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Oil & Gas Sector Review

May 14 - 19, 2012


Exploration and Production ONGC may take a call on its four coal bed methane blocks in WB and Jharkhand soon OVL produces 7.35 per cent less oil and oil equivalent gas from its foreign assets in 2011/12 y/y Red signal in exploration: BG abandons seismic survey plans Gas from KG-D6 drops to about 32 mmscmd MoPNG ropes in BCG to review current commercial arrangements for E&P blocks And now, an offer of oil from Puntland India decides to invest in the oil potential of the Falklands China close to shale gas output, India 4 yrs away Indian offshore companies against ONGC policy on chartered vessels to support rigs for drilling Bharat Petroleum beating refiners on Africa exploration Refining and Marketing Reliance Industries' shale bet fades as the US floats on gas IOC aims to expand refining capacity 41 percent by 2016/17 Oil Ministry seeks Rs 490 billion cash subsidy to compensate state fuel retailers Kerala government notifies formation of agencylevel social monitoring committees to prevent hoarding of domestic gas Bharat Petroleum plans petrochemical complex in JV near Kochi refinery Oil Ministry regulates sale of raw petroleum coke Statoil buys 35,000 tons of spot naphtha gas from India MRPL plans to bid for West Bengal Government's stake in ailing Haldia Petrochem Pipelines GAIL and Oil India express interest to buy stake in RGTIL Cabinet nod for signing TAPI gas supply pact Kerala CM holds talks on gas pipeline between Kochi and NTPC's Kayamkulam power plant Farmers object to GAIL project to lay a pipeline from Kochi to Bangalore via Erode district GAILs gas pipeline could prove industrial boon for Nagpur Natural Gas Prioritising gas supplies Petroleum Ministry says no to oil PSUs buying ADB's stake in Petronet LNG RILs yet to supply gas to 1500 MW Bawana power plant, production hit BHEL bags Rs 3.8 billion order for gas-based plant in Rajasthan IGL reports 17 per cent increase in net profit for fourth quarter ended March 31 GSFC may set up LNG terminal in partnership with GSPL GSPL Keen to Swap North Tapti Gas with GAIL's APM Supplies to Kribhco Adani hikes prices of compressed natural gas and natural gas for industrial consumers Kerala to give land for LNG power plant soon Law ministry sees no legal hurdle in raising RIL's D6 gas price Karnataka Natural Gas set up to distribute piped gas in state Cabinet allows GAIL India to sign the gas sale & purchase agreement with TurrnenGas ONGC to get into LNG marketing India in talks with US for LNG imports Power generated at LNG-based power plant near Kochi to cost around Rs 7 per unit General U.S. envoy to examine India's oil import trends Order against Chennai Petroleum Corporation set aside India decides to cut crude oil import from Iran by over 11 per cent this fiscal to 15.5 mt Gail-Tidco JV to invest Rs 100 billion for setting up a power plant and pipeline infrastructure to carry LNG Oil hits 5-month low of $94 per barrel Power Unit Allocated 50,000 SCMD Gas from Olpad India's gas shortage hurting GAIL, NTPC's new gas power projects Iraq replaces Iran as India's second-largest crude oil supplier New Rial-Rupee mechanism to settle India-Iran payment issues India looks to UAE for oil as Iran curbs bite Bengal government gets Petrochemicals arbitration stay on Haldia

