Shale gas exploration policy is expected to be announced in the next 15 days by the Government in India, much to the annoyance of environmentalists, as in the foreseeable future, we do not have the water resources
There is a lurking fear in the minds of gulf oil producers and Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal, a Saudi Billionaire, is reported to have said there is a threat from shale oil and gas and "this is definitely coming!"
In the recent months, there has been a lot of discussion on the issue of shale oil & gas exploration in the country. Those in the know of things are perturbed by the interest shown by the Government in India to develop shale oil & gas resources in the country, knowing full well that India has neither the technology nor the water resources that would be required for “fracking”. Besides, the disposable water, contaminated with chemicals, will affect surrounding areas unless they are properly treated. This is known but the details of preparations to process this waste water has not been made public.
Yet, shale gas exploration policy is expected to be announced in the next 15 days, much to the annoyance of environmentalists.
Geological surveys have indicated that six basins appear to have the potential and these are: Cambay, Assam-Arakan, Gondawana, KG onshore, Cauvery onshore and the Indo-Gangetic plains. Once details surveys are made, we may know the shale gas prospects in these basins. It is expected that, initially, ONGC and Oil India Ltd will explore, and for the Cambay basin, ONGC has already earmarked Rs150-200 crore to carry out first phase of drilling operations. They plan to obtain technical assistance from Conoco Phillips of USA. The present estimates indicate that India has 63 trillion cubic feet of gas, enough to meet the requirement of our existing gas-fired power stations for 20 years at current levels of consumption.
Moneylife has covered this issue earlier and believe that, not only now but also in the foreseeable future, we do not have the water resources! Nor do we have the technology to purify this dirty, chemically contaminated water after fracking.
That said, one can appreciate the government's anxiety to reduce the dependence of oil and gas imports from the current 79% to 50% by 2020. To achieve this ambitious target, we need explore, develop and expand our indigenous sources. We can not compare ourselves to the natural advantages that USA has.
Reliance has already shown the lead in investing in this industry in the USA. Why not the government consider the possibilities of importing shale oil and LNG from the USA? Or it may be worth our while to wait and watch the developments taking place before we plunge into this biz?
In the meantime, let's take a look at the development that has taken place so far in the shale gas and oil industry. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), by 2017, USA is expected to become number one in oil production, dislodging Saudi Arabia, and by 2030 become an exporter. At the moment, USA imports about 8 million barrels per day from Saudi Arabia.
All this has happened due to rapid strides made in the development of shale oil & gas and the process technology related to the industry. Reports from IEA also show that USA has 665 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas. And, as for shale oil, it is estimated to be at 58 billion barrels, as stated by Doug Brooks, CEO of Aurora Oil & Gas, during a Shale Conference in San Antonio, USA, recently. Due to this extraordinary development taking place in the USA, oil and gas producing countries in the Middle East are cautious in their production plans. Saudi Arabia used to ship 1.4 million barrels per day to USA but now ships less due to increased domestic production in that country. Saudi plans to increase production to 15 million barrels per day are now shelved and they plan to retain their current output at 12 million barrels per day.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)
The landmark judgement from the apex court would force political parties to find better candidates and also pay attention to middle-class concerns about growth, development and infrastructure, instead of focusing only on narrow vote banks and money-muscle power of its candidate
In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court on Friday said, voters have a right to reject all candidates contesting an election. This negative voting would now make all political parties to select good candidates unlike the current practice to decide candidature based on the money and muscle power of the candidate.
While delivering the significant verdict, the apex court said, negative voting would lead to systemic change in polls and political parties will be forced to project clean candidate as well as foster purity and vibrancy in elections. "If right to vote is statutory right, right to reject candidate is fundamental right of speech and expression under the Constitution," the SC said.
Elections are an expensive and nerve-racking business for political parties and the cost of a re-election and finding worthy candidates will be very high. The right-to-reject button alone will create plenty of pressure in entrenched political parties to find better candidates and also pay attention to middle-class concerns about growth, development and infrastructure, instead of focusing only on narrow vote banks. Even a 25% improvement in the choice of candidates will lead to a significant incremental transformation in India.
Last year, while speaking at a seminar titled “Democracy at Crossroads—Need for Electoral Reforms”, organised by Moneylife Foundation and V Citizens Action Network (VCAN), Dr SY Quraishi, former chief election commissioner had said, “What people don’t understand is the lower the turn-out, the easier it is for the criminals and dishonest candidates to win.”
With the Supreme Court decision, people who desist from voting because of not finding right candidate, would come forward and participate in the election process.
In January 2012, some like minded activists, including Vallabh C had stated a petition on Change.org for requesting the Election Commission to fully restore secrecy of voting and introduce a button on electronic voting machines (EVMs) for 'not voting'.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled that the returning officer can reject nomination papers of a candidate for non-disclosure and suppression of information, including that of assets and their criminal background.
The apex court said voters have a fundamental right to know about their candidates and leaving columns blank in the nomination paper amounts to violation of their right. The Election Commission (EC) had supported the plea filed by Resurgence India, a civil rights group, that no column should be allowed to be left blank which tantamount to concealing information and not filing complete affidavit.
Investors with claims of less than Rs10 lakh, would get certain amount during their claim proceedings from the investor protection fund
Market regulator Securities & Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) said it will give monetary relief to investors having claims up to Rs10 lakh, during the course of proceedings from the Investor Protection Fund (IPF) of stock exchanges.
According to a release, SEBI said, the Investor Grievance Redressal Committee (IGRC) in the stock exchange would be empowered to look into admissibility of claims in addition to conciliation process. If IGRC concludes that the complaint cannot be resolved through conciliation process, then the stock exchange would block the claim amount admissible to the investor from the deposit of the concerned member. The member would get seven days to pursue next arbitration. If the member does not opt for arbitration, then the stock exchange would release the blocked amount to the investor after the seven day's timeframe.
SEBI said, in case, the member opts for arbitration and the claim value admissible to the investor is not more than Rs10 lakh, the monetary relief from IPF would be given to the investor as mentioned below:
i. 50% of the admissible claim value or Rs75,000, whichever is less, shall be released to the investor from IPF of the stock exchange.
ii. In case the arbitration award is in favour of the investor and the member opts for appellate arbitration then a positive difference of, 50% of the amount mentioned in the arbitration award or Rs1.5 lakh, whichever is less and the amount already released to the investor at clause (i) above, shall be released to the investor from IPF of the stock exchange.
iii. In case the appellate arbitration award is in favour of the investor and the member opts for making an application under section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 to set aside the appellate arbitration award, then a positive difference of 75% of the amount determined in the appellate arbitration award or Rs2 lakh, whichever is less and the amount already released to the investor at clause (i) and (ii) above, shall be released to the investor from IPF of the stock exchange.
Separately, SEBI said, in order to address the complaints regarding 'unauthorised trades', the stock exchanges would ensure that the contract note issued by member for transactions owing to non-compliance of margin calls would bear a remark specifying the same. The member would maintain a verifiable record of having made such margin calls and that the clients have not complied with the same, the market regulator said.
SEBI has also asked stock exchanges to set up facilitation desks at all investor service centres to assist investors in obtaining documents or details from stock exchanges wherever so required for making application to IGRC and filing arbitration.
The market regulator has also reduced the amount payable by investor for appellate arbitration to Rs10,000 from Rs30,000.