Wednesday 27 March 2019

Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum consortium wins ADNOC deal.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) signed agreements awarding the exploration rights for Abu Dhabi Onshore Block 1 to a consortium of two Indian oil companies, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited. The award has been endorsed by Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) and represents a further deepening of the fast-growing UAE-India energy relationship as well as the continued expansion of ADNOC’s strategic partnerships with those who can provide access to key growth markets for the company’s crude oil and products.

The consortium will hold a 100 percent stake in the exploration phase, investing up to AED 626 million (US 170 million), including a participation fee, to explore for and appraise oil and gas opportunities in the Block. Following successful exploration activities and appraisal of the existing discoveries, the Indian consortium will be granted the opportunity to develop and produce any discoveries. ADNOC has the option to hold a 60 percent stake in the production phase.

H.E. Dr. Al Jaber of ADNOC said: “This award highlights the important role of energy cooperation in strengthening the strategic relationship between the UAE and India. It also underlines ADNOC’s 2030 smart growth strategy and our targeted approach to engage with value-add partners who can contribute the right combination of market-access, capital and technology, as we reinforce our position as an essential energy provider to the world. 

“The consortium of Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Indian Oil Corporation, both of whom ADNOC already partners with offshore, was selected after a very competitive bid round. The open bidding process represents a major advance in how ADNOC is accelerating the exploration and development of Abu Dhabi’s substantial untapped hydrocarbon resources as we continue to maximize value, in line with the UAE leadership’s directives.”

The exploration phase will see the Indian consortium leverage, and contribute financially and technically to, ADNOC’s mega seismic survey, announced last year. The survey is deploying industry-leading technologies to capture high-resolution 3D images of the complex geology up to 25,000 feet below the surface and will be used to identify potential hydrocarbon reservoirs.

The award of Onshore Block 1 concludes Abu Dhabi’s first-ever competitive block bid round, which saw very competitive proposals submitted for the geographical areas initially offered in April 2018. ADNOC has awarded Offshore Blocks 1 and 2 to a consortium comprised of Eni and PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited; Onshore Block 3 to Occidental Petroleum; and Onshore Block 4 to INPEX CORPORATION.

Indian Oil Corporation, India’s largest commercial enterprise, caters to nearly half of India’s petroleum consumption with 11 of India’s 23 refineries and a 13,000-km pipelines network. Bharat Petroleum Corporation also has a number of major refineries in India. Both companies operate across the full hydrocarbon value chain.

- Press Release.

Friday 22 March 2019

Siemens Financial Services to invest in 200MW Poovani Wind Power Project.

A definitive agreement has been signed between the parties for equity investment. First investment by Siemens Financial Services (SFS) in a wind farm in Asia. The project involves installation of 100 units of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy’s SG 2.0 - 114 wind turbines in Tamil Nadu. The project forms part of Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI) Wind Power Tranche II.

Greenko Group, India’s leading renewable energy player, has signed an agreement with Siemens Financial Services (SFS), the financing arm of Siemens AG, for an equity investment in its Poovani Wind Power project. The project is being developed in the state of Tamil Nadu and is backed by Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI), Central Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India.

As per the agreement, SFS has agreed to take a 46% equity stake in the 200 MW wind power project. Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is involved in installing the entire infrastructure for the wind farm, including supply, erection and commissioning of 100 units of SG2.0 – 114 wind turbines with a hub height of 106 m, specifically designed for low wind sites in India.

Commenting on the development, Mr. Anil Kumar Chalamalasetty, Chief Executive Officer and MD of Greenko Group, said, “Attracting an equity investment from Siemens Financial Services demonstrates the evolution of the Indian energy market with inter-state transmission of renewable energy, confidence of international financial institutions on project & technical capabilities and the necessary regulatory frameworks to further support growth. We are delighted to partner with SFS for our Poovani Wind Project and welcome them to India.”

Mr. Steffen Grosse, Chief Financial Officer of Energy Finance, Siemens Financial Services added, “We are excited to announce this new transaction with Greenko Group, one of the leading renewable IPPs in India. Completing our first equity investment in renewables in the region further underscores our company’s commitment to bringing optimal energy solutions to India backed by innovative Siemens Gamesa Technology.”