Exploration and Production


ONGC may take a call on its four coal bed methane blocks in WB and Jharkhand soon - After prolonged delay, ONGC may be gearing up to take a call on the farm-in opportunities in its four coal bed methane blocks in West Bengal and Jharkhand soon, according to sources. Expectations are rife that the issue may even come up for discussion during the scheduled ONGC board meet on May 15. As in November 2011, the oil and gas major received four expressions of interests (EoI) from private players to pick up equity stake and help ONGC in monetising the CBM assets. OVL produces 7.35 per cent less oil and oil equivalent gas from its foreign assets in 2011/12 y/y - Oil and Natural Gas Corp produced 7.35 per cent less oil and oil equivalent gas from its foreign assets in 2011/12 from a year ago due to the difficult geo-political situation in Syria and Libya, the junior oil minister said. ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas investment arm of ONGC, produced 8.753 million tonnes, or 175,000 barrels per day (bpd), of oil and gas in the financial year ended March 31 versus 9.448 million, or 188,960 bpd a year ago, R.P.N. Singh told lawmakers. Red signal in exploration: BG abandons seismic survey plans - Energy companies British Gas (BG) and BHP Billiton had to drop their plans to conduct seismic surveys in oil blocks off the Andhra coast twice in the past 15 months, as the formal award of the blocks to the companies was delayed pending clearances from the defence ministry. In a bid to take advantage of the weather window, the companies had prepared their seismic plans, said a person aware of the the development, requesting anonymity. However, they had to drop their plans as several technicalities delayed the award of the contracts. Gas from KG-D6 drops to about 32 mmscmd - Reliance Industries has reported that natural gas production from its eastern offshore KG-D6 fields has dropped to about 32.66 million standard cubic meters per day. Gas output from KG-D6 in the week ended May 6 dropped to 32.66 mmscmd from 33.89 mmscmd in April, according to a status report filed by the company with the Oil Ministry. KG-D6, where water and sand ingress coupled with drop in pressure has led a drastic fall in per-well output, had produced 34.62 mmscmd in the beginning of March. MoPNG ropes in BCG to review current commercial arrangements for E&P blocks - The petroleum ministry has roped in one of the world's leading management consultancy firms, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), to review current commercial arrangements for exploration and production (E&P) blocks. The move was seen as necessary in view of the growing discord between the government and operating companies over contracts to develop oil and gas blocks in India, and the negative observations made by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on these contracts. And now, an offer of oil from Puntland With virtually the entire east coast of Africa is found to contain hydrocarbon deposits, the tiny Puntland, which is a nation and yet not a nation, is no exception. Its President Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud Farolez held talks in New Delhi on the recent find in Puntland of large quantity of oil. He invited Indian companies to participate in the exploration and sought New Delhi's cooperation for charting out exploration blocks and training Somalis in the petroleum sector. India decides to invest in the oil potential of the Falklands - Britain and Argentina have been feuding over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands for 180 years, and 1982 fought a brief but

vicious war over them. Much has changed in the past three decades Argentina has increasingly lined up fellow Latin American nations to support their claim to Las Malvinas, and in the past two years, intrepid British oil exploration companies have surveyed Falkland waters and found promising signs of hydrocarbon deposits. China close to shale gas output, India 4 yrs away - Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India and competitors may drill for at least four years before producing the first commercial shale gas in the nation as China expects to commence output next month and Australia boosts reserves. ONGC, Indias biggest explorer, is studying data for shale gas deposits and awaiting a government policy on commercial drilling for gas trapped in shale rock, Sudhir Vasudeva, chairman of the state-run company, said. Indian offshore companies against ONGC policy on chartered vessels to support rigs for drilling - Indian offshore companies have come out in the open against Oil & Natural Gas Corp's (ONGC) allegedly flawed policy on chartering

