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MoU between NTPC and MOP 2014-15

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NTPC and Ministry of Power for the year 2014-15 was signed by Shri P.K. Sinha, Secretary (Power), Govt. of India and Dr. Arup Roy Choudhury , CMD, NTPC in New Delhi on 28th March, 2014. Shri I.J. Kapoor, Director( Commercial), Shri N.N.Misra, Director (Operations), Shri A.K. Jha, Director (Technical), Shri U.P. Pani, Director (HR), Shri S.C. Pandey, Director (Projects), Shri K. Biswal, Director (Finance) were present on the occasion.




Dr. Akhilesh Kumar Ambasht takes over as ONGC CVO

Dr. Akhilesh Kumar Ambasht, an IFS officer of cadre AGMUT, 1987, has taken over as ONGC’s Chief Vigilance Officer on 1st April, 2014. Dr. Ambasht holds a master’s degree in Botany from the Gorakhpur University and was awarded a Ph.D. in Botany (Ecology) from Banaras Hindu University Prior to joining ONGC, Dr. Ambasht has held important assignments as CVO of Delhi Jal Board, Member Secretary, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, and Assessor & Collector of Municipal Corporation of Delhi. He has wide-ranging experience in various assignments of Ministry of Human Resources and various departments of Govt. of Goa. Dr. Ambasht is also M.Sc. in Forestry and has an in-depth knowledge of forestry. He has published around 14 Research papers in various National & International journals. Dr. Ambasht has succeeded Mr. Sanjeeva Kumar who has returned to his home cadre Assam & Meghalaya to serve as Principal Secretary.




Mukherjee quits; Anil Agarwal is Chairman Emeritus at SesaSterlite

PK Mukherjee, Executive Director, Iron Ore, SesaSterlite, has demitted office in a major reshuffle effected by the Vedanta Group. A mining industry veteran, Mukherjee, 58, has seen both the best and worst times at Sesa Goa during his tenure spanning 27 years.

In 2010-11, Sesa Goa reported a turnover of Rs. 10,152 crore and profit of Rs. 4,222 crore. The ban on iron ore mining in Karnataka and Goa has hit the company hard with the turnover falling to Rs. 2,554 crore and profit plunging to Rs. 2,280 crore last fiscal. Former Rio Tinto chief Tom Albanese will replace MS Mehta, who retires as Chief Executive Officer and Board member of SesaSterlite.

Anil Agarwal, Non-Executive Chairman, will now be the Chairman Emeritus while Navin Agarwal, current Executive Vice-Chairman, has taken over as the Chairman of the Board of SesaSterlite.

Lalita Gupte, Chairperson of ICICI Venture Funds, and Naresh Chandra, former Cabinet Secretary, will join the board as independent Non-Executive directors, while Kuldip Kaura steps down. Tarun Jain and DD Jalan will join the Board as Whole-time Directors.

The eight-member board will have four independent directors. All the board changes will be effective from April 1.




Bokaro Steel Plant turns around

Steel Authority of India Ltd’s Bokaro Steel Plant in Jharkhand, which reported a loss of Rs. 152 crore in the first half of the last fiscal year, is estimated to have recovered the loss completely in the second half.

Though the plant’s accounts are yet to be finalised, indications are that it has made a profit (before tax) of around Rs. 200 crore in the second half, said sources.
It had already recorded a profit of Rs. 94 crore in the December quarter.

Over the last few years, BSL’s profit has been declining — from Rs. 2,085 core in 2009-10 to Rs. 308 crore in 2012-13. The falling performance of several units of the steel plant, which dates back to the 1970s, was behind the fall in profitability.

Plant overhaul

SAIL initiated a major overhaul of the plant, including value addition and capacity expansion, in 2012-13.

“Some of the positive results of the overhaul were visible in the second half, and more will come through in the next few quarters,” BSL MD Anutosh Maitra said.




SAIL to outsource Chiria work

State-owned SAIL has decided to outsource the development of its Chiria mine in Jharkhand, considered to be among the largest iron ore deposits in the world, and will be inviting bids during the current quarter for appointing a mine developer-cum-operator (MDO).

