BHUBANESWAR: NTPC Ltd, the country’s largest thermal power producer, has evinced interest to pick up 50 per cent stake in the 2,400 Mw (3×800) power project to be set up at Kamakhyanagar in Dhenkanal district.
The mega power project is being developed by Odisha Thermal Power Corporation Ltd (OPTCL) where two state PSUs — Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) and Odisha Hydro Power Corporation Ltd (OHPC) hold 50 per cent stake each.
“NTPC has given a proposal to acquire 50 per cent stake in the OTPCL project But the government has not taken a call on it yet. To accommodate NTPC, each of the joint venture partners have to dilute their stakes,” said a government official.
Besides NTPC, engineering giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (Bhel) were also inclined to pick up stake in OTPCL’s project. Both these central PSUs were keen for only 26 per cent stake each and that too with a rider that their equipment would be used in the power plant.
This belied the state government’s initial plan of offloading 74 per cent stake presumably because both its PSUs had no previous experience of building and running thermal power plants.
Total land finalised for the project taken up at a cost of Rs 17,000 crore, is 1,767.90 acres. This includes 1,074.95 acres of private land, 684.25 acres government land and 8.7 acres forest land. Alienation of government land is under process. Forest diversion proposal for 8.7 acres of land has been submitted to the principal chief conservator of forests.
The private land is to be acquired in 10 project affected villages Aluajharana (19.68 acres), Annapurnapur (447.30 acres), Bijadiha (20.81 ares), Bhagirathapur Sasana (15.2 acres), Dhobabaheli (5.89 acres), Kateni (84.24 acres), Kantapala (45.55 acres), Kusumajodi (244.04 acres), Mahulapala (24.98 acres) and Anlabereni (74.32 acres).
The power purchase agreement (PPA) for sale of entire power to be generated by the OTPCL power station has been executed with Gridco, the state owned power trading firm.
OTPCL has obtained in-principle approval from the water resources department for allocation of 80 cusecs of water from Brahmani river.
The Tentuloi coal block in Talcher coalfields with reserve of 1234 million tonne has been allocated for the power plant. Annual requirement of coal is 12.62 million tonne per annum.
(Source: Business Standard, December 18, 2014)
NTPC TO INVITE CONSULTANT FOR 4,000 MW PROJECT IN AP
HYDERABAD: NTPC Ltd will initiate the process of identifying a consultant for the proposed 4,000 MW (4 x 1,000 MW) ultra mega thermal power project at Pudimadaka near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
The State-owned power company had earlier inked a memorandum with the Andhra Pradesh Government to set up the power plant at an estimated outlay of Rs. 20,000 crore after securing fuel linkages.
NTPC has invited consultancy packages for detailed pre-award and post-award engineering activities for the project, which recently received a boost with the Union Power Ministry backing it as a part of the ‘Power For All Scheme’ in Andhra Pradesh.
Power for States
To take forward this initiative backed by the Central and State Governments, NTPC will invite online bids from eligible bidders.
These will include a techno-commercial bid and a price bid for pre- and post-award engineering.
The pre-award activities include finalisation of basic design, review of report prepared by NTPC and interface with the Environment Impact Assessment agency.
Then the consultant is to carry out hydrological and other studies. The chosen bidder is expected to assist in technical bid evaluation as well.
(Source: Business Line, December 18, 2014)
POWER GRID CORP NOMINATED FOR LARGEST TRANSMISSION LINE
NEW DELHI: The government has awarded a critical power transmission corridor project, connecting power-starved southern states to thermal power rich, western India, to Power Grid Corporation. This has been done by “nomination”, shunning private sector investment through an auction.
Officials in the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Power Finance Corporation and Power Grid confirmed the development.
They added the decision was based on requests by the southern states that the central government award to Power Grid, the high voltage direct current transmission line connecting Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu.
The ministry of power had put up eight transmission contracts with a total investment of Rs 53,000 crore for rate-based global competitive bidding in September.
Later, it decided to allot the largest project of Rs 26,820 crore to the state-owned transmission company and central transmission utility.
The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) had in 2011 ordered the power transmission projects to be awarded through rate-based competitive bids, as was the case with generation projects.
“In the annual power ministers’ conference in New Delhi on September 9, the southern states requested the central government to allot the project to Power Grid. Especially Tamil Nadu, which wants this project to come up as soon as possible. It has been insisting on giving the project to Power Grid,” said a senior government official.
R Viswanathan, Tamil Nadu’s minister for electricity, prohibition and excise, in his speech at the conference, said, “To evacuate the power available with the pithead power stations in Chhattisgarh, work on the line from Chhattisgarh to Tamil Nadu needs to be entrusted to Power Grid, in view of its expertise and implementation capacity.”
