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Mukesh Ambani Is Going Green But Still Getting Rich Off Oil – dot newz

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Mukesh Ambani has in recent years expanded into retail and built his digital business.

Along the Arabian Sea, Jamnagar is a money-making machine for Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, processing crude oil into fuel, plastics and chemicals. It’s also where the billionaire is making his newest bet: a $10 billion investment in green energy.

In a swath of arid land, to the city’s southwest, Mr Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd., owns the world’s biggest oil refining complex. It’s a sprawling network of plants and pipelines that can process 1.4 million barrels of petroleum a day in an operation covering half the area of Manhattan. In fiscal 2021, Reliance generated about 45 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from its own operations, which puts the company among the top such emitters in India, according to data on other companies tracked by Bloomberg. Much of that came from its Jamnagar refineries. 

Next door, in a nod to a changing – and warming – world Mr Ambani is now building factories that make more environmentally friendly products like solar panels, electrolyzers, fuel cells and batteries.

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Reliance’s refinery complex spans the horizon in Jamnagar

On the face of it, the new investment is a sharp pivot for a giant conglomerate whose fortunes have been linked to oil refining for decades. Yet even as Mr Ambani, 64, touts the shift to less polluting options, crude’s byproducts will remain one of the biggest drivers of the $80 billion fortune that’s made him the world’s 12th richest man.

Reliance gets nearly 60% of its $73 billion in annual revenue from its oil-related business, which is so lucrative that it’s attracting other investors. The Middle Eastern energy firm Saudi Aramco is in discussions for the purchase of a roughly 20% stake in Reliance’s refining and chemicals business. 

Mr Ambani’s conglomerate is also investing in global expansion projects for the petrochemicals business that’ll last for decades. Even if its new energy operations take off, they will contribute only 10% of Reliance’s total earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization by fiscal 2026, while oil-to-chemicals will stay at about 33%, Sanford C. Bernstein analysts estimated in July. 

That’s making Jamnagar a location that highlights a broader tension in the energy transition: While the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies are rushing to placate investors – and chase profits – by adding clean power sources, that doesn’t signal a quick retreat from polluting fuels. It’s a contrast playing out even as climate scientists escalate warnings about the fallouts of human-caused global warming.

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A tanker docked at the Port of Sikka, home to Reliance’s Jamnagar Marine Terminal.

M.V. Ramana, an energy policy scholar and professor at University of British Columbia, said it would be hard for Reliance to dissociate from fossil fuel businesses that create emissions. 

“If you look at what Reliance’s trajectory has been, it is one of expansion of its fossil fuels business,” Ramana said. Shifting dramatically away from the more polluting oil-to-chemicals business is difficult “because it is going to affect their bottomline,” he said. 

Reliance didn’t respond to requests for comment. At its annual shareholders’ meeting in June, Mr Ambani acknowledged the need for change. “The age of fossil fuels, which powered economic growth globally for nearly three centuries, cannot continue much longer. The huge quantities of carbon it has emitted into the environment have endangered life on earth,” he said. Reliance has said it will make its operations carbon neutral by 2035 with the help of projects that offset emissions.

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There are also plans to arm the 7,500-acre Jamnagar refinery-and-petrochemicals complex with solar power, green hydrogen and carbon dioxide capture and usage technologies. To curb pollution, about 2,200 acres of land within the facility have been converted into a green pasture, growing mangoes, guavas and medicinal plants.

The site’s scope is so vast that it’s rubbed off on the city’s economy. The facility stands near miles of salt pans, its stacks towering over the low-rise houses in surrounding villages. Reliance’s logo is seen at the airport, on the numerous gas stations it operates, malls and the banners of its telephone service Jio. Jamnagar now has multi-storeyed apartments and luxury cars running on its roads. 

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The refinery towers over the rooftops of nearby villages. There are plans solar power, green hydrogen and carbon dioxide capture and usage technologies.

The Ambani firm has over the last 10 years invested about $15 billion to boost profits from its legacy oil refining and petrochemicals businesses, including $4 billion to convert petroleum coke – one of the dirtiest refinery by-products – into gas needed to power the massive Jamnagar complex. 

It’s also said it will spend $6 billion ramping up natural gas production from the depths of the sea along with joint venture partner BP Plc. In addition, the Reliance-BP joint venture is adding more fuel stations. BP didn’t respond to a request for comment. 

Reliance’s Scope 1 carbon dioxide emissions – those caused directly by a company’s operations – surged 60% in the year ended March 2020 to 47.5 million tons, mainly because it started using petcoke produced from the refineries internally, instead of selling it to customers outside, according to the company’s latest annual report. A year later, emissions came down to 45 million tons.

India is one of  the world’s biggest consumers of oil, and demand is only rising as its middle class buys more vehicles, and consumes more products like plastic bottles and paint that are made from petrochemicals. Many cities, including capital New Delhi, are among the world’s most polluted. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a national clean air program. 

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Reliance earned a net profit of $7.2 billion in the year ended March, the most by any Indian company.

The new Reliance green venture will be spread over 5,000 acres of land. Mr Ambani has said a key focus will be to create products for producing solar power, an area where India has long lagged China.

“When companies of this size announce such ambitious plans, it gives a great fillip to the decarbonization goals of the nations and the world at large,” said Shantanu Jaiswal, head of India at BloombergNEF. 

Still, moving away from polluting fossil fuels for economic reasons is hard not just for Reliance, but for the nation as a whole. India has insisted that developed nations take larger initial steps to cut emissions so that poorer nations don’t feel the economic strain.