The detailed project report prepared by the external consultant, Hatch Associates of Australia, has been approved by the company.

The Chiria mines, having about 1.84 billion tonnes of reserves, will be developed in two phases — 7 million tonnes (mt) in phase-I and 8mt in phase-II. Its first phase is likely to be operational in 3-4 years after the finalisation of the MDO.

“They (the consultant) have given the report, which has been seen and accepted. We are soon coming out with the notification for inviting bids for appointing the MDO,” SAIL chairman C. S. Verma said.

He did not give a timeline for inviting the bids for appointing the MDO.




SAIL told to expand its global Presence

The steel ministry has told SAIL that it needs to expand its global presence by ensuring availability of its special products, especially in the emerging markets.

Chairing a meeting to review the country’s biggest steel maker’s performance in Kolkata, steel secretary G Mohan Kumar told the PSU’s top brass that they should also make adequate efforts to overcome the challenges posed by sluggish market conditions following impending completion of the company’s ongoing expansion and modernisation drive. Kumar’s directive comes close on the heels of a parliamentary standing committee asking the company last month to do more to expand its global presence. During the just-concluded FY14, SAIL achieved 7 per cent growth in domestic sales to 12.1 million tonnes, while its exports jumped by 28 per cent, although on a small base.

Increased emphasis on value-added steel sales enabled SAIL to market 2.2 lakh tonnes of special steels, of which nearly one lakh tonnes comprised stainless steel, it said.




NTPC to start up three new solar power plants

State-run NTPC Ltd, the country’s largest power producer, said it was preparing to start commercial operations at three new solar power plants.

The move, which would practically double its capacity from solar energy sources, is in line with the thermal power major’s stated intent to raise the amount of energy it generates from renewable resources as it aims to diversify away from conventional fuels.

Shortages in fossil fuels such as coal and gas on account of insufficient domestic supplies have forced the company to buy costly imports.

The three new plants total 45 MW and bring NTPC’s renewable energy capacity to 75 MW, the company said in a statement. Non-conventional energy projects account for a tiny share of NTPC’s total commercial capacity of 41,859 MW. The company also said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the power ministry to try and add 2,023 MW of capacity in FY15.




NMDC and SAIL plan big capex of around INR 13000 crore for FY 2015

NMDC and SAIL are lining up big capital expansion plans for this fiscal. Both the companies together are planning to invest over INR 13,000 crores. NMDC is the iron ore producer for the country with cash reserves of about INR 21000 crore and a planned a capex of INR 4500 crore for this financial year as against INR 2700 crore planned last year.

The company’s expansion plan includes the new steel plant in Chhattisgarh, the Nagarnar steel plant. The capex will also be used for expansion of new mines. Meanwhile Sail has planned a capex of INR 9000 crore for this financial year against that of INR 9800 crore last year. The company has cash reserve of about INR 3200 crore and internal money will be used for 1/3 of the expansions planned this year, while the rest 2 third will be by debt or borrowings. SAIL will also be using this capex for expansion and modernisation of its already existing plants like Bokaro and Rourkela units.




Cairn Energy gets 2 more tax notices from I-T department

Cairn Energy plc has been slapped with two more notices which the Scottish explorer plans to counter vehemently.

Cairn faces a potential tax demand on an alleged Rs 24,500 crore of capital gains it made when in 2006-07 it transferred all its India assets to a new company, Cairn India.

It said none of the transactions undertaken by it during that fiscal were chargeable to tax in India.

Its wholly owned subsidiary, Cairn UK Holdings Ltd “filed a nil return for the year in question on the grounds that none of the transactions undertaken by it during that fiscal year is chargeable to tax in India,” the company said in a statement.

“The first notice, dated March 29, 2014, is a request made to Cairn Energy plc to file a tax return for the fiscal year ended 31 March 2007. Cairn intends to file a nil return for this notice. “The second, dated March 31, 2014, claims that CUHL should have withheld tax on dividends paid to its parent company, Cairn Energy plc,” it said.