Clean and affordable energy generated from this project will offset approximately 651,000 tonnes of CO2e from environment and electrify approximately 155,000 households annually. The project will be connected to the central transmission system of India, which will enable inter-state flow of energy from a renewable resource rich state and enable other states comply with their renewable purchase obligations and secure long-term renewable energy supply at a fixed price.

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Brookefield-led India Infrastructure Trust (InvIT) to acquire East West gas pipeline for Rs 13,000 crores.

Brookfield has filed the preliminary placement memorandum, in terms of which India Infrastructure Trust, an InvIT set up by Brookfield as Sponsor and 90% investor, will invest Rs. 13,000 crore to acquire the East West Pipeline (“Pipeline”). As a part of the transaction, the InvIT will acquire 100% equity interest in Pipeline Infrastructure Private Limited (“PIPL”) which currently owns and operates the Pipeline.

Pursuant to this acquisition by Brookfield, the existing pipeline usage agreement has been reworked as follows:

  • The reserved capacity reduced to 33 MMSCMD against the 56 MMSCMD.
  • Any unutilized capacity payment by RIL will be the difference between Rs. 500 crore a quarter and actual revenue earned by PIPL.
  • RIL will continue to be entitled to transport gas, either by itself or of any customers, free of cost against any outstanding unutilized capacity payments.

At the current approved final tariff of Rs. 71.66/MMBTU, if the average volume of gas transported is 22 MMSCMD, RIL will not be liable to make unutilized capacity payments.

The next review of tariff in April 2020 will also consider upward revision to tariff arising from the determination of lower revised capacity of the pipeline. Considering the new investments in the upstream sector in the KG basin, and the growing LNG imports, ability to swap gas, the average volume expected to be transported through the pipeline is expected to be significantly higher compared to the current levels.

RIL will be entitled to a significant participation in the net earnings of PIPL under the mechanism specified in the pipeline usage agreement. RIL’s current investment in preference shares valued at Rs. 4,000 crore to continue and will be converted into equity at the end of 20 years.

Further, at the end of 20 years, RIL has the right to acquire equity shares of PIPL held by the InvIT at an equity value of Rs. 50 crore.

Saturday 9 March 2019

ReNew Power raises $375 million via Green Bond issue.

India's largest renewable Independent Power Producer, ReNew Power has announced that it has successfully concluded a green bond issue of US$ 375 million. The five-year non-call two notes were offered at a yield of 6.67% per annum. The bond offer has been rated as BB by Fitch Ratings.

The capital raised through the green bond issue will be utilized for refinancing of outstanding external commercial borrowings and as Capex in eligible green projects. Barclays (B&D), Goldman Sachs, HSBC, J.P. Morgan and YES Bank were the book runners for the green bond issue. The USD denominated bonds received excellent response and were fully subscribed by leading fund managers/asset managers, banks and pension/life funds from across the U.S., Europe and Asia. The issue was opened for subscription on March 05, 2019 and closed on the same day.

The renewables market in India is firmly established and is growing rapidly. ReNew Power is India's largest IPP with more than 7000 MW of commissioned and under construction wind and solar projects. Our history of financial prudence, investing in high quality assets and creating value for all our stakeholders has enabled us to regularly raise funds to fuel our rapid growth. Renew Power's Green Bond offering has received an enthusiastic response, especially when the renewables sector is facing challenges in raising capital.

Commenting on the issue, Kailash Vaswani, Deputy CFO, ReNew Power Limited, said, "The Bond issue was in line with our strategy of diversifying debt sources. The issuance enabled us to fix our interest rate risk and achieve a lower pricing than existing borrowing costs. The international bond investors have seen us deliver on committed performance and hence have come forward to invest in our new issuance."

As of February 2019, ReNew had a total capacity of over 7 GW of wind and solar power assets across the country, including commissioned and under development projects. It develops, builds, owns and operates utility scale wind and solar energy projects as well as distributed solar energy projects that generate energy for commercial and industrial customers.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni.

Friday 8 March 2019

National Mineral Exploration Policy 2019 to give fillip to Metals and Mining industry in India.

