India power firm NTPC seeks 12 mln T coal imports per year

NEW DELHI Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:58am EST

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NEW DELHI Nov 25 (Reuters) - India's top power producer NTPC Ltd is looking to import 12 million tonnes of thermal coal a year on a long-term basis starting 2018, compared with 16 million tonnes currently, as it looks to reduce dependence on costly shipments.

NTPC's top supplier Coal India Ltd accounts for 80 percent of the country's coal output. But the state miner's inability to raise output in line with demand has meant India has become the No. 3 importer of the fuel despite sitting on what BP has estimated as the world's fifth-largest reserves.

NTPC is seeking an expression of interest from third parties for the import of coal for up to 15 years, a document on its website said on Monday. Indonesia, Australia, South Africa and the United States are the top coal exporters to India.

NTPC, whose installed capacity is 41.7 gigawatts, is building plants with capacity to produce 20 gigawatts of power. Some of the new plants will be completely fuelled by imported coal, the document showed.

India's coal imports jumped by about a third to a record 138 million tonnes last fiscal year, a cause for concern in Asia's third-largest economy as it looks to narrow its fiscal deficit. (Reporting by Krishna N Das)

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