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Uzbekistan embarks on nuclear power plant construction with Russian design
Central Asian country Uzbekistan formally begins implementation of their first ever nuclear power project. The project envisages the construction of two Generation III+ Russian VVER-1200 power units. The first power unit is scheduled to be commissioned before the end of 2028, said a press release. Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Alisher Sultanov and Director General of ROSATOM Alexey Likhachev inaugurated the study of one of the potential sites in the country on October 19. President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and President of Russia Vladimir Putin, joined the event through a videoconference from the Uzbek capital Tashkent. Leaders of the two countries pressed a symbolic button, launching drilling operations at the construction sites to collect soil samples. Few sites were primarily selected based on the results of seismological, geological, ecological and economic feasibility studies. “The creation and development of the nuclear power sector, initiated by the President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, marks a new era for the country’s energy industry and  which will stimulate stable economic development and  will help increase quality of life  of the people,” noted Alisher Sultanov. Alexey Likhachev said, “History of cooperation between Uzbekistan and Russia in the nuclear field is more than half a century long, and we are proud that Uzbekistan chose Russian technologies for the construction of the first NPP in the country. In Uzbekistan ROSATOM will build the most advanced Generation III+ nuclear power plant with two VVER-1200 power units that meets all international safety requirements.” Moreover, both the countries signed a memorandum of understanding on formation of positive public opinion towards nuclear energy in Uzbekistan. The document lays the foundation for bilateral cooperation to promote nuclear power in Uzbekistan and create awareness about modern nuclear energy technologies, to train national media representatives, organize and hold joint conferences, and implement social and educational projects in Uzbekistan.  
Asian LNG prices ease as supply levels remain healthy
October 10, 2018 Wednesday 8:25 PM By Reuters
Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices eased slightly over the past week as healthy supplies going into the northern hemisphere’s autumn season countered upward pressure from a bullish oil market. Spot prices for November delivery LNG-AS dipped by 10 cents to $11 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), industry sources said. That slip came despite an extremely bullish crude oil market which has seen benchmark Brent futures surge by 20 percent since mid-August ahead of U.S. sanctions against Iran’s petroleum sector that kick in from November 4. While a major oil exporter, Iran sells no LNG, and traders said Asian gas markets were well supplied. “Oil markets may be volatile and bullish at the moment. In LNG, things are a bit more quiet at this stage,” said a Singapore-based trader. “Sure, demand is strong ahead of the winter heating season across North Asia, but supply is also pretty decent,” he said, declining to be identified as he was not authorised to speak with media. The well-supplied market is reflected in the price curve, in which Brent-indexed LNG prices show a slight rise over the coming peak winter months, but with the curve easing after that into the second-half of 2019. Japan’s Inpex said this week it shipped its first condensate export cargo from the Ichthys LNG project in Australia. Inpex said in August that it expected the $40 billion Ichthys project to start shipping condensate, LNG and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in that order from around end-September to end-December. LNG demand tends to rise in the second-half of a year as utilities in the demand centres of Japan, China and South Korea prepare for the peak winter consumption season. The weather outlook for North Asia is for average conditions in the next 45 days, with Tokyo expecting slightly above average temperatures and Seoul expecting slightly cooler conditions, according to data in Refinitiv Eikon. Beijing is expected to experience temperatures around the seasonal norm, the data showed. Strong overall demand has returned the gas industry to good health after years of spending cuts and project cancellations between 2014 and 2017. Royal Dutch Shell, which has the world’s biggest LNG portfolio, this week announced it would go ahead with the 14 million tonnes per annum LNG Canada project, at a cost estimate of $31 billion. The project is expected to deliver its first LNG cargo in 2025.  
Category: Other Countries
China’s benchmark power coal price stays flat
October 3, 2018 Wednesday 10:32 AM By Xinhua
China’s benchmark power coal price remained unchanged during the past week in part due to increasing coal imports and shrinking consumption in coal-fired power plants. The Bohai-Rim Steam-Coal Price Index, a gauge of coal prices in northern China’s major ports, stood at 569 yuan (around 82.71 U.S. dollars) per tonne, the same as a week ago, according to Qinhuangdao Ocean Shipping Coal Trading Market Co. Ltd. The index was 2.9 percent lower than at the same period in 2017. Power coal prices have largely remained stable with slight fluctuations. Coal imports remain at a high level, up 13.5 percent year-on-year to 28.68 million tonnes in August. As the peak season passed, daily coal consumption averaged 635,000 tonnes in six major coastal power stations, markedly down from 706,000 tonnes a year ago. China is in the middle of capacity cutting in its overloaded coal sectors, with plans to reduce a further 150 million tonnes of capacity this year.
