India rolls out higher quality fuels in Delhi

▪ India rolls out higher quality fuels in Delhi

Higher quality, lower Sulfur, and less polluting Euro VI-compliant fuels were rolled out in India’s capital city, Delhi, on Sunday, April 1. The rollout is expected to reduce emissions of particulate matter (PM) by 10-20%, according to B.V. Rama Gopal, director (refineries) of Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. “The fuel shall be made available from 187 petrol pumps of Indian Oil within Delhi. For the next milestone on 1 April 2019 (NCR and metro cities), 1,013 Indian Oil retail outlets shall be covered,” according to Indian Oil Corp.

The plan is to supply Alwar, Bharatpur, Karauli amd Dhaulpur by January 1, 2019, to be followed by Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar, Baghpat, Hapur, Buland Shahar and Shamli by April 1, 2019. Faridabad, Gurugram, Mahendranagar, Rewari, Jhajjar, Palwal and Mewat will follow on October 1, 2019.

While these higher quality fuels will be supplied by Indian Oil Corp. from its Mathura and Panipat refineries, other state-owned oil marketing companies, such as Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (BPCL), will supply these fuels from their Bhatinda and Bina refineries, respectively.

Indian refiners have spent more than INR 55,000 crore (USD 84.5 billion) to upgrade their refineries to be able to produce Euro or BS III or IV fuels. Another INR 28,000 crore (USD 4.3 billion) is planned to be spent to upgrade to Euro VI by the nationwide deadline of 2020. A particular challenge during this transition period is the logistics in delivering Euro VI fuels to the pump, as these cannot be sent via pipeline. For the moment, all Euro VI fuels will have to be brought to retail outlets from the refineries and terminals via tank trucks.

▪ Indonesian government orders use of high-octane fuel during Asian Games in 3 cities

Indonesia will expand the use of high-octane fuel during the upcoming Asian Games (Asiad), to address the air quality issues in cities hosting the sports event. The official order was issued by Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Ministry, after it sent an official notification letter to the president requiring this type of fuel to be used for public transportation vehicles, during the event, according to PT Pertamina Spokesperson Adiatma Sarjito. Pertamina is Indonesia’s state-owned oil and gas company.

The order would apply to three cities, Bandung, Jakarta and Palembang, from August 18 to September 2.

“The international requirement to host the sports event is that Sulfur particles in the air must be no higher than 25 micrograms per meter square,” Adiatma said. To address the order, Pertamina will prioritize the distribution of this higher octane gasoline.

Due to the limited storage tanks in service stations in these cities, Adiatman said that the move would consequently reduce the distribution of other types of fuel. Pertamax Turbo, which is a Euro 4-compliant fuel, is the only type of fuel that complies with the ministry’s order.

The ministry’s order will also apply during the International Monetary Fund-World Bank annual meeting slated for October this year in Bali.

▪ Shell bets on petrol stations as electric revolution looms

Royal Dutch Shell is placing a big bet on petrol stations and convenience stores in China, India and Mexico as it looks to shore up profits during the electric car revolution. By 2025, the oil and gas giant plans to grow its global network of roadside stations by nearly a quarter to 55,000, targeting 40 million daily customers, Shell said in a statement on Wednesday 21-March.

Shell sees retail as a way to secure demand for the fuels it refines, as consumption could peak as early as by the end of the next decade due to the growth in electric vehicles.

“We plan to be leading through the energy transition,” Shell head of downstream John Abbott said in an investor presentation.

Already one of the world’s biggest retailers, Shell expects earnings from its marketing and commercial business to grow annually by 7% into 2025, when it will deliver 4bn US$ in earnings.

Around half of the new petrol stations will be built in fast growing economies, mostly in China, India, Indonesia, Russia and Mexico, where Shell’s market share is smaller compared to local companies, Shell head of retail Istvan Kapitany said. “These markets will produce half of the oil (demand) growth.” The company is also rolling out a number of experimental initiatives to introduce electric battery and hydrogen chargers to its traditional petrol stations, hoping to capture some of the growth in the non-combustion engine business.

▪ German Chancellor Merkel says court ruling allowing diesel bans was balanced

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday a court ruling in February that German cities can ban the most polluting diesel vehicles from their streets was "very balanced" but added that diesel technology was needed until greener ones are developed.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday 09-March a court ruling in February that German cities can ban the most polluting diesel vehicles from their streets was "very balanced" but added that diesel technology was needed until greener ones are developed.

She added: "Of course the automobile industry has a duty to make good on what it neglected in terms of software and to meet its commitments because mistakes have been made."

