A change in the price of petroleum products is expected to come into effect from January 1, 2012.
Under the change, petrol and high speed diesel prices will increase by 50 paisas, while the price of kerosene oil is expected to decrease.
According to petroleum ministry sources the change will take place under the monthly fuel price adjustment.
Sources add that the price hike is being considered due to an increase in the exchange rate of the dollar.
A change in the price of petroleum products is expected to come into effect from January 1, 2012.
The state-owned oil companies will meet on December 31 to decide on a petrol price hike. Petrol rates are expected to go up by Rs 1, if the companies manage to get a nod from the government. Oil companies review the prices every fortnight and necessary corrections are made to match international rates. Following this policy, rates were slashed in mid November and again at the start of December.
Though the crude oil rates in the international market have been stable for some time, Rupee has depreciated against Dollar affecting imports. And even though petrol prices are deregulated, the companies still require a informal nod from the government, which was not granted last week for a proposed hike of 70 paise.
Unions seek better returns on PF loans to govt.
NEW DELHI: Workers unions have demanded higher return from the government on the special deposit scheme where nearly a third of provident fund money of the organised sector workers is parked. Faced with the prospects of a sharp drop in returns on PF from 9.5% last year to 8.25%-8.5% this year, unions have stepped up pressure on the government to increase the rate of return to 9.5% from 8%.
The SDS, money borrowed by the central government, at present yields 8% return for the Employees' Provident Fund Oraganisation (EPFO). The EPFO has suggested a lower 8.25% return for 2011-12 on contributions to adjust for payments outstripping available funds in the previous year when a 9.5% interest rate was declared. Its suggestions will be discussed at the EPFO's finance and investment committee (FIC) meeting on Thursday, which will give its recommendations to the EPFO's highest decision making body, the Central Board of Trustees, that meets the following day.
"We will press for higher returns on SDS which has been at 8% since 2003-04, when it was slashed from 12%. We do not want to accept a lower interest rate on EPF this year, when all other funds are earning higher returns," said BN Rai, secretary general, Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh.
The government has benchmarked returns on small savings to those on government securities, which in the current high interest rate regime means higher yields for borrowers. Rai said workers will also insist on acceptance of fresh deposits under the scheme, which was discontinued in 2007.
Share of EPF funds channelised into SDS has fallen from 63% in 2003-04 to about 30% now. According to All Indian Trade Union Congress secretary DL Sachdev, there was no logic for keeping the returns on SDS at 8% when the government had increased rate of returns for small saving instruments like the public provident fund to 8.6%.
20 Dec, 2011, 03.21AM IST, Amiti Sen,ET Bureau …ECONOMI TIMES
20 Dec, 2011, 04.51AM IST, ET Bureau…editorial in the ECONOMIC TIMES
Raiding PSU reserves unsustainable way of plugging budget deficits
The fiscal deficit looks like widening by at least one percentage point above the budgeted 4.6% of GDP. Economic growth could slow down next year. Meanwhile the government has ambitious but expensive new schemes in mind, for food security and universal health. So, many analysts want the government to take advantage of tens of thousands of crores lying in the reserves of public sector undertakings (PSUs).
When a private sector owner is in trouble, without a second thought he transfers sums from profitable companies to meet his current spending. Many analysts think the government should do the same. However, such transfers are one-off affairs and cannot be sustained over time. They can be justified in difficult times, but should not become a habit. Spectrum sales have in the past been taken to be current revenue, whereas they should actually be shown in the capital account as a reduction of assets. In the case of manufacturing PSUs, their cash surpluses are not large in relation to their investment plans, and these should not be commandeered by the government.
But many PSUs in mineral extraction have large, rising surpluses well in excess of investment needs. It makes sense to save part of this for future generations by investing abroad (as ONGC, Coal India and OIL have been doing) and spending part of it for current social purposes via the budget. We need a policy on how to apportion that bonanza. There are three ways in which PSU reserves can be transferred to the government. One is the declaration of huge special dividends. The second is a buy-back of shares by the PSU. The third is for PSU to use their surpluses to buy out minor stakes of the government in other PSUs.
A special dividend will benefit all shareholders. A buy-back could in theory be restricted to buying back government stakes and not publicly-held stakes, but that would be unethical and Sebi should say no. The third route also cuts out private shareholders and should be avoided altogether. Better than all these will be quick enactment of a goods and services tax, which can bring in additional revenue and plug the fiscal deficit sustainably.
Subsidised diesel dams furnace oil demand
(Courtesy: Business Standard, New Delhi, December 19, 2011)
The perils of subsidy take different shapes. It is not only subsidised domestic LPG or kerosene oil being diverted for commercial use. With the price of diesel being stable under government control, industrial users of furnace oil in several states are increasingly turning to diesel instead.
This is one reason why the consumption of diesel is now growing at a sharper rate than petrol after several years. It is not just diesel passenger vehicle sales driving this trend. Furnace oil is largely an industrial fuel. It is a key ingredient in generation of electricity and heat in a number of production units.
Being market-linked, the price of furnace oil has been moving up. R S Butola, chairman of IndianOil, the country’s biggest oil marketer and refiner, said furnace oil is selling at $103-104 per barrel in India, compared to diesel’s price of $97 per barrel. This is due to a price cap on diesel, as a result of which the domestic oil companies are retailing it at a loss of a little over Rs 12 per litre.
IndianOil mobilises bonds of over Rs. 1,400 Crore at 9.28%
Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IndianOil) has raised over Rs. 1,400 crore from the Indian Bond Markets after a gap of nearly two and half years.
IndianOil’s issue of Secured Redeemable Non-Convertible Bonds opened for subscription on private placement basis on December 15, 2011. The ‘AAA’ rated bonds have a maturity of 5 years with put and call option at the end of the 18th month. The issue has been placed through book-building route in a coupon range of 9.20% to 9.45% p.a., payable annually. The issue was well received by institutional investors particularly FIIs and banks. The issue, which was launched with an original size of Rs. 500 crore, was oversubscribed by over three times with subscription aggregating to approx. Rs. 1,600 crore. IndianOil has decided a cut-off coupon rate of 9.28%, i.e. the lower of the book-building range. As per market sources, this is one of the finest pricing achieved by any corporate in recent times. The proceeds of bond issue shall be utilised for meeting capex of ongoing domestic projects.
The success of the issue once again acknowledges the strong confidence of investors in IndianOil.
Crude, rupee double whammy hits oil companies
The fear within oil industry circles is that if the status quo persists over the next six months, there will be serious liquidity issues which could affect daily operations.
Mumbai, Dec. 14: Oil companies are wilting under the double whammy of the weakening rupee and high crude prices. It is just not the losses on sale of subsidised fuels which are an area of concern. Combined borrowings of IndianOil, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation are rapidly inching towards Rs 140,000 crore. At this rate, they could even touch Rs 160,000 crore by the end of this fiscal.
“What is especially worrying is the complete sense of inaction by the Government. With Parliament in a permanent state of disarray, we are expected to fend for ourselves in these difficult times,” an oil sector official told Business Line. Things have come to such a head that the companies are believed to be in no mood to comply with advance tax payments or the mandatory interim dividend to the Government, their owner and majority shareholder. “How can we possibly be expected to cough up money when there are no profits to show?” the official asked.
The fear within oil industry circles is that if the status quo persists over the next six months, there will be serious liquidity issues which could affect daily operations. In the process, bigger and more critical investments relating to infrastructure will be put on hold. This is happening at a time when the estimated spend of IOC, BPCL and HPCL over the next four years is nearly Rs 200,000 crore.
The other concern for the refining trio relates to policymaking, which has literally screeched to a complete halt. Nobody within the Government has a clue on what to do at a time when the oil companies are facing their worst-ever crisis in recent times. “All we can do is to borrow more and more because we have no idea if we will get any compensation for losses incurred. The interest burden is gradually killing us in the process,” an executive said. In contrast, 2008-09 almost seems sedate though this period is better remembered as the worst year for the oil industry when crude touched $147 a barrel. The rupee was not in the best of health either except that this state of affairs did not last too long. During the latter part of the year, crude prices started falling and the rupee settled to a more comfortable mid-40s (to the dollar) level.
However, this time around, crude prices have been constantly over the $100/bbl-mark and there is nothing to suggest that they will fall in the coming months. “Unless the Government comes with a cohesive pricing policy for diesel and cooking gas, our goose is cooked,” the executive said. And while it is the refiners who are taking the heat, observers believe it will not be too long before this malaise spreads to the upstream oil companies too. “If the Government does not do its bit in making good the losses of the refiners, ONGC will be soaked dry instead. It happened last year and will be repeated this time too,” they say. Should this happen, ONGC's Rs 12,000 crore FPO (follow-on public offer) will end up being in cold storage.
...Murali Gopalan ...from the pages of HINUD BUSINESS LINE newspaper.
