Indian utilities may import 48 million mt coal in 2016-17: CEA


Indian power utilities that have plants based on imported thermal coal are likely to import around 48 million mt of coal in the current fiscal year, which began April 1, 2016, an official from the Central Electricity Authority told Platts Wednesday.

CEA has not assigned any imported coal quantities to power utilities that used to import coal for blending with domestic coal this fiscal year, because of adequate availability of domestic coal along with sufficient inventories at power plants, the official said.

Last fiscal year, power utilities had imported around 37 million mt for blending purpose while 43 million mt was imported by those plants that use only imported coal.

The CEA official added that if the need arises and imported coal prices are found to be cheaper than domestic coal, some utilities may import for blending but the quantity would be a lot lower compared with last fiscal year.

However, 48 million mt will be imported by coastal power plants, as imports are more economically viable for them compared with domestic supply, he said.

There is sufficient supply of coal, the CEA official said, adding that currently, coal stocks at state-run Coal India Limited’s mines are at around 55 million mt.

Based on existing conventional and non-conventional energy sources, the country’s electricity demand would be easily met, the official said and added that he doesn’t expect power demand to go up this year.

Moreover, he said that forecast of an above-normal monsoon season will boost hydro power.

While coal output by CIL has risen 8.5% last fiscal year, power generation has gone up by 5.5% of which 7.6% is coal-based, according to CEA data.

Source: Platts

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