Doesn't work: Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg says allowing disinvested coal mines to be picked up Chinese buyers to only burn more coal would be pointless when it comes to curtailing emissions | Photo: Bloomberg

Glencore chief says there is “no point” in divesting from coal mines

Ivan Glasenberg, the CEO of Anglo-Swiss mining giant Glencore, has dismissed the industry trend of divesting from coal mines, saying that the actions were pointless as it would do nothing to curb coal’s Scope 3 emissions (emissions from a miner’s customers burning a fuel). The CEO has claimed that the divestments would merely allow Chinese firms to buy the mines and burn the fuel under less stringent emission standards, which would be counterproductive to the intention behind the divestments.

He has instead offered that the mines be run down and repurposed to extract nickel, cobalt and copper, which are increasingly more valuable to the electric vehicle industry. Glencore is currently reviewing its plans for thermal coal and is committed to reducing its Scope 3 emissions by 30% by 2035. 

IFC indirectly finances new coal plant despite new directive 

The International Financial Corporation (IFC) is reported to have indirectly financed the 2,000 MW Java coal plant in Banten, Indonesia, despite its recently released directive that prohibits its equity stake in financiers that support new coal capacities. The directive is part of the IFC’s Green Equity Approach (GEA), but its partner bank in the south Asian country, Hana Indonesia, has financed the $3.5 billion plant despite a Greenpeace report suggesting that it would cause 4,700 premature deaths over 30 years and release 250 million tonnes of CO2 over 25 years. 

Interestingly, Hana Indonesia is 70% owned by Hana Korea, which is one of the several South Korean banks financing new coal projects outside of the country, even as it tries to phase out coal power from within its borders and bring in more renewable energy. IFC, meanwhile, has said that it was in talks with Hana Indonesia “to better understand its recent lending activities”, and will most likely revise the GEA in 2021 to eliminate any loopholes that allow for new coal financing. 

India: Coal minister proposes Coal India units set prices independently to drive competition

Indian coal minister Pralhad Joshi has proposed that the seven units of Coal India Ltd. (CIL) set their prices of the fuel independently to drive competition amongst themselves and improve the efficiency of operations. The minister’s decision is aimed at discovering the least cost of coal through a competitive mechanism — at the moment each unit sets its prices in consultation with a number of stakeholders — but CIL’s board is yet to be consulted and an agreement may not be guaranteed. 

CIL is currently targeting an increase in annual output to one billion tonnes of coal every year by 2024, but demand for the fuel has been flagging amidst poor power requirements during the lockdown and the mounting financial losses for coal power generators. The country’s recent auction of 38 coal mines also drew a tepid response despite the Centre’s best efforts. 

French government halts Engie’s US LNG deal over environmental concerns

The government of France has halted a deal between Engie, its multifaceted energy utility, and NextDecade Co. of the US over a LNG import contract over the environmental concerns surrounding fracking and shale gas. The $7 billion dollar deal is part of the US’s strategy to promote natural gas as the preferred fuel for the world market, but lax emission standards at its fracking sites have raised concerns for the French government, which under President Emanuelle Macron is pursuing minimal to zero carbon emissions from all new power projects.

However, the deal may yet go through if the US elects Joe Biden as its next president. Biden has been vocal about instituting strict emission standards for the natural gas industry — which could find favour with the French government. 

ONGC wins seven new oil and gas blocks under OLAP’s latest round of bidding

India’s largest oil and gas explorer, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), has won seven out of the 12 blocks put up for bidding under the Centre’s latest iteration of the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OLAP). The bidding was for blocks spread out over 19,800 sq km and was conducted under new rules approved for the policy, which now allow drillers the license for maximum exploration. Previously, the bids were awarded based on which bidder offered the maximum share of its extracts to the Centre — which suggests that the new rules are in place to maximise India’s hydrocarbon output.

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