Natural gas lost in policy smog
(Courtesy: The Economic Times, December 08, 2011, Delhi Edition)
"Whats in a name? That at which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," Juliet Capulet asked Romeo Montague in William Shakespeare's lyrical tale, Romeo and Juliet. A similar question is relevant in India's natural gas industry where the government has designed distinct policies based on names given to natural gas.
The policies framed for various forms of natural gas coal-bed methane (CBM),shale gas, domestic natural gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG) or associated gas- contradict each other, often requiring the same operator to wear a different hat for a different form of natural gas. But herein lies the irony: the learning from one area is not applied to another. Instead, the government, it would appear, is ready to commit the same mistakes all over again as it goes about framing policies on different forms of natural gas.
UTI Capital buys 4% in Indian Oiltanking for Rs 100 Cr
(Courtesy: The Economic Times, New Delhi, December 14, 2011)
UTI’s private equity arm, UTI Capital, has bought 4% stake in Indian Oiltanking, a joint venture between state-run IndianOil and Germany’s Oiltanking GMBH, for Rs 100 crore.
Indian Oiltanking, which builds operating terminals and storage facilities for petroleum products, will use the proceeds to fund its upcoming storage terminal in Paradip and for its overseas EPC projects, said Jayanta Bhuyan, managing director, Indian Oiltanking. “We have been looking at raising funds from private equity players primarily to fund our expansion plans.”
IOC borrowings touch Rs 79,000 cr
(Courtesy: Financial Chronicle, New Delhi, December 14, 2011)
State-owned IndianOil (IOC) said its borrowings have risen to over Rs 79,000 crore, as it lost a record Rs 227 crore per day on selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene at controlled rates. “It (borrowings) is more than Rs 79,000 crore at present,” IOC chairman R S Butola said.
The company is hoping to get about Rs 16,000 crore in compensation from the government by early next month to make up for part of the losses it incurred on selling the three fuel in the first half of current financial year. Parliament on Tuesday approved additional spending by the government, including payment of Rs 30,000 crore to state fuel retailers as subsidy. IOC, the market leader, would get about Rs 16,000 crore out of that.
Petrol price set to go up again
Here is what Hindu writes:
With crude prices firming up in international markets, the oil marketing companies are gearing up to revise upwards petrol price by 65 paise a litre, after a review meeting on Thursday. However, this is subject to the government giving the green signal as Parliament is in session.
While the drastic fall of the rupee to an all-time low of Rs. 53.75 against the U.S. dollar has pushed up the cost of oil imports, the international rates of gasoline — against which domestic petrol prices are benchmarked — have also gone up, a senior OMC official said.
Under-recoveries on petrol stand at Re. 0.55-0.56 a litre. After adding the local sales tax, the desired increase in Delhi comes to Re. 0.65-0.66.
The Hindu newspaper
Indian Oil Corp tops Fortune India 500 list; RIL at second spotPress Trust of India, 13 Dec 2011 | 12:04 AM (from NDTV Profit news)
This year's list of the country's 500 largest corporations, compiled by the global business magazine Fortune's Indian edition, features as many as 57 new entities. State-run Indian Oil Corp has emerged as the country's biggest company in terms of annual revenue, followed by Mukesh Ambani-led private sector giant Reliance Industries at the second place, as per an annual list of Fortune 500 companies in India.
This year's list of the country's 500 largest corporations, compiled by the global business magazine Fortune's Indian edition, features as many as 57 new entities. All the 500 firms together recorded a collective turnover of Rs 45,79,911.38 crore in the latest financial year. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) was the biggest with annual revenue of Rs 3,23,113.12 crore, followed by Reliance Industries (RIL) with a full-year revenue of Rs 2,72,923.36 crore. Both IOC and RIL have retained their top-two ranks from the previous year, Fortune India said.
In this year's list, the two are followed by Bharat Petroleum (Rs 1,56,580.12 crore) at the third and State Bank of India (Rs 1,47,843.92 crore) at the fourth place. Other entities in the list are Hindustan Petroleum (5th rank), Tata Motors (6th), Oil & Natural Gas Corp (7th), Tata Steel (8th), Hindalco Industries (9th) and Coal India (10th).There are as many as six state-run companies in the top-ten positions, as against four from the private sector. The magazine said that the total sales of the country's 500 top corporations have grown by 21.5 per cent from the last year, while their median growth has been even higher at about 25 per cent.
"The good news, however, is that many of the Fortune India 500 companies are now beginning to shape the world's opinion of India for the better. And they may just be doing a better job than their Chinese counterparts," it added.
Essar Oil commissions new unit at Vadinar
Essar Oil Ltd, a subsidiary of Essar Energy, on Thursday announced the successful commissioning of a new isomerisation unit at its Vadinar refinery in Jamnagar district of Gujarat. The 0.7-million tonnes per annum (mtpa) unit is a key component of the phase-I expansion of the company's Vadinar refinery that will increase its capacity from the existing 14 mtpa to 18 mtpa (or 300,000 barrels per day to 375,000 bpd), the company said in a release here. Among the largest such units in the world, its commissioning was completed in just 32 days (as against an industry average of 50-55 days), without compromising on safety, said Mr Naresh Nayyar, CEO, Essar Energy.
This unit is the first expansion unit to be fully commissioned. Using naphtha as its primary feed, the Vadinar refinery's isomerisation unit will help produce Euro IV grade gasoline of high octane rating and almost zero sulphur content. The Vadinar refinery's expansion project is nearing completion. Increased refinery throughput of 18 mtpa will commence in the first quarter of 2012.When completed, the phase-I expansion will also increase the Vadinar refinery's complexity from 6.1 to 11.8. An optimisation project is also under execution at the refinery to further increase the capacity to 20 mtpa (405,000 bpd) by September 2012.
The capacity expansion, complexity enhancement and subsequent optimization will give the Vadinar refinery the capability to process nearly 87 per cent ultra-heavy crudes, which are lower cost than light crudes. In terms of product yield, the expanded Vadinar refinery will have the flexibility to produce higher value products, including pet coke.
Ahmedabad, Dec. 8: from the pages of THE HINDU business line
Wood Biofuel could be a competitive Industry by 2020
Corn ethanol is currently blended with gasoline to satisfy government-mandated targets to include renewable content in transportation fuel. Compared to corn, wood-based biofuel is considered more sustainable but is not currently produced in large commercial quantities in Canada and the United States because the costs are too great.
The study, published in the most recent issue of the journal Biofuels Bioproducts & Biorefining, identifies several opportunities for reducing these costs. Researchers in UBC's Faculty of Forestry found that large-scale commercial production of wood-based ethanol, also known as cellulosic ethanol, will reduce capital and operation costs and assist in achieving the improvements necessary for wood-based ethanol to compete, without government support.
IndianOil will employ postmen to spy on fake gas connections
IndianOil will hire postmen to spy on its cooking gas customers to check fake connections. As part of a proposed deal between the company and the Department of Post, the postmen will help the customer care division of IndianOil in verifying the address and identity of registered customers. Elaborating on the deal, a senior IndianOil officer said that the company believes that postmen might prove handy in these verifications.
"As part of IndianOil's deal with the postal department, the company will provide the postmen with soft copies of the customer's documents, which will include identity numbers, address and the number of cylinders issued on a particular connection. It'll be called the physical verification of the customers. Postmen will also note the change of address of the customers. Any anomaly in such verification will render the connection a fake one. The postmen will then finally submit their findings to the company," said the official.
He added that the new method will help the company unearth fake connection rackets. "The company's survey team has found that many fake connection rackets thrive in the capital. Most of these groups make use of fake address proof and identities. I hope the postmen will be identify such groups," the official said.
Alkesh Tyagi, an official in the publicity department of the Department of Post, admitted that a deal was being struck with IndianOil, but it was at the stage of proposal. "It'll be given a final shape once the payment for postmen is fixed," she said. She also said that the postal department has already successfully provided the services of its postmen to verify customer details for some telecom companies. "Given the decrease in actual postal services, such tie-ups with corporate groups will keep post offices relevant and profit-generating," she added.
Sunday Guardian, New Delhi, Dec 2011
petrol price is reduced by Rs. 0.65 to 0.80 by midnight today.
In delhi the cut will be Rs.0.78
National Bio Energy Mission is being developed to push sustainable development of the renewable energy sector, Mr Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), said here on Tuesday. He was addressing the Bio Energy summit organised by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII). “Grid parity among States is not equal and connectivity to remote locations is a major issue. The Ministry wants industry to bring innovative new technologies that would empower rural areas,” he said.
Mr G.B. Pradhan, Secretary, MNRE, said the most critical aspect in promoting bio energy projects was the associated business model, which should be sustainable. Mr K Krishnan, Chairman, CII Task Force on Bio-Energy, pointed to hybrid solutions that combine bio energy with solar, wind and hydro as promising sustainable solutions. The CII recommended rationalising the pricing of fuels and tariffs to reflect the economic cost of supply, reduce cross subsidies and flexibility to capture changing fuel prices in a competitive market
New Delhi, Nov. 29: from the pages of THE HINDU BUSINESS LINE newspaper.
