India Faces Coal Deficit of 50% of Expected Power Plant Demand, looking at imports from Colombia

by Dave

India may face a coal shortfall of 189 million metric tons a year by 2015, about 50 percent of the power sector’s expected demand, leading to a twofold increase in imports, KPMG said.

Electricity generators are likely to add 75 gigawatts of capacity, which will require an additional 375 million tons a year of coal, only half of which will be met by domestic production based on current trends, said Arvind Mahajan, executive director at KPMG Advisory Services Pvt. The world’s third-fastest growing major economy generates more power from thermal coal than any other fuel.

Imports may rise to as much as 150 million tons per year, he said. That would be 250 percent above the amount India was estimated to have imported in the fiscal year ended March 30 by N.C. Jha, a director at Coal India Ltd., the nation’s monopoly producer.

India has traditionally looked to Indonesia for imports. Rising domestic demand there and the large volumes involved are prompting Indian companies to look further afield at mines in Mozambique, Botswana and Australia, Mahajan said.

Private power companies, including Tata Power Co., Reliance Power Ltd., GMR Infrastructure Ltd. and JSW Energy Ltd., have acquired coal assets overseas in Indonesia and South Africa. NTPC Ltd., the state-run utility and country’s biggest generator, plans to buy mines overseas to source 67 percent of its imports, Chairman R.S. Sharma said by telephone on July 14.

South Africa and Colombia, which last year were the biggest exporters of steam coal to countries with ports on the Atlantic Ocean, are also boosting shipments to India where they get better prices.

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