Category: Other Countries
Nepal, China agree to facilitate joint investment in power sector
September 30, 2018 Sunday 9:43 AM By Xinhua
Nepal and China agreed to facilitate joint investment in the power sector during the first meeting of the Nepal-China Joint Implementation Mechanism held here on Friday, said a joint statement issued after the meeting. The meeting was conducted as a stepping stone to implement the Memorandum of Understanding on Energy Cooperation signed by energy ministers of both countries during the visit of Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli to China in June this year. According to the joint statement, both sides introduced their power systems, investment prospects, power markets, future plans among others to make both sides familiar with each other`s power system. The joint statement said that during the meeting, possible energy collaboration and the possibility of developing cross-border interconnection were also discussed. Dinesh Ghimire, spokesperson at Nepal`s Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoEWRI), told Xinhua on Friday that the two sides agreed to prepare a power system cooperation plan once the competent authorities of the two countries give the go-ahead. "A joint working group will be formed to prepare the plan." Ghimire said, adding that the plan will also involve the identification and selection of energy projects for joint development. The Nepali team was led by Anup Kumar Upadhyay, secretary at MoEWRI, while the Chinese delegation was led by He Yang, an official at National Energy Administration of China, according to the joint statement.
Category: Other Countries
Oil prices may rise to $100 a barrel by end of year
September 25, 2018 Tuesday 5:10 PM By Reuters
Oil prices could rise towards $100 per barrel towards the end of the year or by early 2019 as sanctions against Iran bite. This was predicted by commodity merchants Trafigura and Mercuria said on Monday at the Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference (APPEC) in Singapore. Almost two million barrels per day (bpd) of crude could be taken out of the market as a result of the US sanctions against Iran by the end of the fourth quarter this year, said Daniel Jaeggi, president of commodity merchant Mercuria Energy Trading, making a crude price spike to $100 a barrel possible. “We`re on the verge of some significant volatility in Q4 2018 because depending on the severity and duration of the Iranian sanctions, the market simply does not have an adequate supply response for a 2.0 million barrel a day disappearance of oil from the markets,” Jaeggi said. Washington has already implemented financial sanctions against Iran and it plans to target the country’s oil exports from November 04, putting pressure on other countries to also cut Iranian crude imports. Ben Luckock, co-head of oil trading at fellow merchant Trafigura said crude oil prices could rise to $90 per barrel by Christmas and to $100 by the New Year as markets tighten. Oil prices LCOc1 have been rising since early 2017, when the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) together with other suppliers including Russia started withholding output to lift crude values. Unplanned disruptions from Venezuela to Libya and Nigeria have further tightened the market just as global demand approaches 100 million bpd for the first time. The threats of disruption as well as the early supply cuts have helped to lift Brent crude futures to nearly $80 a barrel this month, a level not seen since 2014. With US sanctions against Iran, the third-largest producer in OPEC, looming, US investment bank JP Morgan said in its latest market outlook that “a spike to $90 per barrel is likely” for oil prices in the coming months. OPEC and other oil producers are considering raising output by 500,000 bpd to counter falling supply from Iran.
Category: Other Countries
China now becomes world’s second-largest LNG importer
September 25, 2018 Tuesday 6:25 AM By Xinhua
China imported 4.71 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in August, up 51.5 percent year on year, the country’s customs authority said. Total LNG imports in the first eight months reached 32.63 million tonnes, up 47.8 percent year on year, according to the General Administration of Customs. China surpassed the Republic of Korea to become the world’s second-largest importer of LNG in 2017, according to IHS Markit, a global marketing information company. China`s imports of natural gas have grown to meet increasing domestic consumption, primarily driven by environmental policies to replace coal-fired electricity generation. An industry report says, the country is likely to surpass Japan to become the world’s largest natural gas importer by 2019, with imports expected to reach 171 billion cubic meters by 2023, mostly LNG.