R&D Goes Desi… Sujit John, Times of India| Nov 29, 2011,
He learnt from his father early on that many challenging intellectual tasks could be accomplished by people who do not have major academic degrees. So in 1990, after an MA in economics from JNU in New Delhi and an MBA from Wharton, when Aroon Raman wanted to start an R&D unit in Mysore, he turned to very ordinary people. Youngsters from the villages around Mysore who had only completed standard 10 or 12, or had a diploma.
Today, Raman runs a Rs 25-crore business that does materials and composites research, and manufactures materials for companies like ABB, Rane, Exide, Amco, and for institutions like the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO). "They have become masters in the manipulation of materials," Raman says of the youngsters he hired. "They may not be masters in theoretical chemistry. But they do experiments that run into hundreds. A smart youngster doing experimental work for years and years picks up a fantastic feel of the interrelationships between compounds. So, he has an instinctive feel of what is required to solve a problem. People always think of an R&D unit as white-coated folks with PhDs, but that doesn't have to be."
Today, his head of R&D, G K Natesh, is someone from Udipi with a polytechnic diploma in plastics and rubber. Krishnachari, who joined Raman early, was a carpenter in Nanjangud near Mysore. His used to make crates. Raman saw that the way he sawed, he used the minimum amount of wood. "That was application of thought. His ability to envisage how a crate would look was high." So Raman picked him and trained him. He started with drawings, later did tooling, and over the years Krishnachari has been key to the development of many value added products.
"Among my other top people are Girish and Krishna, both of who have passed no more than class 12. They are in their mid-30s now and they have filed four patents between them this year." Raman looks for locals with a sense of curiosity, high IQ and native intelligence. Some youngsters grasp very quickly, others take time. Raman picks the exceptionally bright ones. And this strategy keeps costs and attrition low. "If we hired PhDs, we wouldn't be able to retain them. A GE or Akzo Nobel or Dupont could come and take them. Or they would go for post-doctorals. Since my boys are from local villages, their parents are around, and they have no incentive to move. But I send them to events in places like Mumbai to open their eyes to bigger things."
Raman's firm Raman FibreScience has multiple capabilities in the area called wet-laid composites. Normal papers, tissue paper, cardboard are all made by a wet-laid process. In wet lay, you take a fibre, mix it with water and additives, and run it through a mesh-like conveyor belt. When the slurry moves along the mesh, the water runs off, and you are left with a wet mass on the belt, which is then dried, and made into the final product. You can also wet-lay glass, carbon fibre and organic fibres. When you do that and combine them with performance additives, you can get very special products, such as high-end filtration solutions. These can give you very pure air or be used for blood filtration, or in a nuclear power station that requires air filters that must trap very fine particles, including bacterial content.
Raman's firm grew out of his conviction that there is scope for a full-service independent R&D unit, a rarity in India. Most Indian companies do their R&D in-house, occasionally approaching universities for help. Indian research institutions like CSIR typically do not have the ability to commercialize their research. "I can make a material in a lab, but how do I start making it in tonnes, at a cost that the market will accept? For that, you need to build special purpose machines, you need a host of skills, engineering skills, plant development skills, process skills, costing ability."
Raman FibreScience combines these skills. The company has had particular success with a unique separator (filter) developed for backup power batteries. "We developed the separator in 2-3 years; a global company like Nippon Sheet Glass still does not have such a product. For us it is innovate or die. We don't have deep pockets, so we have to be on our toes. For Nippon, they are so big, even if they do not innovate, they think they will survive," Raman says.
Lanka IOC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the IndianOil, managed to stay in the black for the July-September quarter, realising a gross profit of LKR 495.5 million (net profit - LKR 277.8 million).
The gross profit during the same period last year was LKR 617.4 million (net profit – LKR 501.5 million). Higher operating costs had its pressure on margins, leading to a lower profit after tax – a trend that has held through since April this year. For the period April-September, gross profits were just a shade over LKR 800 million, compared to LKR 675 million during the same period last year. Here too, net profit declined from LKR 385.4 million in April-September 2010 to LKR 241.6 million during the corresponding period this year.
(Courtesy: The Hindu Business Line, New Delhi, November 22, 2011)
Petrol car demand to get a boost if diesel vehicle excise is hiked
New Delhi, Nov. 21: Sales of petrol cars, which have been languishing, could get a boost next year, if the proposal to increase excise duty on diesel cars finds its way in the Budget 2012-13. However, the interim period till the Budget, may see a rush towards diesel vehicles, say industry experts. Petrol car sales are likely to benefit because an increased initial cost of purchase of diesel cars after April, 2012 could offset the huge ownership benefit currently enjoyed because of subsidized rate of the fuel versus petrol.
At present the price of a diesel car versus the petrol variant of the same model is higher by around 16-25 per cent, though the manufacturing cost difference of the two variants is not as much. So, the premium enjoyed on diesel car sales by companies is also likely to get trimmed if they chose not to pass on the burden of higher excise duty. “Higher duties will slow down diesel car sales, but give a boost to petrol vehicles. The boost (for diesel cars) received through the subsidy of cost of ownership is not good and has created a huge distortion in demand. Personally, I would like the policy decision to happen now and not wait till the Budget,” Mr R.C. Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki, told Business Line. Added Mr Kumar Kandaswami, Manufacturing Leader for Deloitte in India, “Diesel being subsidized for personal use is unviable. I think something is expected (from Budget) on this. The moment taxation comes, the demand should slightly slacken.”
Investment in tech
Recent investments by the car industry in diesel technology and engine manufacturing may also face turbulence, though much of the industry had stepped up investments in the area over the last year. “If we invest in diesel and this tax comes along, where does it leave us? We will have to look at our investments again and the current plans will be affected. The Government should stick to one policy, as our investments are for at least a 30-year period,” Mr Bhargava said. Maruti has been increasing production of diesel engines, while working out a separate engine supply deal with Fiat. Hyundai Motor India, the second largest carmaker and largest exporter, has also reportedly deferred its plans to set up a Rs 400-crore diesel engine plant due to sluggish demand. It currently imports such engines from South Korea.
…from THE HINDU BUSINESS LINE
Oil companies to slash petrol prices by Rs 1.90/lt from midnight
NEW DELHI: Petrol is expected to be cheaper by about Rs 1.90 a litre in Delhi from Tuesday midnight as state oil firms have decided to cut its rates for the first time in last 33 months under pressure from the ruling Congress, which demand an immediate roll-back of the recent price hike.
Executives of Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum have confirmed that their top management is currently meeting in New Delhi to decide reducing prices of petrol, a deregulated fuel since June last year.
The three firms had raised petrol prices by Rs 1.80 a litre in Delhi on November 3, which was the 13th hike since June last year despite several downward fluctuations in international rates of the fuel, which is the benchmark for determining the domestic rates.
Mahindra Solar One, the solar business arm of the country’s largest utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra’s cleantech ventures division, is in the process of developing a solar technology for use in electric car Reva, according to Vish Palekar, business head (cleantech ventures) of Mahindra Partners.
Mahindra Partners is an over $500-million division of M&M that manages the group’s new and non-automotive businesses such as retail, logistics, engineering, chemical products, media and entertainment, and energy.
NTPC trading arm begins supply of solar generated power
New Delhi, Nov. 14: The electricity you buy will soon have a mix of power produced from solar energy sources. Starting October, NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam, the trading arm of NTPC, has commenced bundled power supply — combining energy produced from solar photovoltaic with those produced from conventional thermal sources. This is to make solar power affordable for the buying utilities, which have to meet their renewable purchase obligations. However, it remains to be seen whether they will subsidise the consumer and to what extent.
Supply of bundled power has commenced to the distribution companies of the buying States — Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Punjab. A senior official told Business Line that 41 MW of solar photovoltaic capacity under Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission migration scheme has been commissioned. Out of 13 solar photovoltaic projects under the scheme of the Mission (Phase – I), nine projects met the commissioning deadlines, the official said. One more project was partially commissioned, taking the capacity of projects commissioned to 41 MW in October, he said. Under the migration scheme, solar photovoltaic developers were expected to commission their projects for generating 54 MW of power.
The trading arm of NTPC has commenced buying solar power generated from them, which has been grid connected and commissioned. The Ministry of Power has also allocated the equivalent conventional power capacity to NTPC Vidyut Vyapar from NTPC stations. The developers not able to meet the deadline of commissioning may face notices from the trading arm, the official said. The official, however, declined to disclose the details of the projects. Under the migration scheme, NTPC Vidyut Vyapar had inked power purchase agreements with 16 solar project developers (both thermal and photovoltaic) for 84 MW. Of this, solar power produced from photovoltaic projects is expected to be 54 MW and thermal 30 MW.
