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Pooling of gas prices for power sector-I: GSPC lays claim to be a pool operator

Oct 31:  After the petroleum ministry under Modi government has given the much awaited gas price notification, the ministry is now working on a model for pooling of domestic gas with imported RLNG for the power sector so that stressed and stranded gas-based power generation capacity can be revived.
A Cabinet meeting is likely to be held soon, where the power ministry and petroleum ministry will present a joint note on pooling of gas prices for the perusal of the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA). Both the ministries want GAIL to be appointed as the pool operator as it is the main supplier to the gas-based power plants.
However, GSPC too has staked claim to the position of the pool operator, in addition to GAIL, on the ground that is has been playing the role of a Demand Aggregator since 2004, catering to the gas requirement across various sectors and is marketing over 9 MMSCMD of gas in Gujarat alone.
GSPC has also pointed out that as it has  been effectively managing import of LNG from international market, it should be given an equal opportunity to act as the pool operator so as to ensure that pooling is done in a competitive and transparent manner.
8Another argument put forward by the Gujarat government promoted company is that appointing it as the pool operator will ensure smooth supply of gas as the gas transportation network of its subsidiary, Gujarat State Petronet Limited (GSPL), is spread across Gujarat and is connected to all gas-based power generation projects, including Independent Power Producers.

Pooling of gas prices for power sector-II: GAIL says it can do the job alone

Oct 31: GAIL is against the idea of any kind of joint pool operatorship for pooling of domestic gas with RLNG. The gas major is of the view that there should be a single pool operator, preferably a central government entity. The following justifications have been given by the company in favour of appointing a single pool operator:
If GSPC is allowed to be a pool operator, similar requests may come from other state entities, such as APGPDC, which may create inter-operator issues. If a single pool operator is appointed for the whole country, there will be no such issues.
Proposal being mooted for pooling is only for pooling of basic prices. The pipeline network of GSPC and other entities, in any case, will be utilized to the extent possible for transporting gas to the power plants.
Due to its inter-state trunk pipeline network, GAIL is managing large customer and supplier portfolios and can absorb the variations in supply and offtake from multiple points and can offer flexibility to end users.
GAIL has the overall infrastructure and substantial line pack essentially required to absorb variation in gas demand and supply fluctuations required for pool operation. Multiple operators will reduce the operational flexibilities and increase the risk of additional penalties in the LNG supply chain.
The pipeline network of GAIL is connected to all existing and potential LNG terminals which will facilitate swapping of volumes and price thereby ensuring smooth operation.
Due to having re-gasification capacity at Dahej and Dabhol terminals, it is only GAIL which can manage scheduling of cargoes required for pooling.
A single pool operator can only account for day-to-day variation in the incremental domestic gas availability.
In the event, another pool is required at a later date for the fertilizer sector, the experience of the central entity for pooling of gas for the power sector can easily be replicated. Multiple operators will create complications in such a scenario.
8Price of LNG might increase if multiple entities approach international suppliers.

Expansion of Barauni refinery: PMO seeks answer

Oct 31: The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has asked the petroleum ministry to give its views on raising the refining capacity of the Barauni refinery from 6 MT to 12 MT.
 8The PMO's query has come after Dr. Bhola Singh, the BJP's MP from Bihar's Nawada district, made a request to double the refining capacity of the refinery.
 8It is pertinent to note that the Bihar refinery is currently economically unviable.
 Though some refineries in the north-east are also not viable, they
are kept alive through fiscal and tax reliefs granted under the North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy but the Barauni refinery has no such benefit.
8In fact, an entry tax on crude levied by the state of Bihar has been dubbed as punitive by its promoter, IOC.
8IOC, for long, has been stonewalling a proposal for expansion of the capacity of the Barauni refinery, claiming that it has already been expanded from 2 to 6 MMPTA and since the unit in already uneconomical, there is no point in throwing in more money into it.

