Richard Branson announces Hyperloop plan for India

Virgin Hyperloop One, the futuristic transport startup backed by British tycoon Richard Branson, has announced plans for a superfast rail network linking India’s financial capital Mumbai to the city of Pune. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 20 February 2018
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Richard Branson announces Hyperloop plan for India

MUMBAI: Virgin Hyperloop One, the futuristic transport startup backed by British tycoon Richard Branson, has announced plans for a superfast rail network linking India’s financial capital Mumbai to the city of Pune.
The proposed hyperloop — which aims to deliver transport at near-supersonic speeds in sealed tubes — would reduce travel time between the Indian cities from 3 hours to around 25 minutes, the company said.
Branson said Sunday the company had signed a preliminary agreement with the Maharashtra state government to build the first phase of a hyperloop network that could eventually criss-cross India.
“I believe Virgin Hyperloop One could have the same impact upon India in the 21st century as trains did in the 20th century,” Branson said in a statement.
The proposed route would connect Mumbai’s secondary airport in Navi Mumbai with Pune city, located 150 kilometers away.
Branson, whose Virgin Group entered a partnership with California startup Hyperloop One in October, said a demonstration track would be built within two to three years of the final agreement.
The super-high-speed transport project would take a further five to seven years to complete before being ready to ferry 150 million passengers annually, the company said.
The technology, theorized by entrepreneur Elon Musk for rail transport at near-supersonic speeds, could transform Indian cities like Mumbai and Pune plagued by creaking infrastructure.
Experts say the proposed hyperloop system, though aspirational, could upon completion ease the load on overburdened road and rail networks in India.
Virgin Hyperloop One is working to develop a pod system that can travel at up to 750 miles per hour with better safety than passenger jets, and lower build and maintenance costs than high-speed trains.


Oil prices rise on Libyan export interruption, but markets remain weak

Updated 12 min 58 sec ago
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Oil prices rise on Libyan export interruption, but markets remain weak

  • The rise came after crude prices dropped by 3 percent the session before amid ongoing weakness in global stock markets and concerns that slowing oil demand-growth could erode supply cuts
  • Crude futures have lost around a third of their value since early October amid the financial market slump and an emerging oil supply overhang

SINGAPORE: Oil prices edged up on Tuesday after Libya’s National Oil Company declared force majeure on exports from the El Sharara oilfield, which was seized at the weekend by a local militia group.
Despite that, overall sentiment on oil prices remained weak amid worries over global stock markets and doubts that planned supply cuts led by producer club OPEC will be enough to rein in oversupply.
International Brent crude oil futures were at $60.19 per barrel at 0336 GMT, up 19 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last close.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $51.16 per barrel, up 16 cents, or 0.3 percent.
Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC) late on Monday declared force majeure on exports from the El Sharara oilfield, the country’s biggest, which was seized at the weekend by a militia group.
NOC said the shutdown would result in a production loss of 315,000 barrels per day (bpd), and an additional loss of 73,000 bpd at the El Feel oilfield.
The rise came after crude prices dropped by 3 percent the session before amid ongoing weakness in global stock markets and concerns that slowing oil demand-growth could erode supply cuts announced last week by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some non-OPEC producers including Russia.
Crude futures have lost around a third of their value since early October amid the financial market slump and an emerging oil supply overhang.
In a show of no confidence, money managers cut their bullish wagers on crude to the lowest in more than two years in the week ending Dec. 4, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Monday.
The financial speculator group cut its combined futures and options position in New York and London by 25,619 contracts to 144,775 during the period. That is the lowest level since Sept. 20, 2016.
In physical markets, Kuwait and Iran this week both reduced their January crude oil supply prices to Asia
“There remains a lot of uncertainty if the production cut is thick enough to make a significant dent in global supply,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore.
“The general risk-off tone in global markets and the stronger dollar ... are contributing to the selling pressure.”
The OPEC-led group of oil producers last Friday announced a supply cut of 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in crude oil supply from January, measured against October 2018 output levels.