Government officials said Power Grid was the only company with expertise in such lines.
They cited the recently commissioned Raichur-Solapur transmission line. This 760 kV-460 km line, the first one connecting the southern region with western India, was commissioned this year in February.
Executives at private power companies, however, said there were several companies in India like Alstom, Siemens and Larsen & Toubro which offered high voltage direct current transmission lines. The Adani group, too, has installed a 500 kV (2,000 MW capacity) line from Mundra to Mohindargarh in Gujarat.
Companies in the race for the project are irked at this ‘unlawful’ move. Reliance Power, Tata Power, Sterlite Energy, Lanco and Larsen & Toubro were planning to bid for this project.
Power sector experts said the decision could have been taken due to the size of the project.
The Raigarh-Pugalur line will have a capacity of 6,000 MW and cover 2,000 km.
“Nomination of power transmission projects is against the National Tariff Policy and the Electricity Act, apart from the CERC regulations. Tariff-based bidding was introduced to make the sector cost-efficient and ensure timely delivery. This is a setback to power plants in Odisha and Chhattisgarh and consumers in Tamil Nadu who could have availed cheap power at the earliest,” said an executive with a private transmission company.
A senior CEA official said the other seven projects would be allotted through bidding. The cumulative cost of these projects is less than the one awarded to Power Grid.
Power transmission was opened to the private sector in 2010, with the award of the western regional system strengthening project to Reliance Infrastructure and the east-north interconnection line to Sterlite Energy.
(Source: Business Standard, December 18, 2014)
VEDANTA PLANS POWER BUSINESS IN SOUTH AFRICA
NEW DELHI: Global mining giant Vedanta is eyeing the power generation business in South Africa as a sequel to its planned $780 million investment in the country to develop the Gamsberg mine, one of the world’s biggest zinc deposits.
“Vedanta is interested in the whole spectrum of resources that the country has to offer like energy, captive energy,” said R Kishore Kumar, CEO of Zinc International (Africa & Ireland), which is part of Vedanta.
He said the second phase of the Gamsberg zinc mine development would be the energysecuritisation programme, which could either be captive power generation or for use in the country. “We’re looking for energy from all sources: coal-fired power, gas-based power, solar and renewable energy. We’re looking at policy support from the country so that we can participate in the energy securitisation programme,” Kumar told ET.
South Africa’s mineral resources deputy minister Godfrey Oliphant travelled to India earlier this month to take stock of Vedanta’s competency in metal mining, beneficiation and value addition as the company gets ready to mine the Gamsberg zinc deposit.
“When we met the Vedanta chairperson, we told him that South Africa doesn’t have only zinc,” Oliphant told ET. “Another strength that we’ve seen within Vedanta is that of power generation — both captive power used for own use in smelting but also independent power production that we so need in the country.” Meanwhile, production from the Gamsberg mine is expected to help Vedanta lift its profits as zinc prices are seen remaining strong in the future due to a shortage of the metal, used in electrical equipment. According to experts, the zinc market has slipped into a deficit this year and prices are expected to remain strong over the next five years.
“Zinc is around $2,150 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange and its supply will be low in the next few years as new mines will not be able to fill the gap. As a result, estimates are that prices could climb up to $2,500-3,000 in 2015,” said Viral Shah, senior vice president, head, institutional business, Geofin Comtrade. Gamsberg has 215 million tons of ore, of which 20 per cent is being developed in phase one. Vedanta’s zinc assets are spread across South Africa, Namibia and Ireland. Two of these — Lisheen in Ireland and Skorpion in Namibia — will close down in the next four years.
This will be made up by Gamsberg, which is expected to help keep the overall production volume at half a million tonnes by 2018, when the project commences.
(Source: The Economic Times, December 18, 2014)
COLLECT LEVY FROM RUNNING MINES OWNERS: GOVERNMENT TO COAL CONTROLLER
NEW DELHI: Government has asked the Coal Controller to collect additional levy from the owners of operational coal blocks, which have been cancelled by the Supreme Court.
“In exercise of powers conferred by…the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance, 2014…the Central Government hereby authorise Coal Controller Organisation to collect the amount of additional levy from the prior allotees,” the Coal Ministry said.
In a letter to the Coal Controller, the ministry asked it to take immediate steps for collection of additional levy.
“The progress of collection may be informed by the first week of January, 2015,” it said.
Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal had earlier informed Parliament that the owners of operational coal blocks, which were cancelled by the apex Court, will have to shell out nearly Rs 10,500 crore as additional levy.
