. The road
transport ministry wants to give six more months for automakers to
make vehicles compatible with BS-m fuel.

It has proposed amendments in the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989,
to exempt vehicles manufactured between April 1, 2010 and September
30, 2010 from following the fuel standards under BS-III Vehicle makers
argue that BS-III fuel should be made available across the country
from the same date, which could be October 1. The authority has said
no deviation from the petroleum ministry's schedule is acceptable.
Financial Express, New Delhi, April 12, 2010

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PSUs and Maharatna status  

Four PSUs pitch for Maharatna status

Four major public sector undertaking (PSU) companies IndianOil (IOC),
NTPC, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and Oil and Natural Gas
Corporation (ONGC) are aiming for the 'Maharatna' status paving way
for their financial and boardroom freedom.

Sources said that IOC, NTPC, SAIL and ONGC have made presentations
before the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) making a claim for the
status seeking more autonomy in decision-making and financial

The Union Cabinet had last year set out 9 criteria for seeking this status.

Senior officials from the Department of Expenditure, Department of
Public Enterprises, Planning Commission as well as the administrative
ministries are represented on the IMC.

Officials said the Maharatna status would provide enhanced financial
autonomy for PSUs for taking decisions relating to investments in
joint venture companies and mergers and acquisitions.

The idea behind the whole exercise is to give a thrust to the plans of
the PSUs with a significant international presence to become global
giants Maharatna status will be reviewed by an apex committee headed
by the Cabinet Secretary.

All four companies have increased their international presence in
recent years. While ONGC and IOC are looking for opportunities abroad
to acquire oil and gas assets, NTPC and SAIL are hunting for captive
coal blocks in foreign lands.

ONGC has been faced with serious constraints in financing OVL's
acquisitions of oil and gas assets abroad because of investment
ceilings and the need to time and again go back to the Government and
the Cabinet to seek approval for such international commitments.

At present, ONGC's investment in any OVL project cannot exceed Rs.1,
000 crore but could stand enhanced to Rs.5, 000 crore if it acquires
the Maharatna status.

The companies are required to give convincing reasons to the IMC that
they have a strong case for grant of Maharatna status and that it is
not seeking the tag just because it meets the minimum criteria laid by
the government.
Hindu, New Delhi, April 11, 2010

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Gujarat Reliance Petrol Pump Dealers' Association  

RIL petrol pump dealers threaten stir in Gujarat

The Gujarat Reliance Petrol Pump Dealers' Association has demanded
that the company refund the investments made by the dealers for
opening retail outlets and threatened to launch an agitation if their
demands are not conceded soon."We have been continuously facing
financial losses ever since we made investments nearly four years ago
in opening these outlets. We can no longer do so. Two months back,
when we went on a hunger strike, Mr Parimal Nathwani, Group President,
RIL, had assured us to look into our demands and concerns. If our
demands are not addressed soon, we would agitate and immolate
ourselves in front of RIL offices," Mr Varun Patel, a member of the
association, told Business Line on phone. He said if RIL still wanted
to run the petrol pumps, it should pay market rent to landowners who
did not want to run the outlets themselves any longer.

The Association's meeting, held at Ambaji yesterday, also passed a
resolution demanding, among other things, termination of land lease
and dealership agreements and asked the company to buy back the
equipment and machinery at the outlets on current market prices.About
70 dealers participated in the meeting of the association, headed by
Mr Sunil Golwala.Mr Patel said that out of nearly 1,300 retail outlets
of RIL, some 290 were in Gujarat alone.

They included 126 outlets wherein the landowners themselves invested
money to set up the pumps. They are in the category of the 'Dealer
Owner-Dealer Operated' or DODO, the ones who suffered maximum
financial losses.Besides, there were two other business models — the
'Company Operated-Dealer Owned' (CODO) and the 'Company Owned-Company
Operated' (COCO).There was no reaction available immediately from RIL.
RIL's as also Essar Oil Ltd's retail outlets had been shut down about
two years ago across India as the price difference between their
products and those supplied by government-owned companies had made
them economically unviable.Both the companies had opened nearly 1,400
outlets each across the country. Recently, they had announced to
revive them, but few have so far been reopened.
…………by……Virendra Pandit……………….in the HINDU BUSINESS LINE
newspaper……Ahmedabad, April 12

