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HPCL keen on setting up a mega refinery in Vizag  

HPCL set to revive Vizag project, applies for land

(Courtesy: DNA, Mumbai, April 27, 2012)

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) is set to revive its plan to set up an integrated mega refinery near Visakhapatnam.

The company has approached the Andhra Pradesh government for allotment of about 1,500 acres at Achyutapuram near Vizag for this.

The land the state-owned company is keen on falls under a special economic zone and the state is yet to take a final decision on that.

According to state government sources, HPCL is keen on setting up a mega refinery, an aromatic plant and a naphtha unit in its proposed project with an estimated outlay of Rs 35,000 crore. The refiner had come up with a similar proposal in 2006 and was allotted the required land by the government. However, it had deferred its plan and the land was also taken back by the government.

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IndianOiL offers support to upgrade Sri Lanka refinery  

IndianOil offers support to Sri Lanka refinery

(Courtesy: The Hindu, New Delhi, April 27, 2012)

The Lanka IndianOil has stepped in to offer support to Sri Lanka at a critical juncture: its only refinery, Sapugaskanda, can only process Iranian crude efficiently. With U.S. sanctions looming, the refinery needs to be urgently revamped to function with better efficiency.

The Lanka IndianOil, a wholly owned subsidiary of IndianOil, which has a one-third market share in the retail trade in Sri Lanka, has offered to help in the US $ 2 billion upgrade of the refinery. Earlier attempts at modernisation of technological facilities with the help of other countries have not worked: the investments were huge, and only part of it was available as loan from those interested in refurbishing the refinery.

“We have offered them our expertise,” said Lanka IndianOil Managing Director, Suresh Kumar, when asked if IndianOil was interested in helping out Sri Lanka. A technical team from IndianOil had visited the facility and, this had made political parties such as the JVP, protest the idea that Indian help would be sought for the project.

Sri Lanka consumes about 5 million tonnes of petroleum products annually. Only about 2 million tonnes is refined in Sapugaskanda. The remaining is imported as petrol, and diesel, leading to a massive drain in foreign exchange.

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Germany heads for grid parity between solar and conventional power by 2013  

In Germany, solar will be as cheap as conventional electricity by 2013

Solar probably won't really take off until it makes more economic sense to slap some photovoltaics on your roof than to continue paying your utility company for their dirty, probably mostly coal-fired power. That day has arrived in parts of sunny California and Hawaii, and it's coming to (not-so-sunny) Germany by 2013, reports Michael Coren at Fast Company.

Global PV solar installation grew from 0.26 GW to 16.1 GW between 2000 to 2010, while manufacturing costs fell 100 times.

Of course, "grid parity," as it's called, doesn't mean you can just painlessly switch from the old power source to a new one. There's still the up-front cost of installing solar panels, which is a lot to spend, even on something that is going to save you money in the long run. If you're paying for them on your own, you're essentially pre-paying your electricity bills for the next 20 to 30 years, which is something that only a tiny fraction of us can afford to do. (If you can afford it, it's probably as good or better an investment than basically anywhere else you can put your money, though.)

But with help from a solar installer/financier like SolarCity or SunRun, homeowners and businesspeople can get those solar panels for something approaching no money down, and still save money on their monthly bill.

So what grid parity really means is that as the price of solar continues to fall, conscientious consumers will be able to make the right choice. If it's a revolution, it's an incredibly slow-moving one, at least for now. But once it picks up steam, it could still upend how our civilization generates the electricity that is the lifeblood of a sustainable future.

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New study brings down India’s shale gas potential drastically  

New study brings down India’s shale gas potential drastically

(Courtesy: The Financial Express, New Delhi, April 19, 2012)

The initial hype over India’s shale gas potential seems to be making way for a more sober assessment of the unconventional energy that could actually be extracted from rock formations. From an initial assessment of 300 trillion cubic feet (TCF) to 2,100 TCF of producible and non-producible gas present in Indian basins (called in-place gas), the latest study has brought down the ‘technical recoverable’ gas to about 6.1 TCF.

The estimate of technical recoverable gas recently given to India by the US Geological Survey is a fraction of the in-place gas that could be recovered with existing technology without regard to cost. If commercial viability of extraction is also taken into consideration, the amount of recoverable gas would be lower. Earlier, the US Energy Information Administration had given an estimate of 293 TCF of in-place gas, whereas New York-listed Schlumberger had made an initial gas-in-place estimate of 300-2,100 TCF.

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ONGC-Teri Biotech won $1-billion Kuwait oil spills clean-up job  

ONGC-Teri JV bags $1-billion Kuwait oil spill clean-up job

…..Vinay Umarji / Vadodara Apr 10, 2012, 00:37 IST…from the pages of BUSINESS STANDARD.

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) says its joint venture (JV) company has won a third of the estimated $3-billion global contract to clean the 60 million cubic metres of Kuwait contaminated by the huge oil spills that were a legacy of the retreating Iraqi armies in 1991.Sudhir Vasudeva, chairman and managing director of ONGC, told reporters here on Monday that ONGC-Teri Biotech Ltd (OTBL), the company’s JV with The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri), had got a $1-billion contract for doing part of the clean-up.

The contract was bagged recently, he said on the sidelines of a press conference. OTBL had been competing with 12 companies for Kuwait Oil Co’s mammoth contract. It is to use its ‘oil zapper’ technology to do the job. “Teri has been present in this segment and they were meeting the financial criteria for the contract. So, it is through them that OTBL has bagged the contract in Kuwait for $1 billion,” Vasudeva added.The oil zapper technology uses a bacteria they’ve developed to eat away the oil part of the contaminated soil. The bioremediation agent is used to clean both offshore and onshore spills and has been applied by ONGC on its own fields in India.

Kuwait Oil Co had called for contract bids early last year. When Saddam Hussein’s invading army was forced to retreat by a US-led force in 1991 from Kuwait, it set fire to about 700 oil wells and also opened valves on diverse rigs and pipelines. The resulting spill is estimated at two to four million barrels (a barrel is 157.5 litres) , which contaminated not only soil but spread to a huge coastal area, including those of neighbouring countries.

The United Nations arranged an Iraqi compensation of $3 billion after Saddam was ousted but Kuwait had been slow in starting the process of rehabilitation. The idea was that a consortium of companies from across the world would toghether work to clean the contamination

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Be ready to pay more for petrol  

Raise petrol price or face disruptions, firms tell govt

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times…..New Delhi, April 03, 2012

Be ready to pay more for petrol or your car may go dry. The three state-owned oil companies, led by Indian Oil Corporation, warned on Monday that since they had been losing Rs 7.67 on every litre of petrol sold — the loss figure touching Rs 48 crore a day —there could be serious supply disruptions in future if prices are not hiked.

IOC chairman and managing director RS Butola said since prices of crude oil that accounted for 93% of petroleum goods production costs had been witnessing sharp rises in global markets, the desired price hike in the capital was Rs 9.20 a litre — adding the 20% sales tax per litre.

Butola said despite the petrol pricing mechanism having been decontrolled, the government had not allowed the companies to hike prices. “If we don’t earn revenues, we would not be able to buy crude. And if we are unable to buy crude, there will be supply disruptions.”“The central government earns Rs 14.78 (in excise duty) on every litre of petrol sold and states get between Rs 10 and 20 a litre. But the oil firms are not allowed to earn anything," he said.

Butola said although the government had been told that the only option left was to raise petrol prices, “we haven't so far heard from the government”.

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