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India mulls boosting coal imports – energy minister

Stockpiles at the country’s power plants have dropped some 11% since mid-August, causing supply concerns

India may increase coal imports due to supply concerns, despite a longer-term policy to curb purchases from overseas, the country’s power and renewable energy minister, Raj Kumar Singh told Bloomberg on Friday.

We are watching the situation anxiously. Availability of power for the common man is non-negotiable,” he was cited as saying.

About 75% of India’s electricity is coal-powered. According to the report, coal stockpiles have dropped about 11% since mid-August, and this leaves utilities with an average of ten days supply while the required levels are more than three weeks. According to Kumar Singh, power plants were urged to maintain adequate stockpiles and import coal if they were close to running out.

India brought in over 25 million tons of coal in June alone, a record amount and over a third more than it did in the same period last year, Reuters reported last month citing data from consultancies Coalmint and Kpler. Thermal coal imports jumped 40%, while imports of coking coal rose 23% year-on-year, according to data from India-based trader I-Energy. Overall, coal imports in the January-June period were 119.5 million tons, just 0.6% lower than in the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.

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State-run Coal India issued a first-ever import tender in June to ship in at least 12 million tons of the fossil fuel over the next twelve months to curb shortages at utilities. India’s power major NTPC also increased purchases from seaborne markets, Bloomberg reported.

According to a recent report by the Economic Times, Indian companies have been importing significant volumes of petroleum coke from Venezuela, a byproduct from oil upgrading and an alternative to coal, having bought at least four cargoes carrying 160,000 tons of the fuel from April to June.

Analysts believe India is taking these measures to avoid repeating the 2021 coal crisis, when the country’s power supply was jeopardized by the monsoon season which saw coal mines flooded and shipments disrupted.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

https://ift.tt/1TBgCId 11, 2022 at 11:52AM
from RT – Daily news

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