India’s coal imports from North America quadrupled to 2.1 million tonnes in October this year, as compared to the same period in 2016. The figure is said to be the highest since January, 2015. The local buyers are looking to increase purchases amid a domestic shortage of the fuel, data from Thomson Reuters revealed.
A ban on the use of petroleum coke, a dirtier but better-burning alternative to coal, might spur import volumes from the USA in the near future. Petcoke has been banned in some states around the Indian capital, New Delhi.
The rising pollution levels in other Indian cities could lead to tougher sanctions, such as a nationwide ban on use and imports of petcoke. In recent past, environmentalists in the country have called for restrictions on the dirtier fuel.
Indian imports of North American coal, including supplies from Canada, stand at about 1.5 million tonnes from November 1 to November 20, which is already 70 per cent more than purchases of the previous month.
Cement companies account for nearly 75 per cent of India’s annual petcoke demand of 27 million tonnes. This apart, small industry, such as lime manufacturers are also considering the use of US coal, which is almost as efficient as petcoke.
Sea News, November 22