Source- Richa Mishra ….from the pages of HINDU BUSINESS LINE newspaper.
Oil sludge in Mini river didn't come out of IOC: PSU to GPCB
(Courtesy: The Times of India, Vadodara, November 8, 2011)
Six days after being served notice for polluting Mini river, the IndianOil (IOC) told Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) on Tuesday that the oil sludge that caught fire was not theirs. The PSU has said there is no possibility of oil sludge coming out of their storm water drain. However, GPCB officials maintained that the sludge found in Mini river was that of IOC-owned Gujarat Refinery (GR).
The state-owned company gave a point by point reply to GPCB's notice served on November 2. The state pollution watchdog had blamed IOC for releasing oil sludge in the river and asked it to promptly clean up the area. IOC's reply states that the company treats all its effluents and only water is released in the storm water drain. "IOC's storm water drain has an outlet in Mini river. The company has a huge effluent treatment plant (ETP) that takes care of the effluents including oil sludge. The discharge that goes in storm water drain is just water," said an IOCL spokesperson.
The reply says that the company officials visited and surveyed the spot where fire occurred and that there is no possibility of IOC's oil sludge reaching the Mini river. About its immediate action of picking up all the sludge from spot, IOCL states that as a good corporate citizen it agreed to clear all the sludge to avoid any untoward incident in future. The reply also adds that some black coloured water flows in Mini river from upstream.
The Government has been blaming oil companies for increasing petrol prices as it is the only oil product that is deregulated. But how true is its claim that not raising prices will bleed these companies to death? Every time petrol prices are raised the nation goes through a wave of protests. Indian Oil Corporation, a Navratana company with an annual income of Rs 313000 crore, in the first three months of this financial year has posted a loss of Rs 30700 crore. Another oil major HPCL witnessed a loss of Rs 3300 crore. BPCL's loss was Rs 3200 crore.
Oil analysts say it's wrong to say the companies are making losses, it's about who will foot the subsidy, the government or the oil companies. "As is perceived generally in the market its not that these companies are making losses, neither are they saying so. It is that they are incurring under recoveries and theses under recoveries can be made up by either consumers paying for it or the government putting in that money in the form of subsidy. Government is committed to paying that subsidy to oil companies but it appears it's a timing problem," Associate Director Oil & Gas, PwC Deepak Mahurkar said.
Petrol is not the only culprit. Under-recoveries of oil companies have shot up by 75 per cent. Money is actually lost while selling diesel, LPG and kerosene. Currently oil companies are suffering an under-recovery of Rs 8.58 per litre on diesel, Rs 26.48 on kerosene and Rs 260 per cylinder on LPG. "Initially government's intention was to deregulate complete oil sector but because of political pressure they could not do so. Diesel is the big boy of the whole basket and also a politically sensitive item, so government could not muster guts to deregulate it, result today is petrol user is suffering," Oil Analyst Narendra Taneja said. It is at the retail level that oil companies start losing money as government takes away about Rs 30 on every litre of petrol. But that money is needed to fuel ambitious social sector spending. Raising kerosene, diesel and LPG prices will be politically suicidal so for now the middle class will have to pay more for petrol and oil companies will feel squeezed.
Oil companies today yet again hiked petrol prices by Rs1.80 per litre to offset the fall in rupee that has made imports of crude costlier.
After today's increase, petrol in Delhi will cost Rs68.64 a litre. The rates will vary in other cities according to local levies.
Oil companies hike petrol prices by
with effect from Thursday midnight.
Indian Oil, HPCL and Bharat Petroleum had last hiked petrol prices by Rs.
3.14 a litre on September 16, when the Indian rupee was valued at about Rs.
48 per US dollar. The exchange rate is now over Rs.
49 per US dollar.
The Petroleum Ministry had earlier said it is up to the oil firms to decide on raising the rates of the deregulated commodity.
The government had in June last year deregulated, or freed, petrol from all price controls, but the retail rates have not moved in line with the cost as high inflation forced the oil companies to seek "advice" from the parent Oil Ministry before revising rates.
NEW DELHI: Alarmed by the galloping growth in diesel demand even as consumers and even factories are switching to the lowpriced fuel, the oil ministry is seeking a hefty tax increase for diesel-fired generators and vehicles, and pushing for higher pump price for the fuel.
The government has raised diesel prices by barely 2% since June last year while the price of petrol has climbed 30%. The oil ministry's tight control on diesel has made the fuel even cheaper than furnace oil, a low-grade industrial fuel luring factories to switch to the transportation fuel, and severely distorting India's fuel basket.
Diesel demand rose nearly 10% in September. In the first half of the fiscal year, it has grown faster than petrol for the first time after six years. Indian refineries are struggling to keep pace with the change in the demand pattern as oil companies have designed their plants keeping in mind the traditional fuel use pattern, in which diesel accounted for about a third of the country's total fuel demand.
The share of diesel in India's total oil consumption has soared to 43% in the current fiscal year from 35% five years ago while petrol's share has risen from 8% to 10%. In developed countries, diesel's share is 27% while petrol is 32%.
Oil minister Jaipal Reddy met finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday to discuss the deteriorating financial health of state oil companies. Oil companies are waiting for the finance ministry to partly reimburse them for losses from selling underpriced fuel. Reddy told reporters that he had sought a meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers on fuel prices.
Oil ministry officials say they are concerned that the gap between diesel and petrol prices has widened to Rs 26 per litre from about Rs 11 in June last year. The growing gap is making diesel more attractive for customers.
The shift in demand towards diesel began with customers queuing up for diesel cars despite a long waiting period for many models. What is worrying oil industry executives and officials is the growing use of diesel by industries.
"It is reported in the industry circle that some amount of diesel could substitute fuel oil due to the price factor," according to a report of the oil ministry's Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC). Prices of diesel, after adjusting for the fuel's higher calorific value, are higher than furnace oil, also called fuel oil, almost everywhere in the world except in India, where the transport fuel has been cheaper since April this year.
"Since calorific value of diesel is higher than fuel oil and it is a cleaner fuel, it makes economic sense for consumers to switch over to diesel from fuel oil whenever price is favourable," the report said. This is reflected in fuel demand data. In sharp contrast to the surge in diesel sales, fuel oil sales have fallen 15.3% in April-September. "The trend is likely to continue for sometime," PPAC said.
One executive in BPCL said that "dieselisation" of economy is evident from sales figures. Company's furnace oil sales have dropped by 39% and Naphtha by 16% in the second quarter ended September 30, whereas diesel sales rose by 10% in the same period. The oil ministry shares the concerns of state refiners. "Due to dieselisation of the economy, we have asked the finance ministry to impose taxes on diesel vehicles and gen-sets," an oil ministry official, who did not wish to be named, said.
The price of ATF at Delhi's T3 airport was raised by Rs 2,845 per kilolitre (kl), or 3.8%, to Rs 61,115 per kl with effect from midnight on Monday, an official of Indian Oil Corp (IOC), said. The hike comes on back of a marginally 0.5% cut in rates to Rs 58,271 per kl effected from October 16.
Prior to that, the nation's largest fuel retailer, IOC, and other state retailers, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum, had on October 1 and September 16 and raised jet fuel prices by 2.5% and 1.5% respectively, mainly because imports had become costlier due to fall in rupee against the US dollar.
ATF in Mumbai, home to the nation's busiest airport, will cost Rs 2,950 per kl more at Rs 61,984 per kl from Tuesday as against the old price of Rs 59,021 per kl. Jet fuel makes up for 40% of an airlines' operating cost and the steep hike in prices will raise burden on the cash-strapped airlines.
No immediate comment was available from airlines on the impact of the price hike on passenger fares. ATF prices vary from airport to airport, depending on the local sales tax or VAT. The three fuel retailers revise jet fuel prices on the 1st and 16th of every month, based on the average international price in the preceding fortnight.
The hike in the price of petrol of 23 cents a litre, which comes into effect at midnight on Tuesday night, will bring the price to its highest since 2008 and is bad news for both vehicle owners and consumers.
Transport businesses and commuters said it would hit them hard.
Economist Sid Singwane said: "The ripple effect of the hike will hit consumers hard by the end of the year, when food and commodity prices go up."
He said the poorest of the poor would suffer as the price of food and other day-to-day items would increase.
"Illuminating paraffin, a common feature in thousands of homes in townships and informal settlements around Gauteng, will rise by 41c a litre wholesale, and this will impact on their transportation and basic food costs," Singwane said.
The retail price of all grades of petrol will rise by 23c a litre and diesel will increase by 36c. The price hike means inland drivers will pay R10.77 for petrol, and diesel will rise to R10.01 a litre.
Tuesday night's increase follows an 18c hike in April and one of 29c in May, and is partly due to the weakening rand against the dollar, the Department of Energy said.
