News in brief

RasGas-Petronet enters in binding sale

RasGas Company Limited, Qatar, and Petronet LNG Limited, India, are pleased to announce that they have entered into a binding sale and purchase agreement (SPA) for supply of an additional 1 MTA of LNG to India starting in 2016 for onward sale to four Indian entities, i.e. Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd., GAIL (India) Ltd. and Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation.

Further, RasGas and Petronet LNG Limited have entered into a binding agreement to adjust some aspects of their existing long term LNG SPA of 7.5 MTA, signed by the parties in 1999, which laid the foundation for the LNG business in India. Such adjustments will protect and preserve the overall value of the contract. As per such agreement, LNG volumes not taken by Petronet from RasGas during 2015 will be taken and paid for by Petronet during the remaining term of the SPA and will maintain its current level of oil indexation with the oil index more closely reflecting the prevailing oil prices.

Commenting on this event, RasGas CEO, Mr. Hamad Mubarak Al-Muhannadi, stated that “these positive developments, including the new SPA, demonstrate the strength of our long term relationship with Petronet and commitment to growing sales into India to meet its expanding clean energy needs.” Petronet CEO, Mr. Prabhat Singh, stated that “these developments highlight both parties confidence in the Indian market and our commitment to LNG as a cleaner, more efficient source of energy”.

RasGas is one of the main suppliers of LNG into India and has been supplying Petronet since 2004. Petronet is the largest importer of LNG into India and is the owner and operator of the country’s largest receiving terminal at Dahej and also the Kochi LNG terminal.

Coal India arm WCL to open 12 mining projects next fiscal

Coal India’s subsidiary WCL will open 12 coal projects, having total production capacity of around 30 million tonne per annum, in the next fiscal, as the PSU aims at achieving 1 billion tonne output by 2020.

“In the fiscal 2016-17, WCL will open 12 coal mining projects,” Western Coalfields Ltd (WCL) Director (Technical) Binoy Kr Mishra said.

The projects have already received approval from the company’s board, he said, adding that in the calendar year 2015 WCL opened 12 coal mines.

Western Coalfields is planning an output of 100 million tonnes in another five years.

Lauding WCL for resetting its production target from 60 million tonnes to 100 MT by 2020, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal had earlier said that enhancing production will help provide electricity to deprived parts of the country.

Coal India accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic coal production.

The government has set a production target of 550 million tonnes for the PSU for the current fiscal. The company had missed the production target for 2014-15 by 3 per cent, recording an output of 494.23 million tonne.

OIL declares Rs 8/share dividend; Govt to gain Rs 325 crore

State-owned Oil India Ltd (OIL) declared an interim dividend of Rs 8 per share for the current fiscal, a move that will give the government over Rs 325 crore.

Government holds 67.64 per cent stake in the nation’s second biggest state oil explorer. “OIL Board in its meeting held on January 12, 2016 has inter-alia declared interim dividend of Rs 8 per share (i.e. 80 per cent) for the year 2015-16,” the company said in a regulatory filing. Government’s 40.66 crore shares in OIL will entitle it for a dividend of Rs 325.29 crore. The government will additionally also get dividend tax. The total payout for the company on account of the interim dividend would be Rs 481 crore.

The government had last week asked state firms to pay a minimum dividend of 30 per cent to help make up for budgetary deficit. Record date for payment of dividend is January 20. “Dividend is payable on and from January 21, 2016. Payment will be completed on and before February 10, 2016,” OIL said.

December steel imports soars 23%

After a decline in November, India’s steel imports again surged by 23 per cent in December 2015 neutralising the measures taken by the government to check cheap inbound shipments of the product. Steel imports rose by 23 per cent to 0.94 million tonnes (mt) in December 2015 compared to November, official data showed. In November, steel imports were at 0.76 mt, down by 35 per cent over the previous month. However, the December imports were down by 1.4 per cent compared to that in same month of 2014.

Imports of total finished steel stood at 8.389 mt in the April-December period of 2015-16 fiscal, a growth of 29.2 per cent compared to same period of last year.

“India was a net importer of total finished steel in the current fiscal so far,” a steel ministry’s panel said. Since June 2015, steel sector has been provided a range of protection including hike in import and safeguard duties to check cheap imports. Analysts said exporting countries, particularly China, have been constantly adjusting (reducing) the price of steel products in-line with the imposition of duties.

In June, India imposed anti-dumping duty of up to $316 per tonne on imports of certain steel products from three countries, including China, to protect domestic producers from below-cost inbound shipments. Then in August, the government had hiked import duty on base metals, including iron and steel, by 2.5 per cent, in a move aimed at helping domestic players battle out cheap Chinese imports after the currency devaluation by China.

Bharathi Sihag assumes addl charge of NMDC Chairman

Additional Secretary in the Steel Ministry Bharathi S Sihag has been given the additional charge of Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) of state-run iron ore miner NMDC, with effect from January 1, 2016.

Sihag, who also holds the charge of Financial Adviser in the ministry, will remain at the helm of affairs at the National Mineral Development Corporation for three months or till a regular incumbent is appointed, whichever is earlier.

NMDC in a BSE filing said: “In terms of order dated January 11, 2016 of Ministry of Steel, the additional charge of the post of CMD NMDC is assigned to Bharathi S Sihag, Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser, Steel Ministry.” Sihag will hold the post “...for a period of 3 months with effect from January 1, 2016 or till the appointment of a regular incumbent to the post or until further orders, whichever is the earliest,” it added.

Mahanadi Coalfields crosses 100 million-tonne production mark

Coal India’s subsidiary Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) has surpassed the 100 million-tonne production mark in 281 days of the current fiscal, according to the state-run miner.

Coal production at MCL touched 100.03 million tonnes. By December 28, 2015, MCL had dispatched 100 million tonnes of coal to consumers, primarily power companies, according to a company statement.

Odisha-based MCL is Coal India’s largest subsidiary and among the top three units that are crucial to the coal behemoth’s plans of capacity expansion to 1 billion tonnes by 2019.

MCL has set a production target of 150 million tonnes in the current fiscal. Last year it had produced 121 million tonnes of coal.

Record coal production by Mahanadi Coalfields, Central Coalfields and South Eastern Coalfields has helped Coal India achieve 9.1 per cent growth in output till December.

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