vessels to support rigs for drilling. Offshore firms allege that ONGC, the country's biggest public sector oil company, often select scrap-worthy and age-old vessels after tenders are called, as they offer low charter rates at the cost of safety. Senior officials in the shipping industry, on conditions of anonymity, said smaller offshore companies such as Tag Offshore and Hind Offshore, among others, buy old vessels that are ready to be scrapped and quote low charter rates when tenders are issued by ONGC. Bharat Petroleum beating refiners on Africa exploration - Bharat Petroleum Corp. (BPCL) is the best- performing energy stock on the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Index this year and analysts say its foray into exploration in Africa to counter refining losses may mean theres more growth to come. Bharat Petroleums 54 percent surge this year makes it the only refiner among the top 10 gainers on the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Index and the best performer on Indias 50-share Nifty Index.
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Natural Gas
Prioritising gas supplies - The government needs to tweak its gas utilisation policy to accord top priority to the power sector in allocation of domestic gas given its significance in the overall economic growth. Besides, it should also be kept in mind that there is no international market for electricity on which we can fall back in times of domestic shortage. As of now, fertilisers get top priority, followed by the city gas distribution sector. Power sector, the biggest consumer of gas in India, comes third on the priority list for gas allocation despite its critical role in the national economy. Petroleum Ministry says no to oil PSUs buying ADB's stake in Petronet LNG - The Oil Ministry has refused permission to public sector oil companies for acquiring Asian Development Bank's stake in Petronet LNG Ltd (PLL) so as to keep the nation's largest liquefied natural gas importer a private company. The ADB on August 23 last year offered to sell its 5.2 per cent stake in PLL, in which GAIL, Indian Oil (IOC), Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) and Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) hold 12.5 per cent stake each and have a first right of refusal. RILs yet to supply gas to 1500 MW Bawana power plant, production hit Despite the Delhi government building a 1,500 MW capacity power plant at Bawana at a cost of Rs 4,500 crore, Delhiites are expected to reel under severe power cuts this summer with Reliance Industries Ltd not supplying gas to the plant even after directions from the Oil Ministry. After failing to get gas for the plant from RIL as per an earlier understanding, the Delhi government in February had sought intervention of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who heads an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on gas allocation so that plant could at least generate 750 MW of power. BHEL bags Rs 3.8 billion order for gasbased plant in Rajasthan - State-owned BHEL said it has bagged Rs 380 crore order for setting up a 160 MW gas-based plant in Rajasthan. BHEL has secured a contract for setting up a 160 MW Combined Cycle Power Plant (CCPP) in Rajasthan from Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (RRVUNL), said an official release. The Rs 380 crore contract is the expansion project (Stage IV) of Ramgarh power plant in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan. IGL reports 17 per cent increase in net profit for fourth quarter ended March 31 - Indraprastha Gas Ltd reported a 17 per cent increase in net profit for the fourth quarter ended March 31 on increased sale volumes. The net profit in the JanuaryMarch quarter rose by 16.78 per cent to Rs 80.75 crore compared to Rs 69.15 crore in the same period a year ago, IGL said in a statement here. IGL, the sole supplier of CNG to automobiles and piped cooking gas to households in national capital region, said sales volume growth was 18 per cent in the fourth quarter. GSFC may set up LNG terminal in partnership with GSPL - Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC) is considering the option of partnering with Gujarat State Petronet Ltd (GSPL) for setting up a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Gujarat, according to two senior state government officials close to the development. The firm is awaiting the new urea policy to be unveiled by the centre before going ahead with its Dahej expansion plan. GSPL Keen to Swap North Tapti Gas with GAIL's APM Supplies to Kribhco - To enable immediate utilization of North Tapti gas, GSPL shall deliver 0.68 MMSCMD of North Tapti gas to Kribhco whereas GAIL can retain equivalent quantities of PMT/APM gas which would otherwise be supplied by GAIL to Kribhco through GAIL's own network under the

existing contracts. This is a swap arrangement wherein the APM / PMT gas of GAIL is swapped with North Tapti gas where the swap is happening on GAIL's network and GSPL is only transporting physically without any operational issue. Adani hikes prices of compressed natural gas and natural gas for industrial consumers - Adani Gas Ltd, a subsidiary of Adani Enterprises Ltd has increased prices of compressed natural gas (CNG) and natural gas for industrial consumers with effect from midnight of May 15, 2012, a company official informed. The company has attributed hike in gas prices to increase in price of imported liquified natural gas (LNG) and fluctuations in currency exchange rates. Kerala to give land for LNG power plant soon - Government of Kerala and Petronet LNG Limited, promoters of the LNG terminal coming up on Puthuvype island, are learnt to have reached an understanding on land for an LNG-based power generation facility. Sources here said that the government had identified 50 acres for the project, the original extent requested for by PLL, which proposed setting up a 1,250 mw plant using the advantages of the proposed plant's proximity to the LNG receiving and re-gasification facilities. Law ministry sees no legal hurdle in raising RIL's D6 gas price - The law ministry sees no legal hurdle in raising the price of gas produced from Reliance Industries' D6 block, but the oil ministry is expected to oppose the move and is focusing its attention on the gas pipeline from Turkmenistan, which the cabinet approved. Government sources said the decision would be taken by the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) based on the advice of the attorney general and views of the ministers. The oil minister, Jaipal Reddy, was likely to oppose the proposal to raise prices despite the legal advice from Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati.