Kochi terminal working at 2% capacity: Tax waiver sought from Kerala

Oct 31:  BPCL has requested the Kerala government to waive the Value Added Tax (VAT) on RLNG which it procures for its Kochi terminal in the state.
 8The RLNG terminal of the Kochi refinery is currently operating at a less than 2% capacity due to non-completion of a pipeline which would bring RLNG to the terminal.
 8In the absence of the pipeline, BPCL has to bear high carrying, operating and financing costs for sourcing RLNG from Petronet LNG Ltd's (PLL) terminal in Kochi.
 8Not only this, it also has to pay VAT at 14.5% to the state government for buying gas from the PLL's Kochi terminal.
 8In light of this, BPCL has sought a waiver from payment of VAT from the Kerala government on purchase of RLNG by its Kochi refinery, till the gas pipeline is laid.

GEECL's appeal for CBM pricing to be outside scope of Pricing Guideline, 2014: DGH sees no reason

Oct 31:  The DGH has rejected the Great Eastern Energy Corporation Ltd's (GEECL) -- which operates the Raniganj South CBM block (also known as RG(S)-CBM-2001/I) -- request to keep CBM pricing out of the scope of the Domestic Natural Gas Pricing Guidelines, 2014.
8GEECL wants CBM gas from the block to be priced independent of the 2014 pricing guidelines.
8To bolster its case, the contractor had submitted a legal opinion from Senior Advocate and Former Additional Solicitor General (ASG), Mukul Rohatgi, to the ministry with regard to the interpretation of Clause 1.2 of the Domestic Natural Gas Pricing Guidelines, 2014.
8The ministry, in turn, forwarded GEECL's views on CBM pricing to the DGH for its comments.
8The DGH, after going through the CBM contract terms, stated that the gas price under the contract has to be approved by the ministry as per Clauses 18.1, 18.5.2(c) and 18.6 of the contract and there is no reason why it should be excluded from the scope of pricing policies of the government.

Expenses from gas pool account: Ministry unwilling to pay for some legal expenses

Oct 31:  The petroleum ministry has rejected GAIL's demand for meeting some of its legal expenses from the gas pool account on the ground that the expenses incurred by the gas major had arisen because of a wrong interpretation of ministry's orders. The two cases where the ministry is unwilling to pay the legal cost expended by the gas major are:
8Legal expenses spent on charging of non-APM price for APM gas supplied beyond allocated quantity: The ministry (in its order dated June 20, 2005) provided that consumers (other than fertilizer, power and specific end users) having allocations upto 0.05 mmscmd and getting existing supplies through GAIL network would be supplied gas at the market price. However, there was no mention of charging non-APM price for APM gas which was supplied beyond the allocated quantity.
 --However, a clarification in this regard was issued by the ministry on February 9, 2010, and subsequently implemented by GAIL with effect from April 1, 2010. The ministry then asked GAIL to recover the amount for the period from July 1, 2005 to March 31, 2010. Accordingly, GAIL raised debit notes on the concerned consumers.
 --Many of the affected customers approached the court. Meanwhile, GAIL deposited applicable VAT on the billed amount (around Rs 5.70 crore) and spent another Rs 0.67 crore as legal expenses to fight its case.
 --Later, the gas major requested for retaining an amount of Rs 6.37 crore (Rs 5.70 crore + Rs 0.67 crore) from sale proceeds and put the remaining balance in the Gas Pool Account.
 8Legal expenses in recovery of non-APM price from power consumers in Cauvery basin region: The ministry's order dated June 27, 2006, was silent on cases like transmission of power through public utilities or licensed distribution companies through a wheeling arrangement.
 --GAIL repeatedly sought clarification from the ministry by grouping the power consumers in four different categories. However, no specific response regarding the price to be charged for the different categories of power consumers was received. Since, there was an interpretation issue, the applicable price could not be charged from the power consumers.
 --Later, in line with the ministry's letter dated November 17, 2011, GAIL raised debit notes for the differential of APM and Non-APM price for the period prior to November 16, 2011, and started charging non-APM price with effect from November 16, 2011.
 --Aggrieved with this, the consumers approached court and the matter is now sub-judice.
 --Later, GAIL sought reimbursement of the legal expenses spent on the case.