Over the years the dynamics of the mineral sector have undergone sea change thereby creating new demands and imperatives. There is a compelling need to provide an impetus to exploration activity in the country. This has prompted the Government to carry out a comprehensive review of its exploration policy and strategy. The Government of India allowed 100% FDI in the mining sector for the growth of Metals and Mining industry.

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP). National Mineral Policy 2019 replaces the extant National Mineral Policy 2008 which was announced in the year 2008. The NMEP primarily aims at accelerating the exploration activity in the country through enhanced participation of the private sector. There is a need for comprehensive mineral exploration of the country to uncover its full mineral potential so as to put the nation's mineral resources (non-fuel and non-coal) to best use and thereby maximize sectoral contribution to the Indian economy. 

The policy emphasizes on making available baseline geoscientific data of world standards in the public domain, quality research in a public-private partnership, special initiatives for the search of deep-seated and concealed deposits, quick aero geophysical surveys of the country, and creation of a dedicated geoscience database etc.

The National Mineral Exploration Policy has the following main features for facilitating exploration in the country:- 

  • The Ministry of Mines will carry out auctioning of identified exploration blocks for exploration by the private sector on revenue sharing basis in case their exploration leads to auctionable resources. The revenue will be borne by the successful bidder of those auctionable blocks. 
  • If the explorer agencies do not discover any auctionable resources, their exploration expenditure will be reimbursed on a normative cost basis. 
  • Creation of baseline geoscientific data as a public good for open dissemination free of charge. 
  • The government will carry out a National Aerogeophysical Program for acquiring state-of-the-art baseline data for targeting concealed mineral deposits. 
  • A National Geoscientific Data Repository is proposed to be set up to collate all baseline and mineral exploration information generated by various central & state government agencies and also mineral concession holders and to maintain these on the geospatial database.
  • Government proposes to establish a not-for-profit autonomous institution that will be known as the National Centre for Mineral Targeting (NCMT) in collaboration with scientific and research bodies, universities and industry for scientific and technological research to address the mineral exploration challenges in the country. 
  • Provisions for inviting private investment in exploration through attractive revenue sharing models. 
  • On the lines of UNCOVER project of Australia, the government intends to launch a special initiative to probe deep-seated/ concealed minerals deposits in the country in collaboration with National Geophysical Research Institute and the proposed NCMT and Geoscience Australia.
In order to implement the recommendations of the NMEP, initially, an amount of about Rs.2116 crore over 5 years would be required over and above the annual plan budget of the Geological Survey of India under the Ministry of Mines. The NMEP will benefit the entire mineral sector across the country. 

The major impact of NMEP are:- 

1) The pre-competitive baseline geoscientific data will be created as a public good and will be fully available for open dissemination free of charge. This is expected to benefit public and private exploration agencies. 

2) The collaboration with scientific and research bodies, universities and industry for the scientific and technological development necessary for exploration in a public-private partnership. 

3) The government will launch a special initiative to probe deep-seated/concealed mineral deposits in the country. Characterizing India's geological cover, investigating India's lithospheric architecture, resolving 4D geodynamic and metallogenic evolution, and detecting and characterizing the distal footprints of ore deposits, would be the main components of this initiative. 

4) A National Aerogeophysical Mapping program will be launched to map the entire country with low altitude and close space flight to delineate the deep-seated and concealed mineral deposits. 

5) The government will engage private agencies for carrying out exploration in identified blocks/areas with the right to certain share in the revenue accruing to the State government through auction. 

6) Public expenditure on regional and detailed exploration will be prioritized and subject to periodical review based on assessment of criticality and strategic interests.

Among the changes introduced in the National Mineral Policy, 2019 include the focus on #MakeInIndia initiative and Gender sensitivity in terms of the vision.  In so far as the regulation in Minerals is concerned, E-Governance, IT enabled systems, awareness and Information campaigns have been incorporated.  Regarding the role of state in mineral development online public portal with provision for generating triggers at higher level in the event of delay of clearances has been put in place.  NMP 2019 aims to attract private investment through incentives while the efforts would be made to maintain a database of mineral resources and tenements under mining tenement systems.   