Karnataka Natural Gas set up to distribute piped gas in state - GAIL India and Karnataka State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corp (KSIIDC) have formed a joint venture company to set up city gas distribution (CGD) network for Bangalore households and fuel for CNG-run vehicles. The new JV, Karnataka Natural Gas Limited (KNGL), apart from Bangalore, may also develop CGD networks in major cities and towns in the districts along which the DabholBangalore gas pipeline alignment passes, a top government official said. Cabinet allows GAIL India to sign the gas sale & purchase agreement with TurrnenGas - The Union Cabinet approved the petroleum ministrys proposal to allow GAIL (India) to sign the gas sale & purchase agreement (GSPA) with TurrnenGas for the TurkmenistanAfghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) gas pipeline project, said a government release. While the statement did not mention the price at which gas would be imported, people close to the development said the landed price of the gas would be cheaper than the import price of Qatari gas in 2018. ONGC to get into LNG marketing Seeking to diversify its business portfolio and venture into new and challenging areas, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has drawn up plans to enter the marketing and re-gasficiation of LNG and into the City Gas Distribution (CGD) business. The company feels that the share of natural gas in Indian primary energy basket is expected to increase from 11 per cent to 20 per cent by 2025. Although domestic gas production is expected to grow to nearly 200 million metric standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd) by 2015-16, dependence on imported LNG is set to increase substantially, according to an internal appraisal report prepared by ONGC. India in talks with US for LNG imports Taking energy co-operation forward, India and the US are discussing import of LNG from the US. The US currently has a

surplus, while India has a deficit, with many of its gas-based power plants languishing. At a recent meeting between officials of the two countries, the US delegation made a detailed presentation on oil and gas markets, including the impact of LNG and shale gas on the integration of gas markets. Power generated at LNG-based power plant near Kochi to cost around Rs 7 per unit - Power generated at the LNG-based power plant, proposed to be set up at Puthuvypu, near Kochi, will cost around Rs

7 per unit. This was broadly agreed upon at a meeting between officials of the Petronet LNG Ltd and Kerala government held in Thiruvananthapuram. A K Balyal, Petronet MD, said that the Kerala government would undertake a guaranteed purchase of 75% of the power to be generated in the initial phase.

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Refining and Marketing


Reliance Industries' shale bet fades as the US floats on gas - When Reliance Industries was negotiating its $3.4 bn investments in US shale companies- the world was different. America was energy starved and looking desperately for ways to reduce dependence on the Gulf. For RIL, shale gas was seen as the next big thing, after its offshore find earlier in the decade. It would give the energy giant knowledge of the new ways of gas production, as well as allow it to ride the gas price boom. Three years down the picture is different. IOC aims to expand refining capacity 41 percent by 2016/17 - Indian Oil Corp, the country's biggest refiner, aims to expand refining capacity 41 percent by 2016/17 and use more cheaper, heavy crude grades to boost profitability and offset revenues lost on domestic fuel sales, its refineries chief said. IOC and its subsidiary, Chennai Petroleum Corp, control 10 refineries accounting for about 31 percent of India's capacity of 4.3 million barrels per day (bpd). Oil Ministry seeks Rs 490 billion cash subsidy to compensate state fuel retailers - The oil ministry has sought cash compensation of R49,000 crore from the finance ministry to compensate state fuel retailers for selling fuels at governmentset cheaper rates in the Jan-March quarter, an oil ministry source said. We hope to get it by next week after the Budget session as the companies have factored in the money in their Q4 results, the source said. The government fixes retail prices of LPG, kerosene and diesel to protect the poor, leading to revenue losses at Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum. Kerala government notifies formation of agency-level social monitoring committees to prevent hoarding of domestic gas - The State government has notified the formation of agency-level social monitoring committees to prevent hoarding of domestic gas (LPG). Members of the committee are: members of local food advisory committee; elected representative to the respective panchayat/ municipality/ coporation, who is also a consumer served by the agency; two representatives from local nongovernmental organisations; and the ration inspector of the area (as convenor). President of the local body would be chairman of the committee, which will meet once every two months to take stock of supply and availability. Bharat Petroleum plans petrochemical complex in JV near Kochi refinery Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) has proposed to set up petrochemical complex near its Kochi refinery in a joint venture at an investment of about Rs 4,000-5,000 crore. In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Srikant Jena said the project is proposed to be executed through a joint venture with reputed global players, the details of which are being finalised. Oil Ministry regulates sale of raw petroleum coke - The oil ministry has directed state refiners to auction raw petroleum coke or RPC and give preference to local consumers due to growing demand of RPC by aluminum and cement manufacturers. The ministry has directed Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd ( BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd ( HPCL), last week to auction RPC. "They so far sold it on adhoc basis directly from refineries," an oil ministry official said. Statoil buys 35,000 tons of spot naphtha gas from India - Norwegian oil firm Statoil bought 35,000 tons of naphtha from India's Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), in a rare move reflecting that the European refiner could be in need of prompt supplies, as per