Gas network expansion on "mission" mode: PNGRB says it is doing enough

Oct 31: The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has informed the petroleum ministry that it is doing enough to develop a natural gas grid (NGG) and expand the usage of piped natural gas (PNG) to all cities having a population of more than five lakhs.
8The regulator has taken up the work on a "mission" mode and drawn up plans for the next five years under which more and more areas will be covered.
8The expansion of PNG coverage would require, among other things, development of CGD networks. Based on the requests made by various state governments, the PNGRB has decided to consider an entire district as a Geographical Area (GA) for the development of a CGD network so that PNG can be made available to rural population also.
8PNGRB had covered 14 GAs in the 4th round of CGD bidding. Another 41 GAs (districts) having natural gas pipeline connectivity have been identified to be covered in the 5th and 6th CGD bidding rounds. Over and above this, the regulator has identified another 30 GAs which can be provided pipeline connectivity either by laying spurlines or from the under-construction pipelines.
8Already, 14,329 km of natural gas pipelines have been laid across the country and another 12,654 km of pipelines are at various stages of development.
8The regulator is planning to invite suggestions from various stakeholders to fast track the development of the NGG.
8The website carries here, for reference purposes, a complete list of all 41 GAs (districts) which will be covered under the fifth and sixth bidding rounds. Notably, all the 41 locations are presently having natural gas pipeline connectivity.
8The list of 30 locations which are likely to be covered in subsequent bidding rounds is also carried.
8The names of all existing and upcoming gas pipelines, along with the length, is also carried by the website.

Tender Briefs

Oct 31:  8OIL extends date for its health monitoring of pipelines: OIL has extended the date of its tender for carrying out of health monitoring surveys of its pipelines and pressure vessels installed at its gas compressor stations in Assam.
 --The last date for sale of tender papers have been extended upto November 10, 2014.
 --The bid closing date have also been extended accordingly to November 11, 2014 (upto 13:00 hrs).
 Click here for more information
ONGC extends date for construction of ETP-cum-WIP tender: ONGC has extended the date of its tender for construction and operations and maintenance (O&M) services for three Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) cum Water Injection Plants (WIP) in Assam.
 --The last date for sale of tender papers have been extended upto November 14, 2014.
 --The bid closing date have also been extended accordingly to December 5, 2014 (upto 14:00 hrs).
 Click here for more information
More tenders: Some more tenders floated by oil and gas companies are:
 --Procurement of skid mounted nitrogen pumping units, Mumbai [ONGC] Details
 --Supply of analyzer fuel gas SO2 (with installation and commissioning), Digboi [IOC] Details
 --Hiring of services for inspection of crude oil storage tanks, Mehsana [ONGC] Details
 --Procurement of helium and zero air gases, Hazira [ONGC] Details
 --Supply of valves, Mathura refinery [IOC] Details

News Briefs

Oct 31: 8Planning Commission`s presentation on finalization of infrastructure targets for 2014-15: The website carries here, for reference purposes, a presentation prepared by the Planning Commission on finalization of infrastructure targets for 2014-15.
 --The presentation includes a pictorial
format of the proposed 15,000 kms of pipelines, over and above the existing pipeline network of 15,340 kms (capacity 401 mmscmd).
 --Details on existing and upcoming LNG terminals is also carried.
 --Besides gas pipelines,
infrastructure targets for airports, port and inland waterways, railways, road, telecom, renewable energy and power sectors is also given.
 --Click here to access the presentation
8Kerala extends tax breaks to BPCL`s Kochi refinery expansion: The Kerala government has granted tax concessions to BPCL`s much-touted Rs 14,225-crore expansion project -- dubbed as the Integrated Refinery Expansion Project (IREP) -- at Kochi.
 --The state government has granted tax incentives in respect of Value Added Tax (VAT), Kerala Goods & Services Tax (KGST), Central Sales Tax (CST) and Works Contract Tax.
 --BPCL`s Kochi refinery has also applied for declaring the entire land of the refinery at Ambalamugul as an "Industrial Area" as this would help it in getting single window clearances for various proposals. This proposal is currently being reviewed by the state government.
Kochi refinery expansion project, which envisages capacity expansion from the existing 9.5 MMT to 15.5 MMT, is expected to be completed in May 2016.