▪ Rosneft refinery produces first batch of high-octane gasoline

The launch of the new product resulted from the successful implementation of Rosneft’s production modernization program aimed at boosting the performance of its motor fuels. In addition to its higher performance characteristics, AI-100 is more environmentally desirable, the company said.

Rosneft Oil Company is the largest oil company in the Russian Federation. The company’s largest shareholders include state-owned company Rosneftegaz (50%+1 share), BP Russian Investments Limited (19.75%), and QHG Oil Ventures Pte. Ltd. (a joint venture between Glencore and QIA, 19.5%).

Ryazan Oil Refinery Company (RNPK) is the largest refinery of Rosneft, with a designed refining capacity of 18.8m MT per annum. In addition to AI-100, RNPK produces a wide range of high-quality petroleum products including AI-92, AI-95, AI-98 gasoline, Euro 5 diesel fuel, jet fuel, boiler fuel, road and construction bitumen and other oil products.

▪ Taiwan announces low-Sulfur fuel oil regulations effective 01-Jan 2019

Taiwan is trying to stay ahead of the curve in controlling air pollution from ships, with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) announcing last Thursday a low-Sulfur fuel oil rule for ships entering its international ports that will go into effect on January 1, 2019.

According to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships or MARPOL, the global limit for Sulfur content in fuel oil used in ships will be set at 0.5% mass by mass (m/m) from January 1, 2020. The current global limit is 3.5% m/m.

Thus, with last week’s announcement, Taiwan will be ahead of the times, requiring foreign ships entering its international ports and domestic ships sailing on international routes to use fuel oil with Sulfur content of 0.5% m/m or less starting next year, said Yeh Hsieh-lung, deputy director-general of the MOTC’s Department of Navigation and Aviation.

In an attempt to encourage ships to switch to low-Sulfur fuel even earlier, the MOTC will provide between February 1 to the end of 2018 a subsidy of TWD 5,000 (USD 172) to all vessels, local and foreign, regardless of size, entering Taiwanese ports, if they make the change before the January 1, 2019 implementation date, according to Yeh.

▪ Tesla denies further Model 3 production issues

Tesla Inc is on track to achieve its production targets for the Model 3, the electric car-maker said on Thursday, squashing a report of further delays and quality issues for its latest and most-affordable sedan.

Tesla Inc is on track to achieve its production targets for the Model 3, the electric car-maker said on Thursday, squashing a report of further delays and quality issues for its latest and most-affordable sedan.

Tesla's problems with battery production at its Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, are worse than it had acknowledged, CNBC had reported earlier in the day, citing some company employees.

The problems included Tesla needing to make some batteries by hand and borrowing scores of employees from one of its suppliers to help with manual assembly, CNBC had said.

Tesla shares closed down 2.4 percent on Thursday following the report, but rose 1.6 percent in extended trading after the company said it had no further production setbacks.

"To be absolutely clear, we are on track with the previous projections for achieving increased Model 3 production rates that we provided earlier this month," a Tesla spokesman said in a e-mailed statement.

"As has been well documented, until we reach full production, by definition some elements of the production process will be more manual," the spokesman said. Earlier this month, Tesla delayed a production target for the Model 3 for the second time, disappointing investors even as it claimed "major progress" overcoming manufacturing challenges that have hampered the vehicle's rollout.

Tesla currently plans to make about 2,500 Model 3s per week by the end of the first quarter, half the number it had earlier promised. It expects to reach its goal of 5,000 vehicles per week by the end of the second quarter.

▪ Vietnam plans to hike fuel taxes in fight against pollution, debt

Vietnam plans to raise taxes on fuels starting in July to reduce pollution and pay off public debt, the finance ministry said on Wednesday, though analysts caution the levy could increase inflation and hurt businesses in the country. Vietnam will raise the environment tax on gasoline by 33.3 percent to 4,000 dong ($0.1754) per litre, the Ministry of Finance said on its website. Taxes on diesel fuel, coal and lubricants would also increase though the ministry did not indicate by how much.

The tax hike is part of Vietnam’s strategy to limit products that cause pollution, the ministry said. As South-East Asia’s fastest-growing economy, Vietnam is facing a pollution problem. The capital Hanoi enjoyed little more than one month of clean air last year, according to a January report by the Green Innovation and Development Centre. It has been realized that it is necessary to combat environmental pollution for sustainable growth in Vietnam.

The government must also keep its public debt below 65% of its GDP and the new tax will be used to pay down that debt. There are concerns, however, that the higher tax will raise costs for business and consumers.

If approved by the government, the tax increase would raise inflation by 0.11 to 0.15 percentage points in 2018, the Finance Ministry stated. Vietnam has set an inflation target of 4% for this year.

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