Thermal power generation dips marginally in June
Thermal power generation fell marginally in June despite continued momentum in Coal India’s production.
During the month, thermal power plants in the country generated about 0.4 per cent less power at 72,804.74 million units as against 73,134.59 million units in the same month last year, according to data from the Central Electricity Authority.
The units were operating at an average plant load factor of 59.43 per cent as against 66.31 per cent in the same month last year.
The overall power generation in the country, at 88,542.35 million units, was almost the same as in June last year (88,265.17 million units).
Specifically, generation by coal-based power plants remained flat at around 66,209.48 million units in June 2015.
While power generation from coal-fired power plants remained flat, the availability of the fuel increased sharply. During the month, Coal India produced 12.4 per cent more coal as compared to last year at 38.83 million tonne.
According to official data, the increased coal production meant only 13 of the 100 coal-based power plants had less than seven days of coal stocks. All these plants are non-pithead power plants.
Coal India to relinquish 75 per cent of area of Mozambique blocks
State-run miner Coal India will relinquish 75 per cent of the area in the two coal blocks it had acquired in Mozambique about six years ago.
The move follows the local government’s decision to double the charges of holding the blocks, which have so far not yielded any coal worth the effort.
“At a board meeting last week, it was decided that foreign subsidiary of Coal India, Coal India Africana Ltd, will just about keep 54 sq km of the 205 sq km blocks that it had earlier acquired,” a senior coal sector official said on condition of anonymity “The decision was taken following completion of a near three-year exploration programme.”
About six years ago, Coal India had won a five-year licence for exploration and development of A1 and A2 blocks in Mozambique’s north-western province of Tete. The blocks were unexplored and it was upon Coal India to explore and ascertain the quality of the coal there. Following the acquisition, Coal India set up Coal India Africana for carrying out the exploration at the two blocks.
When Coal India acquired the blocks, the authorities in Mozambique had indicated that the 205 sq km of area holds a mix of premium quality and normal variety of coal and reserves could be around 1 billion tonne. “We were told that 20 per cent of the deposits in these blocks are expected to be of superior variety, good enough to be used in steel making, while the remaining was expected to be thermal coal that could be used as fuel in power plantsIt seemed a viable option at that time,” said the official quoted above.
But on exploration, Coal India found that 75 per cent of the area contained nothing that could be called coal. The state-run miner had by then invested close to Rs.500 crore in acquiring and exploring the two blocks. It also had to renew its licence during this period.
“The quality of the reserve at a large area of the two blocks does contain carbon but it is not good enough to be called coal,” a senior Coal India executive said, requesting anonymity. “This reserve cannot sustain a 12 per cent rate of return on investment in the medium to long run. Simply put, it is not coal.”
It took Coal India almost two years to explore the entire area. Sample coal was sent to India for analysis. Coal India had earlier targeted production from the blocks by 2014 but delays in awarding the exploration rights delayed the process. Renewal of the licence also added to the delay. The miner planned to bring the mined coal to India to meet the nation’s rising demand for thermal and coking coal.
Coal India lost about a year in appointing an explorer for the blocks. It had to scrap tenders twice due to technical reasons.
The previous UPA government was in favour of importing coal to meet the domestic requirement. But the NDA government at the Centre is keen on attaining self-sufficiency in coal production and hopes to stop import of thermal coal within the next five years. Thus, foreign acquisition of thermal coal is not on the government’s priority list any more.
Govt extends approval of two Iranian ship insurers for a year
In order to facilitate import of oil from Iran, the government has extended the approval of two Iranian insurers to cover containers and tanker vessels calling at Indian ports by a year to June 25, 2016. It had lapsed on June 26, 2015, official sources said.
The government extended the approval to Kish P&I Club and Qeshm International Trust Alliance P&I, formerly known as Qita P&I Club.
India, the world’s fourth-biggest oil consumer and Iran’s top customer after China, imported 66 per cent more oil from Iran this May as compared to the previous year.
Currency crisis may hit India’s rice exports to Nigeria
Non-Basmati rice exports to Nigeria, one of the major importers in Africa, could suffer badly due to a crisis in its currency naira, sources said.
Nigeria has stopped dollar sales to importers of rice and other commodities to protect its declining forex reserves and boost domestic cereal production, it is learnt.
Indian exporters account for close to half of the 2.5 million tonnes that Nigeria imports.
A fall in the local currency against the dollar and the sharp decline in crude oil prices, along with the change in government, have impacted rice imports in the African country, sources said.
The only relief to Indian exporters was that payments have not been hit yet, as they route their shipments through global traders.
Traders press for single GST taxation structure
Traders are opposing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) even before the Constitutional amendment Bill has been passed as they feel that the GST is more complex and needs to be simplified.
“The purpose of GST is to make the indirect tax structure simple. However, in the proposed format, it is more complex. We demand single GST taxation structure so that traders may be required to file only one return,” Mr Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary-General of the Confederation of All India Traders, said.
This post was written by Atlantic Admin