Category: Other Countries
OPEC, allies agree not to further increase oil production
September 24, 2018 Monday 3:59 PM By AP/UNB
A meeting of OPEC and its allies ended without any decision to further increase oil output despite President Donald Trump’s call for lower prices. Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries met on Sunday in Algiers with non-members including Russia. The committee said in a statement that it was satisfied “regarding the current oil market outlook, with an overall healthy balance between supply and demand.” It also urged “countries with spare capacity to work with customers to meet their demand during the remaining month of 2018.” Trump has been calling publicly for OPEC to help lower prices by producing more. “We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices!” he tweeted on Thursday. The price rise is notably caused by a recent drop in Iran`s supply because of U.S. sanctions. OPEC and Russia have capped production since January 2017 to bolster prices. Output fell below those targets this year, and in June the same countries agreed to boost the oil supply. Saudi Arabia Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told reporters that participating countries have provided over the last three months “a lot of supply to offset decreases” in Iran, Venezuela and Mexico. “Markets are quite balanced today, there`s plenty of supply to meet any customer that needs it.” Also Sunday, OPEC released its World Oil Outlook 2040 report. The cartel says that China and India will drive growth in energy demand through 2040, and that oil will continue to remain the biggest source of energy despite a global push for cleaner resources. Oil demand is forecast to increase by 14.5 million barrels a day to a total of 111.7 million barrels in 2040, driven by an expanding middle class and economic growth in developing countries. The U.S., which isn’t an OPEC member and has in recent years seen a renewed boom in shale oil, will continue to grow as a crude producer, peaking in the late 2020s. That suggests OPEC’s power to influence the market will be tempered by U.S. production for about another decade.  
Category: Other Countries
Coal mine blast kills four in southern China, another nine missing
August 7, 2018 Tuesday 1:02 PM By Reuters
Four workers were killed and nine were missing after an explosion at a small coal mine in China’s Guizhou province on Monday night, state-owned Xinhua News reported on Tuesday citing local authorities. The incident happened at Zimujia coal mine, run by private-owned Pannan Coal Investment Co, in Panzhou city. The coal mine has designed annual capacity of 300,000 tonnes. Cause of explosion was unclear, while rescue work was underway, it said. Benchmark thermal coal futures soared as much as 5.5 percent to 622 yuan ($90.80) a tonne, their highest in 11 months, during early trade on Tuesday, as market expects more stringent inspections on coal mines across the country might lead to tight supply. The accident comes not long after a blast at an iron ore mining project in Liaoning that killed 11 people in June. According to Guizhou Energy Administration file, the coal mine was ordered to rectify on some safety issues during a safety inspection conducted by local authorities in late April. Pannan Coal cannot be reached for comment. Panzhou city government declined to comment.
Category: Other Countries
Rosatom joins the Nuclear Quality Standard Association
June 30, 2018 Saturday 4:59 PM By News Desk, energynewsbd.com
Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, represented by Atomenergoprom, joined the Nuclear Quality Standard Association (NQSA). An agreement to this effect was signed at the World Nuclear Exhibition, held in Paris at the end of last month, said a press release. Rosatom First Deputy Director General for Corporate Development and International Business Kirill Komarov and NSQA President Thierry Zumbihl and General Secretary Laurent Kueny signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides. Becoming a full member of the Association, Rosatom gets the opportunity to participate in the development and implementation of cutting-edge global quality standards in the field of nuclear energy use. “Access to NQSA proves that Russian experience of quality control in the nuclear industry is in global demand. The state corporation gets an opportunity to influence the setting of common industry standards and requirements,” said Kirill Komarov. “The membership of Rosatom in the Association will contribute very positively to support the development and implementation of internationally recognised nuclear quality standard,” said Thierry Zumbihl President of NQSA. NQSA is a nonprofit association jointly launched by Areva and Bureau Veritas in January 2011. Open to all major nuclear utilities, nuclear engineers and manufacturers, NQSA promotes the application of the NSQ-100 standard, and sets a nuclear oriented supplier evaluation process. Rosatom is the only company in the world to offer integrated clean energy solutions across the nuclear supply chain and beyond, including the design, build and operation of nuclear power stations, uranium mining, conversion and enrichment, the supply of nuclear fuel, decommissioning, spent fuel storage and transportation and safe nuclear waste disposal.