NTPC plans to import 15 million tonnes of coal in FY15

The country's largest power producer NTPC has set a target of importing as much as 15 million tonnes of coal in the next financial year (2014-15).

The target may be lowered if Coal India increases its production, the company said.

"For 2014-15 our plan is to import 15 million tonnes of coal. It depends on the supply by Coal India. If they supply more, we can bring down our import target," NTPC Chairman and Managing Director Arup Roy Choudhury told reporters at a CII event.

"During the current fiscal, we have so far imported 10 million tonnes of coal," he said.

NTPC currently has an installed capacity of 42,964 MW, of which more than 37,000 MW is coal based. The company plans to add 14,000 MW of capacity in the 12th Plan period (2012-17).

Mining at a coal block allotted to the company has missed the planned start date. Work at the site has been stalled due to an agitation against land acquisition.

The Pakri Barwadih coal block in Jharkhand was allocated to NTPC in 2004 and mining was expected to start in February.

"I can't do anything on the Pakri Barwadih until the state government supports us," Choudhury said.

The company ventured into coal mining with the aim of meeting about 20 percent of its requirements from its own mines by 2017.

It has been allotted seven coal blocks, including two that are to be developed through joint ventures.




HPCL introduces “Club HP Star” outlets for its valued customers to enable them to experience the star service…

Chairman & Managing Director of HPCL, Ms. Nishi Vasudeva launched the first ‘Club HP Star’ Retail Outlet of the Corporation in Mumbai on March 27, 2014. “Club HP Star” is a premium version of Club HP, which is the flagship brand of the Corporation’s Retail Outlets. All the “Club HP Star” Retail Outlets shall be fully automated with strict compliance to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of the Corporation where electronic billing through Automation system along with the assurance of ‘Good Fuel Promise’ are guaranteed. The Company undertook intensive customer surveys in various markets covering different customer segments and identified ‘Quick Service’ as one of the key customer needs. The entire “Club HP Star” brand revolves around value proposition of “Time is Money” in addition to the promise of ‘Quality and Quantity’. Time and motion studies were carried out at various Retail Outlets across the country to develop a robust process to reduce the fuelling time and the time taken for providing other services like Free Air at the Retail Outlets.

HPCL was the first Oil PSU in the country to introduce the concept of “Outstanding Customer and Vehicle Care” when it launched its Club HP brand in the year 2002.

Club HP concept was aimed at providing personalized service, Total Vehicle Management and provision of other customer conveniences at the Retail Outlets. Being a pioneer in the country in introducing the Automation system at its Retail Outlets, HPCL has now successfully integrated automated billing and strict adherence to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to its Club HP Promise in launching its latest premium version of Retail Outlets under the name “Club HP Star”. After Mumbai, HPCL has scheduled launch of Club HP Star Outlets in the following cities in the first phase which will be scaled up Pan India in the year 2014-15.

They include Bangalore/ Hyderabad/ Delhi/ Noida/ Ahmedabad/ Chennai/ Visakh.

Rigorous training has been imparted to the Forecourt Sales Men to be ready to render the best of the services to the valued customers.




Tata Power plans to add capacity by 850 MW

Tata Power said eight projects under development would increase its overall generation by 849.2 MW.

Tata Power now has a gross generation capacity of 8,560 MW of which 7,647 MW comes from thermal and 912 MW from green energy sources.

Currently, it has a total of eight projects in solar, wind, hydro and one gas-based project under execution.

In wind power, it has inked power purchase agreements with Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd for supply of 81.5 MW, which is under development. Tata Power, through its joint-venture company, Cennergi, is developing two wind power projects of 94.8 MW and 134.4 MW in South Africa. Both the projects have long-term contracts to supply power to the local utility there. In solar, a 25 MW plant at Palaswadi, Maharashtra, is under development. The company has entered into a 25-year PPA with TPREL for supply of the power to be generated.