Reuters. The cargo is scheduled for June 5-7 loading from New Mangalore port for which Statoil paid premiums of about US$34/ton to Middle East quotes on a free-on-board (FOB) basis for it. Statoil occasionally brings in naphtha from Europe to supply to Asia. MRPL plans to bid for West Bengal Government's stake in ailing Haldia Petrochem - ONGC-controlled Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd plans to

bid for acquiring West Bengal Government's stake in the ailing Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd. According to the MRPL Managing Director, Mr U.K. Basu, the company had an informal discussion in this regard during a meeting with HPL officials in Kolkata. The company is planning to make a formal submission in this regard to the State Chief Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee.
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Pipelines
GAIL and Oil India express interest to buy stake in RGTIL - At least 11 companies, including state-owned GAIL (India) and Oil India, have expressed interest to buy stake in billionaire Mukesh Ambani's privately owned firm Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure (RGTIL). Gas utility GAIL and oil explorer OIL have submitted separate EoIs for the stake buy, which is being managed by JPMorgan, Citi and SBI Caps. Cabinet nod for signing TAPI gas supply pact - The Cabinet gave its nod for signing of the gas sales and purchase agreement (GSPA) for the $7.6-billion TurkmenistanAfghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project, which would ferry gas from Turkmenistan. Unlike the Iran-PakistanIndia (IPI) pipeline project, TAPI has been supported by the US. A steering committee meeting of the member countries is expected to take place in Turkmenistan soon. The import of gas is scheduled to commence after five years of the signing of GSPA. Kerala CM holds talks on gas pipeline between Kochi and NTPC's Kayamkulam power plant - The Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy, met with stakeholders to discuss modalities of laying the gas pipeline between Kochi and NTPC's Kayamkulam power plant. Officials from Gail, which is laying the pipeline, and NTPC were present on the occasion. They discussed issues relating to bottlenecks, safety, land acquisition and compensation. Mr Chandy directed the officials to identify a safe corridor' for the pipeline by sparing densely populated areas. The meeting decided that donors of land would be compensated up to 30 per cent above the market rates. Farmers object to GAIL project to lay a pipeline from Kochi to Bangalore via Erode district - Several farmers here are up in arms against the proposed Gas Authority of India Ltd project to lay a pipeline from Kochi to Bangalore via Erode district for transporting gas. They have appealed to the Tamil Nadu government and the Gas Authority of India Ltd not to go ahead with the plan. The farmers in a memorandum to the District Collector last evening stated that the GAIL proposed to dig trenches on agricultural lands in Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Namakkal, Salem and Dharmapuri districts to take the gas through pipelines. GAILs gas pipeline could prove industrial boon for Nagpur - Industries in the city can expect to get cleaner fuel as Gas Authority of India Limited's (GAIL) 1500km natural gas pipeline from Surat to Paradip is planned to pass through Nagpur. The company's officials were in the city to assess the demand by local industries and convened talks with those having units in Butibori industrial estate. GAIL had won the bid to set up a gas line travelling from Surat in West to Paradip in eastern state of Orissa last year.
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General
U.S. envoy to examine India's oil import trends - U.S. Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs Carlos Pascual is here on a four-day visit, during which his team will examine India's oil import trends and alternative options. Interestingly, Mr. Pascaul's main mission does not figure on the agenda for his official meetings here. He will travel to Mumbai to continue his interaction with energy industry experts and members of civil society. Order against Chennai Petroleum Corporation set aside - An order of a Labour Court directing Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL), formerly known as Madras Refineries Limited (MRL), to absorb 381 members of a trade union with retrospective effect from the date of their initial entry into the service of MRL Industrial Co-operative Service Society Limited (INDCO Serve), has been set aside by the Madras High Court. Justice K Chandru set aside the order, while allowing writ petitions from the management of CPCL and INDCO Serve, challenging the order of the Central Government Industrial Tribunal (CGIT)cum-Labour Court. India decides to cut crude oil import from Iran by over 11 per cent this fiscal to 15.5 mt - Succumbing to US pressure, India has decided to cut crude oil import from Iran by over 11 per cent this fiscal to 15.5 million tons. India, which imports 80 per cent of its crude oil and relies on Tehran for 12 per cent of those imports, shipped 18.50 million tons of oil from Iran in 201112, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas R P N Singh said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha. Gail-Tidco JV to invest Rs 100 billion for setting up a power plant and pipeline infrastructure to carry LNG - Gas Authority of India Limited (Gail) will be setting up a joint venture with the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (Tidco). The new company will make an investment to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore over the next five years across Tamil Nadu for setting up a power plant and pipeline infrastructure to carry LNG. In a statement at the state Assembly, chief minister J Jayalalithaa said that the Tamil Nadu government had signed an MoU with Indian Oil Corporation to set up LNG terminals in north Chennai with a capacity of 5 million tonne a year. Oil hits 5-month low of $94 per barrel Oil prices fell to near $94 a barrel in Asia, extending a two-week sell-off that has brought crude to a five-month low amid concerns over Europes debt crisis. Benchmark oil for June delivery was down 44 cents at $94.34 a barrel, the lowest since December, at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.35 to settle at $94.78 in New York. Brent crude for July delivery was down 45 cents at $110.55 per barrel in London. Power Unit Allocated 50,000 SCMD Gas from Olpad - Siddhi Vinayak Power Generation and Distributors, a power generation company located in Ankleshwar, is ready for commissioning. However, the facility is lying dry due to the unavailability of the promised gas volumes from the Olpad field being operated by ONGC. ONGC's inaction in supplying the already signed volume of as has compelled the power producer to approach the Petroleum Ministry for its intervention and immediate action to ensure gas supplies are commenced. India's gas shortage hurting GAIL, NTPC's new gas power projects - A fall in domestic gas production is hurting plans

