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NEW DELHI: In a reflection of growing demand, state-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) has registered a 28.4% year-on-year growth in coal offtake for the first four months of the current financial year.

“The company also clocked a robust 30.7% growth in supplies to power sector during April-July’21 with a whopping 39 million tonne (MT) increase over same period year ago," CIL said in a statement on Monday.

This was on account of higher demand from the power sector, with India’s electricity demand growth on an upward trajectory after it had dipped during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. India’s peak electricity demand breached 200-gigawatt (GW) mark and registered a new record last month.

“With the country’s power consumption gradually inching towards pre pandemic levels, CIL’s off-take to coal fired plants went up sharply to 166.3 MTs during the referred period from 127.2 MTs of same period last fiscal," the statement added.

India’s thermal power projects’ operating performance is set to further improve with higher plant load factors (PLFs), according to analysts. PLF is a measure of output of a power plant, with a higher PLF indicating more output at a lower cost. This assumes significance that India’s coal-fuelled power projects were facing low-capacity utilization due to muted demand.

“CIL’s coal supply accounted approximately for three-fourth of the country’s total coal-based power generation of 82.119 Billion Units during July 2021, which includes generation through imported coal," the statement said.’

India’s power sector is the largest consumer of coal in the country, with CIL being the largest coal miner. Coal fuelled electricity generation remains the mainstay of India’s power mix. Of India’s installed power generation capacity of 382.15 gigawatts (GW), the coal fuelled projects account for 53% or 202.67 GW.

“CIL’s total coal off-take also increased by a staggering 46.7 MTs during the first four months of the fiscal in progress, registering a strong 28.4% growth. The total volume of coal supplied was 210.8 MTs during April-July’21 compared to 164 MTs of corresponding period year ago," the statement said.

Of CIL’s production target of 670 mt for the current financial year, demand from the power sector is expected to account for around 545 mt. India’s overall coal requirement is expected to go up to 1,123 mt by 2023 from the present 700 mt.

“Off-take to power sector for July’21 at 39 MTs registered 17% growth compared to 33.3 MTs that the company supplied during July’20," the statement said and added, “July’21 total supplies at 50.5 MTs expanded by 7.2 MTs in a month. Compared to off-take of 43.3 MTs in July’20 the growth is 16.7%."

India has the world’s fourth largest reserves and is the second-largest producer of coal. With global shift to green energy to address growing environmental concerns, the Indian government is trying to harness coal reserves within the next three decades.

“For April-July’21 period, CIL produced 166.6 MTs of coal compared to 158.4 MTs corresponding period a year ago, with a jump of 8.2 MTs in absolute terms," the statement said.

Of India’s total electricity demand load pattern, industrial and agricultural consumption account for 41.16% and 17.69%, respectively. Commercial electricity consumption accounts for 8.24%.

“CIL achieved highest ever coal off-take, production and over burden removal (OBR), for July of any year since the company’s inception 46 years ago, posting growths of 16.7%, 14.1% and 3.6% respectively in these performance parametres in July’21," the statement said.

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