Oil Report

India power plants coal stocks down 50 pct-minister

NEW DELHI, July 13 (Reuters) - Coal stocks with power plants in India halved from normal levels to 11 million tonnes at July 6, with many thermal plants facing uncomfortable supply positions, junior power minister Bharatsinh Solanki said.

He said 31 power stations had a critical supply condition, having a coal stock of less than 7 days, and of these 10 plants were “supercritical” having a coal stock of less than 4 days.

“The coal supply position of thermal power stations in the country is not comfortable,” the minister said in a written reply to parliament, adding the normal stock level was 22 million tonnes.

The findings were based on 78 thermal plants monitored by the Central Electricity Authority on daily basis, Solanki said, adding India’s power sector was expected to import 28.7 million tonnes of coal during 2009/10.

State-run power producer NTPC Ltd NTPC.BO will import 12.5 million tonnes of coal in 2009/10, the minister said.

He said the country was expected to consume 620,251 million Kilowatt hours in the current year, when the peak power deficit is expected to widen to 12.6 percent. For a table on power consumption, see; [ID:nDEL504411].

Coal fuels more than half of India’s installed power generation capacity. India plans to add 78.7 gigawatts (GW) of power generation during the five years ending March 2012, of which 15.1 GW has been commissioned.

In the previous two financial years, India’s power generation was lower than the set targets mainly because of fuel shortages.

Solanki said in April-June thermal power generation was constrained by a shortage of coal as only 87 percent of allocated volumes were supplied, leading to a generation loss of 1,534 million units.

In a separate written reply, coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said the country’s coal consumption would reach 604.3 million tonnes in the current fiscal to March 2010, leaving a shortfall of 70 million tonnes. (Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by John Mair)