Category: Other Countries
Russia and China sign biggest package of contracts in nuclear sphere
June 9, 2018 Saturday 12:41 PM By News Desk, energynewsbd.com
Russia and China have signed the biggest package of contracts in the history of the two countries’ nuclear partnership recently in Beijing. The signing ceremony was attended by Russian president Vladimir Putin and President of People’s Republic of China president Xi Jinping, said a press release from Rosatom. Among the deals two were on construction of 4 new units – two at the greenfield site of Xudabao and two at Tianwan (units 7 and 8). All 4 units will feature Russia’s latest Gen3+ VVER-1200 reactors. The reactors, as well as all other necessary equipment, will be developed and supplied to the nuclear island by Russia. Third deal envisages the supply of equipment, fuel, and services for the CNNC-developed CFR-600 fast reactor pilot project. The remaining deal is for supply of radionuclide heat units (UHR), to be used as part of radioisotope thermoelectric generators to power equipment in China’s space programme-lunar exploration in particular. “Today, Russia and China are the leaders in the global nuclear energy industry. Signing of these agreements is the best confirmation of our partnership with our Chinese friends.” Said Alexey Likhachev, CEO of Rosatom state corporation. “Over the course of longstanding cooperation with our reliable partners – China’s Atomic Energy Authority, the National Energy Administration, and the CNNC corporation – we have created an unprecedented level of trust. Therefore, we developed a framework for joint design and construction at the Tianwan site by both Russian and Chinese specialists. We continue to jointly build the most modern Gen 3+ units in China. Moreover, today we agreed to start the construction of VVER-1200 power units at a greenfield site.” Russia and China cooperate in various nuclear energy projects, including, but not limited to, the construction of nuclear power plants and supplying isotope products for nuclear medicine. Tianwan NPP is the largest facility used in Russian-Chinese economic cooperation. Power units No1 and No2 were started up in 2007. Power unit No3 was connected to the grid last December.  The design of Tianwan NPP is based on Russia’s AES-91 project with a VVER-1000 reactor, which fully meets the requirements of current Chinese, Russian, and IAEA regulation. The construction of Tianwan nuclear power plant is being carried out by Jiangsu Nuclear Power Corporation (JNPC) in cooperation with Russia’s Atomstroyexport, a part of the ASE Group of Companies.
Category: Other Countries
Russia and Jordan to co-operate in the field of Small Modular Rectors
June 1, 2018 Friday 5:14 PM By News Desk, energynewsbd.com
Russia and Jordan have decided to intensify and step up their cooperation in the field of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). An Agreement has already been signed between Jordan Atomic Energy Commission and Rosatom Overseas to conduct a joint feasibility study for a Russian-designed SMR construction in Jordan in the backdrop of changing situation in the Jordanian energy market, said a press release. “We have been cooperating with Rosatom for many years, and we are going to build on this cooperation in various spheres. Today, a potential project to construct SMR-type NPP seems more relevant and more needed, so we would like to focus on it,” said Dr. Khaled Toukan, Chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission. Russia enjoys a wide range of expertise in the field of SMR energy. In 2019, Rosatom State Corporation is going to launch Akademic Lomonosov, its floating NPP, which will become the world’s unique reference project for nuclear power plants of this type. On top of that, Rosatom is actively developing its onshore Russian-design SMR NPP. Apart from its modular composition, one of the main advantages of the Russian-design SMR NPP is its ability to be used as a desalination and heating plant. Russia and Jordan are cooperating closely in the human resource development area, to implement the nuclear program of Jordan. Currently, 100 Jordanian students are studying in major Russian universities under Bachelor, Masters and other postgraduate programs.  
