Imported Coal to fuel India’s Economic Growth
shivanshtyagi
February 4th, 2013
0

Recently Mr. Abhishek Amarmani,  Research Analyst at Power Plus Consultants attended the  3rd Annual Conference on Overseas Coal in India : Imported Coal to fuel India’s Economic Growth organised by Industry leaders in research Infraline Energy. Here are sharp bites from the conference from the Young Power Manager From National Power Training Institute, Faridabad  

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Session 1 : Introduction – Indian coal scenario vis-à-vis Global Coal market.

World’s population is forecast to increase from six billion, currently, to over eight billion by 2030. With this explosion of population and particularly, with the emerging dynamic new economies, the pursuit of quantity-wise and quality-wise affordable and reliable source of energy is presenting unprecedented economic, social and environmental challenges. Energy is central to development & poverty reduction measures and can be described as “the backbone of civilization”. Finding ways to provide energy, will lift emerging nations’ economies, provide employment and boost quality of life across the globe, and to do so in a way which is within the means of the common mass, is the major challenge before the energy providers.

Coal is reliable, inexpensive, not subject to the vagaries of windless or sunless days and dirty, remains the most important fuel for energy producing around the world. About 30.3% of primary energy needs are met by coal and 42% of electricity is generated from coal (source: World coal association). About 70% of world steel production depends on coal feedstock.

The dependency on coal is especially more in case of emerging countries like India with 69% of energy demand being fulfilled by coal. According to Planning Commission of India, India’s projected demand is slated to increase to 980.5 Mt from current demand of 634.35 Mt.

                      Projected Coal demand in XI and XII Plan                                                (in Mt)

Particulars

Demand in Terminal year of XI Plan i.e. 2011-12

Projected demand in terminal year of XII Plan (16-17) as per the WG for XII Plan period (draft report)

Original estimate

Mid Term Appraisal

Actual

Total  (Mt)

731.10

713.24

634.35

980.5

 

Customer / sector-wise break up of assessed coal demand for 2016-17

Customer / sector

Demand assessed by WG (Mt)

Demand in % of total demand

Power  Utility

682*

69.6

Power Captive incl. fert.

56.36

5.7

Cement

47.31

4.8

Sponge Iron

50.33

5.1

Others

77.3

7.9

Total non-coking

913.3

93.2

Coking

67.2**

6.9

Total

980.5

100

 

 

Coal Production in India

                                                                                                                           (Figs. in Mt)

Coal Producers

Actual production during X plan

Actual production during XI plan

2002-03

2006-07

2007-08

2011-12

CIL

290.69

360.91

379.46

435.83

SCCL

33.23

37.71

40.60

52.21

Other PSUs

1.51

1.77

2.11

2.71

Total PSUs

325.43

400.39

422.17

490.75

Tata Steel & Captive  Blocks

11.44

24.65

28.38

41.98

Meghalaya

4.40

5.79

6.54

7.21

Total  Others

15.84

30.44

34.92

49.19

ALL INDIA

341.27

430.83

457.08

539.94

UG

63.16

57.75

58.90

51.83

OC

278.11

373.08

398.18

488.11

Total

341.27

430.83

457.08

539.94

Coking

30.19

32.08

34.46

51.65

Non-Coking

311.08

398.75

422.63

488.29

TOTAL

341.27

430.83

457.08

539.94

CAGR  5.6% in X Plan period

CAGR  4.35% in XI Plan period

 


Furthermore, the demand-indigenous availability gap projected for 2016-17 would rise further during successive plan periods. This necessitates immediate strategy to augment the coal production to the extent possible to reduce the gap and import requirement. CIL, being the major coal producer and supplier of over 40% of the commercial energy of the country has to come out with pro-active strategies for enhancing its coal production level.

 

Session 2: Global Asset Acquisition – Identification and Mitigation of Key Risks:

 

Government of India pushed for acquisition of coal assets abroad  in the recent past, framing guidelines for asset acquisition by Public Sector Units, this was done looking at growing demand and increasing gap between supply and demand of coal, and it also proposed to create a ‘sovereign fund’ for the same.

After these guidelines, Coal India limited (CIL) started looking for coal assets abroad but has failed due to following reasons:

 

 

Strategic rationale is a key driver of evaluation and mitigation of risks. Risks in mining assets are due to various reasons such as type of asset, commodity, geography, taxes, legal and infrastructure etc.

Risks during

Risks Mitigation

  • Modular exploration and development programs.
  • Robust transaction structure.
  • Robust review at each step.
  • Assets from different countries should not be compared.
  • Explore other options also like coal trading.
  • Undertake background checks, hire legal firms if required.
  • India needs to be aggressive when it comes to acquiring coal assets abroad.

 

Last but not the least, the complete sector should act as a whole and not in bits-n-pieces and there should be aggressiveness in acquiring coal assets abroad thus securing India’s energy demand.

