* Looking at U.S., Colombia and Africa for coal assets -
* Move to secure energy needs and sustainability of
* No plan to acquire more mines in Indonesia
NEW DELHI, Oct 4 India's Tata Power is
looking for more overseas coal assets, a top executive said,
joining the growing number of companies in the energy-hungry
nation looking to secure supplies abroad amid a widening
"We are continuously looking at the other geographies and
today, the options are the U.S., Colombia and Africa," Managing
Director Anil Sardana said, pointing to logistics, cost and
sustainability of contracts.
"There are countries where you can't be sure that you sign a
contract today and tomorrow it is reneged or altered," Sardana
India's coal ministry places domestic demand at around 772
million tonnes against an expected supply of about 580 million
in the financial year to March 2013.
Coal accounts for two-thirds of power production in India,
which is struggling to meet the demands of a fast-growing
economy and increasingly affluent population of around 1.2
The power sector is facing a "big challenge" in sourcing
fuel, hindering new capacity, Sardana told reporters on the
sidelines of an industry event on Thursday.
"What is the country going to do in the years to come if
there is no clarity as to how we will add capacities?"
Traders expect Indian imports of coking coal, used mainly in
steelmaking, and thermal coal to be about 100 million tonnes in
A change in Indonesia's mineral export rules has pushed up
the cost of coal for Indian buyers, who source 70 percent of
their coal imports from the southeast Asian nation, making about
9,000 megawatts of imported coal-based projects in the country
economically unviable, including Tata's 4,000 MW Gujarat plant.
Tata Power, which has stakes in four Indonesian mines, do
not plan to acquire more mines in that country, Sardana said.
"We already have four mines. We don't want to put all eggs
there, and therefore, the other geographies are very actively
being pursued," Sardana said.
Among other Indian companies that have secured overseas coal
assets are GVK Power and Infrastructure and rival
Adani Enterprises. Both are developing multi-billion
dollar coal and rail projects in the untapped Galilee Basin in
Tata Power's total generation capacity stands at 6,099 MW,
the company said in June. It plans to import 10 million tonnes
of coal in this fiscal year and has bought 7 million tonnes so
far, Sardana said. Tata Power expects its coal imports to touch
50 million tonnes by 2020.
"We as a utility need coal on a sustainable basis," Sardana