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Power of environment  

The environment conundrum

For far too long, the protection of the environment has been viewed as a necessary evil and a regulatory requirement that needed to be circumvented in order to carry on with the more "important" activities involving economic growth. A large number of studies have been undertaken in the past few decades on strengthening the environmental clearance processes and enforcing environmental compliance. However, at the end of all such efforts the common lament reflected the failure of implementation.The introduction of the public interest litigation (PIL) in the early 1980s was possibly a turning point for environmental protection with the early cases of success coming in the mid-1980s itself when mining operations in Uttar Pradesh were halted due to their adverse impact on the environment. However, it was the highly publicised case of M C Mehta vs the Union of India in 2001 around the issue of vehicular air pollution, resulting in the direction that all commercial vehicles switch to CNG, which brought the power of the issue (environment) and the instrument (PIL) to the fore.

In the command-and-control regime under which environmental impact assessments were undertaken and clearances provided, it was no surprise that allegations of corruption and compromise flew thick and fast. Things started coming to a head when the policies designed to fast-track investments and infrastructure development collided with the extremely slow-moving and alleged corruption ridden process of environmental approvals. Rumblings about the environment being a barrier to development have gathered momentum over the past few years culminating in a loud, public and embarrassing spat between several infrastructure ministries of the government of India and the ministry of environment and forests.

So, how does this resolve itself? Obviously the minister, Jairam Ramesh, is right when he says the environment ministry cannot just be a rubber stamp for the purposes of clearance. We fervently hope not. However, the ministry does need to streamline and accelerate its decision-making processes - a commitment that the minister made when he first assumed office. Several measures have been identified time and again for improving the effectiveness of the system - measures that are merely awaiting a commitment. High on the list is a system that would ensure that the consultants undertaking environmental impact assessments on behalf of project proponents are certified and graded on a periodic basis, with their grading reflecting their performance on previous assignments. Equally important, from a confidence building point of view, is to ensure that the conditions on which environmental clearances are provided are implemented and monitored effectively. Another key area of weakness that can be easily addressed related to the public hearing process. Several studies have shown the perfunctory treatment that this essential element of an environment impact assessment process receives and the consequent delays that arise due to public protests.

As such, while the environment minister is admirably fulfilling his duties towards the sector for which he has the charge, he has to demonstrate the scientific basis of his ministry's actions and not let it be perceived as being unnecessarily obstructionist or viewed with suspicion. Going beyond current controversies relating to environmental clearances, ensuring environmental compliance on an ongoing basis will go a long way in enhancing the credibility of this institution. A recent PhD thesis from a student, Ritu Paliwal, at the Teri University, clearly brings out the lacunae in the existing systems and also brings out starkly the extremely low costs of non-compliance (penalties) as compared to the costs that have to be incurred by industry for complying with the provisions of the environmental management plans. Paliwal observes the lack of a clearly defined rationale in arriving at a value for penalties in the Indian system. On the basis of her literature survey, she identifies the key elements defining a penalty value to include beyond the statutory compliance penalty, a value that reflects the benefit accruing to industry from non-compliance as well as a reflection of the gravity of offence committed. Unless appropriate penalty systems are defined with proper escalation clauses, while at the same time addressing the issue of technical and managerial capacities of state pollution control boards, the ethos of indifference may continue.

India is poised to significantly internalise environmental considerations into development processes. The ministry of environment and forests must urgently and constructively engage with the development process to ensure this transition to sustainable development. The ministry should draw inspiration from the finding that India's regulations and processes are at par, and in some case better, than those in the developed world. Where we fail in this sector, as in several other sectors of the economy, is in the implementation.

By Leena Srivastava Apr 06 2010 ...from the pages of FINANCIAL CHRONICLE newspaper.

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Toxic leadership  

Mind Set: All say 'aye' to the captain SHALINI SINGH, Apr 11, 2010, 01.06pm IST in TIMES OF INIDA.