 

Session 3: Coal Imports – Challenges and Risk Mitigation Strategies:

 

Importing coal becomes a challenging proposition when the quantity to be imported is large and the infrastructure is not very good. But to feed its growing energy demand and propel its GDP growth, India needs to overcome these challenges and develop risk mitigation strategies.

 

Coal import challenges:

 

  1. 1.       From supplier side –
  • Sees distorted picture.
  • Wants to understand the appetite before committing.
  • Has to keep an eye on domestic coal production.
  • Proper contracts.

 

  1. 2.       From buyer side –

 

  • Lack of government support.
  • Investment is to be made both in mines as well as infrastructure.
  • If GDP grows only by 6%, there may be oversupply of electricity addition.
  • Generators, discoms can’t pass on increase in fuel prices.
  • Any change in law.
  • Infrastructure at ports.
  • Pilferages.
  • Indigenous production of coking coal is just 5% of requirement.
  • Inefficient coal washeries.
  • Public Sector Utilities have failed to acquire any coal assets abroad.
  • Language barrier.

Risk Mitigation Strategies.

 

  • Policies should be notified for long term.
  • Risk assessment should be proper.
  • Buyers should take risk.
  • Price pooling will help in keeping the domestic coal prices down.
  • Use coal conversion technologies to meet increasing demand of steel sector.
  • Mature technologies like coal gasification or upcoming technologies like coal liquefaction should be used.
  • Encourage coastal power plants based on imported coal.
  • India should invest more in coal washeries.
  • Affordability studies.
  • Have 3-5% improvement in all logistics.

 

 

Thus there are various challenges both from supplier side as well as from buyer side but with proper risk mitigation strategies these challenges can be overcome and the future secured with respect to India’s energy needs.

 

Session 4: Economics of Global Coal Acquisition – Fiscal & Legal Issues:

 

With increasing consumption of coal across the world, any change in law by coal rich nations has a profound effect on the global coal prices. Thus with increase in coal prices the ‘not so attractive’ coal rich destinations will become attractive.

 

  • Pool pricing to have large implications and is a short term solution.
  • India needs to develop national bodies/groups which can negotiate prices.
  • The time between application and issuance of licenses needs to be sorted out
  • There should be clarity surrounding the regulations.
  • There is also some ambiguity surrounding the Domestic Market Obligation (DMO) in Indonesia.
  • With change in mining law in Indonesia a coal reference price has been established thus adding to confusion and price rise.
  • The recently introduced change requiring a 51% disinvestment of capital by foreign mining licence holders has come as a big setback to investors.

 

 Session 5: Coal Logistics – Sufficing Country’s requirements

Import of coal requires considerable logistical requirement & planning. Availability of proper infrastructure is also a pre-requisite. Port, rail, loading & unloading and other infrastructure is required. From ports coal in transported by railways and thus we have a very high dependency on it. The following chart highlights the same.

                                                                                                                           (Figs. in Mt)

 

Mode 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12
Dispatch

% Contribution

Dispatch

% Contribution

Dispatch

% Contribution

Rail 193.7 46.6 199.9 47.2 212.4 49.1
Road 122.3 29.4 128.6 30.3 129.2 29.9
MGR 86.6 20.9 83.6 19.7 79.3 18.3
Belt/Rope 12.5 3.1 11.7 2.8 11.2 2.7
Total 415.1 423.8 432.1

 

 

 

Problems:

  • Non-availability of railway rakes in quantity required.
  • Railways charging on dead freight & not on volume.
  • No dedicated freight transport rail corridor.
  • High time taken by railways to transport coal from ports to power plants.
  • Land area is a major constraint at ports.
  • Inadequate draft at ports thus limitation in handling large size vessels.
  • Night navigation not available at many ports.
  • Non-availability of mechanised berths at ports.
  • Lack of support infrastructure – tugs, flotilla, IT systems etc.
  • Environmental concerns.
  • Inadequacy of dust suppresser & fire fighting equipment.
  • Increasing distance between mines and plants.
  • Lack of planning on business lines by railways
  • Indian ‘Golden Quadrilateral’ has 25% freight capacity but has 60% freight movement.
  • Untrained personnel.

 

Emerging Options & Solutions:

  • Dedicated freight corridors by railways

-        Railways planning 6 dedicated freight corridors.

-        These dedicated corridors will be fully electrified & without level crossings.

-        Cost to be around Rs. 5,00,000 crore, to be funded 1/3 by government & rest by debt.

-        Work on Western & Eastern dedicated freight corridor’s has started.

-        Estimated to cost 90,000 crores.

-        Land requirement is 17,000 hectares

-        Expected to reduce time by 3 times at half the running cost.

-        Mumbai – Delhi ‘Industrial corridor’ to come up along the western corridor.

-        Western & Eastern corridors to be partially funded by Japanese banks & World Bank respectively.

