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India energy crisis leads power giant NTPC to rush back to coal

India’s state-run electricity giant NTPC Ltd. plans to expand its coal-fired power fleet with a first new project in six years, a policy shift that reflects alarm over the nation’s worsening power crisis.

New Delhi-based NTPC will this month award a contract to construct a 1,320-megawatt plant in Odisha, according to a company official with knowledge of the plans.

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The company will also consider awarding contracts for two previously stalled expansion projects at its Lara and Singrauli sites in central India, the official said, requesting anonymity as the plans are still private.

NTPC didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment Tuesday, which is a public holiday in India.

Several states across India are suffering prolonged blackouts as scorching heat waves boost energy demand at a time when coal stockpiles are dwindling, and nations globally are contending with tight fuel markets.

Disruptions to electricity supply are lasting as long as eight hours a day in some areas.

NTPC previously slowed plans to advance the Lara and Singrauli projects as electricity demand faltered during the pandemic. The producer has also been focusing on proposals to increase renewable energy capacity, rather than coal.

Despite a near-term addition to its coal fleet, the company will stick to a target to rapidly expand clean power capacity, the official said.

NTPC is aiming to cut the share of fossil fuels in its energy mix to about half by 2032 from 83 percent currently.

NTPC’s plans for the Odisha plant show how India, which still relies on coal for about 70 percent of electricity generation, can use the fossil fuel more efficiently, according to R. Srikanth, a professor of energy and climate at National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bengaluru.

“One way to do that is phase out all old power plants and replace them with modern plants that consume less coal to produce the same amount of energy,” Srikanth said. “We need to stop defaming coal.”

NTPC’s new facility will replace a smaller plant at the same site that was phased out last year after more than five decades.

The producer is also taking steps to address the coal shortages that are prompting India energy crunch. Imports will be increased to 20 million tons during the fiscal year to March, while NTPC will aim to boost annual output at its own mines by about 86 percent to 26 million tons.

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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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