The new policy focusses on use coastal waterways and inland shipping for evacuation and transportation of minerals and encourages dedicated mineral corridors to facilitate the transportation of minerals.  The utilization of the district mineral fund for equitable development of project affected persons and areas. NMP 2019 proposes a long term export import policy for the mineral sector to provide stability and as an incentive for investing in large scale commercial mining activity.

The 2019 Policy also introduces the concept of Inter-Generational Equity that deals with the well-being not only of the present generation but also of the generations to come and also proposes to constitute an inter-ministerial body to institutionalize the mechanism for ensuring sustainable development in mining.

Source - IBEF and PIB.

Tuesday 5 March 2019

"One Nation One Card" for Metro, Local Train, Buses across India. NPCI, CDAC and Bharat Electronics develop National Common Mobility Card.

National Payments Corporation of India, Centre for Development of Advanced Computing and Bharat Electronics Limited have jointly developed an intelligent transport system smart-card. In line with the spirit of 'One Nation', the smart card once recharged can be used anywhere on any metro system, suburban trains, and buses across India. At this moment, the Delhi Metro card cannot be used on AFC gates in Mumbai Metro. Similarly, Mumbai Metro, Monorail, Local trains and BEST buses issue different smart cards dedicated only for its respective ticketing service.

Soon, a Pan-India transport card will be made available for the common public. Such smart cards are operational in advanced city nations like Singapore and Hong Kong. Transport evangelists believe that other services like taxis and toll tax could also be linked on this National Common Mobility Card.

PM Narendra Modi launched today One Nation, One Card for transport mobility at a function in Ahmedabad today. The Indigenous Automatic Fare Collection System based on One Nation One Card Model i.e. National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) is the first of its kind in India.

India’s First Indigenously Developed Payment Eco-system for transport consisting of NCMC Card, SWEEKAR (Swachalit Kiraya: Automatic Fare Collection System) and SWAGAT (Swachalit Gate) is based on NCMC Standards.

A new era of Smart Transportation

Public Transport is extensively used across India as the economical and convenient mode of commuting for all classes of society. Cash continues to be the most preferred mode of fare payments across the public transport. However, there are multiple challenges associated with the cash payment e.g. cash handling, revenue leakages, cash reconciliation etc. Various initiatives have been taken by transit operators to automate & digitize the fare collection using Automatic Fare Collection System (AFC). The introduction of closed loop cards issued by these operators helped to digitize the fare collection to a significant extent. However, the restricted usability of these payment instruments limits the digital adoption by customers.

AFC System (gates, readers/validators, backend infrastructure etc.) is the core of any transit operator to automate the fare collection process. The major challenge associated with AFC system implementation in India till now is the lack of indigenous solution provider. Till now, AFC systems deployed at various Metros are from foreign players. In order to avoid the vendor lock-in and create an interoperable system, there was a need to develop indigenous standards and AFC system under Make in India initiative.

In order to ensure a seamless travel across metros and other transport systems in addition to retail shopping and purchases, the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) came out with the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) Program. 

A committee was formed with representatives from National Informatics Centre (NIC), Centre for Development of Advance Computing (C-DAC), Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) and the Ministry of Finance with an objective to develop the vendor agnostic interoperable ecosystem for NCMC including indigenous AFC System and banking interface. 

NPCI was given the mandate to develop the specifications for card & terminal to support the NCMC ecosystem. Based on the best global practices and dynamics of Indian market, the committee recommended EMV based Open Loop Card with stored value as NCMC

CDAC has entrusted the task of finalization of NCMC specification for AFC system including the interface with Bank server. CDAC worked in collaboration with NPCI to complete this activity. Thereafter, BEL was roped in for making Gates & Reader.

The Gate & Reader prototype has been made by BEL. This is the first gate and the reader which has been manufactured by an Indian company. This is also the first indigenous payment reader which has been certified as per International standards. India joins the very few elite nations who have indigenous capacity on gate and reader production.

NCMC Ecosystem offers the value proposition for customers as they need not to carry multiple cards for different usage. Further, the super quick contactless transactions will improve the seamless experience. For operators, NCMC ecosystem brings common standards for implementation without vendor lock-in.

This will also help in higher digital payments penetration, savings on closed loop card lifecycle management cost and reduced operating cost. The rich data insights may be used by operators for business intelligence leading to efficient operation. 

