Singapore: India’s Mundra Port, the country’s largest private port, expects to import 40% more coal this year and open a liquefied natural gas terminal by 2015 to meet the growing power demands of Asia’s third largest economy.
Mundra will handle more than 20 million tonnes of coal imports, up from 14 million tonnes last year, to supply new power plants operated by its sister company Adani Power and utility firm Tata Power, said a Mundra port executive.
“Over 9,000 megawatts of power will be coming onstream over the next two years in Mundra... and the only way to get coal to them is through our port,” Unmesh Abhyankar, Mundra’s chief operating officer, told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference.
The company, a unit of Adani Enterprises, expects to handle more than 70 million tonnes of cargo this year, up from 52 million in fiscal 2011.
Mundra imports mainly containers, coal and crude, with each constituting about 25% of all cargo at the port.
Coal’s share at the port will likely rise significantly with Mundra’s purchase last month of Abbot Point Coal Terminal in Australia for $2 billion.
The terminal is expected to soon increase coal export capacity to 50 million tonnes per year from about 20 million tonnes currently. Mundra wants to eventually build capacity at Abbot Point to 80 million tonnes.
“Whenever we do get a chance to build up capacity, we will go ahead and do that,” Abhyankar said.
India holds 10% of the world’s coal reserves, but a shortfall in local supplies has grown rapidly because of an increase in coal-fired power plants. The country is likely to import 135 million tonnes of coal in the fiscal year that began on 1 April.
The firm is also looking to diversify its operations to LNG shipments with the opening of the first import terminal by 2015.
The terminal will have an initial capacity of 5.5 million tonnes a year, with imports mainly from top LNG exporter Qatar, he said.
With economic growth of around 8% a year and gas increasingly attractive against carbon-heavy coal and oil, India by 2020 could need twice as much gas as the 8.86 million tonnes a year it consumes now.