"It is certainly bad news all round," the Automobile Association's Gary Ronald said.
He said the increase would have a negative effect on South Africans, the biggest one being less money in people's pockets.
"In addition to increases in public transport, consumers will see food on shop shelves increase in about a month's time, when all food consumables get affected."
The South African National Taxi Council has said it would have to increase taxi fares around mid-November. They said they had no choice, given the hike.
"When we heard the news, my wife and I counted the costs and discovered that it could push our petrol cost up to R3 000," Masi Magus, who lives in Pretoria West and works in Joburg, said.
Some people said they would form lift clubs.
"We will pool together when coming into work from Centurion," Zandi Magagula said. "There are so any of us who come into town that we will make great savings if we travel together."
Petrol prices are likely to be increased by Rs 1.82 a litre this fortnight as a fall in rupee has increased the cost of imports of the raw material (crude oil). This will be the second hike in petrol prices in as many months.
Though the pricing of petrol was freed from government controls in June last year, state-owned oil firms 'informally' take directions from the oil ministry. It remains to be seen if the government will concede to the demand of oil companies just before the winter session of Parliament.
State-owned oil companies Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum last hiked petrol prices by Rs 3.14 a litre on September 16 when the rupee was ruling at about 48 to a US dollar. The local currency has depreciated further and is now trading at over 49 against the American unit.
"From today, there are some losses on petrol. To cover them, we may have to increase prices," HPCL director (finance) B Mukherjee told reporters in New Delhi.
He said crude oil is hovering at around $108 per barrel in international markets. At current exchange rate, petrol price of Rs 66.84 per litre in Delhi corresponds to about $102 per barrel equivalent of crude oil price.
Mukherjee did not say when petrol price would be hiked.
"We are in consultations," he said without elaborating.
The loss on petrol at present is Rs 1.50 per litre and after including local levies, the desired increase in retail prices is Rs 1.82 per litre.
"Let's say, we are toying with the idea," he said.
IOC gets investors’ nod to raise borrowing limit
IndianOil (IOC) has got shareholders’ nod to raise its borrowing limit by Rs 30,000 crore to Rs 110,000 crore as the nation’s largest fuel retailer has grown increasingly reliant on debt to meet even its day-to-day expenses. IOC said its shareholders have, through a postal ballot, approved an “increase in the borrowing limit from Rs 80,000 crore to Rs 110,000 crore.”
The company loses Rs 158 crore per day on selling diesel, cooking gas to households and kerosene at government-controlled rates, which are way below their production cost. The revenue deficit on these products is met through market borrowings, a company official said. “We have almost exhausted all of the permitted borrowings and so we went to shareholders for raising the limit,” the official said. IOC, which had in 2008 doubled its borrowing limit to Rs 80,000 crore, currently has a gross debt of over Rs. 78,000 crore. With continued losses, the Company feared borrowings may cross the approved level of Rs 80,000 crore by December.
(Courtesy: The Economic Times, Mumbai, October 22, 2011)
Green energy needs market push
The bourses do not have an understanding of renewable energy certificates, as is reflected in the low stock prices of renewable energy firms. But as awareness increases, valuations will rise, enabling such companies to invest more.
Would you mind paying one-and-a-half paise more for electricity that comes from windmills or solar plants? Most likely, you would not. But that is the burden, according to Dr Pramod Deo, Chairman of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, the ‘renewable energy certificate' (REC) regime imposes on electricity consumers in India. What the extra one-and-a-half paise does (or is expected to do) is significant. It will give people who put up renewable energy capacities such as windmills, biomass and solar plants sufficiently attractive returns, justifying their investments.
However, for this to work, a key parallel activity is the development of a robust market for renewable energy certificates and here is where action is needed urgently now. Eight months after it came into existence, the REC green shoots are growing well. It is recognized the world over that the REC market is a key component for the renewable energy industry to develop at a healthy pace. The REC is basically a tradable unit given to a producer of renewable power, who opts not to sell the power for a preferential tariff.
The producer — say, a company that owns a windmill farm — will get the REC even if it sells the power to a part-owner of the wind farm at a negotiated price, provided it does not get the benefit of any other incentives. The RECs, which are based on generation, are sold through the power exchanges, within a prescribed price band. Those who buy them are the ‘obligated entities', or the power distribution companies or bulk consumers of power, which are mandated by law to buy either green power at high prices in the market, or to buy the RECs instead.
In last month's trading — trading takes place on the last Wednesday of each month — as many as 46,362 RECs changed hands, which was more than twice as much as in the previous month. (RECs are traded on Indian Energy Exchange Limited and Power Exchange of India Limited. The former accounted for 89 per cent of the RECs traded last month.) The prices firmed up too. The average price worked out to Rs 2,300, against Rs 1,800 in the previous month. Now that the market for Renewable Energy Certificates is getting better by each passing trading session, the time has come for bringing measures to deepen it.
Urgent action is imperative if only because more and more RE power capacities are coming into the REC regime. Income from RECs can be substantial (see Table). The stock market does not as yet have either a sufficient understanding or awareness of the RECs, as is reflected in the low prices of renewable energy company stocks; but when the awareness builds up, valuations will rise, enabling companies to raise more funds for further investments in renewables. But fundamental to all these are measures to deepen the REC market. In a recent chat with Business Line , Dr Pramod Deo, underlined the importance of enforcement of obligations, a factor that may be the primary motive force behind the development of the REC regime.
Enforcement is largely in the hands of State electricity regulators and a lot depends on how strict they are in making the obligated entities discharge their Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO). Industry watchers such as Mr Vineeth Vijayaraghavan, Editor of the online newsletter, Panchabhuta, have noted that obligated entities in some States still question the application of the RPO to them, in the hope of wriggling out of — or at least putting off — the burden by a few years. Obviously, the first step is to tell them that there is no wriggling out. An effective way of sending this signal is to ask for a ‘compliance undertaking' at the beginning of each financial year, stating that the OE must meet its obligations.
A corollary of this is making compliance quarterly, against annual. Otherwise, the market will tend to get skewed, with most of the activity happening at the year-end. As the Table shows, the supply side of the market has been fairly well taken care of. But the demand side is still a niggling issue and the question ‘what if there are no takers for the RECs' is still weighing on the minds of many. Mr Vishal Pandya, REConnect Energy Solutions, a renewable energy consultancy, says that some sort of a ‘renewable regulatory fund' should be created to take care of the off-take of the RECs, perhaps at the mandatory minimum price, in case there are unsold RECs in the market. Mr T. Shivaraman, Vice Chairman of the renewable energy IPP, Orient Green Power, has a similar view. He wants the government to devise a mechanism for buying the unsold RECs, rather than wait for the defaulting OEs to pay a fine and then pay the REC sellers out of it. While these are but the basic imperatives, a lot more ought to be done. Today, the REC is sold once. The seller gets the money and the instrument changes hands, and is dead. Okay, for starters. But, obviously, a financial instrument should be allowed to be traded many times. And it is not too much to expect the regime to make way for forward trading in RECs, followed by other forms of derivatives. After all, what is a financial market without derivatives?
M. Ramesh ….from the pages of THE HINDU BUSINESS LINE newspaper.
Read the article here
The demise of the public sector
Many iconic public sector enterprises of the 1970s are either sick, dying or getting there: Indian Telephone Industries was the grandfather of telephone equipment manufacture; today, it is awaiting a buyer. Many have been sold, for example, Modern Bakeries, VSNL, Computer Maintenance Corporation, BALCO, etc. Many will disappear in the coming years. I would bet on BSNL, MTNL, Air India and HMT not surviving. The principal reason has been the lack of a holistic management ethos. The heavy hand of the bureaucracy and ministers influence many decisions, especially on investment, pricing, etc. There are others, a key one being the lack of a business strategy and the consequent focus on what was the original purpose of the enterprise without taking advantage of new opportunities. Lack of innovation, poor research and development, all enterprises characterise them. Coal India is a monopoly that controls almost all the coal in India and uses old technologies, is inefficient, corrupt and unreliable. It is forcing power plants to work well below capacity. Air India was stolen blind by its ministers with the connivance of bureaucrats and should have been closed down a long time ago. The list is endless if one goes through it and one can foresee even the apparently good ones having sown the seeds of their destruction.
At the state level, it is much worse. The best example is in the state electricity boards that will lose R1,00,000 crore this year. They allow large-scale theft of electricity, give it free to strong political groups such as farmers, are headed by itinerant bureaucrats, while engineers hold managerial positions for which they are not trained. Take the example of the iconic NTPC, considered the jewel in the public enterprise crown. It was set up in the days of the ‘command and control economy’ when the public sector was expected to hold the commanding heights of the economy. There was no competition or comparable enterprise. As citizens and consumers, we knew no better and were satisfied. NTPC was an efficient company but it was protected by the owner, the central government. When I first became a regulator I was shocked at the blatant favouritism to NTPC by the government in relation to its customers—the SEBs. I recall a perverse incentive scheme based on achieving 64% (or so) plant load factor, when NTPC was already at 80%.