The Supreme Court had in September declared allocations of all coal blocks made through the Screening Committee and through government dispensation route since 1993 as illegal and arbitrary. Of the 218 blocks, it had cancelled allocation of 204.
In case of 42 coal blocks (37 producing and five likely to come under production), cancellation shall take effect from March 31, 2015. The Court has also imposed an additional levy of Rs 295 per tonne on the total coal extracted since the commencement of the production from the coal mine to be deposited with the government.
The minister had further that 325.507 million tonnes (Provisional) of coal has been mined from 37 producing coal mines (which have been cancelled) since the commencement of production till October, 2014.
For management and reallocation of the cancelled coal blocks, government had promulgated ‘The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance’, on October 21 to ensure smooth transfer of rights, tiles and interest in mines along with its land other associated mining infrastructure to the new allottees to be selected through an auction or allotment to government company, as the case may be.
(Source: The Economic Times, December 18, 2014)
COAL INDIA ON STICKY WICKET AS UNION SERVES STRIKE NOTICE
KOLKATA: A five-day strike of its employees next month is likely to put Coal India, already under pressure to meet ballooning demand, on a sticky wicket.
All the five trade unions of Coal India Limited (CIL) – which has a work force of 3,50,000 – have served a notice declaring their intention to go on strike from January 6 through January 10.
“The government has initiated the process to denationalise coal with its recent Bill. We demand that the government immediately stop this process. Until then, this protest will go on,” said Ramendra Kumar, secretary, Indian Mine Workers’ Federation.
Four of the five unions – Congress-backed Indian National Mineworkers Federation (INMFW), Hind Khadan Mazdoor Federation, the AITUC-controlled Indian Mine Workers’ Federation and the coal workers’ union of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh – met in Ranchi on Wednesday to unanimously decide on the five-day strike.
Though members of the All-India Coal Workers Federation, affiliated to Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), was not present at the meeting, it said it would be supporting the strike.
“We have decided to extend our support to the strike. We have also called for a separate strike on January 13,” said Jibon Roy, general secretary, All India Coal Workers Federation.
The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance, 2014 was brought in October this year in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision cancelling 214 blocks allocations.
Apart from facilitating auctioning of the cancelled coal blocks, the ordinance allowed private players to mine coal and sell it in the open market.
This move has particularly irked the unions.
Earlier this week, the government has passed a Bill replacing the ordinance, which has been seen as a first step to open up commercial mining of coal to the private sector. So far, the right to commercial mining was reserved for Coal India.
(Source: Business Standard, December 18, 2014)
EQUIPMENT UTILISATION BY COAL INDIA LIMITED STILL BELOW BEST GLOBAL PRACTICES: EX-CIL CMD
AHMEDABAD: The equipment utilisation by world’s largest coal producer Coal India Limited (CIL) is still below the global best and the company needs to adopt the best equipment utilisation practices from across the globe to ensure best-in-class mining, said Partha Bhattacharyya, former chairman and managing director, CIL, here on Wednesday.
“Equipment utilisation by CIL is still not at the level of global best. It needs to adopt best equipment utilisation practices from across the globe for best-in-class mining,” said Bhattacharyya, giving instances of uses of dumper, shovel and other equipments by CIL.
He was speaking at a round-table panel discussion on ‘Coal de-allocation, impact on natural resource and end-use industry, and the way forward’ organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Adani Institute of Infrastructure Management in Ahmedabad.
He also said that underground mining in India was still at a very nascent stage and its contribution to overall coal production has gone down substantially in the last 40 years.
“Underground mining in India is still at a very nascent stage. The contribution of underground mining has gone down in the last 40 years and currently is just eight per cent. It should at least be at par with open cast mining, which currently contributes 92 per cent of mining. The proportion of underground mining to open cast mining should be 25:75,” Bhattacharyya stated, adding that latest technology needs to be identified and adopted for underground mining. He also said that the fundamental solution to the current situation of importing coal should be addressing how the shortage can be turned into abundance.
The Supreme Court’s judgment cancelling 214 coal blocks of the 218 coal blocks allocated in 1993, Bhattacharyya stated, is a stern message ‘if you are allocating natural resources in a discretionary measure without transparency, you are going to get into trouble’.
Rakesh Arora, managing director and head (research), Macquarie Capital Securities (India) Pvt Ltd, said, “The judgment is a good start, but still there is a long way to go. To attract investments, much more needs to be done. Government will have to come out a stable policy on royalty, taxes, among others. International companies are still not making a beeline to India. We need to allow large international players to mine blocks in India to make mining competitive.”
