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India’s ‘energy transition’ minister talks net zero goals, green energy investments

Earlier this month, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced plans at COP26 to reach net-zero carbon emissions in 2070 and boost the share of renewables in India’s energy mix from about 38 percent last year to 50 percent by 2030.

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“When India turns around and says it is not just net zero by 2070, but in 2030, 50 percent will come from renewables or that we move up from 450 GW to 500 GW and you know the implications of that. India means what it says. We are the largest democracy in the world, when the prime minister makes a statement, it sets the template. Now clearly, we have a transition to achieve. Now that transition means you have to manage from where you are today first to 2030 then to 2040 then to 2070,” India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri told Al Arabiya.
“I may be called a minister of petroleum and natural gas but I am actually the minister for energy transition,” Puri said in an interview with Al Arabiya Senior Presenter Naser El Tibi.
For now, coal remains a dominant energy source in India, accounting for 70 percent of its electricity output.
After China, India is the world’s second-largest coal producer at about 730 million tons annually – yet also imports coal to meet the power needs of its domestic industries, according to the government.
Puri said India is already doing a lot.
“When Mr. Modi became a prime minister, one percent of biofuel blending used to take a place, ethanol from sugar. Today, we are already at 8.5 percent, we had a 20 percent blending target by 2030 but we brought that forward to 2025,” the minister said, adding that the country is expecting 60 billion dollars of investment into gas pipelines.
“We started in 2014 when he [Narendra Modi] became prime minister at 14 thousand kilometers. Today, we are 18.5 thousand kilometers, [and in the] next four months we will get another four thousand to [achieve] 22.5 thousand kilometers and we will take that up to 34 thousand kilometers to have the whole country be covered by gas pipelines. I could go on!”
“In renewables, we were one of the founders of the Solar Alliance,” he noted.
India has a “massive program” on green hydrogen, according to Puri.
“We are going to be very big [in green hydrogen], we will be pioneers in that. But we need to bring the price down. [We] need to provide power at a particular price then be able to have electrolizers… we are on that journey,” the minister told Al Arabiya.
“I think Glasgow is what? 10 days old, we are already on drawing board with people to see how we can accelerate some of these things. There is a massive program going on, our traditional oil marketing companies are into electric vehicles. I think we announced that in the next few years we will have 22 thousand petrol stations [which] will have electric charging as well, which in turn gives a fillip to our electric car manufacturers.”
“Equally when you move to 20 percent biofuel mixing, E 20 [20 percent blended petrol ethanol] is going to be available in the pumps from a very short period time. I think in 2022, 2023 we will [offer] 20 percent blended fuel there.”
In reference to Modi’s announcement to achieve net zero emissions by 2070, he noted that while it was an ambitious goal, India has a track record of hitting their green targets.

Strategic reserves

When asked about a deal that India struck with Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC for strategic oil reserves, Puri said that the country has been replenishing its reserves to cater to any kind of emergency such as earthquakes or geopolitical events.
“We have been replenishing out strategic reserves and I think the agreement you are referring to… we are in the process of augmenting our reserves to take it to the global prescribed levels by the international energy agency,” India’s minister said.
“I think we are at 86 days of consumption and the consumption is going up also. We need to go a little farther to make it at 100 days. We are in the process of doing that.”
“I am a student of the energy situation and evolving energy situation I have been oil and natural gas minister- or now I call myself minister of energy transition- for 3 months or so, no country is ever only a consuming country, especially when you are dealing with a big economy,” Puri told Al Arabiya.
“We import crude, our companies refine and export out, we make investments in other countries, in the previous government in the year 2001 we invested in a facility in Sakhalin in Russia’s far east, it has done very well. Investments in Sudan they did well.”

India and the GCC

India and the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) states have been working together, investing in each other’s countries across a variety of sectors.
“Indian entities are making investments in the gulf as you mentioned, our friends in the gulf cooperation council are making investments in India both upstream and downstream. This is what I call a healthy economic energy cooperation matrix,” said Puri.
“I have many people I talk to including His Excellency the UAE [energy] minister and the [energy] minister from Saudi Arabia, they also want to cooperate with us, not only in traditional energy, but also in green energy. This is an evolving situation and I think it is in one sense a reflection of the maturity of the relationship. That the transactions and investments are going in both directions,” he added.
Last week at Dubai’s megaevent Expo 2020, India invited the GCC member countries to invest in the sustainable energy sectors in the country.
India expects to attract foreign investments of up to $120-160 billion annually, according to a statement released at the India-GCC Business Conference at Expo 2020 last week, which added that Gulf countries are best placed to capitalize on such opportunities given their ties with India.

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OPEC+ to maintain oil output policy, steers away from plans for September

OPEC+ said on Thursday it would stick to its planned oil output hikes in August but avoided discussing policy from September onwards as prices have risen on tight global supplies and concerns about the groups' collective ability to pump more crude.

Thursday’s meeting of the group that includes Saudi Arabia, Russia and other major oil producers was held days before US President Joe Biden travels to the Middle East, including Riyadh where he is expected to press the Kingdom for more oil.