Leaders can make or mar. And a 'toxic' leader can poison the whole
system, says Shalini Singh
Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just
may be powerful, and whatever is powerful may be just
—Blaise Pascal , French mathematician

There is evidence that toxic leadership is responsible for more human
suffering than ever before. Toxicity is created when someone
responsible for a group of people or an organization leaves it worse
off after the engagement. Hitler is a powerful — and evil — example of
toxic leadership. Millions of examples abound through history. Almost
everyone will be familiar with the toxicity introduced in the work,
home or community environment by destructive guardians, inept,
insecure bosses, corrupt politicians and even sexually perverse
religious leaders.

Can the poison created by toxic leadership be contained? It is widely
acknowledged that most medical ailments are rooted in enduring
psychological distress but there is not quite as much recognition of
the debilitating effects of toxic leadership. People are generally
accepting of the wilful abuse of power and do little to challenge
their environment. Often, toxic leaders are people who rise to
positions of high authority but are unabashedly consumed by their need
for personal glory. They are characterized by low levels of self
awareness, which allow them to ignore niggling matters of ethics and
moral fairplay.

Money and power become their primary motivators. Toxic leaders can be
spotted a mile away: these are the people who exercise complete
control by rewarding sycophants and edging colleagues with talent and
the facility for critical thought to the bottom of the pile. Toxic
leaders are threatened by intelligence, character and creativity in
the people around them and they will generally do anything to
eliminate such individuals from the game.

The classic example of toxic leadership and the small-mindedness that
goes with it is the retiring chief executive. Upon retirement, a toxic
leader will carefully pick a mediocre buffoon as successor. This
ensures a continuous legacy of toxicity and a higher level of
mediocrity in the successor. In turn, this ensures that people make
unfavourable comparisons about the change of guard. Those with low
self-worth (this is a characteristic of toxic leaders) generally
over-compensate by pursuing material accomplishment at any cost. Why
does the toxic leader flourish? It is a puzzling issue considering
that large numbers of people in the workforce end up deeply, often
permanently psychologically scarred because of the leader's toxic

Sometimes, the relationship between oppressor and oppressed becomes
almost an unholy bond, a behavioural pattern that cannot end without
external help. This can take the form of spiritual and psychological
counselling for the victim. Often, the oppressor is equally doomed to
his cycle of unfair, dysfunctional behaviour, though this may be less
obvious. One cannot simply condone victims of unjust toxic leadership.
Being a victim does not mean one can never take control of the
situation and break the cycle of injustice. Oppressors get free reign
when their victims see no reason to change the situation in the
foolish belief they actually benefit from their corrupt ways. The more
enlightened worker prefers not to become either victim or beneficiary,
choosing instead to stay away and not 'get their hands dirty'.

Toxic leadership is not new. It is a societal affliction that is as
old as time. Even an institution of great antiquity such as the church
is reluctant to clean up, to weed out the toxic leadership that
controversially looked the other way when 'celibate' priests became
serial paedophiles. Inevitably, toxic leadership creates great demand
for fixers, hustlers and pimps to fill positions of authority. This is
arguably an important factor in the rising incidence of women and
child abuse and trafficking around the world.

This, because the toxic leader sits at the top of the pile, profiting
from unsavoury criminal activity while fixers, hustlers and pimps work
overtime to keep the empire going. Needless to say the leader's hands
remain notionally clean. Financial fraud is also on the rise and this
too indicates toxic leadership. The recent global financial meltdown
offered the clearest sign possible of the extent to which toxic
leaders can distort an entire system, turning questioning colleagues
into passive, mute victims.

In the corporate sector, toxic leaders do by bullying their team and
ensuring that only the woefully inadequate are rewarded in order to
buy their unquestioning loyalty. What can companies do about this?
Intelligent inquiry will reveal the decline in a company's
productivity because the toxic leader has perpetrated the deliberate
murder of enthusiasm. There might also be an increase in attrition as
genuine talent starts to haemorrhage from the company. The recent
meltdown illustrated the way organizational rot can go deep to the
point of sudden corporate collapse.