NTPC kept earning incentives on past performance, paid for without question by the SEBs. When the Northern Grid collapsed in the winter of 1999 (I think), one reason was that NTPC continued to pump power into the Grid even though demand was less, and so the frequency went beyond limits and the Grid collapsed. NTPC was not penalised. NTPC had an excellent selection and training scheme for its engineers. DV Kapur, its founder, must be credited for it. This gave NTPC strong engineering leadership in power generation, but it did not do so in engineering, projects and construction, which became extremely important since NTPC was primarily charged with responsibility to add to generation capacity in the Five-Year Plans. But in no year were targets achieved because NTPC could not reach targets. It had not developed the management skills to set up and run an EPC business, so that it could build multiple plants at the same time. In the last few years, new private sector entrants are adding substantial capacities through their own EPC divisions. NTPC had the funds, the people, but not the ambition or the drive to create this construction capacity.
When government introduced the mega and ultra mega power projects, the private sector quickly bid for and won them. Some are set up, others are nearing completion. The policy itself was initiated by a former director of NTPC who became the power secretary, RV Shahi. He recognised that the private sector could do it and is doing so. I still recall power minister Kumaramangalam telling the then chairman of NTPC, Rajinder Singh, in my presence that he would get the government to set up another NTPC if the current one kept failing to meet targets for new generation capacity. Unfortunately, he died and no power minister since has understood what needs to be done to make a public sector giant take the risks involved in building new capacity.
Like Hindustan Unilever in the fast moving consumer goods sector, NTPC has provided excellent power engineers to the private sector. But it has failed to move successfully into other aspects of the power sector, especially distribution. It must be said that it has done terrific work in taking over failed state-run generation plants and transforming them into highly-efficient producers. In my view, NTPC benefited from being government-owned and, for a long time, being in a monopoly position in thermal generation at the national level. It has benefited from the largesse of the central government (before CERC, it got special tariff preferences, accelerated depreciation which bolstered cash flows rather than the ostensible reason of paying off borrowings).
It is an increasingly incongruous player today. Its main work is to provide the central government with capacity that it can farm out to favoured state governments. If it is not to go the way of Indian Telephone Industries, HMT and other iconic public sector companies, it needs to transform itself into a business, without bureaucratic control, with entrepreneurship, risk taking, holistic management skills, and managed purely on commercial lines by business managers, not mere engineers. The author is the first chairman of CERC, independent director on R-Infra and R-Power and an extensive commentator on infrastructure.
From the pages of FINANCIAL EXPRESS. 17th October
India's Tata Nano, billed as the world's cheapest car, will go on sale in Bangladesh tomorrow -- but with a price tag nearly triple what it is at home.
The least expensive no-frills Nano will cost Taka 599,000 ($7,900), said Abdul Matlub Ahmad, director of Nitol Motors -- Tata's sole distributor in Bangladesh.
That price compares with 141,000 Indian rupees ($2,870) for a basic Nano model in India.
"We are now taking orders -- initially we'll sell 3,000 Nano cars. We hope it will be a big hit in Bangladesh," Ahmad said, adding that the Nano's official launch would be in Dhaka on Saturday.
Both the Nano and other rival small cars produced by companies such as Maruti are significantly more expensive in Bangladesh as importers have to pay 132 percent tax on each car, he said.
"The price will come down once we start assembling the car here. If the car becomes popular in Bangladesh, Tata has a plan to manufacture the car locally," Ahmad said.
Even as Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) is struggling to keep your homes well-lit, here is a entrepreneur who has come up with ideas that could just be the solution to your power woes.
RS Hiremath, CEO, Flexitron, a research and development company specialising in cheap solutions for power problems, said: “We are always complaining about how Bescom is not providing sufficient power to us. But, we have to be more judicious while using power. It’s only when we become more responsible citizens that we can blame the system.”
Cellphone chargers, solar cookers, solar lighting solutions for kitchen and reading, solar fans and even solar-powered mosquito repellents — name it and Hiremath has it for you. He said, “I am an electronics geek and have been working on solutions for the power crisis for many years now.”
Necessity is the mother of all invention. For Hiremath, this mantra has worked best. “My idea was to bring solar energy to people. But per unit cost of solar energy is Rs25 today; I want to bring it down,” he said.
Speaking about his innovative products, he said, “We use cellphones, which we need to charge. With four-hour power cuts, it sometimes becomes difficult to manage. This innovative charger has a pedal, which can convert mechanical energy into electrical energy when rotated. Every minute of rotation gives three minutes of power,” he explained.
He has specially designed two products for homemakers. “One is the solar cooker and the other is kitchen light. Although solar cookers takes a little more time than an electric or regular cookers, they are eco-friendly. They do not use LPG or power. It takes 40 minutes to cook vegetables and rice,” he explained. The kitchen lights emit just enough light for your kitchen. “Power cuts in the evening make it difficult for women to prepare dinner. With this, if charged during the day, there’ll be light for 15 hours straight,” he said.
150 companies, 218 projects worth Rs 3,500 crore in second round of projects - Jawaharlal Nehru solar mission
NEW DELHI: India's solar power sector is gathering steam, with 150 companies rushing in to offer 2,500 megawatts of projects for the second round of bidding, seven times the allocated capacity of 350 mw for which bids were invited, raising hopes that electricity tariffs from the renewable source would fall below Rs 10 aunit.
About 150 companies are in the fray for 218 projects worth Rs 3,500 crore in the second round of projects under the Jawaharlal Nehru solar mission that aims to add 20,000 mw of solar capacity in the decade. In the previous round, the government had received bid applications for about 1,700 mw against an available allocation of 150 mw solar power. The government will shortlist companies by the second week of November . These firms will submit financial bids by the end of next month.
New York: Arjun Murti, the Goldman Sachs equity analyst who predicted oil prices would spike to $150-$200 a barrel three years ago said on Friday the market is showing ‘stark similarities’ to the start of the 2007-2008 bull run.
Murti, Goldman’s top energy equities analyst in New York, said that the oil market was getting “extremely tight” as inventories were falling and supply growth was also not impressive. However, he did not mention how high the prices could rise.
Disadvantages of Aviation Biofuels
15 Oct 2011 PETROLEUM BAZAAR
In the past couple of years, we've seen many, many tests being carried out by numerous different airlines and agencies to study the possibilities of using biofuel as an entire replacement for or as a blend with conventional jet fuel. But biofuels as a replacement for petroleum-based jet fuel may not be the ideal solution.
Biofuels are better than straight petroleum-based products, but there are drawbacks to biofuels, as well. Dedicating cropland to grow fuel crops can cut down on the available land and farming resources for food production. There are arguments against algae-based fuels, as well. They don't compete with food for farmland, but the industrial infrastructure needed to produce algae-based fuel at scale is a daunting prospect.
Of course, conversion to any new material is a daunting prospect. The development of new technologies will eventually be necessary, one way or another. To continue to research alternatives and to find the best mix of feedstock for alternative fuels is importatnt not only for aviation, but for all energy technologies.
Virgin Atlantic, which is one of the many airlines to have tested biofuels, is now exploring a jet fuel replacement that, rather than using bio materials as feedstock, is derrived from waste industrial gas from steel production. But if that relies on petroleum fuels as the original feedstock, then the long term viability of that process is also questionable.
Courtesy: ECOGEEK http://www.bharatpetroleum.com/YourCorner/PetroDailyDetails.aspx?Pnewsid=P000034878
LED technology is more energy-efficient for lights, compared to the conventional incandescent bulbs. The LED lighting market in India is expected to grow to over Rs 2,000 crore by 2015, compared with Rs 225 crore last year.
The low-cost lighting product for rural homes running on solar power marks Luminous Technologies' entry into the renewable energy space. The light offered by the product is comparable to that of a 11-watt compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulb. It is designed to provide light for a time period ranging between 11 and 102 hours.
“We are confident the new solar lighting solution would allow rural India to access lighting and replace kerosene with portable LED lights. This product offers various benefits, including reduced air pollution, safety from kerosene lighting-led accidents, cost effectiveness and higher income to skilled labourers,” said Managing Director, Manish Pant.
American scientists have overcome a major obstacle in efforts to use CO2 emissions to produce liquid fuel.
University of Illinois chemical and biological engineering professor Paul Kenis and his research group joined forces with researchers at Dioxide Materials, a startup company, to produce a catalyst that improves artificial photosynthesis.
In artificial photosynthesis, an electrochemical cell uses energy from a solar collector or a wind turbine to convert CO2 to simple carbon fuels such as formic acid or methanol, which are further refined to make ethanol and other fuels.
“The key advantage is that there is no competition with the food supply,” said Richard Masel, the founder of the research team and CEO of Dioxide Materials “and it is a lot cheaper to transmit electricity than it is to ship biomass to a refinery.”
