Published: Friday 31 October 1997

flooding with milk: After successfully pioneering a cooperative milk movement in India, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) is now launching another 'Operation Flood' in Sri Lanka. V. Kurien, the architect of Operation Flood, heads the US $20 million joint venture between NDDB and the Sri Lankan government which will produce around three lakh litres of milk everyday. "The joint venture, 'Kiriya Milk Industries' would adopt the highly-acclaimed Anand cooperative model," said Sri Lankan trade minister S P Abeyweera. Sri Lanka, which produces 20 per cent of its total milk requirement, will save foreign exchange of over US $60 million once it becomes self-sufficient.

gas deal: Australia's Energy Equity Corporation Ltd (EEC) has reached an agreement to acquire a 35 per cent equity stake in an offshore gasfield near Chennai. The other two shareholders in the Gasfield, located 15 km offshore of Tamil Nadu, are Hindustan Oil Company and Mosbacher India. "Eight wells have been drilled in and around the field and five of these have been drilled on the structure and tested gas," said the EEC managing director Maurice Brand.

oil investment: UK-based oil company, Shell is planning a US $2 billion investment in natural gas in India. Shell would have an 80 per cent stake in the joint venture with Essar, the Indian steel and power company, to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Hazira in Gujarat. The project, to be completed in five years, aims to increase the capacity of Essar's existing Hazira power station by 515 MW from the current 2,000 MW. Shell said that the LNG terminal would have an initial capacity of 2.5 million tonnes, raising to five million tonnes over a five-year period.

drug development: Japan's Kissei Pharmaceutical company has tied up with the US drug-maker Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. to develop medications for autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammatory ailments such as rheumatism. The drug maker will have the marketing rights to the drug in Japan and Southeast Asia. Clinical testing is expected to begin in three to four years with marketing expected within 10 years. The two companies plan to develop a strong anti-inflammatory that fights certain illnesses by preventing the production of substances that aggravate the symptoms.

smart cars: Germany's Daimler-Benz is developing a pollution free 'fuel cell' car. In a 'fuel cell' car, hydrogen gas is fed into a fuel cell membrane where it reacts with atmospheric oxygen to produce electrical energy. The process, which creates no emission other than a small amount of water, has had one high drawback -- the hydrogen tanks are large and developing an infrastructure to refuel them is expected to be extremely expensive. According to the company officials, "Dispensing with the hydrogne tanks and batteries not only reduces vehicle weight, but it also improves the everyday practicality of the new vehicle."

oil explorations: Petroleum Exploration, a Japanese company will invest US $80 million to explore natural gas deposits off Sarawak and produce liquefied natural gas (LNG). The work is projected to result in an output of 6.8 million metric tonnes of LNG a year. The Japanese company hopes to ship 3,00,000 tonnes of that total to Japan.

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