Tuesday, February 15, 2011

India: Major Coal Player

As set out in this Platts article "India emerging as a major force in the global coal market":
Replacing Europe as the main consumer of Richards Bay coal, a major customer for Indonesian material and with huge power projects about to come online -- India is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with.

The largest coal mining company in the world, Coal India Limited is putting the finishing touches to a long-term coal supply contract framework that could see it purchase tens of millions of tons of imported thermal coal from Australia, Indonesia, South Africa and the US from a list of pre-selected coal suppliers for delivery starting in April, according to sources in the Indian market.
Importing coal means more ship at sea carrying coal.

Part of Richards Bay Coal Terminal
Questions regarding the environmental impact of coal should be addressed to the government of India.

UPDATE: U.S. exports of coal are on the rise - see here:
Asia's appetite for coal to generate electricity and bake into coke for steel making could make 2011 a banner year for U.S. exports. It could boost business for railroads and shipping ports that transport coal, industry observers say.
Continued demand and supply limitations that caused surging U.S. coal exports to China and India last year are expected to increase exports to 86.5 million tons, up from 79.5 million tons in 2010, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The agency said 2009 shipments fell to 59.1 million tons, a result of the recession, from 81.5 million tons in 2008.
"Exports will be at the highest level ... in decades," predicts James Thompson, editor of U.S. Coal Review, a trade publication in Knoxville, Tenn.
 Richards Bay Coal Terminal is "the single largest export coal terminal in the world"

Richards Bay is located in South Africa:
Situated at Longitude 32º 02' E and Latitude 28º 48' S, Richards Bay, South Africa's most northernmost and easterly port, is 87 nautical miles (160 km) northeast of Durban and 252 n.miles (465 km) southwest of Maputo.

Arrow points toward Richards Bay, RSA
 According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency,
India also has been increasing its imports of coal while facing ongoing coal transportation challenges. Its improvements in infrastructure include the expanded use of smaller ports to satisfy increasing demand for coal imports. Like China, India increased its coal imports in both 2008 and 2009 (although preliminary data suggest that the growth in 2009 was much less than that in China). In 2035, India's coal imports in the Reference case are four times the 2008 level, spurred by rising imports of both coking and steam coal.

The large coal-fired electricity plants planned for India's coastal areas will be fueled by imported steam coal. The country is faced with domestic coal supply and quality issues and, while it is building new plants, its demand for coal imports continues to grow. Unfortunately, delays in meeting established construction schedules are commonplace in India, and transportation infrastructure issues abound. For instance, in 2009 India had difficulty handling coal imports at its river port of Haldia because of an unexpected loss of water depth. In order for tonnage to be handled at the port, larger ships have been diverted to deeper ports, where their coal cargos are transferred to smaller ships for delivery to Haldia.

India's planned infrastructure improvements include coastal port expansions at Goa and Paradip. Freight capacity at Paradip is expected to increase from about 55 million tons in 2009 to 77 million tons in 2012, but recent bottlenecks at the port must be overcome in order for that goal to be achieved. In addition, coal-handling capability at the port of Mormugao will be expanded from 6 million tons to 17 million tons by 2014. India completed the new port of Gangavaram in 2009, only one of two (the second being the Mundra port) capable of handling capesize vessels. Gangavaram already handled about 17 million tons of freight (not all of it coal) in 2009. In the long term, Gangavaram's owners would like to expand its freight handling capability to 221 million tons per year. The new port of Dharma, also capable of handling capesize ships, should begin operation by the end of 2010.

India has domestic resources of coking coal, but its quality is poor in comparison with foreign-sourced coking coal. India's long-term plans include expansion of its steel industry to between 165 and 198 million tons of raw steel output by 2020, up from about 62 million tons in 2008, with increased imports of coking coal supporting the expansion. Some plans for new steelmaking capacity, such as ArcelorMittal's new coastal steel plant in Orissa, appear to have been delayed by land acquisition difficulties and environmental issues and thus are unlikely to add to India's demand for coking coal imports until after 2014. Largely because of its imports of coking coal, India surpass Japan as the world's largest importer of coal by 2025 in the IEO2010 Reference case.
UPDATE: Speaking of ports for coal operations, the increase in demand for U.S. coal is also spurring people to look at our "coal ports" - see Port Strategy: "US ports may rise on Indian coal market ":
Some US ports could well be riding the “Indian Tiger” as talks have begun on possible exports of coal from the US to India, with officials from Coal India visiting the United States recently to meet with local producers.

The ports that may well benefit include Lamberts Point Coal Terminal at Norfolk, Virginia; the CNX Marine Terminal at Baltimore, Maryland, the Port of New Orleans, Louisiana; the Port of Mobile, Alabama; and the Port of Seattle, Washington. Coal exporters could also use the Port of Vancouver.
So, coal exports are fueling growth in exports, port operations and coal mining. All while various senior political powers in the U.S. are pushing programs to reduce coal production. See here:
The coal industry stands to lose nearly $2.6 billion in federal tax incentives over the next decade as part of the Obama administration's proposed fiscal 2012 budget released Monday.

The administration's proposal is identical to coal incentives cut in its budget last year. The White House is aiming to meet a G-20 climate change agreement from 2009 in which member countries pledged to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
***Repealing the tax provisions would "foster the development of a clean-energy economy and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change," the administration said in its budget message. The tax incentives equal less than 1% of the coal industry's revenue over the next 10 years, according to White House projections.

Under the budget proposal, coal companies would no longer be able to expense exploration and development costs; use percentage depletion for hard mineral fossil fuels; or claim domestic manufacturing deductions against coal production income. Royalties from privately owned coal blocks would be treated as regular income rather than capital gains for tax purposes, translating to a higher tax rate.

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