Fire in HMEL refinery: Company plans to make up for lost ground

Oct 30: Undeterred by the devastating fire at its Bhatinda refinery, on account of which work was hampered for four months, HMEL is leaving no stone unturned to make up for the lost ground.
8HMEL now plans to operate at 115% of its original plan for the remaining months of 2014-15 so that the expected throughput for the whole year comes to around 90% of its annual target.
8During a fire incident at HMEL's Bhatinda refinery in June, 2014, the company's Vacuum Gas Oil (VGO) unit had got completely knocked off.

 8The fire had broken out in the refinery's 20-inch high pressure outlet line from the shell side of the reactor feed and the effluent feed exchange.
Though there was no human injury, the impact on environment was huge when approximately 548 MT mix of VGO hydrocarbon and recycled gas (H2) was released in the air.
8The unit was licensed by Axens, engineered by EIL (as the Project Management Consultant), and constructed by L&T.

8The fire had severely affected the throughput in the months of June, July, August and September, 2014.
8The expected throughput in 2014-15 is now estimated at 8.02 MMT, that is, around 90% of the original plan

HPCL revives interest in new PCPIR in Andhra Pradesh: In talks with GAIL for refinery-cum-petrochemical complex

Oct 30:  HPCL is once again looking into the feasibility of the proposed Rs 45,000-crore greenfield refinery and petrochemical complex in the Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) in Andhra Pradesh.
 8The company had planned a 15 MMTPA grassroot refinery and petrochemical complex in Visakhapatnam for which 1500 acres of land was allocated by the state government in 2008. However, due to the subsequent economic downturn, the project could not proceed further and the allotment was cancelled in 2012.
 8HPCL has now proposed to revive the project and is looking at 5000 acres from the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) within the PCPIR at Atchutapuram or at a suitable location near Visakhapatnam. The company has also expressed its interest in a piece of land within the Kakinada SEZ where GMR is in possession of 10,098 acres of land which also falls within the PCPIR.
 8The state government however had recently indicated that the petrochemical complex will be set up at an alternate site near Machhlipatnam. More details on this are however awaited from the state government.
8HPCL is in the process of engaging reputed consultants for preparing a detailed feasibility report and a demand-supply matrix of petrochemicals for the project. The oil marketing company has already hired Singapore-based KBC Consultants for carrying out a configuration study for the project.
 8Concomitantly, the company is also in talks with other stake holders, including GAIL and international partners, to attract investments into the project.

Pressure to deliver: OIL chairman says the situation will look up

Oct 30: OIL chairman, SK Srivastava, was put under pressure to plug the target and actual crude and gas production gap against target by the petroleum ministry.
8He promised to do so, and the August data shows that he has indeed been able to coax production up.
8Srivastava was taken to task on account of low achievement of crude oil production in July 2014 (294.97 TMT) compared to July 2013 (300.70 TMT).
 8The fall in production was due to a flash strike in Assam fields during February-March, 2014, which compelled a sudden closure of 155 producing oil wells and 45 gas wells resulting in serious consequential effect on the sub-surface reservoir conditions and the post-opening production behavior of the wells.
 8Consequently, the daily production rate came down to an exceptionally low level of 4475 MTPD (from 9200 MTPD) and 3.56 MMSCMD (from 6.91 MMSCMD) of crude oil and natural gas, respectively.
 8However, due to consistent efforts and priority actions, OIL was able to achieve its crude target for August 2014. The company produced
298.303 TMT of crude in August 2014, as compared to its target of 298.065 TMT which was 100.1% of the target. However, the company was 5.7% behind its target in terms of gas production with an output of 234.066 MCM, as against the target of 248.283 MCM.
8Srivastava is confident that the situation will improve in the months to come and the company will be able to achieve its set annual target of 3.599 MMT in 2014-15, compared to the actual achievement of 3.446 MMT in 2013-14.

