Adani Power drives 21% jump in Indian utilities' coal imports in 2019
(Adds graphics, details on electricity demand)
By Sudarshan Varadhan and Gaurav Dogra
NEW DELHI, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Indian utilities' coal imports
jumped 21% last year, rebounding after a three-year slide mainly
due to increased purchases by an Adani Power plant in
western India, government data showed on Wednesday.
Imports rose to 69.51 million tonnes, the highest level
since 2015, data from the Central Electricity Authority showed.
Utilities account for more than 75% of India's annual coal
Adani's "Ultra mega" power plant in Mundra, Gujarat state,
accounted for a quarter of the imports last year, with its
shipments rising 75% to 17.35 million tonnes.
The plant started increasing shipments after India's Supreme
Court in October 2018 allowed it to pass on higher costs due to
a rise in prices of Indonesian coal.
Coal imports by the Mundra plant had fallen in 2017 and 2018
as the project was operating below full capacity and the company
booked losses because power purchase agreements did not allow it
to pass on the increase in fuel costs.
Utilities' overall imports of thermal coal for the 10 months
to October rose 12.6% to 163.86 million tonnes, coal ministry
data showed. Data for thermal coal imports for November and
December have not yet been compiled.
Analysts expect overall imports of thermal coal from India,
one of the world's largest consumers of coal, to rise by more
than 13% in 2019.
Imports are rising despite India's sharpest economic
slowdown since the global financial crisis, as logistical
challenges, heavy rains and frequent strikes and protests have
hit output at state-run Coal India, which accounts for more than
four-fifths of India's coal production.
Utilities increased coal imports in 2019 despite electricity
demand growing at the slowest pace in six years as the broader
economic slowdown stifled industrial output.
Federal government-run companies including NTPC Ltd
increased imports four-fold to 3.61 million tonnes,
the data showed.
Among utilities run by state governments, Tamil Nadu
state-run TANGEDCO's coal imports rose the most, with shipments
almost doubling to 5.14 million tonnes in 2019.
(Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; editing by Clarence
Fernandez/ Jason Neely/Susan Fenton)
First Published: 2020-01-22 09:28:21
Updated 2020-01-22 12:03:14
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