NEW DELHI: ONGC Videsh, the foreign arm of state-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp, has acquired 25% stake in the highly prospective Satpayev exploration block in Kazakhstan, which can produce close to 300,000 barrels per day. The deal was signed on Wednesday , completing a 16-year pursuit for the block in the Caspian Sea which is estimated to have 1.85 billion barrels of crude oil reserves, valued at $92 billion at an average price of $50 a barrel.
Soon, green fuel for military vehicles
The world's most powerful armies are going green and reducing dependency on fossil fuels seems to be their main objective. The United States armed forces, one of the largest single energy consumers, are looking at renewable jet fuels for aircraft that use algae or vegetable and animal oils. Almost all fighter planes of Britain's Royal Air Force have been certified to fly entirely on bio-fuels, when they are available, and researchers are looking into solar-powered unmanned attack aircraft. Taking a cue, Indian armed forces too have embarked on a drive to save fuel.
In what is seen as a major eco-friendly step towards renewable energy generation in the country, Defence Research and Development
Organisation (DRDO) is experimenting with bio-diesel for military vehicles. The field trials of the bio-diesel on military vehicles, such as the bullet-proof armoured personnel carriers (APCs) are being conducted at DRDO's Pune-based lab, Vehicle Research and Development Establishment (VDRE), which specialises in developing defence vehicles.
(Courtesy: The Financial Express, October 10, 2011, New Delhi edition)
IndianOil plans to raise R&D investment by 40% to Rs. 350 cr
(Courtesy: Business Standard, New Delhi, October 12, 2011)
Public sector fuel marketer IndianOil (IOC) plans to increase its expenditure on research & development (R&D) by 40 per cent to Rs 350 crore for the next three to four years.
“The proposed investment is to create a strong research R&D base in refinery processes, product formulations, pipeline transportation and alternative fuels with a view to minimising/eliminating imports and to have next-generation products,” R K Malhotra, director (R&D), IOC, said on the sidelines of a conference in Chennai on Tuesday.
The company’s current spending on R&D is Rs 250 crore.
The R&D centre is also undertaking research on producing second-generation bio-diesel from algae, in collaboration with international research agencies.
Dr. R K Malhotra, Director (R&D), IndianOil
According to company’s annual report for 2010-11, 126 product formulations were developed, out of which more than 85 per cent were commercialised.
The state-run retailer also said it had got Rs 75 crore from its R&D board to set up a demonstration unit in Guwahati.
The other areas where the company is focusing on include development of energy-efficient and cost-effective lubricants for railways, marine applications and other automotive and industrial sectors.
IOC also plans to set up an automotive research laboratory with test benches and facilities for corrosion and failure analysis in refineries.
Search for Petrol Prices in other areas.
Officers in public sector oil cos fear slippage in effective pay
………….Govt proposes capping allowances at 50% of basic pay
This festival season is turning out to be anything but festive for nearly 70,000 officers of national oil companies. A recent order from the Government, if implemented, may squeeze their effective compensation by 10-20 per cent. The officers in public sector units (PSUs) are classified into nine grades going up to Executive Director with compensations ranging from around Rs 45,000 to a little over Rs 2 lakh a month.
In 2009, the Government had capped perquisites and allowances for PSU employees at 50 per cent of basic pay. Oil companies sidestepped the cap by offering a bouquet of perks (such as residential telephone and broadband connections, reimbursement for mobile handset, car maintenance, washing charge of uniform, night-shift allowance, professional body memberships, expenses for higher education and entertainment and soft loans at bank rates, among others) as “work-related expenditure” or reimbursements. However, in a communication issued in August 2011, the Petroleum Ministry, quoting an order from the Department of Public Enterprises, directed that all such reimbursements would fall under the 50 per cent of basic pay cap.
Estimates made by the Association of Scientific and Technical Officers (ASTO) of ONGC and Indian Oil Officers' Association (IOOA) suggest that the withdrawal of car maintenance reimbursement alone will lead to a 10 per cent fall in compensation for the officers. According to ASTO, nearly 24,000 ONGC officers may face an effective pay erosion of Rs 18,000-28,000 a month. The officers have already represented to the Prime Minister and the Petroleum Minister in this regard.
The withdrawal of car maintenance expenses alone will save Rs 840 crore a year for the oil companies. Going by ASTO estimates, ONGC alone should save in excess of Rs 500 crore a year.
But the top managements of the oil companies are unhappy. Faced with tremendous resentment, they are now planning to submit a joint representation to the Petroleum Ministry this week, to allow them to offer such facilities and reimbursements. “Since our individual representations were overlooked in the past, we are now planning a joint move,” a senior official told Business Line.
(Kolkata, Oct. 9:::::: Pratim Ranjan Bose , This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 10, 2011)
The state owned Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has hiked the price of petroleum product by Rs. 3 per litre. Now, petrol costs Rs. 105 per litre..
Nepal Oil Company has again hiked prices for petroleum products— by one rupee per litre of kerosene and diesel taking their prices up to Rs 76.
Petrol, earlier, cost Rs. 102 per liter and diesel and kerosene were available at Rs. 75 per liter.
NOC jacked up the price of petroleum products except cooking gas and Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) with effect from 11.10.11
This is the third hike in petrol, diesel and kerosene prices this year.
“NOC is still incurring Rs 305.64 loss on a cylinder of cooking gas according to Indian Oil Corporation’s October 1 price list, though it makes profit of Rs 19.55 and 19.60 on a litre of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) — domestic and international — respectively.
The meeting of the management committee of the NOC on Monday came up with the decision to hike the prices of the petroleum products to meet the surging loss of NOC. NOC’s loss will now decrease to Rs. 710 million from Rs. 830 million after the price hike.
Fuel prices in China went down Sunday for the first time this year, a media report said. The wholesale price of gasoline and diesel reduced by 300 yuan ($47) per tonne, said the National Development and Reform Commission.
China Daily said that benchmark retail price of gasoline will be cut by 0.22 yuan per liter and diesel by 0.26 yuan per liter. Commuters were happy with the drop in prices.
"Finally the fuel prices went down. The high prices have made consumers worry, which also levied great pressure on the government," Lin Boqiang at Xiamen University was quoted as saying.
Beijing looks at adjusting domestic refined oil prices when international oil prices change more than four percent within 22 working days. Since 2009, China has adjusted fuel prices 16 times, with 10 price hikes and six reductions. Courtesy: SME TIMES
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In a bid to prevent the adulteration of petrol and to ensure that customers get a better deal, the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) has automated a number of its retail outlets and is planning to provide the enhanced customer services at all its 81 retail outlets in Pune in the next few years.
Addressing a press conference here, K H Subramanian, general manager, retail, western region, BPCL, said that the outlets which sell more than 200 kilo litre of petrol and diesel each month have been identified for the automation.
He said that as of now 67 retail outlets from a total of 81 have been automated and by the end of this year BPCL has plans to carry out the automation of 7 more outlet. The complete automation of the outlets is being planned by next few years.
He also added that these retail outlets are operating on 24-hour basis and the vehicles which supply the fuel at these outlets are fitted with the devices which help in tracking their movement to ensure that the petrol and diesel was not pilfered.
Oil majors need to invest Rs 15k cr to shift to BS-IV
Oil majors have to invest around Rs 15,000 crore to comply with Bharat Stage (BS)-IV fuel norms at their refineries, which would help the automobile industry address emission concerns. According to a senior industry representative, by 2015, around 50 cities would come under the BS-IV norms. However, the adoption of the new norms by the existing fleets would be a challenge.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Automotive Conference, organised by SAEINDIA, R K Malhotra, director (research and development), IndianOil, said oil companies had invested nearly Rs 30,000 crore in the last few years at their refineries to manufacture fuel that complied with BS-IV norms, instead of BS-III. An additional investment of Rs 10,000-15,000 crore was needed to achieve the government's directive of covering 50 cities by 2015. Currently, 16 major cities have been brought under the latest emission norms.
Moving to BS-IV alone would not reduce pollution. The complete benefits of BS IV emission norms would be realised only if old vehicles are phased out, Malhotra said. “Only a small part of total particulate emission (sulphur) would come down. The major impact on old vehicles can be felt only if they have retrofit engines and after-treatment devices,” he said.
Courtesy:Business Standard, New Delhi, October 09, 2011
Researchers with the U.S Department of Energy (DOE)'s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have identified a potential new advanced biofuel that could replace today's standard fuel for diesel engines but would be clean, green, renewable and produced in the United States.
Using the tools of synthetic biology, a JBEI research team engineered strains of two microbes, a bacteria and a yeast, to produce a precursor to bisabolane, a member of the terpene class of chemical compounds that are found in plants and used in fragrances and flavorings. Preliminary tests by the team showed that bisabolane's properties make it a promising biosynthetic alternative to Number 2 (D2) diesel fuel.