Dagachhu hydroelectric power project with an installed capacity of 126 MW is being developed in Bhutan. Tata Power has a 26 per cent stake in the project.




HP seeks Rs 2,713 cr in damages from Dutch firm for hydel plan delay

After cancelling Brakel Corporation of Netherlands’ bids for the Jangi Thopan and Thopan Powari hydel projects, Himachal Pradesh has claimed Rs 2,713 crore in damages from the developer for revenue loss due to delay in the implementation of projects.

Himachal has also now decided to retain Rs 284 crore paid by the firm as upfront premium.

The state government had cancelled Brakel’s bids in 2009 after the Himachal Pradesh High Court found the company guilty of misrepresenting facts about eligibility to participate in the auction for the two projects. Sources said the state government on Friday issued notice to Brakel for forfeiture of the premium amount.

Brakel had moved the Supreme Court against the HC order and to restrain the state government from reallocating the two projects. But the company withdrew its plea filed in the Supreme Court. Sources said Brakel is now expected to challenge state government’s decision to retain premium paid by the company despite cancellation of its bids.

The developer had bagged the two projects, each with 480 mw capacity, in competitive bidding in 2006 by paying the highest per mw premium. However, the allocation of the projects was later caught in litigation as Reliance Infrastructure, which came second in the bidding race, challenged the decision in the Himachal HC, saying Brakel had misrepresented facts relating to eligibility. In 2009, the court found merit in Reliance Infrastructure’s allegations and ruled illegal allocation of the projects to Brakel.




Vedanta’s oil, zinc output up in FY14

Vedanta Resources reported higher production of oil and gas, refined zinc and aluminium in 2013-14 and said output of copper, iron ore and power businesses declined.

The London-listed, India-focused company reported a 6% increase in average daily oil and gas production at 2,18,651 barrels in the previous financial year, primarily due to a 7% rise in output at the Rajasthan oil field, it said in a statement. “The Rajasthan block achieved a landmark oil production of 200 million barrels and a 200,000 boepd (barrels of oil equivalent per day) production milestone in March 2014,” it said, adding that average daily output at the block in the last quarter rose 13% to 1,90,881 barrels.

Output of refined zinc rose 11% to 7.49 lakh tonnes, while mined metal zinc content rose 1%. Production of mined metal content was lower than planned initially “due to slower-than-expected ramp-up of underground mining projects and changes in mining sequence”.

Copper production declined 18% to 1.77 lakh tonnes amid the temporary closure of its Tuticorin smelter in April-June and suspension of operations at its Australian mine. Output of iron ore fell 60% to 1.5 million tonnes as operations remained shut for most of the year.




SAIL registers growth of 7 % in sales in 2013-14

SAIL has achieved 7 % growth in sales volume with 12.1 million tonnes (MT) sales in FY’14, as compared to 11.3 MT sales in FY’13. Growth in domestic sales was supported by impressive growth in exports which registered a growth of 28 % at 0.47 MT compared to 0.36 MT in FY’13. Production of saleable steel at 12.9 MT in FY’14 was 4 % higher than FY’13. Continued emphasis on value-added steel production resulted in growth of 6 % with 5.3 MT special quality steel produced in FY’14 as against 5.02 MT in FY’13. Chairman, SAIL Mr. C.S.Verma congratulated the SAIL collective for the remarkable improvement in performance and exhorted them to make 2014-15 an inflection year with operationalising and stabilising majority of the facilities coming up under MODEX for the company during the year.

The accomplishment coming at a time when steel industry worldwide is facing stiff challenges, has emboldened the company to plan for a double digit growth in the new fiscal.

Projects worth Rs. 10,000 crore have been operationalised by Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) in the financial year 2013-14, thus setting an all-time record for the company. This takes the total operationailsed projects under the ongoing Modernisation & Expansion Plan (MEP) to around Rs. 23,000 crore till date. 2.5 million tonnes (MT) hot metal capacity has been added in 2013-14 and coke-making & sinter-making capacity of SAIL has also been enhanced during the year.

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