Chopper Crash Brings Maintenance, Infrastructure, Training Issues Back To The Fore

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By The Economic Times

Inadequate maintenance, infrastructure problems including ill-equipped offshore helidecks, lax regulation and lack of proper crew training at operators such as state-run Pawan Hans Helicopters bog down chopper operations in India.
The issues have been brought to the fore again by the weekend’s helicopter crash. The aircraft, belonging to Oil & Natural Gas Corp and operated by Pawan Hans, crashed 30 nautical miles off Mumbai’s coast, killing five ONGC officials and two crew members on board.
While the final jury is out on the incident, sources ET spoke to primarily blamed poor maintenance of aircraft for such accidents.
“This aircraft which crashed had just returned from routine inspection and was doing its first revenue flight,” said a person in the know.
The pilot was experienced and the plane was new, made in 2010 and with just 7,000 hours of flying, he said. That would evidently leave poor maintenance as the reason, he added. Read More…

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Source:: Chopper Crash Brings Maintenance, Infrastructure, Training Issues Back To The Fore


Trump Says Solar Tariff Decision Is Coming ‘Pretty Soon’

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President Donald Trump said Wednesday he would soon announce a decision on whether to impose tariffs on imported solar cells and modules in the high-stakes Section 201 trade case.

The president criticized American trading partners for dumping subsidized solar products in the U.S. market, causing distress for domestic solar panel manufacturers.

“You know, they dump ‘em — government-subsidized, lots of things happening — they dump the panels, then everybody goes out of business,” Trump said in an interview with Reuters.

Trump has until Jan. 26 to issue a decision on the Section 201 petition, and the White House is expected to meet the statutory deadline.

Asked when his decision would be announced, the president told Reuters: “Pretty soon. Honestly, pretty soon.”

Tensions have been riding high as the Jan. 26 deadline approaches. Politico reported a decision could come as soon as Wednesday, but a White House official later stated there is no set date for a solar trade announcement.

The official said the administration is “coordinating an exhaustive process … that ensures any and all consequences of recommendations sent to the president — be they economic, national security or otherwise — are fully considered and researched.”

U.S.-based crystalline-silicon solar PV manufacturers Suniva and SolarWorld Americas filed the Section 201 last year, arguing that they could not compete with a flood of cheap imports. The petitioners have repeatedly pointed a finger at China, which they claim has cheated the market through subsidies and avoided duties levied in previous trade cases by shifting production to other countries.

The Section 201 case is unique in that it gives the president broad discretion and can be applied globally. Also, unlike the 2012 anti-dumping and countervailing duties solar case, 201 petitioners do not have to prove foreign companies are “dumping” products at below-market prices. Instead, Suniva and SolarWorld need only show that imports have harmed the domestic industry in order to seek emergency trade protections from from virtually every other country in the world.

Both supporters and opponents of new solar tariffs met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer earlier this month to make their case. Following the meeting, a Suniva spokesman said the company “has and will continue to focus on revitalizing the American solar manufacturing industry that has been decimated by China’s cheating.”

President Trump has said he’s intent on taking strong trade action against China. A supplemental report Lighthizer requested from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) explicitly stated that China implemented a series of policy measures and government support programs favoring solar product manufacturing that “directly contradicted the obligations that China committed to undertake” in joining the World Trade Organization. The report could be used to defend new solar tariffs from challenges at the WTO.

The majority of crystalline-silicon solar PV products subject to the tariffs are made in parts of Asia other than China, by both American and Chinese companies. Ironically, the higher the tariff, the more likely foreign manufacturers are to challenge the decision or come to the negotiating table, according to Rhone Resch, former president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association.

“The industry should be prepared for high tariffs, in excess of the U.S. ITC’s recommendations,” he said, referring to the set of proposed tariffs delivered to the White House last fall.

While the president spoke out against product dumping this week, he did not say how he will rule on solar trade case, giving hope to many that he will opt for a more nuanced solution that balances the needs of U.S. panel manufacturers with the rest of the U.S. solar industry, which relies heavily on imported solar products.

As GTM reported, the Section 201 statute allows Trump to delay implementation of a remedy decision by an additional 90 days in order to pursue a “negotiated settlement.” He can also issue a delay to allow certain countries and companies to request tariff exemptions.

Source:: Trump Says Solar Tariff Decision Is Coming ‘Pretty Soon’


Indian Oil Planning To Enhance Fuel Trade With Bangladesh, Myanmar

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By The Economic Times

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the nation’s largest refiner and fossil fuel retailer, is in talks with Bangladesh and Myanmar to enhance trade of petroleum products and offer its expertise to set up oil infrastructure in the two countries.
This month, IndianOil will open offices in Bangladesh and Myanmar, with a plan to closely pursue business opportunities in the two countries.
“For the neighbouring countries, we are not only looking for business, we are looking for association beyond business. Because these countries are also facing similar problems which we have encountered in past, we will be happy to share our experience with them and help them in solving whatever problems they are facing,” IndianOil chairman Sanjiv Singh told ET.
The first thing that may materialise in a month or so is a deal for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), or cooking gas, under which Bangladesh would export LPG to India’s northeastern states. “We are working on concepts that their trucks can come to India and give us LPG. Rather than we trying to feed those parts of North-East, all along from Haldia, it makes tremendous sense (to depend on Bangladesh trucks for supply),” Singh said.
Bangladesh imports all LPG it needs, and the plan is to augment import for supply to north-eastern states. Read More…

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Japan In Driver’s Seat For Indian Bullet Train Deals

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By The Economic Times

Japanese steel and engineering companies are in the driver’s seat to bag major supply contracts for a $17 billion Indian bullet train, several sources said, undermining a key component of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic policy – a push to ‘Make in India’.

Japan is funding most of the project, and Japanese companies are likely to supply at least 70 percent of the core components of the rail line, said five sources in New Delhi with direct knowledge of the matter.

A spokesman for Modi’s office declined comment.

A Japanese transport ministry official involved in the project said the two countries were still working out a strategy for the supply of key components, and would unveil a plan for procurements around July. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

The September 2017 agreement between Japan and India for the bullet train project included two clauses – the promotion of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Transfer of Technology’ – through which New Delhi had hoped to set up manufacturing facilities in the country, generate jobs and get a toehold in Japanese technology. Modi faces a general election in 2019 and is under pressure to provide more jobs to millions of unemployed in India. Critics also say the bullet train is wasteful and that the money could be better used elsewhere. Read More…

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Source:: Japan In Driver’s Seat For Indian Bullet Train Deals


EESL Invites Bid For 2,000 Electric Vehicle Chargers For Phase II

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By The Economic Times

State-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) has invited a bid for 2,000 electric vehicle chargers for the second phase of its EV programme, which will see the rollout of 9,500 electric vehicles across different states.

“We have invited the bid for 2,000 electric vehicle chargers. We will need more chargers, of course, but we want to do it in phases,” Saurabh Kumar, managing director at EESL, told ET.

EESL, which is a joint venture of PSUs under the power ministry, had floated a global tender for 10,000 electric vehicles to replace the government fleet. The tender was split in two parts, where 500 vehicles were to be procured in phase one, while the remaining would be procured in the second phase.

The roll out of the first 500 cars has already begun in Delhi, and the second phase will see 9,500 electric cars being leased to government authorities on a pan-India basis.

While the previously announced tender for 4,000 electric chargers was scrapped by EESL, they floated a pilot tender of about a 100 chargers for the first phase and the results have been satisfactory, Kumar said, adding, “Now, we have tested these (chargers) and everything is in place. Therefore we now feel that these specifications can work on the ground.” Read More…

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