The Jamnagar refinery has spawned a whole generation of entrepreneurs. “The billions of dollars Reliance has invested has significantly boosted the local economy,” said Chandrsinh Ramsinh Jadeja, 52, who developed a business doing construction work for Reliance in Jamnagar. “Farmers earned money, sent their kids to school and purchased land elsewhere, tens of thousands of jobs were created.” 

Reliance earned a net profit of 537.4 billion rupees ($7.2 billion) in the year ended March, the most by any Indian company. 

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The Reliance Mall in Jamnagar. Reliance has said it will make its operations carbon neutral by 2035 with the help of projects that offset emissions.

Mr Ambani has in recent years expanded into retail and built his digital business with investments from big names like Facebook Inc. The mammoth Aramco deal under discussion showed how important the oil-to-chemicals enterprise remains to his future. In 2019, Mr Ambani estimated that such a deal would lock in about half-a-million barrels a day of Saudi crude for processing at Reliance’s refineries. 

The latest news about the deal boosted the company’s shares by as much as 2.7% and Mr Ambani’s net worth by more than $1 billion.

“Reliance’s diversification into green energy is a starting point, it’s a welcome shift. But the business is evolving,” said Kanika Chawla, program manager for UN-Energy,  which leads inter-agency collaboration on sustainable energy. “It’s not a change in regime.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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1 Crore Jabs Till 1:30 PM. On PM’s Birthday, Government Aims At Record – dot newz

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The vaccination campaign is key to BJP’s three-week celebrations to mark PM’s birthday.

New Delhi:

As the government raced to deliver a vaccination record on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday today, the country clocked over 42,000 vaccinations a minute, a senior health official said. Vaccinations crossed one crore in the afternoon – for the fourth time in less than a month – setting up a milestone by the end of the day.

Aiming at 2 crore vaccinations as PM Modi turns 71, the government added a ticker to track Covid shots being given across the country.

“Celebrating the relentless efforts of India’s vaccinators against COVID-19, we have added a ticker to show vaccinations happening in near real-time. We are currently clocking over 42,000 vaccinations/minute or 700/second,” tweeted National Health Authority chief RS Sharma, sharing the new feature.

The vaccination campaign is key to the BJP’s three-week celebrations to mark the Prime Minister’s birthday.

“Let’s do #VaccineSeva and give him (PM Modi) birthday gift by getting vaccinated those who have not taken the dose so far,” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had tweeted yesterday, urging people to get the shots.

To achieve its target, the BJP had prepped health volunteers “to ensure that the maximum number of people get their COVID-19 vaccines on the day”.

In recent days, India has reported more than one crore Covid shots in a day more than once.

Senior BJP leaders say the party wants to see the day “recorded in history” as one that saw a record number of Covid vaccines given.

By noon, over 94,00,000 vaccinations had been achieved. PM Modi’s home state Gujarat had crossed five lakh doses, more than the daily doses in the last seven days.

By afternoon, Bihar had given Covid shots to 7.3 lakh people, three times more than the average of the last three days. Madhya Pradesh was at more than 5 lakh doses – 75 per cent of the last two days’ average.





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Under-Construction Flyover Collapses In Mumbai’s Bandra, 14 Injured – dot newz

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The under-construction flyover collapsed at about 4.40am.

At least 14 people were injured after a portion of an under-construction flyover collapsed in Bandra Kurla Complex in Maharashtra’s Mumbai today. The injured were taken to the VN Desai Hospital and their condition is stable, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said.

The flyover collapsed at about 4.40am.

Visuals shared by news agency ANI showed police personnel and fire departments on the spot as the rescue work is underway.

There has been no loss of life and no person is missing due to the collapse, Deputy Commissioner Of Police Manjunath Singe told news agency ANI.

The flyover is located at MTNL junction in suburban Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) and will connect the complex’s main road and Santa Cruz- Chembur link road. The construction work of the flyover is being undertaken by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).

Further details related to the flyover’s collapse are awaited.





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On PM Modi’s 71st Birthday, President Kovind, BJP Leaders Extend Wishes – dot newz

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Today marks the 71st birthday of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned 71 on Friday as President Ram Nath Kovind and other dignitaries and politicians greeted him with BJP leaders hailing his leadership.

Wishing him a long and healthy life, President Kovind said may he continue to serve the nation with his spirit of relentless service.

Home Minister Amit Shah lauded Modi, saying he not only gave the country the idea to think ahead of time and fulfil its resolve with hardwork but also made it a reality.

In PM Modi, the country has got a strong and decisive leader who gave a dignified life to those who were deprived of their rights for decades, he said.

PM Modi brought them in the mainstream of development, Mr Shah added.

The prime minister has shown the world what people-loving leadership is like, he said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said PM Modi has written many new chapters in development and good governance in his tenure so far and wished that he fulfil his dream of making India a strong, prosperous and proud country.

Born in Gujarat in 1950, PM Modi joined Hindutva organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at an early age and was later drafted into the BJP.

Made Gujarat chief minister in 2001, PM Modi has never suffered an electoral setback when votes were cast on his leadership, leading the BJP to power in the state for three consecutive terms and then at the Centre back to back in 2014 and 2019.

The BJP embarked on a mega 20-day public outreach, “Seva and Samarpan”, from Friday to mark his 71st birthday and it will continue till October 7 to also commemorate his 20 years in public life, including as Gujarat chief minister.

It has asked its workers to facilitate the COVID-19 vaccination drive as it eyes record-breaking numbers on Friday.





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