With the NCMC Ecosystem, banks will get an access to segments which are highly driven by cash but stickiness in nature. NCMC Ecosystem will further help the government in digitization of low-value payments and reduced cost for the entire ecosystem. 

In order to showcase the entire NCMC ecosystem for digital fare collection, the complete AFC system has been deployed in Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) across few stations for field trial purpose. Under this pilot, NCMC compliant gates have been deployed at various stations of DMRC and cards have been issued by multiple banks to the users.

The pilot at DMRC was inaugurated by MoHUA on Jan 31st, 2019. This pilot will help to improve hardware reliability and fine tuning of the software. This will also facilitate large scale indigenous production and deployment in the Indian transit system. The first level trails has been successfully completed in collaboration with CDAC, BEL, NPCI and SBI.

'One Nation One Card'

Public Sector Banks like SBI will issue Debit/Credit/Prepaid cards and the customer may use this single card for payments across all segments including metro, bus, suburban railways, toll, parking, smart city and retail. The stored value on card supports offline transaction across all travel needs with minimal financial risk to involved stakeholders. The service area feature of this card supports operator specific applications e.g. monthly passes, season tickets etc.

The National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) to enable seamless travel by different metros and other transport systems across the country besides retail shopping and purchases is an initiative of the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs. The card will address the challenges associated with the cash payment e.g. cash handling, revenue leakages, cash reconciliation etc. Various initiatives have been taken by transit operators to automate & digitize the fare collection using Automatic Fare Collection System (AFC). The introduction of closed loop cards issued by these operators helped to digitize the fare collection to a significant extent. However, the restricted usability of these payment instruments limits the digital adoption by customers. 

The customers need not carry multiple cards for different usage. Further, the super quick contactless transactions will improve the seamless experience. This will also help in higher digital payments penetration, savings on closed loop card lifecycle management cost and reduced operating cost. The rich data insights may be used by operators for business intelligence leading to efficient operation.

Source - Press Information Bureau.

Monday 4 March 2019

GMR Infra bags contract to develop greenfield Bhogapuram airport near Vizag.

GMR Infrastructure Limited has informed Bombay Stock Exchange that its subsidiary GMR Airports Ltd has emerged as the highest bidder for the Development, Operations and Management of Greenfield International Airport at Bhogapuram, Andhra Pradesh (AP) on a PPP basis. The initial investment for Phase-1 to be approx. Rs 2,300 crores.

Andhra Pradesh Airports Development Corporation Limited (APADCL), had initiated the RFP process for a new airport at Bhogapuram in November 2018. The project involves design, build, finance, construction, development, up-gradation, modernization, operation and maintenance of the Bhogapuram airport for a period of 40 years. As part of the qualification process, APADCL had shortlisted seven applicants viz GMR Group, GVK, Dolt Infra, !-Investment, NIIF, Esse! and Reliance Infra. However, only GMR Group, GVK and Dolt Infra submitted their financial bids.

In Calendar Year 2018, the existing civil enclave at Vishakapatnam Naval Airfield has handled 2.33 mn passengers and 5000 Tons cargo. Over the past 4 years, the passenger traffic at the Vizag airport has grown at 14% CAGR while the Airport ranks 5th amongst the custom airports in India in terms of Cargo traffic.

The proposed greenfield airport site lies on the border of Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram districts, and is approximately 45 km from Visakhapatnam through NH-5 and 25 km from Vizianagaram via NH-43. The site is strategically located on the east coast and stands to get benefitted from the vast catchment area surrounding the region. Moreover, the beach corridor development is underway in proximity to the proposed International Airport in Bhogapuram which will provide impetus to retail and hospitality developments in the region.

Mr. GBS Raju, Business Chairman, GMR Group said, "It is a matter of great pride for us as Bhogapuram Airport win will add to the ever-growing portfolio of Airports developed, managed and operated by GMR Airports. We look forward to work on this prestigious airport and will aim to deliver an airport of global standards which would be a matter of pride for the region of Visakhapatnam and provide a further fillip to the economic potential of Andhra Pradesh." 

The company is looking forward to receiving a Letter of Award shortly.