-        Expected to come up by 2016-17.

  • Inland waterways – another emerging option.
  • Imported coal can be dried up at plants to reduce transportation cost.
  • Blending of coal at ports can be undertaken.
  • Washeries should come up near ports.
  • Handling at non-major ports increasing at CAGR at 43.8% from 2008.
  • Dredging is required at all ports regularly.
  • Maintain train inside ports.
  • Proper scheduling of trains required.

 

Logistics and infrastructure are very critical for sustaining import of coal, proper logistics & infrastructure can increase efficiency as well as reduce the overall price in the long run and hence special attention should be given to this.

 

Session 6: Policies & Regulations Governing the Coal Sector

The coal sector is an important sector when it comes to fulfilling energy demand and thus there are a very large number of policies and regulations governing it, any change in policy can have a profound effect on the complete sector from investment to infrastructure. Thus proper policies and regulations are need of the hour that not only facilitate growth of coal production but also take care that coal is produced with least impact on environment.

 

  • Any change in policies makes logistics go haywire.
  • Hence policies should be notified for long term.
  • Coal export from a Indonesia has grown at 12.5% CAGR from 2000 to 2011.
  • Imposition of Domestic Market Obligation (DMO) by the Indonesian government has become a problem for coal exporters.
  • Indonesian government has banned export of unprocessed coal having a calorific value below 5100.
  • Even Nepal has formed an environment policy of giving environment clearance in 7 days and finally if clearance is not given after 30 days it is deemed to be given.

 

Session 7: Coal Trading: Synopsis of Indian Coal Market

With increased demand from emerging nations like India & China, the quantity of coal traded has gone up significantly (source: World coal association), with China alone accounting for 47% of global coal consumption.

World Coal Trade

 

Steam

Coking

Lignite

2009

717Mt

211Mt

4Mt

2010

788Mt

284Mt

5Mt

2011

861Mt

276Mt

5Mt

 

Also a distinct trend seen is that top 5 coal importing countries are situated in the continent of Asia, largely due to the high population and fastest growing economies.

 

Top Coal Importers (2011)

 

Total of which

Steam

Coking

PR China

190Mt

146Mt

38Mt

Japan

175Mt

121Mt

54Mt

South Korea

129Mt

97Mt

32Mt

India

105Mt

86Mt

19Mt

Chinese Taipei

66Mt

62Mt

4Mt

Germany

41Mt

32Mt

9Mt

UK

33Mt

27Mt

6Mt

 

 

New coal discoveries and rising investment in mining infrastructure has propelled Indonesia as the top coal exporting country with exports increasing 12.5% CAGR from 2000 to 2011. Also the long term supplier of coal – Australia, accounts for more than half of all metallurgical or steelmaking coal traded by sea and 1/5 of seaborne thermal coal used to generate power. With technological advancement in Shale gas fracturing United States of America has become an emerging country for coal export and the export quantity is likely to grow further.

Top Coal Exporters (2011e)

Total of which

Steam

Coking

Indonesia

309Mt

309Mt

0Mt

Australia

284Mt

144Mt

140Mt

Russia

124Mt

110Mt

14Mt

USA

97Mt

34Mt

63Mt

Colombia

75Mt

75Mt

0Mt

South Africa

72Mt

72Mt

0Mt

Kazakhstan

34Mt

33Mt

1Mt

 

In Asian way of Trading, relationships are very important and even the most difficult situations can be sorted out across the table, however things can go wrong and do go wrong especially in a Long Term Contracts, hence it should be ensured that the Contract is governed by Laws that are workable, fair and delivers quick justice.

 

Session 8: Formulating Future Road Map

It is critical that we put in place mechanisms to ensure that the growth in the country is not stifled due to lack of energy resources and the government should support completely as a facilitator. Thus formulating a future road map is necessary.

  • The government should be aggressive in acquiring coal assets abroad.
  • Encourage captive mining to reduce dependence on coal from abroad.
  • Rework working group projection – indentify target countries for long term imports
  • Upgrade political efforts for stronger bilateral diplomatic relations
  • Institute special fund for foreign coal acquisitions
  • Have a multi-modal transport policy.
  • Public-Private partnership should be introduced in all sectors related to coal imports.
  • Financial Institutions should undertake proper feasibility study of projects before financing them.
  • Formulate long term costal thermal power-generation strategy
  • Diversify coal imports
  • Moderate resources nationalism by greater commercial /  cultural presence
  • Policies should be notified for long term.
  • Use technological advancements to reduce dependency on coal.
  • Invest in supporting infrastructure eg. IT systems, night navigation, tug boats etc.
  • Single window mechanism for approvals/clearances.
  • Appointment of coal regulator – with clearly defined powers.

 

There should be a holistic approach towards facing the challenges and solving them with focus on energy security, sustainable development and exploration of technologies related to renewable energy sources.

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