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Monday, January 2, 2012

Is India following Indonesia to standardize Coal Prices to get maximum benefits?

Monday, 02 January, 2012

Coal India limited, an Indian state owned and world 3rd largest coal producer has introduced gross calorific value (GCV) based pricing mechanism by January 1, 2012.

The BoD of Coal India Ltd on Friday approved a proposal to adopt the internationally accepted, gross calorific value (GCV) based pricing mechanism beginning 2012. The GCV based pricing mechanism will replace existing useful heat value (UHV) pricing mechanism.

According to media reports, new coal prices, dearer by 12-15 percent, is expected to push up power generation cost by at least US$ 0.00753 per unit. Indian UMPP’s, already affected due to Indonesian regulation that requires all the coal suppliers to follow government bench-mark pricing mechanism for coal transaction. UMMP’s have appealed to the government for a power tariff rise. If Coal India’s new coal-price structure pushes the prices of indigenous coal upward, then power producers may push the government for a tariff increase to secure bottom-line of company to keep the industry alive.

Times of India reported that, January 1, coal will be sold in 17 price brands starting from the variety that produces 2,200 kcal/kg to one that produces 7,000 kcal/kg. In between, there are 15 price bands, each at an incremental rise of 300 kcal/kg. Times of India has not reported anything about price adjustment for ash content.

Imported coal
As Coal India moving from UHV pricing mechanism to GCV based mechanism, Indian utilities in the opinion that, the imported coal prices may be competitive in the future for utilities who are currently using only indigenous coal due to price as well as the quality. Indian coal used to be higher ash content compared to imported coal.

"Even if we want to use more coal of higher calorific value, CIL cannot supply it. So we will be using the same coal but paying more," said a utility official, as quoted by times of India. If Coal India fails to fulfill customers' requirements for higher GCV coal when they willing to pay high, then there is possibility utilities looking for imported coal.

However, it is not clear that, whether Coal India will also introduce a coal price index, or it will go with a fixed pricing mechanism for a specific period. Incase coal India follows Indonesian coal pricing structure and tries to introduce index based pricing mechanism for its coal, then indigenous coal prices will also vary based on monthly international indices.

According to media reports, coal India has released price structure to its customers, which has not published for public.

Media reports further said, while those using coal of B, G and F grades will not be affected as new prices will be either same or lower, but those using other coal grades will be extremely affected.

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