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At its last gathering on June 2, OPEC+ decided to increase output each month by 648,000 barrels per day (bpd) in July and August, up from a previous plan to add 432,000 bpd per month.

Washington welcomed the June 2 decision for a faster production rise, after months of Western pressure on OPEC+, which includes the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Oil prices rocketed to their highest levels since 2008 after the United States and Europe imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine in February, which Moscow calls a “special military operation.”

Prices has slipped since then but were still above $115 on Thursday on tight supply and concerns that OPEC states had little extra capacity to raise output swiftly.

French President Emmanuel Macron claimed that he had been told Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the only two OPEC states considered to have significant spare capacity, could barely raise output.

According to Macron, Sheikh Mohamed said the UAE was at its “maximum” capacity and Saudi Arabia could raise production by only 150,000 bpd.

This report was refuted by the Energy and Infrastructure Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazrouei, who said: “The UAE is producing near to our maximum production capacity based on its current OPEC+ production baseline, which the UAE is committed to until the end of the agreement,” according to the official WAM news agency.

The UAE is able to produce 4.2 million bpd, according to its declared maximum production capacity.

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Emirates Airline, MBC partner to provide exclusive Shahid content in the air

Emirates Airline has partnered with MBC-owned streaming platform Shahid to offer over 135 hours of premium on-demand content in the flight cabin’s entertainment system from July.

The partnership makes available 15 exclusive shows on the ‘ICE’ system on board, making it the only other platform to offer this content aside from the subscription-based platform, Shahid.

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“We are excited to welcome the world’s leading Arabic streaming service content onboard – so passengers can catch up on all their favorite entertainment inflight, just as they do at home,” Patrick Brannelly, Emirates’ Senior Vice President Retail, IFE & Connectivity, said in a statement.

He added that Emirates looks forward to grow the partnership further, signaling the possibility of a larger content availability on board in the future.

“We are excited to offer Shahid’s content for Emirates’ customers to enjoy, just in time for the busiest travel season of the year,” Natasha Matos-Hemingway, Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer (VOD) at MBC Group, said.

The Arabic content programs include subtitles to increase accessibly to an international audience, a statement clarified.

The newly added content from Shahid adds to the extensive collection of Arabic content already available on Emirates, including live television channels, films and shows.

Shahid’s biggest original production Rashash will be streamed for the first time by an airline on-board Emirates. Other original titles include Anbar 6, Hell's Gate, Dor Al Omor, Nemra Etnein, al-Shak, al-Jedar al-Rabea, Rahn El Tahqiq, 2020, Bi Saraha Ma’a, Dofa'at Beirut, Aghani Min Hayati, Kaf w Dafoof, and Salon Zahra.

This content originates from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, and Lebanon.

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Emirates Development Bank Approves Trade Finance Facility for JLW to Execute a Data Center in Masdar

 

EDB offers JLW with financing solution for the execution of a key Data Center project in Abu Dhabi

Ahmed Al Naqbi: EDB empowers the national industrial sector through direct and indirect financing of projects with a clear developmental impact on the economy

The Emirates Development Bank (EDB), the key financial engine of the UAE’s economic diversification and industrial transformation agenda, has announced the approval of a trade finance facility to JLW Middle East, to design, build and handover a 60 MW data center (with a day 1 capacity of 31.8MW) located in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.

The facility was signed by Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi, CEO of EDB, and Michael Boufarhat, Chairman and CEO of JLW Middle East at JLW’s offices in Dubai.

Commenting on the announcement, Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi said: “A key element of EDB’s strategy to empower the national industrial sector through direct and indirect financing, is our focus on projects with a clear developmental impact on the economy and that facilitate the adoption of advanced technology. The completion of a data center in Masdar will enhance the UAE’s digital infrastructure and gradual transition to a fully-fledged digital economy which accelerates data sovereignty, possibilities of data analytics and other development in data-centric technologies in the UAE.”

He added: “In today’s technology-driven economy, data centers are vital not only to successful and continuous business operations but to the development of advanced technology ecosystems. The financing requirement from JLW, one of the regions leading specialized electro–mechanical engineering, procurement and construction contractors in this field, satisfied a number of our lending eligibility criteria and scored high on our proprietary developmental scorecard, we are delighted we can support the completion of this start-of-the-art facility.”

For his part, Michael Boufarhat said: “This is an important deal for JLW, as it means we are able to proceed on this project with the utmost confidence. As one of the few large specialist MEP contractors in the Middle East and North Africa region, we understand that accessing the right financing for this kind of undertaking can be a challenging and complex process, but EDB’s flexible and highly competitive solution will ensure we will meet our client’s exacting standards. We are delighted to be putting our expertise to ensure the completion of all elements of this project to the highest standards in the industry and to deliver another landmark project for the UAE.”

As part of its contract, JLW will be responsible for the turn-key design, engineering, procurement, installation, testing, commission and handover of the data center.

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