by state-run NTPC Ltd. and GAIL (India) Ltd. to add gas-based power generation capacity, oil ministry officials said. NTPC, India's largest power producer by capacity, has slowed plans to expand the capacity of its gas-based power plants, Junior Oil Minister R.P.N. Singh told lawmakers in a written reply in the lower house of Parliament. He said that due to the gas shortage, Indian power stations got only 18.10 million standard cubic meters a day of gas supply against a committed volume of 28.90 mmscm/d in the financial year ended March 2012. Iraq replaces Iran as India's secondlargest crude oil supplier - Iraq replaced Iran as India's second-largest crude oil supplier in the recently ended financial year, preliminary government data showed, as New Delhi cut shipments from Tehran ahead of impending sanctions from the U.S. and the European Union. Saudi Arabia remained the largest oil supplier, while Iran slid to fourth spot in the year ended March 31, according to the data compiled by India's oil ministry. New Rial-Rupee mechanism to settle India-Iran payment issues - India said a new rial- -rupee payment arrangement has been put in place for bilateral trade with Iran. The problem with Iran began after the Reserve Bank of India, in December 2010, withdrew the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) mechanism under

which payments were made to Iran. "Rialrupee payment arrangement have been put in place for bilateral trade between India and Iran," Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. India looks to UAE for oil as Iran curbs bite - Under pressure from the US to cut its oil imports from Iran, India has decided to set up a high-level joint task force on investment which will also look into securing more oil supplies from UAE that has assured it of increased energy exports. External affairs minister SM Krishna and his counterpart from UAE Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan held discussions on international, regional and bilateral issues, including ways to boost trade ties, maritime security cooperation to tackle piracy and Indo-Pak ties. Bengal government gets stay on Haldia Petrochemicals arbitration - The Bengal government scored a small victory when a division bench of Calcutta High Court stayed an arbitration proceeding initiated by The Chatterjee Group, the private promoter of Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL). TCG had taken HPL and the Bengal government, one of the principal promoters of the project, to the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) in Paris over the ownership issue.
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