National Thermal Power Corporation

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The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is an Indian power generation company. The company states that it has 28,840 megawatts (MW) of installed generation capacity which it owns. Of this, over 86% is from coal-fired power stations. NTPC also has interests in an additional 2,864 megawatts of coal and gas fired capacity through joint ventures.[1] NTPC describes itself as "the largest thermal power generating company in the country".[2]

Chairman's 2009 Address to shareholders

In his address to shareholders on the performance of the company in 2008-2009, the company's Chairman & Managing Director, R.S. Sharma, stated that "in order to take care of the global climate change concerns, your company is making use of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)." Sharma boasted that the company "has made a pioneering effort in getting approved the methodology for super-critical thermal power projects" under the CDM. "Several projects of NTPC are in the CDM approval pipeline," he said.[3]

While the company's primary business interests are based around projects in India, Sharma explained that NTPC "is taking steps to have global presence" such as in its joint venture with the Ceylon Electricity Board for the construction of the 500 megawatt Sampur power station in Sri Lanka. Sharma also stated that the company was "also preparing to bid for engineering consultancy for coal based power plants in Vietnam."[3]

He explained to shareholders that "your Company is going beyond national boundaries to secure fuel for its generation business and we are looking at acquisition of coal blocks in Indonesia, Mozambique and South Africa and is pursuing for procurement of 3 mtpa LNG from Nigeria in lieu of NTPC setting up coal and gas based power plants in that country."[3]

Coal Imports

According to the Economic Times, NTPC coal demand is likely to reach 165 million tonnes (MT) in financial year 2011-12. As of 2010, NTPC generates over 32,000 MW of power, of which nearly 60 per cent is coal-based. It is planning to ramp up this capacity to 50,000 MW by March 2012.[4]

On July 14, 2010, NTPC Chairman R.S. Sharma said the company is seeking to buy coal mines overseas that may source as much as 67 percent of the NTPC's current imports of coal. The utility will use part of its $3 billion in cash reserves and also raise debt to fund the purchase of mines in Australia, Indonesia, and Mozambique that can supply an estimated 10 million metric tons of coal a year.[5]

In December 2010, the Economic Times reported that NTPC may pick up stake in two coal mines in Indonesia, East Kalimanthan and Sumatra. The company may also acquire coal blocks in Queensland and North South Wales, and has identified 2-3 such properties.[4]

In March 2011, NTPC said it will float a tender to import four million tonnes of coal, the first time the company will import coal directly. Previously, NTPC placed orders for importing coal to state-run firms Minerals & Metals Trading Corporation and State Trading Corporation. According to Chairman and Managing Director, Arup Roy Choudhury: “In the next financial year, we plan to import 16 million tonnes of coal. Of this, 12 million tonnes have already been arranged by STC and the remaining, we will do directly." The tender will be floated by the end of March 2011.[6]

NTPC will use 12.5 million tonnes of imported coal by the end of the current financial year. The company will also ask firms to deliver coal at their plants. The state-run power firm plans to add about 3,150 Mw of capacity in the current financial year, and another 5,500 Mw in the next financial year. It has also set a target to raise its current capacity of 33,000 Mw to 75,000 Mw by March 2017.[6]

In June 2011, India's largest coal supplier, Indonesia, said it would not allow exporting companies to sell coal at prices below notified rates after September 23, 2011. Indian banks and companies have loans for coal plants that were structured around less costly coal from Indonesia, causing some companies to look elsewhere for coal imports.[7]

In August 2011, NTPC said it is seeking to acquire coal assets in South Africa, and was considering entering into long-term coal supply contracts that would start at levels of four-million tons a year, ramping up to 16-million tons a year over a period of time[8] The ruling party in South Africa has said it may nationalise mines.[9]

Overseas coal plants

On March 9, 2011, NTPC said it is planning joint ventures in three months to build USD $3.5-billion power plants in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, marking the firm's first overseas venture. NTPC, whose 85% of current 33.2 gigawatts capacity is coal-based, said it has no plans to acquire overseas coal mines for at least two years as supplies for existing plants have been locked-in, Arup Roy Choudhury told Reuters in an interview. In August 2010, NTPC agreed with Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) to set up two coal-fired power plants of 1320 megawatts (MWs) capacity each in an equal partnership venture. NTPC has also agreed to set up a 500 MW plant in Sri Lanka at a cost of about USD 500 million.[10]

