Cotton export only after meeting domestic requirement: Maran

Chennai: Seeking to allay apprehensions of the textile industry over cotton exports, union textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran today said that the Centre would ensure the domestic requirement was met and export of raw cotton would not exceed 55 lakh bales this year, PTI reports.

“The online registration of cotton export has started and the export of cotton will not exceed 55 lakh bales,” Mr Maran said on the sidelines of a function. Stating that the domestic demand was about 260 lakh bales, Maran said export would begin only after the domestic requirement was met and if there was a surplus.

Referring to the representations that had been received, Mr Maran said Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi had written to prime minister Manmohan Singh last month, appealing to him to ensure that the domestic requirement of cotton was fully met before permitting export. Various industry associations, particularly in Tamil Nadu, which is a major textile producer, have opposed the export of cotton, saying it would hurt the requirements of the domestic industry.

Maran said cotton usually arrived in September, but due to heavy rain in certain regions this year the arrival of stocks was delayed. “Now it (cotton) has started arriving,” the minister said.

Asked whether there was a possibility of malpractise in the online registration for cotton exports, Mr Maran said, “It is just online registration. It is not online trading and therefore, there cannot be any malpractises.” He explained that it was mandatory for those who want to export cotton to register online.

On the recent increase in cotton prices, the minister believed that these would stabilise in the coming weeks. Cotton prices in the domestic market are ruling more than 65% higher than that in the corresponding period last year.

Mr Maran explained that in the interest of the weavers, the Centre was keen to generate employment through making cotton clothes for exports. Pointing to the decline in apparel export, he said measures were being taken to correct this trend soon.

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JSW steel production up by 8% in H1

New Delhi: JSW Steel has registered an 8% growth in crude steel production in the first half of the FY11at 3.14 million tonnes (mt) as compared to the corresponding period last year, reports PTI.

The company said in a statement today that production of flat steel products—used primarily by the automobile industry—increased by 32% to 2.36 mt in April-September 2010, compared to that in the corresponding period last year.

The output of long steel products for infrastructure and construction companies also jumped by 44% to 0.57 mt in the first half of the year, from that in the corresponding period a year ago.

“The company has started generation of power at its 300mw captive power plant and heating of two blocks out of four blocks of Coke Oven-4, in the 10mtpa (million tonnes per annum) expansion project at Vijayanagar works in Karnataka,” the statement said. The Vijaynagar unit has a capacity of 6.8 mt and the expansion is likely to be completed by the first quarter of 2011.

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Russia disqualifies ONGC from bidding for oilfields

New Delhi: Russia has disqualified state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) from bidding for the giant Trebs and Titov fields in northwest Russia, PTI reports. An Indian official with information about the process was critical of the development, saying that the bid was rejected on “filmsy” grounds in order to keep out the competition.

Russia’s subsoil agency Rosnedra, late last month, rejected the bid of Nord Imperial, a unit of ONGC’s Russian firm Imperial Energy, on the grounds that it lacked financial capability to develop the Arctic fields. “Nord Imperial had on 21st September submitted an application for qualification to bid for rights to develop the 1.02 billion barrels Trebs and Titov fields in Timan-Pechora, in northwest Russia,” said an official with information about the bid.

“The bid clearly mentioned that Nord Imperial will have financial backing and support of its parents Imperial Energy and ONGC Videsh Ltd,” the official said. “Clearly, the Federal Agency for Management of Mineral Resources chose to ignore financial support letters from OVL while deciding to disqualify Nord Imperial.”

The Russian agency also stated that Nord Imperial had failed to present the approval of the company’s board, or shareholders, for the bid, which statement the Indian executive rubbished saying that the application was accompanied by a company board resolution. “These are nothing but flimsy grounds to keep competition away,” he said.

Among the other companies that were disqualified were Russia’s own Lukoil and Gazpromneft, and BP’s Russian joint venture TNK-BP, apparently for some unspecified errors in their applications. Analysts suggest that Rosnedra disqualifying most of the six contenders was tailored to pave the way for local oil firm Bashneft to win the contract. Surgutneftegaz, the other firm to qualify for the 2nd December tendering for the fields, was kept in the race to lend a veneer of competition.

Bashneft is part of the politically well-connected Sistema group, owned by Vladimir Yevtushenkov, who is said to have received support from President Dmitry Medvedev, according to one media report. Reports suggest that TNK-BP and Lukoil plan to challenge the disqualification in court.

Trebs and Titov, Russia’s largest undistributed fields, may hold more than 200 million tonnes of recoverable reserves. This is about half the reserves of Rosneft’s Vankor, the country’s largest new oil development. The deposits will be sold at a government auction on 2nd December.

Nord Imperial is part of Imperial Energy, which ONGC Videsh Ltd (the overseas investment arm of the state-owned firm) had acquired in 2008 for $2.1 billion.

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