hydrocarbons Current Affairs - 2020

India Russia to sign MoU on Coking Coal

On May 7, 2020, Indian Petroleum Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and Russian Energy Minister alexander Novak held a meeting through video conference. The ministers reviewed ongoing projects.

Highlights

The ministers emphasized on the cooperation in coking sector. They also held talks about signing a Memorandum of Understanding on Coking coal. The Russian minister briefed about the OPEC+ agreement that was recently signed.

Importance of Coking Coal

India will require 180 million tonnes of coking coal by 2030-31. The coking coal is to be mainly used to cater steel industry. This comes because the National Steel Policy aims to increase the steel production by 300 million tonnes by 2030.

Also, India aims to meet 35% of its coking coal demands indigenously. The coking coal reserves in India is around 27.9 billion tonnes.

Background of the meet

India is seeking long term agreement of crude oil supply from Russia to diversify the sources of hydrocarbon. India is also interested in gas infrastructure, gas business and petrochemicals industries in Russia.

In order to achieve this, India has been conducting negotiations with Russia. The video conference that was held between the ministers was based on these interests of India.

Other Interests of India

India is interested to explore new sea routes in the Russian Arctic to source crude oil from the region. Also, it intends to revive the Vladivostok-Chennai shipping line to source coking coal from the region.

Cauvery Delta of Tamil Nadu declared Protected Agricultural Zone

On February 10, 2020, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu announced that Cauvery Delta is to be declared as Protected Special Agricultural Zone. In 2019, the Central Government had awarded the oil and gas exploration projects in the Cauvery basin. This invoked large protests amid water crisis in the state. Extraction of hydro carbon requires excess amount of fresh water.

Highlights

With the zone being Agricultural protected Zone, the permission of State government is required to undertake projects. This infers that oil exploration projects cannot be undertaken by the private firms without the permission of state government.

Agricultural Protection Zone

When a land is announced as Protected Agricultural Zone, it cannot be used for any other non-agricultural activities.

Significance

The Environmental Impact Assessment of 2006 that was recently amended by the central government gives permission for ONGC and other private firms. And since Cauvery Delta is rich in Hydrocarbons, it is essential to protect the agricultural land in the region.