Government allows export of bio-fuels from special economic zones, EoUs

Source: The Economic Times, Feb 06, 2019

NEW DELHI: The government has allowed export of bio-fuels from special economic zones (SEZs) and export-oriented units (EoUs) with certain conditions, according to a notice of the directorate general of foreign trade. In August 2018, the government imposed restrictions on export of bio-fuels for non-fuel purposes.

After this restriction, exporters operating from SEZs and EoUs made representations to remove this prohibition stating they only use imported material for export of final product.

They also informed government authorities that SEZ units have been granted letter of approval for export of bio-fuels and EoU units have obligations to fulfil under an export promotion scheme.

“Considering the hardship faced by the trade community and the fact that production of bio-fuels in EoU/SEZ would be from imported feedstock, therefore, it would not impact the domestic production/consumption. Hence, the restriction as applicable to DTA (domestic tariff area) may not be extended to EoU/SEZ,” the DGFT notice said.

SEZs and EoUs are export-oriented units outside the ambit of domestic customs laws.

“Members of trade and industry are informed that export of bio-fuels for non-fuel purposes from EoU/SEZ will be regulated” under certain rules of SEZs and foreign trade policy, it added.

It said that the feedstock for production of bio-fuel for export from these areas should be from imported sources only.

Bio-fuels include ethyl alcohol, petroleum oil and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, bio-diesel and mixtures.

Before August 2018, exports of these items were allowed without any restrictions.

India exported ethyl alcohol worth USD 276.35 million in 2017-18 as against USD 224 million in the previous fiscal.

Similarly, export of petroleum oil and oils obtained from bituminous minerals increased to USD 8 million in 2017-18 from USD 0.54 million in the previous fiscal.

Biodiesel and mixtures shipments rose to USD 5.36 million in the last financial year from USD 2.73 million in 2016-17.

Last year, the directorate had also imposed restriction on import of bio-fuels including ethyl alcohol and other denatured spirits, bio-diesel, petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals other than crude.

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Oil-rich Kuwait plans to double investments in India; eyes joint projects in third nation

Source: The Economic Times, Feb 06, 2019

Oil-rich Kuwait is planning to double its investments in India from the current five billion dollars taking advantage of the country’s growth story and also exploring third country joint projects with Delhi.

The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) has currently invested five billion USD and plans to double this, senior sources told ET. Kuwait is also planning to enter into third country joint projects on the lines of joint Kuwait-Japan investments in third countries, sources indicated.
India and UAE have entered into third country project in Ethiopia. Delhi has similar plans with Saudi Arabia.

Historically, Indo-Kuwaiti relations have always had an important trade dimension. India has consistently been among the top ten trading partners of Kuwait. During 2017-18, Kuwait was the ninth largest oil supplier to India and it meets about 4.63% of India’s energy needs. “India is looking for a substantial Kuwaiti investments in oil & gas sector. Large business houses of Kuwaiti also have investible surpluses,” according to Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) brief on India-Kuwait ties.

Total non-oil bilateral trade between India and Kuwait increased by about 11%, from $ 2,150.63 million in 2015-16 to $ 2,405.40 million in 2017-18. India’s non-oil exports to Kuwait are showing a positive trend for the past few years. Non-oil export from India to Kuwait increased by about 19.60%, from $ 1,240.54 million in 2015-16 to $ 1,361.06 million in 2017-18, according to MEA.

Total bilateral trade with Kuwait during 2015-16 was $ 6.2 billion. India’s exports to Kuwait grew by 4% ($ 1.24 billion) in 2015-16 vis-à-vis 2014-15. India’s exports to Kuwait included food items, cereals, textiles, garments, electrical and engineering equipment, machinery and mechanical appliances, cars, trucks, buses, tyres, chemicals, jewellery, handicrafts, metal products, iron and steel, etc, the MEA brief added.

