| NUSA DUA, Indonesia
NUSA DUA, Indonesia May 30 Top coal consumer
China should see import demand more than double in the next four
years and India will be close behind as both hoover up supplies
on international markets to feed rapidly growing power
industries, industry executives said on Monday.
China's thermal coal imports could rise to 200 million
tonnes in 2015 from around 90 million tonnes in 2011, Neil Dhar,
executive vice president of trading house Noble Group ,
told the Coaltrans Asia conference.
At 90 million tonnes, China's 2011 imports would be steady
from 2010, he said. That would indicate shipments would rise for
the rest of the year, as China's imports in the first four
months of 2011 were down a quarter on 2010. [ID:nB9E7FL00E]
The flow into China, which emerged as the world's
second-largest coal importer after Japan last year, fluctuates
according to domestic coal prices and whether or not those are
high enough to encourage more electricity output from coal-fired
China boosted power prices on Monday in an attempt to ease
its worst power shortages since 2004. That may encourage more
coal imports to boost power supply. [ID:nnL3E7GU10U]
India's thermal imports could rise to more than 100 million
tonnes by 2015, from around 67 million tonnes in 2011, Dhar
said. Imports would jump by almost 10 million tonnes this year,
Despite a bullish long-term outlook, Asian coal prices have
been depressed in recent months, largely due to the aftermath of
the Japanese quake and tsunami in March that knocked out some
The index for Australian coal on the globalCOAL index closed
at $119.47 a tonne on Friday, down from more than $140 in
January when prices were driven up by flooding and wet weather
in Australia's eastern Queensland state.
WHO BUYS MORE FROM INDONESIA?
India will overtake Japan as the biggest buyer of Indonesian
coal in 2011, staying ahead of China in the competition for
supply from the world's top thermal coal supplier. Most of
India's coal imports come from Indonesia.
India's domestic shortfall in coal supplies to meet power
demand will spur the country to import up to 60 million tonnes
from Indonesia this year, five million tonnes more than last
year and surpassing Japan as top importer, said Bob Kamandanu,
chairman of the Indonesian Coal Mining Association.
Imports from Indonesia to India, Asia's third-largest
economy, would race to 90 million tonnes by 2013, Kamandanu told
"Japan has traditionally been the leader at importing
Indonesian coal, but now India is surpassing it," Kamandanu said
on the sidelines of the conference. "In terms of tonnage, India
is moving towards 50-60 million tonnes... very strong.
Demand from India's growing number of independent power
producers would push the country's imports, Kamandanu said.
Japan, which suffered a massive earthquake and tsunami in
March, would import 57 million to 58 million tonnes of
Indonesian coal this year, down from previous peaks of around 65
million tonnes and unchanged from 2010.
The disaster in Japan shut down some coal-fired power plants
along the northeastern coast, crimping demand. Japan's thermal
coal imports in April fell 13.4 percent on the year to 6.591
million tonnes. [ID:nL3E7GP060]
CRANKING UP OUTPUT
Indonesia's coal mining companies are already cranking up
production to meet the fast pace of demand growth, and the
country and Kamandanu forecast the country would produce 340
million tonnes this year up from 320 million tonnes in 2010.
"All the big guys are increasing their numbers," he said.
Bayan Resources Tbk , the country's eighth-largest
coal miner, is projected to more than double its output to as
much as 25 million tonnes by 2013 versus last year, said chief
financial officer Alastair McLeod. The company's main focus was
on striking long-term supply deal to India, he added.
Bayan expects to produce 14.5 million to 15.5 million tonnes
in 2011, up from 11.9 million tonnes in 2010, he told Reuters in
"We started two new mines in 2008 and two new mines in 2009,
therefore they have a ramp-up profile over four or five years
before they get up to their capacity," McLeod said. "We'll be
continually ramping up -- our target by 2013 is to get to 20-25
Another major Indonesian coal producer, Bhakti Energi, is
also eyeing the stiffening competition between China and India
for Indonesian supplies.
"India has no alternative for its energy resources. India
will become a very good importer for Indonesia," said Bhakti's
president director Jeffrey Mulyono.
"China is different. China is growing well in demand but
they still have alternatives for fulfilling (coal) combinations
with their own development."
Mulyono expects Indonesian coal output to rise at least 10
percent annually over five years, and sees the easternmost
province of Papua tapping into its huge coal reserves
(Writing by Ramthan Hussain; Editing by Simon Webb)