Presentations before Modi: Cabinet Secretariat creates online follow-up mechanism; to be updated by 5th of every month

Oct 30: The Cabinet Secretariat has developed an online system -- dubbed "e-Samiksha" -- for monitoring the follow-up actions on the decisions taken during the presentations made before the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, by different ministries.
The idea behind the creating the online system is to ensure follow-up and accountability for all the decisions taken.
The ministries and other departments have been asked to ensure that follow-up actions on each action point are updated by 5th of every month, on a regular basis.
8The ministries and departments have been asked to depute a nodal officer to collect their log-in IDs and passwords to use the 'e-Samiksha' portal from Dr. Subhag Chand, Technical Director, National Informatics Centre (NIC), Cabinet Secretariat.

Release of CSR funds for LPG connections to BPL families: ONGC, OIL refuse to pay up in face of unutilized funds

Oct 30: ONGC and OIL have refused to pay up their contributions towards release of CSR funds, in line with ministry directive, as a one-time grant for LPG connections to BPL families.
The two oil majors have claimed that since there is already a huge amount of unutilized funds under this head, there is no justification for any further contribution for new LPG connections.
Another contributor, !OC, which has been making its payments regularly, is examining the possibility of keeping the amount in a separate interest bearing account, so that the non-contributing companies like ONGC and OIL can be persuaded to contribute their share too.
However, ONGC and IOC have not taken the bait. They have argued that keeping the amount in an interest bearing account will not provide any direct benefit to either of them, and so the suggestion is redundant.
Clearly, this suggestion does not resolve the non-release of funds by the two public sector E&P giants.
8The ministry's intervention has been sought for an amicable resolution of the problem.

BPCL's comes up with a replacement gas for acetylene: Product gains traction

Oct 30: Traditionally in our country, cutting of metals and sheets have always been done using the oxy-acetylene gas. As acetylene is expensive and not easily available, BPCL has come up with a replacement of the gas -- dubbed Bharat Metal Cutting Gas (BMCG) -- which can serve as an ideal substitute.
BPCL offers superior cutting quality using BMCG at a low cost. The gas is ideal for metal cutting and brazing applications and is also environment friendly with reduced CO2 emissions.
The new gas has been accredited by leading agencies like the Welding Research Institute (WRI), the Research Designs and Standards Organization (RDSO) and the Naval Materials Research Laboratory.
In India, major industries are already using this gas, which is a mixture of LPG and a special additive developed by the R&D team of BPCL.
Based on the success of the product in the domestic market, BPCL now plans to export it to Nepal and Bhutan.
Instead of sending the additive to its business partners in Nepal and Bhutan for blending with LPG, BPCL has decided to supply the gas in packed cylinders to the two countries.
8BPCL has requested the petroleum ministry to issue a No Objection Certificate (NOC) so that it can market the gas in the two neighboring nations.

Non-grant of CE has frustrated CBM contract: DGH says no such provision in contract, asks Geopetrol to pay for unfinished work programme

Oct 30:  Geopetrol, the operator of the CBM block in the Barmer coal field in Rajasthan -- also known as BS(5)-CBM-2005/III -- has made a request for relinquishment of the block on the ground of "frustration of contract"
8The operator has informed the petroleum ministry that an abnormal delay of more than five and half years from the time of award of the PEL in the grant of "consent to establish" (CE) and "consent to operate" (CO) by the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB) has made it impossible for the consortium -- which includes RIL and RNRL -- to perform its contractual obligations in the block and under these circumstances the "contract" has become incapable of execution and stands "frustrated" and  has become a "nullity in law".
The operator also wants to be relieved of all further obligations in the block.
The DGH, strictly going by the book, has however refused to entertain such a request. The regulator examined the operator's request in respect of the law relating to the "frustration of contract" and observed that the contract for the block has no such provision.
The DGH is of the view that under the present circumstances the operator cannot be absolved of the contractual obligations.
8If at all Geopetrol wants to relinquish the block, it can only do so after paying the cost of the unfinished work programme, the DGH has said
 (Click on Details for more information)

