Power plants import less coal this year- ministry

The coal ministry said that there has been a 14% decline in the import of thermal coal by power plants in India in April-June, contrary to reports that the country’s import of thermal coal — used to drive steam turbines — increased during the three months.

Media reports quoting American Fuels & Natural Resources, a Dubai-based trader of coal from the United States, have said that India’s thermal coal imports rose in Apr-June.

According to these reports, India imported 43.4 million tonnes  of thermal coal during the three months, compared with 37.9 million during the corresponding three months of 2017.

The overwhelming share of thermal coal imported into India is for use by the power sector, particularly by players who have set up advanced power plants that require high-quality coal that cannot be found in India.

Interestingly, the Dubai-based broker’s numbers — which reflect overall import of thermal coal into India — indicate a different direction compared to the Coal Ministry’s numbers for imports by the power sector, the primary consumer of thermal coal.

“In 2018-19 (up to 30.06.2018), the coal import by power sector is 14% less than the import in the corresponding period of last year,” said the coal ministry.

It also said that its efforts to reduce the import of coal have been paying off, as indicated by full-year numbers.

“Due to these efforts of enhanced domestic coal supply to power plants, the coal import by power plants has reduced from 80.58 MT in 2015-16 to 56.41 MT in 2017-18,” it said.

Power plants received about 194.69 million tons of coal from domestic sources during the four months from April to July, the ministry added. The total dispatch of domestic coal, including to non-power users, during the same four months was 240.9 MT.

For the Financial Year 2018-19, Ministry of Power has projected annual coal requirement 615 MT for power plants alone from Indian coal fields.

Out of this, 525 MT will come from Coal India Limited, 53 MT from Singareni Collieries Company Limited and 37 MT from captive mines run by the power plants. No estimate for imported coal was provided.