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IndianOil (IOC) to raise borrowing limit  

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)

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Renewable energy certificate(REC) & low prices of renewable energy company stocks  

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.
Strengthening market
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.
Purchase obligation
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.
Compliance issues
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.

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150 companies in race for 20MW photo voltaic projects  

Read the article here

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NTPC, the PSU status and future  

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

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Tata Nano car in Bangladesh  

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.

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Flexitron has cheap solutions for power problems  

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.

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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.

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Oil prices could spike to 2008 levels: Goldman Sachs  

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.

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Can biofuels replace jet fuel ?  

Disadvantages of Aviation Biofuels
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

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India's first light emitting diode (LED)-based solar lights launched  

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.


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Artificial photosynthesis breakthrough makes CO2-turned fuel a reality  

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.”

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ONGC to acquire 25% stake Kazakh oil company  

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.


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Powerful armies looking at renewable jet fuels  

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)

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IndianOil plans to raise R&D investment by 40%  

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.

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Check Petrol Prices in India and the World  

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Oil PSU officers fear slippage in effective pay  

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.

Severe impact

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.

Corporate savings

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.

Joint effort

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)

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Nepal- Another hike in Petrol , Kerosene & Diesel  

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.


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Fuel prices in China went down  

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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Where do you get to know the most trusted, reliable and honest petrol pumps in your city?  

Where do you get to know the most trusted, reliable and honest petrol pumps in your city?
This information is available in a site which I regularly follow.

The site says ase we all need to refuel our cars/bikes regularly  it will be a good idea to post about   experiences with  petrol pumps which we trust.

 This link gives you an idea about the trusted petrol pumps in Pune city.

Similarly, if you search the site you will get to know the pumps in your city which you can trust.


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BPCL automated many retail outlets  

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.

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Oil companies have to invest Rs 15,000 crore for Bharat Stage (BS)-IV compliance  

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

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New advanced biofuel identified as an alternative to diesel fuel  

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.


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Makarand Nene appointed Director (Marketing) of Indian Oil  

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.

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Tax component of petrol prices in India  

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,
customs duty,
entry tax,
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.
These taxes can be well understood in a chart as above. Motor spirit is another name of petrol.


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Iran discoveres 10 billion cubic meters of helium gas reserve ,  

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.

The reserve lies in South Pars gas field, according to Mousa Souri, the managing director of Pars Oil and Gas Company.
The volume of the world's helium reserve is 40 billion cubic meters and South Pars gas field alone holds 10 billion cubic meters, Xinhua reported quoting the state-run Press TV.
Souri said Iran has signed an agreement with a Russian company to complete the feasibility studies for the gas reserve.
South Pars/North Dome is located in the Persian Gulf. It is the world's largest gas field shared between Iran and Qatar.
According to the International Energy Agency, the field holds an estimated 50.97 trillion cubic meters of in-situ gas and some 50 billion barrels of condensates.
It covers an area of 9,700 sq. km., of which 3,700 sq. km. (South Pars) is in Iranian territorial waters and 6,000 sq. km. (North Dome) is in Qatari territorial waters.

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