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Sunday, December 11, 2011

India's JSW joins state firms in seeking coal imports

December11, 2011

* NTPC, MMTC seek coal for utilities
* Gujarat Electricity to tender shortly
* Port stockpiles fall to 8-10 mln T from 12 mln

LONDON, (Reuters) - India's JSW Steel, part of the Jindal Group which makes steel and sponge iron, has joined state firms National Thermal Power Corp. (NTPC) and MMTC in issuing a tender to buy imported thermal coal, suppliers participating in the tenders said.

India's state utilities are suffering an acute shortage of fuel as domestic coal supply has fallen short of targets and as logistical constraints have hindered the transport of imported coal to where it is most needed.

Coal producers and traders hope this need will translate into higher imports and spot buying of South African and Indonesian coal in 2012.

"There are several quite large tenders in the market now, seeking coal for the next fiscal year until March 2013, and everybody is waiting to see the result," one of India's major trade importers said.

"There's been very little spot buying, but there are some tenders, such as Jindal's," a South African exporter said.

Some state utilities that have so far never used imported fuel may do so in the next fiscal year, which means NTPC and MMTC may issue more tenders, Indian traders and overseas coal suppliers said.

Indian end-users in the cement and sponge iron sectors also are relying increasingly on imports, but at present they can buy at competitive prices because there are high stockpiles in traders' hands at many ports..

Stockpiles are now estimated at 8-10 million tonnes, down from 12 million last month, Indian traders said.

JSW is seeking one 75,000 tonne shipment of South African, Australian, Russian, Colombian or Indonesian coal for delivery in January, for use in its captive power plant.

The coal must be between 5,850-6,000 kc/kg net as received, but Indonesian coal of 5,500-6,200 kc/kg gross air dried can be offered with a complete specification.

NTPC's tender for 4 million tonnes of coal for import during 2012 has closed and will be awarded by Dec. 23, traders participating in the tender said.

MMTC, meanwhile, is seeking 1.35 million tonnes, also for 2012, and Gujarat Electricity Board (GEB) is expected to issue a similar-sized tender before the end of December.

(sourced Reuters)

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