The apex court judgment earlier this year had raised questions about investments made in these cancelled coal blocks and the bank loans extended to their developers.
Bhattacharyya also suggested that the second round of coal block auctions, which will account for 130 blocks, should be merged into large blocks of 10 to 15 before being opened for commercial mining. The first phase of bidding for 74 coal blocks is expected to take place in January 2015. The new winners of these 74 blocks will be allowed to swap the coal produced from these blocks among themselves to achieve operational efficiency.
Coal meets around 52 per cent of primary commercial energy needs in India, the third largest coal producing country in the world after China and USA, against 29 per cent the world over. Around 66 per cent of India’s power generation is coal-based.
(Source: Business Standard, December 18, 2014)
COAL INDIA, SCCL PLAN 5-DAY STRIKE AGAINST DENATIONALISATION PLOT
NEW DELHI: Employee unions of state-owned Coal India Limited (CIL)and SCCL on Wednesday threatened to go on a five-day strike beginning January 6 to press for demands including roll-back of the “process of denationalisation of coal sector” and stopping “disinvestment and restructuring” of Coal India.
The coal workers Coal India Singareni Collieries Company (SCCL) will observe five-day all India strike with effect from January 6,” four central trade unions — BMS, INTUC, HMS and AITUC — said in a joint statement.
The strike call comes at a time when the country is grappling with coal shortages and as many as 43 thermal power plants are facing significant fuel deficit.
The charter of demands include stopping or withdrawing “process of denationalisation of coal sector” and stopping “disinvestment, restructuring of CIL” (Coal India) among others.
The demands also includes extending National Coal Wage Agreement (NCWA) wages and other benefits to existing and prospective captive coal workers and lifting the ban on general recruitment.
Regularising contract workers engaged in mining jobs in underground as well as open cast mines is another demand. The representatives of four CTUs met at Ranchi today and after discussions resolved to go on strike, it said. Earlier, the proposed strike on November 24 by CIL employee unions was deferred after a meeting between Coal Ministry officials and trade unions.
Four trade unions were demanding scrapping of the enabling clause from the Coal Mines Ordinance-2014, which allows commercial mining by private firms and divestment of at least 10 per cent stake in Coal India Ltd (CIL), among others.
As per latest data from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), 43 thermal power plants had coal available for less than seven days as on December 15.
(Source: Millennium Post, December 18, 2014)
ADANI, POSCO TIE-UP FOR NEW TERMINAL IN AUSTRALIA TO EXPORT COAL
MELBOURNE: Adani Group’s Australian subsidiary today said it has signed an MOU with a South Korean steel giant for the construction of a new strategic terminal at Abbot Point coal port to export high-quality coal globally at competitive rates.
Terminal Zero (T0) will be constructed at the port of Abbot Point near Bowen town, Queensland, as per the Memorandum of Understanding inked between the company and Korea’s POSCO.
“Construction of T0 is a vital step in ensuring that exports of high quality, cost-efficient coal from mines such as Carmichael in the Galilee can be landed in markets throughout Asia competitively and at scale,” the company said.
In a statement, the company said it inked the agreement with POSCO E&C, which sees the Korean firm appointed as the Preferred Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor for Terminal Zero.
“T0 will have a capacity for 40 Metric tonnes per annum initially with an expansion to 70 mtpa in its second phase. The port at Abbot has always been the forefront of Adani’s plans to build a long term future with Queensland,” it said.
“Long the lifeblood of Bowen, expanding the port is key to Adani’s plan to deliver 10,000 jobs in Queensland, opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises in the region, and USD 22 billion in taxes and royalties from our integrated project to be delivered back into frontline services here in Queensland,” the statement said.
In July, POSCO E&C was appointed as the Preferred EPC contractor for Adani’s North Galilee Basin Rail(NGBR) project.
The firm has progressed work packets and subcontracting arrangements promptly, with the transition to the build phase of the project to be realised in the first quarter of 2015, promptly delivering jobs and supply opportunities for businesses in Queensland.
Adani’s Australian Country Head and Mining CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj said the deal reflected the fruitful partnership already on foot with the NGBR, and the trust both companies had developed in the working together.
“This MOU is the latest in a host of recent announcements that bring our integrated mine, rail and port project closer to first coal in 2017. POSCO E&C is a proven and trusted partner, and we welcome this opportunity to enhance our co-operation with them.
“From our perspective, POSCO E&C’s decision to invest in this key piece of infrastructure reflects the confidence tier one players have in central components of our project such as the port’s expansion,” Janakaraj said.
(Source: The Free Press Journal December 18, 2014)