Category: Other Countries
Rosatom develops automated individual radiation dose monitoring system
May 26, 2018 Saturday 2:58 PM By News Desk, energynewsbd.com
Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation has developed automated individual radiation dose monitoring system (AIRDMS), specially for the people working at different nuclear establishments. AIRDMS is designed to receive, collect, process, register and provide information on the personnel’s radiation dose over time. This control should be carried out with the help of IRI (sources of ionization radiation) and to optimize work plans based on minimizing the dose costs, said a press release. AIRDMS includes: individual and thermo luminescent dosimeters, automated system for monitoring and storing dosimeters for the personnel, as well as the software and hardware complex. Special Research Institute for Instrument Manufacturing (SNIIP) presented its first electronic personal dosimeters, which will be used as a part of AIRDMS, during international atomic energy forum ATOMEXPO-2018, held in Sochi, Russia from May 14-16. “This is an important step in manufacturing such a modern equipment, which fully complies with the international requirements,” said Kirill Krivosheev, First Deputy Director General of SNIIP. SNIIP is the institute for developing and manufacturing instruments and systems to ensure nuclear and radiation safety at all nuclear facilities built by Rosatom for the last five decades. It is a concern of Atomenrgomash, machine building division of Rosatom.
Category: Other Countries
World’s first floating nuclear power plant is set for fuel loading in Russia
May 23, 2018 Wednesday 12:06 PM By News Desk, energynewsbd.com
Akademik Lomonosov, world’s first nuclear floating power unit arrived in the Russian city Murmansk from Saint Petersburg on May 19, 2018 for loading of fuel. Once loaded with fuel the power plant will be towed to the town of Russia’s far east city of Pevek in Chukotka region for connection to the grid in 2019, said a press release. It will become the first ever operational floating nuclear power plant and the northern most nuclear installation in the world. The plant will replace a coal-fired power plant and an aging nuclear power plant Bilibino supplying power to over 50,000 people. The new plant will help reduce carbon footprint in the Arctic caused by tens of thousands of tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.  A welcome ceremony took place at the pier of Atom lot, a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation--Rosatom. The ceremony was attended by Director General of Rosatom Alexey Likhachev, Chukotka Region Governor Roman Kopin, Murmansk Region Deputy Governor Eugene Nikora, Deputy Director General of Rosatom Aleхander Lokshin, Rosenergoatom Director General Andrey Petrov and Atomflot Director General Vyacheslav Ruksha. Rosatom Director General in his speech said, “Akademic Lomonosov is an unparalleled piece of engineering by Russian scientists. It is a first-of-a-kind, reference project for mobile medium capacity range nuclear power units, a product we expect to be in growing demand in the coming years. For instance, we see great interest from all island nations where it is difficult, for various reasons, to set up a developed centralised power transmission infrastructure.” The floating nuclear power plant project has been welcomed by many environmentalists and green groups as the only feasible way to reduce the Arctic’s dependency on coal causing millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions and toxic pollution destroying the region’s fragile ecosystems.  Ben Heard, the Executive Director of Bright New World Organisation in his comment said, “Remote communities world-wide need affordable, reliable non-carbon energy and this (floating nuclear power unit) is a way of getting it to them.”  The nuclear Floating Power Unit (FPU) Akademik Lomonosov is equipped with two KLT-40C reactor, each with a capacity of 35 MW, similar to those used on icebreakers. The vessel is 144 metres long and 30 metres wide and has a displacement of 21,000 tonnes.   The lifecycle of the nuclear FPU is 40 years with the possibility of being extended to up to 50 years. After decommissioning, the FPU will be towed to a special deconstruction and recycling facility. No spent nuclear fuel or radioactive waste is planned to be left in the Arctic–spent fuel will be taken to the special storage facilities in the mainland Russia. These small nuclear reactors like Akademik Lomonosov can operate non-stop without the need for refueling for three to five years, thereby considerably reducing the cost of electricity generation. The reactors have the potential to work particularly well in regions with extended coastlines, power supply shortages, and limited access to electrical grids. The plant can be delivered to any point along a coast and connected to existing electrical grids. Rosatom is already working on second generation FPUs, or Optimized Floating Power Units (OFPUs), which will be equipped with two RITM-200M reactors each with a capacity of 50 MW. OFPUs will be smaller than their predecessors.  