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400,000 bid for fuel pumps; investment of Rs 90,000 crore expected

Source: Business Standard, Feb 06, 2019

To hold on to their market monopoly against the aggressive expansion of private fuel retailers like Nayara Energy and Reliance Industries, state-run oil marketing companies (OMCs) are set to more than double their retail outlets in the next three years. This is likely to see an investment of about Rs 80,000-90,000 crore in the sector.

The three OMCs — Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) — have got bids for 95 per cent of the 78,493 sites they had offered late last year for new retail outlets. The three companies put together got over 400,000 bids for the areas on offer. “All the three companies are getting enthusiastic response from across the country. We have received offers for over 95 per cent of the locations on offer. IOC is likely to roll out over 37,000 new outlets under this auction, while rest will be shared by other companies,” confirmed Gurmeet Singh, director (marketing), IOC. Bidders have shown interest in 74,608 locations, while 3,885 sites did not get bids. Read the rest of this entry »

Indian refiners pay for Iranian oil in rupees

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Jan 09, 2019

India has begun paying Iran for oil in rupees, a senior bank official said on Tuesday, the first such payments since the United States imposed new sanctions against Tehran in November.

Washington gave a six-month waiver to eight countries, including India, allowing them to import some Iranian oil.

India, the world’s third biggest oil importer, wants to continue buying oil from Iran as it offers free shipping and an extended credit period, while Iran will use the rupee funds to mostly pay for imports from India.

“Today we received a good amount from some oil companies,” Charan Singh, executive director at state-owned UCO Bank, told Reuters. He did not disclose the names of refiners or how much had been deposited.

New Delhi recently issued a notification exempting payments to the National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) for crude oil imports from steep withholding taxes, enabling refiners to clear an estimated $1.5 billion in dues. Read the rest of this entry »

ONGC to invest Rs 6,000 crore in drilling wells in Assam

Source: LiveMint.com, Jan 06, 2019

Guwahati: State-run oil behemoth ONGC on Sunday said it will pump in Rs 6,000 crore in drilling 200 wells over the next seven years in Assam in order to increase the output from the state.

The investment will take place Sivasagar and Charaideo districts of Upper Assam, besides planning to hire over 300 persons in the state, ONGC Director (Onshore) S K Moitra said

“The ONGC would be investing about Rs 6,000 crore in drilling 200 developmental wells across fields under ONGC Assam Asset in Sivasagar and Charaideo districts,” Moitra said in a statement.

The wells are proposed to be drilled during the next seven years starting from the current financial year, he added.

“All statutory clearances are being obtained. The investment will lead to increase in production from the state,” Moitra said. Read the rest of this entry »

Import of natural gas on the rise, up 13% in April -October period

Source: Business Standard, Dec 22, 2018

Bhubaneswar: The country’s natural gas imports rose 12.7 per cent during the April-October period as the fall in domestic output failed to cater to the hike in demand.

The country’s import basket was made up mainly by supplies from Qatar (47 per cent), Nigeria (17 per cent), the US (six per cent), Angola (six per cent) and Australia (six per cent).

Regasified LNG catered to 47 per cent of the country’s consumption during this period.

Domestic natural gas output dipped 0.6 per cent as production declined from fields operated by Oil India and private operators. Read the rest of this entry »

India mulls building natural gas reserves

Source: The Economic Times, Dec 20, 2018

NEW DELHI: India is considering building emergency stockpiles of natural gas, on the lines of strategic oil reserves, to deal with supply disruption amid the country’s growing dependence on fuel and its import.

The government wants domestic consumption of natural gas, a cleaner fossil fuel, to rise two-and-a-half times by 2030 and is encouraging big public and private investments in gas production, import, transport and distribution infrastructure.

Local demand increased 5.5% between April and October to 35.1 billion cubic meters, increasing dependence on imports to 47% of total consumption from 44% a year earlier. “Today, we consume very little gas but once new import terminals and pipelines are in place and new city gas licensees have rolled out their services across the country, there would be a sharp jump in the consumer base. Any supply disruption can have a huge impact,” said a person, explaining the rationale for building emergency gas storage in the country. Read the rest of this entry »