Industry sales performance review (August, 2014): Details

Oct 30: The website provides here, for reference purposes, a copy of the PPAC report on "Industry Sales Performance Review" for August, 2014. The sales data for petroleum products is carried for August, 2014 and April-August, 2014 in comparison with the corresponding periods in the previous year under the following heads:
Overal sales performance
General factors, in terms of economic scenario and supply scenario
Product-wise sales performance, in terms of diesel, petrol, branded MS and HSD, CNG, LPG, ATF, Naphtha, SKO, LDO, Bitumen and others
All India industry sales
Region-wise industry sales growth
Region-wise and company-wise breakup of retail and direct sales of MS, HSD and LDO
All India sector-wise HSD (Direct) sales
State-wise and company-wise PDS SKO allocation versus sales
State-wise SKO sales to special categories
Category-wise, company-wise FO and LSHS upliftments
Category-wise, company-wise naphtha upliftments
8Branded fuel sales

Tender Briefs

Oct 30:  8OIL extends date for its 3D surveys consultancy services tender: OIL has extended that date of its tender for hiring of consultancy services for carrying out of high-resolution 3D surveys in Naharkatiya and other operational areas of Upper Assam.
 --The last date for sale of tender papers have been extended upto November 4, 2014.
 --The bid closing date have also been extended accordingly to November 11, 2014 (11.00 hrs).
 Click here for more information
GSPC floats a tender for hiring of slickline services in block KG-OSN-2001/3: GSPC has invited a tender for hiring of slickline services for its Krishna-Godavari block KG-OSN-2001/3.
 --The due date and time for submission of bids is December 29, 2014 (upto 17:00 hrs)
 Click here for more information
More tenders: Some more tenders floated by oil and gas companies are:
 --Procurement of ring type joint flanges [MRPL] Details
 --Provision of services for Marine Warranty Surveyor (MWS) services
for deepwater block off the Gulf of Mannar [OIL] Details
 --Supply and commissioning of lighting tower system for drilling rigs, Ankleshwar [ONGC] Details
 --Maintenance of RIM seal fire protection system for 15 crude oil tanks, Paradip [IOC] Details
 --Supply of hard pet coked pipe decoking tools for delayed coker plant, Numaligarh [NRL] Details
 --Hiring of drill pipes and drill collars, Ahmedabad [ONGC] Details

Price of Indian Crude Basket, Jet/Kero and Naphtha (first fortnight of October): Details

Oct 30: From the price data available for the first fortnight of October, 2014, the average price of Indian crude basket, jet/kero as well as naphtha have all gone down as compared to the average price for the previous month (September, 2014).
The details are:
8Indian Crude Basket: The average price of Indian crude basket the first fortnight of October, 2014, went down marginally to $89.05 per barrel as against the average price of $96.96 per barrel witnessed during the previous month (September, 2014). The average price for both Dubai and Oman crude during the period dipped to $89.04 per barrel and $89.12 per barrel, respectively. This was lower than the average price of 96.47/bbl and $97.18/bbl witnessed for Dubai and Oman, respectively, during the previous month. The average price for Brent (Dated) fell to $89.10/bbl, as against the average price of $97.30/bbl in the previous month. The average price of WTI crude also fell to $86.76/bbl against the average price of $93.24/bbl for the previous month.
8Jet/Kero: The average price of jet/kero in the Arab Gulf market for the first fortnight of October declined to $100.36 per barrel, which was lower than the average prices registered in the previous month (September, 2014) at $109.68 per barrel. The average price of jet/kero in the Singapore market for the first fortnight of October, 2014, also went down marginally to $103.01 per barrel, which was lower than the average prices registered in the previous month at $112.48 per barrel.
8Naphtha: The average naphtha prices in the Arab Gulf and Singapore markets for the first fortnight of October, 2014 also declined to $81.25/bbl and $82.66/bbl respectively, which were lower than the average prices witnessed in the previous month (September, 2014) at $92.44 per barrel for Arab Gulf and $94.45 per barrel for Singapore market.
 The website carries here detailed information on the price variations of Indian basket of crude, along with that of Dubai, Oman, Brent (dated) and WTI grades of crude for the first fortnight of October, 2014, as well as the corresponding figures from earlier periods for perusal of our readers. Similar data is also carried for products like gas oil, HSFO 180 CST and MS unleaded (92 RON)



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