India aims to raise coal exports
Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017
India is looking to export coal to as domestic falls contract and mine-mouth inventories continue to increase.

“The [Indian] government is now looking for new consumers for the surplus coal,” the country coal and power minister Piyush Goyal said at a media briefing last week. 

New Delhi currently exports small quantities of coal to the neighbouring Bangladesh and Nepal.

Indian companies, the minister said, are exploring opportunities to export Indian high grade coal as demand for this type of fuel is comparatively lower in the domestic market.

State-run Coal India Limited (CIL) has identified Bangladesh to push its coal sales. The company’s two subsidiaries – Bharat Coking Coal Limited and North Eastern Coalfields Limited – have prepared plans to supply coal to Bangladeshi power companies from the port of Haldia in West Bengal State to ports in south Bangladesh.

“Coal supplies from India will be cheaper than the supplies from others due to the short distance. The coal produced by these two subsidiaries is qualitatively as good as the Indonesia’s," a CIL official said.

The Indian coal miner is interested in supplying coal to the 1,320-MW Maitree coal-fired TPP at Rampur in south Bangladesh, which is being developed by Bangladesh India Friendship Power Co Limited (BIFPCL), a joint venture of India’s NTPC Limited and Bangladesh Power Development Board.

CIL, which accounts for 80% of Indian coal production, is looking overseas to as sales fall at home and coal inventories mount at its mines in India.

The company’s coal sales grew by a meagre 1.6% to 543 million tonnes during the 2016-17 fiscal year to March 2017.

Total coal production, however, increased by 92 million tonnes to 554 million tonne in 2016-17.

The pithead stocks at the mines operated by CIL increased to 69 million tonnes by the end of March this year, from 49 million tonnes in the same month of 2016.

As well as export plans, CIL is looking to gain supply orders from the Indian power plants that depend on coal imports. It is offering both high and low grade coal to these power companies at discount t prices in a bid to compete with imports.

For example, state-run power utility NTPC Limited has agreed to use the local coal, instead of imported fuel, at its TPPs.

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