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Nepal, China to sign long-term petroleum deal

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In a significant departure, Nepal and China have agreed to sign a long-term petroleum deal to import fuel from Beijing. With this, Nepal will end the Indian monopoly over fuel imports.The foreign ministers of Nepal and China have directed the concerned authorities to seal the deal at the earliest, officials said.This followed a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing on Friday.

For exploring the possibilities of importing fuel on an urgent basis, a two-member team from the ministry of commerce and supplies and Nepali Oil Corp has reached Beijing.Thapa is the senior most Nepali official to visit China after Kathmandu came out with a new constitution, protests against which have virtually sealed the India-Nepal border creating major shortages in Nepal.

“By overcoming the harsh geographical and environmental conditions, for the first time, we have agreed to supply fuel to Nepal that it urgently needs. Foreign Minister Thapa and I had very in-depth talks and reached a broad consensus,” Yang said at a joint press meet in Beijing with Thapa.Thapa said: “I am very happy to note that China has instructed the petroleum export authority to be in touch and discuss issues related with the long-term trade of petroleum products with Nepal.

“A press statement issued after the meeting by the foreign affairs ministry stated that China had expressed a desire to seriously examine Nepal’s proposals to import petroleum products from Beijing.The two countries will jointly examine matters relating to price, transportation and logistics. As a friendly gesture, China will provide additional fuel to Nepal’s northern areas bordering Tibet.Nepal and China also agreed to upgrade and operationalize the existing border points and develop the other border points to promote connectivity between the two countries.

China has agreed to give priority to the reopening of the Tatopani-Zhangmu border point, which has been disrupted after the April earthquake that killed thousands in Nepal.The intergovernmental mechanisms have been tasked to advance negotiations on the proposals on free trade area, transit and Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (BIPPA).Thapa and Wang also discussed a transit treaty between the two countries.

Thapa said the treaty would enable Nepalese to access travel and goods from other countries through Chinese ports.On India-Nepal relations, Thapa said: “Immediately after the promulgation of the constitution, there has been some misunderstanding between Nepal and India.”Because of this, India imposed unofficial obstruction on transit and supply of fuel and other essential commodities,” he said.

“That caused a severe impact on the Nepalese society. It also had a negative impact on our economic growth. But I am very happy to say at this point of time that things are moving and improving,” said Thapa.

wefornews bureau

 

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Another hike in price of non-subsidized LPG cylinder

The price of a 19-kg LPG cylinder for commercial use has been increased from Rs 1,193.50 to Rs 1,197.50 in Kolkata, from Rs 1,087.50 to Rs 1,090.50 in Mumbai and from Rs 1,254 to Rs 1,255 in Chennai.

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LPG cylinder

New Delhi, July 1 : The price of non-subsidized LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) cylinders has been marginally increased with effect from Wednesday.

In Delhi, non-subsidized LPG cylinders will be costlier by Re 1. According to the Indian Oil website, the price of a 14.2-kg non-subsidized gas cylinder in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai has been increased from Rs 593 to Rs 594, from Rs 616 to Rs 620.50, from Rs 590.50 to Rs 594 and from Rs 606.50 to Rs 610.50, respectively, from July 1.

However, the price of a 19-kg commercial LPG cylinder has been reduced by Rs 4 from Rs 1,139.50 to Rs 1,135.50 in Delhi while in Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai its price has been increased.

The price of a 19-kg LPG cylinder for commercial use has been increased from Rs 1,193.50 to Rs 1,197.50 in Kolkata, from Rs 1,087.50 to Rs 1,090.50 in Mumbai and from Rs 1,254 to Rs 1,255 in Chennai.

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Domestic gas pricing reform on cards, controls may be lifted

As many as 117 companies are operating in these blocks post the ninth NELP round. This has at least 11 public sector undertakings, 58 private firms and 48 foreign companies.

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New Delhi, June 30 : In one of the last reforms in the oil and gas sector, the government is set to free up pricing of all domestically produced natural gas that would help scale up local production from fields of ONGC, OIL, Reliance and Vedanta and help create a uniform gas market where the fuel is freely tradable on exchanges.

The development comes soon after the launch of country”s first online delivery-based gas trading platform – India Gas Exchange which is expected to play a big role in competitive price discovery for the natural gas that will come from different parts of the globe and from within India.

Government sources said that discussions on lifting price restrictions on locally produced natural gas have started again and soon a decision would be taken about the timing of the new reform initiative. The current timing is considered ideal to free up gas prices as oil market after witnessing extreme volatility in March and April have stabilised and prices have remained soft and stable.