Category: Other Countries
‘10th international atomic energy forum ATOMEXPO 2018 ends in Russia’
May 20, 2018 Sunday 4:40 PM By News Desk, energynewsbd.com
Tenth International Forum ATOMEXPO 2018, organized by Russia’s state atomic energy corporation ROSATOM ends on May 16 at Sochi in Russia. The forum was participated by a record number of 68 countries including Bangladesh. Over 600 companies were represented at the ATOMEXPO, while 136 companies exhibited their products and services. Number of participants including media representatives was over 4,000, said a press release. President of Russia Vladimir Putin in his written address to the Forum said, “Over the past years your forum, which unites heads of large companies, governmental structures, non-governmental organisations, leading experts from Russia and other states, has proven itself as the authoritative platform where topical issues of nuclear sector are discussed at high professional level.” “In the current conditions, the development of the world economy and maintaining the natural balance of our planet hinges on affording access to stable and environment-friendly sources of energy. Our country is traditionally one of the leaders in the field of development of nuclear power, construction and operation of NPP, and fundamental and applied studies. This potential needs to be strengthened based, among others, on the broad international cooperation.” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, President of the World Nuclear Association Agneta Rising, President of the World Association of Nuclear Operators Jacques Regaldo, and Director-General of Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development William Magwood took part in the plenary session. They discussed on the most critical for nuclear sector topics and outlined landmarks for the next period of joint work of the entire nuclear community. The three-day business program of the Forum included “Digital Future and Industry 4.0”, “New Power Engineering” and “People of Nuclear Industry” as well as 16 round-table sessions which included: “Globalisation as a Key Success Factor: Building NPPs in a Partnership Arrangement”; “Building Capacity in Countries Embarking on or Expanding Their Nuclear Power Programmes”; “Total cost and time management of NPP construction projects: constituents of success in international projects». ATOMEXPO 2018 became the platform for signing 39 agreements including commercial contracts. For the first time, “ATOMEXPO AWARDS”, an international professional award for outstanding services by companies which contributed greatly to the development of nuclear industry and the use of atomic energy for the benefit of mankind was held during the Forum.
Category: Other Countries
‘Call me Equinor’: Statoil changes name
May 16, 2018 Wednesday 6:08 PM By AFP
Norway’s largest oil company Statoil officially changed its name to Equinor on Wednesday as it forges ahead with its drive into renewable energy. Proposed in March and adopted on Tuesday at the shareholders’ general meeting, the name change allows the company to take a step back--at least in name--from the Norwegian state, which owns 67 percent of its shares, and from oil. Equinor is meant to combine the idea of equity and equilibrium (“equi”) and geographical origin (“nor”) for Norway. Founded in 1972 to operate Norway’s large oil fields, the company--which is listed on both the Oslo and New York stock exchanges--is now active in renewable energies, including wind farms off the UK coast. The group has earmarked 15-20 percent of its investments to “new energy solutions” by 2030. But this shift has been cold shouldered by environmentalists concerned about global warming as they accuse the company of “green washing”. “Statoil name change to attract young talent will not be sufficient as long as Equinor is exploring in vulnerable areas, such as the Arctic or the Great Australian Bight,” tweeted Truls Gulowsen, leader for Greenpeace in Norway.
Category: Other Countries
Russian oil output hits 11-month high in March
April 4, 2018 Wednesday 4:56 PM By Reuters
Russia’s oil output edged up in March to an 11-month high of 10.97 million barrels per day (bpd), slightly above a limit agreed under a global supply pact, energy ministry data showed on Monday. It was the first increase in Russian output since December and the highest level since output of 11 million bpd in April 2017. Under an agreement by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers that came into effect last year, Moscow pledged to cut output by 300,000 bpd from a baseline of 11.247 million bpd based on its output in October 2016. The Energy Ministry said that in March it cut output by around 280,220 bpd from the October 2016 level. “Russia reached the production cuts compliance (with the OPEC deal) of 93.4 percent. The fluctuations of the liquid hydrocarbons in March were due to a high demand for gas and seasonality on the domestic market,” Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in a statement. “Russia is fully committed to reaching the balance on the oil market,” he added. Russian output in March rose from 10.95 million bpd in February. In tonnes, it totaled 46.39 million versus 41.836 million in February. Russian oil pipeline exports in March stood at 4.163 million bpd, slightly up from 4.162 million bpd in February. The current global supply deal lasts until the end of 2018. OPEC states, Russia and several other non-OPEC producers agreed to cut supplies from January 2017 to lift oil prices that plunged from above $110 a barrel in 2014 to below $30 in 2016. Oil is currently traded just below $70 per barrel. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Reuters that Riyadh and Moscow were considering a deal to greatly extend the short-term alliance on oil curbs. The Kremlin has said Russia and Saudi Arabia have been discussing a “wide range of options” on cooperation in the global oil market. According to the energy ministry data, Russia’s largest oil company Rosneft and No.2 producer Lukoil both increased their output by 0.1 percent last month from February. Output at Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) projects declined by 0.6 percent in March as plans for an output rise at the ExxonMobil-led Sakhalin-1 project have been delayed. Russian natural gas production totaled 65.68 billion cubic meters (bcm) last month, or 2.12 bcm a day, versus 59.23 bcm in February.
