India May Face 189 Million-Ton Coal Deficit by 2015, KPMG Says
2010-07-23 00:52:05.94 GMT
By Natalie Obiko Pearson
July 23 (Bloomberg) — 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.
“That leaves a gap of 189 million tons, some of which will need to be covered though improvements in the domestic coal sector,” Mahajan said by telephone from Mumbai. “There will be a significant gap that will need to be covered through imports.”
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.
“Indian companies have an advantage in that they’re looking for lower-quality coal,” which other importers in Japan, South Korea and Europe with older plants can’t use, he 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.
Steps can be taken to increase India’s domestic production by as much as 80 million tons a year with better machinery and by developing deeper and new mines, Mahajan said.
India is increasingly forced to import, “not for the want of reserves. It’s the speed at which we’re developing them,” he said. Commercializing a mine can take 15 years, three times longer than in other countries, he said.
Poor infrastructure to transport coal and an inefficient supply chain is also unnecessarily boosting imports because power stations are unable to count on reliable, on-time deliveries locally and forced to secure their own supplies from elsewhere, Mahajan said.
India’s annual coal output is 535 million tons, Alok Perti, additional secretary to the coal ministry, said on July 7. The government aims to expand current installed power capacity by 77 percent to 286,756 megawatts by the end of the financial year ending March 2017, according to the Planning Commission.
–Editors: Clyde Russell, Jane Lee.
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