"This is the first report of bisabolane as a biosynthetic alternative to D2 diesel, and the first microbial overproduction of bisabolene in Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae," says Taek Soon Lee, who directs JBEI's metabolic engineering program and is a project scientist with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)'s Physical Biosciences Division.
Makarand Nene joins IndianOil Board as Director (Marketing)
Mr. Makarand Nene has been appointed as the Director (Marketing) of oil major Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), with immediate effect. He succeeds Mr. G.C. Daga, who superannuated in September 2011.
Mr. Nene has also been appointed Chairman of IOC’s subsidiary – Lanka IOC (LIOC) in Sri Lanka, IOC’s joint venture companies - IndianOil Petronas Pvt. Ltd. (IPPL) and IndianOil Skytanking Ltd. (IOSL) respectively.
Prior to his appointment as Director (Marketing), Mr. Nene was Executive Director (Supplies) at IOC’s Marketing headquarters in Mumbai.
A mechanical engineer, Mr. Nene has over 33 years experience in the downstream petroleum business. Joining IOC in 1978, he held several key portfolios and handled varied assignments in core business functions such as LPG, Supply & Distribution (S&D), Operations, Shipping, Commercial etc. He was also responsible for supplies of all petroleum products to the neighbouring state of Nepal.
Mr. Bhalla in the panel discussions
As head of Operations and S&D, Mr. Nene piloted the introduction of Euro-III and Euro-IV green fuels through IOC’s countrywide marketing network, which despite complex logistics was executed ahead of schedule. He was also instrumental in rationalizing the Corporation’s supply & distribution zones, paving the way for IOC to emerge as the least-cost supplier in the industry.
Widely travelled, Mr. Nene has presented several papers in both domestic and international forums on diverse topics related to downstream business and management.
|Almost half the amount of petrol price goes into taxes levied by the Central and the State governments.|
| Petrol is subjected to four levies:|
Central excise duty,
and sales tax.
Based on May data as published in Internet (Deccan herald 16th May 2011) the Centre charges a fixed excise tax of Rs 14.35 per litre, and customs duty of 7.5 per cent on crude oil. Further, the State government charges 25 per cent sales tax on petrol. Besides, it also charges a five per cent entry tax that is levied on every litre of petrol and diesel that enters the State.
Tehran, Oct 1 (IANS) Iran has discovered a major helium reserve, an estimated 10 billion cubic meters of gas, in the southern part of the country, the official media reported Friday.
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) rates were hiked by a steep Rs 2 per kg today, mainly on account of a fall in the rupee value against the US dollar, pushing up the cost of inputs.
CNG will cost Rs 32 per kg in Delhi from midnight tonight, as against Rs 30/kg at present.
In Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad, CNG will cost Rs 2.30 per kg more -- at Rs 35.90/kg .
The government has fixed the price of domestic gas produced by state-owned ONGC and Reliance in US dollar terms and every time the rupee depreciates against the US currency, users end up paying more. Gas from both Reliance and ONGC is priced at USD 4.20 per million British thermal units.
On top of the basic gas price, state gas utility GAIL charges a marketing margin in US dollars for the effort involved in selling the gas produced by ONGC. GAIL charges a marketing margin of $0.11 per mmBtu, while Reliance also charges a $ 0.135 per mmBtu marketing margin.
Prices w.e.f 18.09.2011
NAME OF CAPITAL CITIES SPEED
Pondicherry Inter State Sale 67.40
All prices are for Speed of BPCL
Prices w.e.f 18.09.2011
NAME OF CAPITAL CITIES HSD
Pondicherry Inter State Sale 42.65
Prices w.e.f 18.09.2011
NAME OF CAPITAL CITIES Hi Speed
Pondicherry Inter State Sale 47.50
Prices w.e.f 18.09.2011
Pondicherry Inter State Sale 64.90
The price of petrol has increased by as much as Nu. three a litre. The price hike, the third this year, came into effect this afternoon.
A litre of petrol now costs Nu. 60.4, an increase of Nu. 2.80.
As on date 1 NU (Bhutanese currency called ) is equal to 1 Indian Rupee. http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert/?Amount=1&From=BTN&To=INR
Commuters who had come to fuel their cars at the fuel depots today were not amused. They said with the fuel price increasing every now and then, it would be difficult to make ends meet.
The hike will hit the taxi drivers the most. They said without increasing the fare, which is decided by the road safety and transport authority, they will not be able to support their families. A few said they may have to consider selling their taxis, their only means of sustenance.
The increase was caused by a similar increase in India from where Bhutan imports all its fuel. The increase in India was caused by the fall in value of rupee against dollar.
The price of diesel, cooking gas, and kerosene has remained unaffected for now.
Source : http://www.bbs.com.bt/bbs/?p=6341&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BBSNewsFeed+%28BBS-+Bhutan%27s+National+Broadcaster%29
Petrol prices to be up by Rs 3.14 from midnight
New Delhi: Oil companies will hike petrol prices by about Rs 3.14 per litre from Thursday midnight. This is the second big hike in four months. The decision was taken after a meeting of the heads of oil companies.
Petrol prices have been raised because of the weakening of the rupee against dollar.
Oil retailers claim they are losing Rs 15 crore per day due to the big gap in global and domestic prices.
Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL) now lose Rs 2.61 per litre due to high international crude oil prices and with rupee touching two-year low against the US dollar, the losses have increased the cost of importing crude oil.
"After adding local taxes, the hike needed at retail level comes to over Rs 3 per litre," a top official at one of the three state-run fuel retailers said. Petrol price were last hiked by Rs 5 per litre on May 15.
Source IBN live
EW DELHI: State-owned oil firms may have to raise petrol prices by as much as Rs 3 per litre as the rupee touched two-year low against the US dollar, increasing the cost of importing crude oil.
"Oil retailers are losing Rs 2.61 per litre or Rs 15 crore per day on sale of petrol. Together with local taxes, the hike needed to level domestic rates with international prices is about Rs 3 per litre," a top government official said.
IOC, BPCL and HPCL have lost Rs 2,450 crore this fiscal on selling petrol -- whose rates were freed from government control in June last year -- below the cost.
"At current rate, oil firms will accrue another Rs 2,850 crore of loss on sale of petrol, taking the total loss on a fuel that was freed from control, to Rs 5,300 crore for the full fiscal," the official said, adding, "Oil firms will have to take a call on raising petrol price soon."
ONGC to launch $2.5 billion FPO on September 20: Report
MUMBAI: Oil and Natural Gas Corp's follow-on share sale, valued at around $2.5 billion and delayed by more than six months, is likely to be launched on September 20 and will close on September 23, sources said on Monday.
The sale of a 5-per cent stake by the Indian government is part of a broader proposal to raise about $9 billion through share sales in public sector firms this fiscal year, to help plug the federal government's fiscal gap and generate funds for schemes for the poor.
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IOC to spend Rs 600 cr on fire safety
(Courtesy: Financial Chronicle, New Delhi, September 13, 2011)
IndianOil (IOC) will spend about Rs 600 crore to upgrade fire safety equipment across its installations. This is being done after a directive from the Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD) to raise standards of fire safety. OISD has revised safety norms keeping in view a major fire accident at the IOC depot near Jaipur that claimed 11 lives and led to wastage of nearly 60,000 kilolitre of petroleum products in 2009. “The risk-perception has been revised after the Jaipur incident. The existing safety norms would be supplemented,” KK Jha, Director (Pipelines) of IOC said.
OISD has revised STD-117 norms that are mandatory for oil marketing companies. As per revised norms, volume of water stored in sites has to be doubled and protection system on tanks is to be equipped with hollow impoline tubes, among others.
Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL), an Indianoil Subsidery company, has declared a dividend of 120% for the year 2010-11. This was announced by Mr. R.S. Butola, Chairman, IndianOil Group Companies, at the 45th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Chennai .
The turnover for the year 2010-11 was Rs. 38,124 crore as against Rs. 29,184 crore in 2009-10. The Profit After Tax (PAT) for 2010-11 was Rs. 511.52 crore as against Rs. 603.22 crore, the previous year.
The Utilities and Offsite facilities of the Rs. 2,616 crore Auto Fuel Quality Upgradation Project of CPCL are in various stages of completion. A new 42-inch crude oil pipeline from Chennai Port to Manali Refinery at a cost of Rs. 126 crore is awaiting environmental clearance and Indian Oil Corporation Limited is the Engineering Procurement, Construction Management (EPCM) Contractor.
CPCL’s new project initiatives include the Rs. 3,111 crore Resid Upgradation Project and a brownfield refinery expansion project at Manali with matching secondary processing facilities. CPCL is equipping itself to receive Natural Gas for use at its Manali Refinery and Heads of Agreement for supply of LNG have already been signed with Indian Oil Corporation Limited, from its proposed LNG Terminal at Ennore near Manali.
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