Everyone gets the leader he or she deserves. There is no reason to
suffer a toxic leader. Effective leadership is about celebrating human
uniqueness. We can invoke positive leadership by abandoning passivity
and challenging ourselves as well as the people around us.
Mahatma Gandhi freed India from foreign rule but political liberation
is meaningless if we continue to suffer tyranny. Those who continue to
be enslaved by passivity deny themselves the possibility of attaining
their true potential. The change must come from within. As Roman
philosopher Seneca said: "He is most powerful who has power over

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Fortunes of India's oil & gas and petrochemicals sector  

Oil & Gas: Fortunes turning around
Business Standard, New Delhi, April 9, 2010

With global economic growth on the recovery path and crude oil prices
rising, the
##fortunes of India's oil & gas and petrochemicals sector are hanging.
To begin with, the global demand for crude oil is seen rising by 9,
00,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 85.12 million bpd in CY2010, compared
with the 1.5 per cent decline in CY2009. This should support crude oil
prices, which have risen 20 per cent in the last two months to around
$85 a barrel, and benefit companies like Cairn India.

Gross refining margins (GRMs) and petrochemical cracks have also begun
to improve, benefiting companies like Reliance Industries, standalone
refineries like MRPL, and petchem producer GAIL The significant
decline in demand, coupled with new capacities, had earlier led to a
sharp decline in GRMs. "However, from here on, utilisation (refinery)
will improve gradually, as new capacities will be lower than the
demand growth of about 1.8 million bpd per year," said Edelweiss
Securities' analysts in a report. They expect GRMs to rise from $6.1
per barrel in CY09 to $10.6 per barrel in CY11 and say that these have
already picked up in CY10.

Overall, analysts are bullish on private players like Reliance
Industries and Cairn India. Additionally, higher crude oil prices will
aid demand for oil exploration and production services provided by
companies like Aban Offshore, Dolphin Offshore and Shiv-Vani. These
will gain from the higher demand (improved utilisation of equipment)
and improved rentals (on equipment). A case in point is Aban. The
company, which saw the number of idle rigs decline in recent past,
signed a rig-deployment contract on Thursday that would earn the
company $159 million (Rs.700 crore) in revenues over four years
starting end-2010.

Contrarily, higher crude oil prices, coupled with a cap on retail fuel
prices, will affect profits of government-owned oil marketing
companies (OMCs), while ONGC and Oil India could end up sharing a
higher subsidy burden. Given the current situation, Centrum's analysts
estimate under recoveries to rise to Rs.80, 000 crore by the end of
2010-11 from an estimated Rs.46, 000 crore in 2009-10. An appreciating
rupee and improving GRMs are positives for OMCs, but not enough to
offset the pressure from under recoveries. Not surprisingly, stocks of
ONGC and Oil India have fallen as against a rise of Sensex since
end-February 2010.

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: Oil bond sale  

IOC raises Rs.1350 cr from oil bond sale

Indian Oil Corp (IOC) raised Rs.1, 350 crore from sale of oil bonds in
the secondary market, a top company official said. IOC sold 6.90% or
2,026 oil bonds at a yield of 8.35% or Rs.87.40, he said. The company
got Rs.87.40 for every Rs.100 bond. ICICI Securities Primary
Dealership, Axis Bank, SPA Merchant Bankers, Almondz Securities and A
K Capital Services were among the arrangers of the issue.
Financial Express, New Delhi, April 9, 2010

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Ways to check adulteration in LPG cylinders  

Pilot project in the offing to check adulteration of LPG
The Times of India

LUCKNOW: UP will soon acquire its first anti-pilferage device for
checking adulteration in LPG cylinders. The pilot project with Meerut,
a city notorious for the rampant malpractice as the pioneer city, has
already been launched, declared state minister for petroleum and
natural gas, Jitin Prasad on Wednesday. Addressing media, Prasad said
the ministry keen to promote a consumer friendly face, also proposes
to introduce multi-functional digital regulators to show the exact
quantity of gas left in a cylinder within next two months.

Elaborating upon the measures taken by the ministry to check
adulteration of diesel and petrol, the minister said that the
situation needs constant monitoring. The petroleum ministry is alert
on the count, he said and added how the department is planning to
launch a vehicle-monitoring system to track petrol and diesel tankers.
This system, he said, would keep a watch on the movement of the
vehicles and detect any suspicious deviation from the defined route.
In a response to a question about irregular supply of kerosene in the
state, Prasad took a potshot at the BSP government and said that
paucity of kerosene is directly linked to the incompetence of the
state agencies in managing the public distribution system. If the
produce meant for the poorest of the poor does not reach the segment,
then the delivery system needs to be blamed and spruced up, he said.

