India planning continued import of Russian coking coal


Steel Minister Ramchandra Prasad Singh in a conference on Sunday said India is leaning toward continuing to import coking coal from Russia, defying a global trend where major western countries are criticising the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine by imposing sanctions and even pulling out investments.

Singh said in a conference in New Delhi, “We are moving in the direction of importing coking coal from Russia,” reported by Reuters. The minister stated that India is planning to double imports f Russian coking coal, a key ingredient in making steel.

He outlined that India had imported 4.5 million tonnes, however, the minister did not mention the period he was referring to.

However, Singh also stated that ‘smooth supplies’ from Russia of coking coal have been affected, in an apparent reference to the war. But, the minister did not elaborate it further.

Russia is currently, India’s sixth-largest supplier of coking and thermal coal. Since Russia’s Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24, major countries like the US, Europe Union, United Kingdom, and Japan among others have condemned the Ukraine invasion and slapped strict and heavy sanctions on the President Vladimir Putin-led government and people associated with him.

Traders told the news agency mentioned above that Russia could start offering more competitive prices to Chinese and Indian buyers as European and other customers spurn Russia because of sanctions. They added that the trade could also be boosted by a rouble-rupee trading arrangement.

On Saturday, in another development, the Coal Ministry released the date of non-coking coal imports. As per the ministry, with a considerable increase in domestic coal production, India has achieved a significant reduction in the import of coal despite a surge in power demand. Imports of all grades of Non-Coking Coal have come down to 125.611 Million Ton (MT) during the period April to January 2022 from 163.845 MT during the corresponding months of the FY 20, a decline of about 23.33%.

Further, India’s coal-based power generation up to January 2022 is 815.72 BU (Billion Units) rising by 12.55% over 724.746 BU during the corresponding period of FY 20. Imported coal-based power generation which was 78.07 BU from April to January 2020 has reduced by 55% to 35.13 BU during the corresponding months of current FY 22.

According to the ministry, the import of Non-Coking coal primarily used in the power sector has decreased by 60.87% from 58.09 MT to 22.73 MT up to Jan 22 in comparison to the same period of FY 20. The overall import of coal has also reduced to 173.20 MT in the period from April to January 2022 as compared to 207.235 MT during the corresponding period of FY 20, a decrease of about 16.42% which has resulted in significant savings of forex reserves this year especially when the coal prices are at a high level in the international market. The government’s all efforts are on to further enhance domestic coal production as the availability of additional coal will aid in import substitution.

India is the world’s third-largest energy-consuming country and electricity demand grows by 4.7% each year.

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