A panel led by the NITI Aayog Vice Chairman has also suggested free-market pricing for natural gas produced from all fields to boost domestic output. Now with gas exchange also in place, the idea to expand on the idea of creating a gas based economy has gained strength:

“We are looking at all proposals on bringing out domestic gas production from pricing regulations. A cabinet note proposing the changes would soon be finalised so that new system is put in place at the earliest,a said a government official privy to the development.

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also indicated towards the reform initiative last week when at a function he said that India will gradually end controls on gas pricing as it seeks to attract foreign investment and technology to lift local output.

However, any move to completely lift price regulation in the gas sector will be done gradually as has been suggested by the Kelkar Committee. This would mean that the present system of regulated gas pricing for domestic production would continue for at least three more years but during the period producers would be given freedom to sell a portion of the total output under negotiated pricing deals (market determined) with their customers.

The NDA government”s reform initiatives ever since coming to power has already allowed free gas pricing for production coming from small and marginal blocks, difficult high pressure/deep water blocks and all production coming under the newly bid blocks under the Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP).

But the pricing and marketing of gas from Pre-NELP exploration blocks and those under New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) is still regulated. This regulation will be lifted gradually, once the new policy is approved.

The current gas pricing method for pre-NELP and NELP blocks is based on a 2014 government-set formula that takes average rates from global trading hubs to determine domestic prices twice a year – in April and then in October. Under the formula, the current gas price is at $ 2.39 per million metric British thermal unit (mmBtu) for the six-month period beginning April 1. Gas producers have been critical of this low pricing that adversely impacts investments in the upstream sector.

“It”s about time when government frees up gas pricing, if it is serious about developing a gas based economy in the country. Apart from lifting pricing restrictions on domestic gas, the government should also do away with price caps for market determined gas price. This would enable market forces and competition to offer best available prices to consumers,” said a senior official of a private sector oil and gas explorer who did not wish to be named.

At present, producers can charge market rates for gas from deep sea and other difficult fields but rates must stay below a government-prescribed ceiling that”s linked to the prices of alternative fuels. The price ceiling is currently at $5.61 per mmBtu. The new policy will look into this ceiling price as well, sources said.

India is looking at investor friendly policies in oil and gas sector to attract investments that has remained miniscule for last several years. Due to this, domestic oil production has stagnated while gas production has not picked up in a big way. In fact, domestic gas output shrank by 5 per cent in FY20 and has fallen by about 18 per cent in the first two months of current fiscal pushing up the demand of relatively expensive imported liquefied natural gas. The government is aiming to increase gas production by two-and-a-half times by 2030, which would help raise the fuel”s share in the country”s energy mix to 15 per cent from the current 6 per cent.

At present, out of 310 exploration blocks awarded so far under various bidding rounds (discovered field, pre-NELP & NELP), 189 blocks/fields are operational. 17 blocks under nomination are being operated by ONGC and OIL. Petroleum Exploration Licences (PEL) for domestic exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas were granted under four different regimes over a period time: nomination basis — PEL, Pre-NELP discovered field, Pre-NELP exploration blocks and New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP).

As many as 117 companies are operating in these blocks post the ninth NELP round. This has at least 11 public sector undertakings, 58 private firms and 48 foreign companies.

( can be contacted at [email protected])

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Petrol, diesel prices go for pause, relief likely ahead

All of the active cases in the force are under treatment at designated COVID health care hospitals, the BSF informed on Tuesday.

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New Delhi, June 30 : Fuel prices have gone for a pause after rising on 22 of the past 24 days as oil marketing companies (OMC) kept the pump prices of petrol and diesel unchanged on Tuesday.

As per official data updated on Tuesday, a total of 354 active cases have been reported in the Border Security Force (BSF) so far. The number of recovered troops in the force, however, stands at 659.

A total of four BSF personnel have succumbed due to the infection while one died in a road accident on June 20 and he was later declared COVID-19 positive.

The last 24 hours report shows fresh 53 cases and four recoveries in the paramilitary force, charged with guarding India’s land border during peace time and preventing transnational crime.

All of the active cases in the force are under treatment at designated COVID health care hospitals, the BSF informed on Tuesday.

Established on December 1, 1965, BSF is a Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs. With force strength of over 2.5 lakh personnel, the BSF is mandated to guard 4,096 km India-Bangladesh and 3,323 km India-Pakistan borders.

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