In Lucknow to preside over a review meeting, Prasad emphasised on the
vision-2015 set by the ministry which centres around customer
satisfaction. For instance, the department has devised a way to come
up with a viable solution to a recurrent problem faced in north India
during winters, he said. Since the LPG consumption is higher in the
region due to cold, a gap between demand and supply has been, over the
years, a common complaint. The petroleum ministry, he said, has now
made it compulsory to ensure that stockists maintain extra stock for a
fortnight readily available to tide over the temporary crisis. The
step, he hoped, will go a long way in streamlining the infrastructural
loopholes and artificial shortages .

Other ambitious projects being handled by the ministry include SMS
delivery of cylinder which is being launched in Delhi and Kochi, even
as expansion plans are already underway. Another scheme -- the green
corridor project -- connecting Delhi and Lucknow and Kanpur-Agra will
also include in its ambit eastern UP. "By 2013 we hope to set up CNG
stations in Purvanchal," he claimed. The minister, zeroing in on the
local scene, declared that piped gas supply will reach seventy per
cent of Lucknow households within next five years.

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Euro-Ill compliant petrol and diesel  

Euro-III auto fuel on June 1

The ministry of petroleum and natural gas has finalised the calendar
for introducing Euro-Ill compliant petrol and diesel in the country.
It will be introduced on June 1, and become available in 16 states and
five union territories by July 1.

The schedule has got the nod of Environment Pollution Authority
Chairman Bhure Lai.

On March 27, Lai directed the ministry of road and surface transport
and the ministry of heavy industries to adhere to the petroleum
ministry schedule for Euro-Ill and Euro-IV fuels in the country.

"Ministry of surface transport is directed to adhere to this schedule
of Euro-Hi and Euro-IV fuels heavy industries is also directed to
adhere to the schedule as far as introduction of Euro-Ill and Euro-IV
compliant vehicles are concerned," Bhure Lai wrote.

The automobile industry had sought that Euro-Ill emission norms be
introduced throughout the country at the same time and not staggered.

The industry feared that a staggered implementation would lead to
inconsistency in fuel quality in different parts, adversely impacting

Automakers wanted a definite timeline so that they could schedule the
production of Euro-III vehicles accordingly.

As per the ministry's calendar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and
Maharashtra will get Euro-III fuel from June 1.

States and union territories including Haryana, Himachal Pradesh,
Punjab, Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Uttaranchal, Western UP, Andaman and
Nicobar, Orissa, Sikkim, West Bengal, Gujarat, Dadar Nagar Haveli,
Daman and Diu, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will be
covered from July 1.

Jammu and Kashmir will start getting Euro-Ill supplies from July 1 and
Karnataka August 1. The remaining states will be covered from October

The supply of Euro-IV complaint fuels has already started in 13 major
cities from April 1.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, April 07, 2010

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Indian Oil Corporation achieved overall capacity utilisation at 102 per cent  

IndianOil refineries cross 100% capacity utilization

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC) refineries have achieved overall
capacity utilisation at 102 per cent during 2009-10. According to a
press release issued by the company here on Tuesday, "This is the
third consecutive year of crossing the 100 per cent capacity
utilisation mark despite planned revamp/shut downs for implementations
of quality up gradation projects in all the refineries.

Mr B.N. Bankapur, Director (Refineries) said IOC refineries have
processed 50.7 million tonne of crude in 2009-10.

He also said that in line with Auto Fuel Policy, the MS / HSD quality
improvement projects at Panipat, Mathura and Haldia refineries have
been completed to switch over to the production and supply of BS-IV
grade auto fuels. Implementation of quality improvement projects at
other refineries is in full swing and the projects are expected to be
completed by June 2010, he added.

Also for the first time, 'Sustainable Development has been included as
a parameter in the MoU signed by IndianOil with the Government. Under
the Clean Development Mechanism (COM) initiative, two projects at
Barauni and Gujarat Refineries registered with UNFCCC during 2009-10
have accrued earnings of 36154 Certified Emission Reductions (CERs).
Business Line, New Delhi, April 07, 2010

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