NTPC, which generates about 30% of the country's power, plans to add 25,000 MWs of electricity by 2017. India coal imports have grown rapidly as electricity demand grows. Power firms, including Reliance Power, Tata Power and Adani Enterprises have acquired coal assets overses, besides importing coal from Russia, but NTPC said it has no such plans for at least the next two years. NTPC plans to build coastal power plants based on imported fuel as hurdles like inadequate rail infrastructure pose problems in coal delivery to power plants. NTPC said it could source coal from Indonesia and a small portion from Australia for these plants.[10]

Rampal power station

The Rampal power station is a proposed two coal plants at 1320 MW each for Rampal in Khulna in Bangladesh.[11] The plant would involve the government acquiring 2000 acres of farm land to install the plant under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Bangladesh`s Power Development Board (PDB) and India's state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in August 2010; they have been designated to implement the project by 2016.[12]

Environmental experts have expressed concerns that the proposed plant at Rampal in Bagerhat might destroy Sundarban, one of the world’s largest mangrove forests. Faridul Islam, chief coordinator of Save the Sundarbans, pointed out that the selected location of the project was only nine kilometres from Sundarban. About 2.5 million people depend on the Sundarban region, such as wood-cutters, fishermen, and honey hunters. An official said the Power Development Board would submit an environment impact assessment report to the Bangladesh environment department.[13]

On July 9, 2011, the police foiled agitation at two places in Rampal upazila in the Bagerhat district demanding cancellation of the proposed plant near Sundarban. The police arrested two participants. Five organisations active in the country’s south-western region at a joint news conference at Khulna Press Club demanded immediate exemplary punishment of the policemen involved, saying the police engaged in attacks on the agitation.[14]

On July 18, 2011, the BNP acting secretary-general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir asked the government to shelve the proposed coal project at Rampal in Bagerhat, fearing that it might harm the Sundarbans. He also expressed solidarity with the locals who had been protesting the government move to set up the 1300MW plant at Satmari Katakhali of the upazila in collaboration with National Thermal Power Corporation, which will use Indian coal that contains high sulphur.[15]

On January 29, 2012, the India Power Development Board (PDB) signed an agreement with NTPC to build the 1,320-megawatt Rampal plant. The PDB and the NTPC will implement the $1.5 billion project on a 50:50 equity basis. The NTPC will set up and operate the plant.[16]

Coal mines

Chatti-Bariatu coal mine

The Chatti-Bariatu Mine is proposed by NTPC for the eastern state of Jharkhand. In February 2013 the company's board approved an investment of 13.15 billion rupees to develop the mine, at a projected production of 7.0 million metric tons of coal annually. In tandem with the mine purchase, NTPC also said it will invest in the development of an unnamed 1600 MW power plant in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.[17]

Coal plant and mine in Orissa approved

On June 29, 2011, the Ministry of Environment and Forests gave approval to three proposed plants in Orissa and cleared six coal blocks related to the plants. The Dulanga coal block was allocated to NTPC's 1,600-MW power plant. Five of the six coal blocks were in areas the Environment Ministry had previously defined as no go areas for mining in 2010, including Dulanga, as those areas had over 30 per cent gross forest cover.[18]

Disputes over North Karanpura power project

In April 2011, it was reported that NTPC and coal ministries were arguing over the relocation of the North Karanpura power project in Jharkhand. Two coal blocks of Brahmini and Chichro-Patsimal with estimated reserves of two-billion tons, located in the eastern Indian province of Jharkhand, had been allocated to the company, which proposed a $112-million development of the mines, linked to plans to construct a plant. It was later cancelled by India’s Coal Ministry for tardy progress in developing these mines.

NTPC has rejected the coal ministry’s argument that the proposed 1,980-MW (3 x 660-MW) power plant at Chatra district would cut off access to an estimated six billion tonnes of coal reserves, as well as 300 metres of coal seams amenable for opencast mining. The reserves, the ministry argues, would be sterilised owing to the location of the proposed plant, the catchment area of a water dam and other infrastructural facilities.