Category: Other Countries
Solar seeks its place under Spanish sun
March 28, 2018 Wednesday 6:24 PM By BSS/AFP
Sun-drenched Spain should be a natural for solar energy, and it is here that the technology is making an effort to stand on its feet financially without subsidies. Investors are now betting again on solar power generation in Spain, which for a decade was in the shadows as the country cut subsidies for the clean but expensive source of energy. A plunge in the price of solar panels and lower construction costs has changed the maths, and new projects are moving forward again. Iberdrola, Spain`s largest power company, this month launched a solar project with a capacity of 425 megawatts. And last week Spanish renewable energy firm Cox Energy signed a deal for the construction of 495 megawatts of capacity in Spain, and another 165 megawatts in neighbouring Portugal, in a 400-million-euro ($490 million) investment. Companies have sought authorisation for solar power projects across Spain with a total capacity of 24,000 megawatts, according to the director general of Spanish solar power lobby UNEF, Jose Donoso. Subsidies stumble That is the equivalent of 14 of the latest generation nuclear power plants that France hopes to launch later this year, after a decade of costly construction. Spain was one of the pioneers of solar power-generation. Subsidies in the form of a high purchase price for solar power lured investors and homeowners to install solar panels, triggering an installation boom in 2008 that saw Spain`s installed capacity jump five times to 3,355 megawatts. But the global financial crisis, which ravaged Spain via a collapse of the property market, led to a bust in new projects and the cash-strapped government was quickly forced to abandon the subsidies. Just 49 megawatts was added in 2015, and 55 megawatts in 2016, before picking up to 135 megawatts in 2017, according to UNEF figures. However in Germany, which kept up its subsidies, solar power swelled by six times although the country does not receive as much sun as Spain, meaning each panel produces less electricity. The country now has more than 40,000 megawatts of solar power, compared with 5,400 in Spain at the end of 2015.  But the sector has undergone "a complete reversal in less than six months", according to Donoso. Blazing return One reason is that solar panels can now produce electricity at a lower price than traditional power sources such as coal, gas and nuclear. The cost of solar power production plunged 73 percent between 2010 and 2017, according the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), which predicts it will continue to fall. Companies also realised the projects didn`t need guaranteed prices from the state. A tender for solar power projects launched by the government in July had so many bids that the price was capped at 30-31 euros per megawatt hour. According to the European statistical agency Eurostat, non-residential customers in Spain paid an average 107 euros per megawatt hour last year. Investors concluded that "it is better to run risks in the market then depend on regulated demand", Donoso said. Moreover, investors into renewables know how much construction and operation will cost them, while traditional power stations have only a limited ability to lock in prices for fuel. "It is much more profitable to invest in capital-intensive technologies (like photovoltaic power) than technologies where the raw material comes at a cost" like gas or coal, said the president of renewable energy lobby group Fundacion Renovables, Fernando Ferrando. Room to grow Donoso said this explains why major Spanish power firms such as Iberdrola "who stood aside from this sector" have suddenly jumped in. "The Spanish market will certainly be one of the biggest in Europe in the coming years," he added. A group set up by the government proposes setting as a goal having a total of 30,000-60,000 gigawatts of installed solar capacity by 2020, Donoso said. Spain`s conservative government has so far not made solar power a priority, said Ferrando. "We only use the sun for tourism not for electricity," he said. Solar power represents just 3-4 percent of electrical power production in Spain, compared with 20 percent for wind power and 16-17 percent for hydroelectric power, according to the lobby group.
Category: Other Countries
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