Millennium Post

Lower coal imports may save Rs 40K cr forex this fiscal: Goyal

The government is aiming to save Rs 40,000 crore in foreign exchange on account of lower coal imports this fiscal. Helped by record coal production by the world’s largest coal miner Coal India, India reduced its import bill of the dry fuel by around Rs 28,000 crore last fiscal.

“Last year (fiscal), we did saving of Rs 28,000 crore in foreign exchange. This year we are targetting Rs 40,000 crore,” Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said here. He was addressing the media after the launch of the web portal on ‘Contract Labour Payment Management System’.

“We would endeavour to... reduce the import of thermal coal and increase the production of domestic coal. Last year, the reduction in foreign exchange outgo because of import of thermal coal was Rs 28,000 crore and this year we are targetting Rs 40,000 crore,” the minister said.

Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said Coal India’s output for this fiscal is fixed at 598 million tonnes (MT). Swarup said Coal India had decided to set up 15 washeries, which are expected to be completed by October 1, 2017.

He further said, “Thereafter, ensuring that all coal that has ash content of more that 34 per cent is washed... and we are going well on our target. We are monitoring them very closely.”  There is not a single coal-based power plant in the country which has critical coal stock position, Goyal said.

“The thermal power plants in the country have an average coal stock of 26-27 days. The target before us is that there should be no shortage of coal in any coal-based power plant,” the minister added.

“Record coal production by CIL leads to reduction in import by 34.26 million tonnes (MT). Results in a saving of Rs 28,070 crore in foreign exchange during 2015-16,” Coal Secretary had earlier said in a tweet.

He had further tweeted, imports of the crucial natural resource came down by 27.4 per cent to 15.54 MT in March last fiscal from 21.42 MT during March 2014-15. 

In 2015-16, Coal India had achieved a production of 536 MT. However, CIL — which accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic coal production — was eyeing 550 MT in 2015-16.

Bangla okays Reliance Power’s LNG-based power plant project
Anil Ambani-led Reliance Power has won an in-principle approval of the Bangladesh government for the first phase of the 3,000 megawatt LNG-based power plant. "Under the approval, first phase of 750 MW power plant will be set up at Meghnaghat (Narayanganj district), around 40 km South-East of Dhaka along with the FSRU terminal at Maheshkhali Island in Cox's Bazar district of Bangladesh," the company said in a statement here.

Reliance Power will set up a 2 million tonnes a year floating LNG import terminal with a floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU) to bring the fuel in ships for firing the power plant. "Power plant land at Meghnaghat will be provided by Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB). FSRU-based LNG terminal will supply re-gasified LNG for the power project and additional RLNG to PetroBangla," the statement said.

The first phase will be commissioned in 24 months from the zero date, in 2018-19 and help meet Bangladesh's rising demand for electricity. "This will be the largest foreign direct investment in Bangladesh with a potential investment of over USD 1.3 billion," the statement said. Total investment in the 3,000 MW power plant together with LNG terminal would be close to USD 3 billion. The company will use the equipment it had contracted for its Samalkot project in Andhra Pradesh for setting up the power plant in Bangladesh.

The equipment will be under appropriate warranties from General Electric (GE), the USA and other global suppliers. Reliance Power was implementing a 2,400 MW gas-based power project at Samalkot in Andhra Pradesh. The project was to be allocated gas from Reliance Industries' KG-D6 block but due to the drastic decline in production, the project has not got any gas so far. 

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