As a way out, the minitry had proposed developing the project as a joint venture between Coal India (CIL) and NTPC. CIL could facilitate acquisition of land at a new site and assist in getting statutory clearances. According to the coal ministry, the project size could also be increased to 4,000 Mw at the new non-coal bearing site. But the NTPC rejected the compromise formula, and the dispute is headed for the Cabinet.[19]

NTPC has already made some investment in the project. NTPC has proposed reducing its land requirement for the plant or shifting to a location where the amount of the reserves are least disturbed. The coal ministry, however, maintains that even if the plant is located to an area where coal is at depth of 500 metres, it would imply blocking more coal reserves due to the need for power and coal evacuation and transportation corridors. A coal ministry official said CIL could take over the land acquired by NTPC and reimburse the expenditure.[19]

Pakri Barwadih mine

In December 2010, Leighton Holdings subsidiary Thiess won a $5.5 billion coal mining contract to develop and operate the Pakri Barwadih Mine in the state of Jharkhand in India's east. The contract will run over 22 years for National Thermal Power Corporation. Revenue is expected to be $500 million in the first five years, with peak production of 15 million tonnes to be reached in three years.[20]

India is the world's third-largest coal producer but the world's fourth-largest importer. More than half India's electricity generation is coal-fired. NTPC wants to more than double its power generation capacity by 2017 and produce more than a quarter of its own coal. As of 2010, its supply comes from Coal India and from imports.[20]

Coal power stations

Existing coal-fired power stations

NTPC has 15 coal based power stations in India which it owns and operates. These have an installed capacity of 24,885 MW.[2] These power stations are:

NTPC is also a joint venture partner in a further four coal-fired power stations. These are:[2]

Proposed coal-fired power stations

On its website NTPC lists proposed coal-fired additions to its power plant fleet to 2017 as being:[21]

The Environmental Information Centre also lists:[22]

And newspapers have reported NTPC pursuing Ultra Mega Power Projects in India:

Contact details

NTPC Limited
NTPC Bhawan,
SCOPE Complex, Institutional Area, Lodhi Road,
New Delhi - 110003
Phone: 91 11 24360100
Fax No.: 91 11 24361018
Email: info AT ntpc.co.in
Website: http://www.ntpc.co.in/

Articles and resources

References

  1. National Thermal Power Corporation, "Installed Capacity", National Thermal Power Corporation website, accessed June 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 National Thermal Power Corporation, "Coal Based Power Stations", National Thermal Power Corporation website, accessed June 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 R.S. Sharma, Chairman's Address, National Thermal Power Corporation, New Delhi, September 17, 2009.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "NTPC may opt for Indonesia over Africa, Oz for coal mines" The Economic Times, Dec. 2, 2010.
  5. "NTPC Seeks Coal Mines Abroad to Source 67% of Imports" Bloomberg BusinessWeek, July 14, 2010.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "In a first, NTPC to import 4 million tonnes coal directly," Business Standard, March 5, 2011.
  7. "Sierra Club India: Coal is Cheap? World's Largest Coal Plants Bankrupted by Skyrocketing Prices" Compass, August 15, 2011.
  8. Ajoy Dos, "India’s power generator seeks coal assets in South Africa" Mining Weekly, Aug. 10, 2011.
  9. "Adani, Essar, Tata Power in a spot over new mining reforms" istockanalyst, Aug. 5, 2011.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "NTPC to form JVs for foreign plants in 3 months" NBC, March 10, 2011.
  11. "Indo-Bangla joint company for power import" The Independent, March 8, 2011.
  12. Manjurul Ahsan, "Experts denounce Bagerhat coal-fired power plant plan" New Age, May 14, 2011.
  13. Manjurul Ahsan, "Experts denounce Bagerhat coal-fired power plant plan" New Age, May 14, 2011.
  14. "Police foil demo against coal-fired power plant project near Sundarban" New Age, July 10, 2011.
  15. "No coal-run power plant in Bagerhat: BNP" BDnews, July 18, 2011.
  16. "Coal-fired energy BD signs power plant deal with Delhi," Pakistan Observer, January 30, 2012.
  17. "NTPC to Invest $2.4 Billion in Coal Mine, Power Plant," WSJ, February 27, 2013.
  18. "Environment ministry clears 3 Orissa power projects" Business Today, June 29, 2011.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Sudheer Pal Singh, "Tussle over Karanpura power project continues" Business Standard, April 17, 2011.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Philip Wen, "Thiess wins $5.5b India contract" Sydney Morning Herald, Dec. 3, 2010.
  21. National Thermal Power Corporation, "Future Capacity Additions", National Thermal Power Corporation website, accessed June 2010.
  22. "Western Ghats" Environmental Information Centre, accessed Oct. 2011.
  23. "NTPC to commission over 7,500 MW projects in MP", Economic Times, April 28, 2010.
  24. "NTPC signs PPA for Lara and Barethi Projects", Media Release, November 28, 2011.
  25. "NTPC to Establish 4000MW Power Plants in Karnataka and Chhattisgarh" Steel Guru, Nov. 27, 2011.

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