From a net importer of coal, India will move towards becoming a net exporter of non-coking coal.

India to start coal export by 2025-26, 106 mines auctioned for commercial sale

Union coal minister Pralhad Joshi recently announced that India will start exporting coal by 2025-26. From a net importer of coal, India will move towards becoming a net exporter of non-coking coal. The country’s imports of substitutable coal were 90 MT, which will be stopped by 2025-26 when the country will start exporting the dry fuel. The government also assured an uninterrupted supply of coal during the summer season—when the peak is expected to be 229 GW during April. Domestic demand for coal is estimated to reach 1,087 million tonnes in FY23 and record coal production has happened at nearly 900 MT already with a coal stock of 116-117 MT at present. The government also put 106 mines under auction for commercial mining of coal blocks. Of the total mines offered 61 blocks are partially explored and 45 mines are fully explored. As many as 95 non-coking coal mines, 10 lignite mines and one coking coal mine are being offered in the latest round of auction. 

Amended regulation by PNGRB to allow unified tariffs for natural gas pipelines 

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) amended the PNGRB (Determination of Natural Gas Pipeline Tariff) regulations to incorporate provisions for Unified Tariffs for natural gas pipelines. Based on the new regulations, a levelised Unified Tariff of Rs73.93/MMBTU has been notified. Three tariff zones for Unified Tariff have been created, where the first zone is up to a distance of 300km from gas source, the second zone is 300–1200km and the third zone is beyond 1,200km. The zonal unified tariffs will be effective from April 1, 2023.

Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft signs deal with Indian Oil Corp to boost oil supplies in India

In order to substantially increase oil supplies, Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft signed a term agreement with Indian Oil Corp. “The parties also discussed ways of expanding cooperation between Rosneft Oil Company and Indian companies in the entire value chain of the energy sector, including possibilities of making payments in national currencies,” Rosneft stated. Russia has been rerouting its energy supplies from traditional European markets since the Ukraine war, and India has been the biggest buyer of Russia’s benchmark Urals grade crude in March. Deliveries to India are set to account for more than 50% of all seaborne Urals exports this month, with China in second place. For the first time, Russia has become one of the five largest trading partners of India as the volume of trade between the countries reached $38.4 billion in 2022.

Offshore oil and gas set for highest growth in a decade, $214 billion new projects lined up: Report

New research by energy analysts Rystad Energy showed offshore oil and gas is set for its highest growth in a decade in the next two years, with $214 billion worth of new projects lined up. Global fossil fuel demand will remain strong, despite more than 100 countries having proposed or committed to a net-zero target by 2050. And offshore activity will account for 68% of all sanctioned conventional hydrocarbons in 2023/2024—a 40% increase from 2015-2018, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Offshore expansion in the Middle East will drive this increase, with the region surpassing all others in offshore upstream spending. According to the report, the offshore spending growth in the region will go from $33 billion in 2023 to $41 billion in 2025. Southeast Asia will also be a hotbed for upstream mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the next two years, with more than $5 billion of assets up for grabs. The bulk of these opportunities is in Indonesia (upwards of $2 billion of assets), followed by Malaysia ($1.4 billion) and Vietnam ($1 billion) for sale respectively. About $700 million of deals have already been completed so far in 2023, the strongest start to Southeast Asia’s upstream M&A activity since 2019.

Saudi Aramco to invest in $10 billion refinery and petrochemical complex in China

In order to help China in meeting its growing fuel and chemical demand, and secure long-term demand for its oil, Saudi Aramco, one of the world’s largest oil companies, announced plans to build a $10-billion refining and petrochemical complex in China. The complex that is scheduled for completion in 2026 is set to have a capacity of 300,000 barrels of crude per day, with Saudi Aramco supplying 201,000 barrels per day. The project will be carried out in partnership between Aramco and two Chinese companies. As per reports, last year, Aramco struck a deal with China’s Sinopec to build a 320,000-bpd refinery and petrochemical cracker in China.

Mexico’s energy reform roll back aimed at the country’s power and oil markets might risk trade war with US

Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s decision to roll back reforms aimed at opening Mexico’s power and oil markets to outside competition has angered the US, Canada and Europe and triggered bipartisan calls for the US to get tougher on its neighbouring country. The US is Mexico’s largest oil export market, selling American refineries 710,000 barrels per day in 2021 while also importing 1.16 million b/d. In recent years, big oil companies, such as Chevron Corp, and Marathon Petroleum Corp, alongside a host of solar and wind energy companies, have struggled to obtain permits to operate in Mexico. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) will make a final offer to the Latin American nation to open up its markets and agree to increased oversight. If they fail to accept the final offer, the US will request an independent dispute settlement panel under the USMCA trade agreement. 

Coal phaseout too slow to avoid climate chaos: GEM report

Under construction or planned coal capacity around the world rose to 537 GW in 2022, from 479 GW in 2021, with China accounting for 68% of the total, according to the US-based Global Energy Monitor (GEM), reported Reuters. India accounted for 60.5 GW of the planned capacity, while Indonesia accounted for 26 GW. The US closed 13.5 GW of coal capacity, while the EU closures slowed from 14.6 GW of capacity in 2021 to 2.2 GW in 2022 (Ukraine war made gas-fired power expensive). 

Developed economies are expected to shut their plants in 2030. This will require countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to close 60 GW of coal-power capacity annually until 2030 and non-OECD countries will need to close 91 GW of coal power capacity every year until 2040, reported the Guardian. “At this rate, the transition away from existing and new coal isn’t happening fast enough to avoid climate chaos,” Flora Champenois, GEM’s lead author of the report, said. 

TOI also reported that India commissioned 3.5 GW of new coal power capacity last year (the lowest annual addition since a 2014 high). From 2015 to 2022, India’s pre-construction coal power capacity also decreased by nearly 88%, the report said. According to the GEM research, India’s plans are unclear: “While new plant commissioning slowed to their lowest in years, plans for new projects persist and no clear retirement plans are in place,” the GEM report said.

Meanwhile, citing government data, Reuters reported that India’s power output grew at its fastest pace in 33 years, “fuelled by coal”, adding that there was a sharp surge in emissions as “output from both coal-fired and renewable plants hit records”. Intense summer heatwaves, a colder-than-usual winter in northern India and an economic recovery led to a spike in demand, the report said. 

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