India mandates imported-coal blending and full-capacity operations till FY24-end

Recently, the Indian government has extended mandatory blending of imported coal with domestic fuel for power gencos till the end of the current financial year. This was done in an attempt to ensure uninterrupted power supply across the country. Additionally, it extended Section 11 of the Electricity Act 2003, popularly known as the emergency clause, which requires imported coal-based power facilities to operate at full capacity through June 30, 2024. The first extension was given to full capacity up to September 30, and then extended the period to October 31, and then again to June 30, 2024. The All India Engineers’ Federation (AIPEF) has opposed this move to extend the deadline for coal import for the third time. The association claimed that this was an obvious instance of supporting businesses selling and importing coal, then shifting the cost increases associated with the importation onto common electricity users.

Ahead of COP28: India set to expand coal power capacity as demand surges

According to the TOI report India is “doubling down” on coal-fired power ahead of COP28 as the country’s experiencing a surge in power demand amid a “sharp uptick” in the economy. Addressing a meeting of state ministers India’s power minister RK Singh said : “There is going to be pressure on nations at COP28 to reduce coal usage…[W]e are not going to compromise on availability of power for our growth, even if it requires that we add coal-based capacity,” , the newspaper article quoted. Singh said India would meet its climate targets, adding that “the country has to start work on 30,000MW [of] new thermal generation capacity on top of the 50,000MW already underway to avoid shortage.” The TOI report said RK Singh has asked all states to run at full capacity and import coal. 

ONGC to start production from its flagship deep water project this month

State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will finally start producing oil from its $5 billion deep-sea project in Bay of Bengal’s Krishna-Godavari basin this month after a series of delays. According to statements made by ONGC Director (Production) Pankaj Kumar to Press Trust of India, production will be low initially — between 8,000 and 9,000 barrels per day, and then gradually ramped up. The first consignment is due to be sent to ONGC subsidiary Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd for further testing and quality assessment.

Meanwhile, ONGC has also asked the government to allow it to use gas produced from its legacy operations in its petrochemical unit. The gas produced from these projects are currently allocated by the government to different industries based on a priority ladder list. The proposal has been made to with an eye on reducing the cost of gas procurement for its in-house petrochemical subsidiary ONGC Petro Additions Ltd.

India raises windfall tax on crude to ₹ 9,800 per ton

The Indian government has raised the windfall tax on petroleum crude from ₹ 9,050 per tonne to ₹ 9,800 per tonne. According to a government statement, the windfall tax on aviation turbine fuel—which was previously ₹1/ liter—has been eliminated. Additionally, the administration lowered the fuel windfall tax from ₹ 4/ litre to ₹2/ litre. Earlier, the windfall tax on petroleum oil was reduced on October 18 from ₹12,100 rupees per tonne to ₹ 9,050 per tonne.  In July of last year, India levied a windfall tax on producers of crude oil and prolonged the tax on petrol, diesel and aviation fuel exports because private refiners preferred to profit from strong refining margins in foreign markets rather than selling their products domestically.

Sale of leases to drill Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas postponed over endangered whale’s protections

An auction for rights to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico has been postponed by the Biden administration due to legal uncertainties surrounding protections for the endangered Rice’s whale. The lawsuit that Chevron, Louisiana, and the American Petroleum Institute brought caused the lease sale, which was initially planned for September, to be postponed. The lawsuit contested clauses that were added to the transaction with the intention of safeguarding the Rice’s whale, one of the most endangered whale species worldwide. The oil industry advocates have urged President Joe Biden’s government to proceed with the sale anyway. However, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced that the event would be postponed due to legal uncertainty. The lease auction was announced earlier this year and was mandated by the 2022 climate legislation that was a part of the Inflation Reduction Act. Large areas of Gulf waters along the shores of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama were included in the tracts that were available. 

World needs $7 million to ensure future natural gas supply: Study  

According to a new analysis from the Institute of Energy Economics in Japan, governments need to invest $7 trillion in new LNG export plants, facility upgrades, and the development of new gas fields in order to secure a smooth energy transition. According to the analysis, emerging nations will not be able to reach carbon neutrality by the middle of the century, hence the scenario estimates a 56% reduction in emissions by 2050. According to IEEJ, around $10 trillion will be required to provide a sufficient supply of LNG until the middle of the century.  According to industry insiders and experts, the present “pipeline of projects” won’t be sufficient to meet the expected rise in worldwide LNG demand. They claim that even with all of the projects that have been announced globally, the supply that will be required over the course of several decades will not be met. The report also stated that obstacles including rising interest rates and supply chain hiccups could have an effect on offshore wind energy projects and perhaps lead to financial problems.

Fossil fuel companies spilling million of litres of toxic wastewater in Texas

Produced water—a briny liquid produced by oil and gas wells—is generated in billions of gallons annually in Texas and frequently spilled hundreds of times. There is no specific policy that the relevant administration has ever adopted regarding the reporting and cleanup of produced water spills. In Texas, oil and gas companies recorded over 10,000 isolated spills totaling over 148 million gallons of generated water between 2013 and 2022, according to a public examination of the data. Only about 40% of the water reported spilled from 2013 to 2022 was recovered by businesses using vacuum trucks. Large amounts of water, sand, and proprietary chemicals—some of which are toxic—are needed for both conventional oil and gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in order to release the oil and gas from deep underground. The liquid waste that rises to the surface is called produced water, and it contains organic compounds like benzene, which is carcinogenic, as well as naturally occurring dangerous compounds from the earth, such as arsenic. The extremely salty water can cause land to become barren for years. 

Granting 27 oil and gas licences “boost for UK energy security” : UK Trade body

The major trade association for the offshore energy industry, Offshore Energies UK, has hailed the announcement of 27 new oil and gas licences as a “boost for UK energy security.” According to the organisation, the sector requires the churn of new licences to guarantee that local production does not reach a cliff edge.In October 2022, the 33rd round of oil and gas licensing was opened for applications, releasing 931 blocks and part-blocks. The permits were announced by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), which stated that licences were given priority to locations with the potential to enter production sooner than others.Climate activists, meanwhile, denounced the licencing as “backward” and issued a dire warning, saying that the UK would “fuel the climate crisis rather than helping to fix it.”

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