July 18, 2024, 2:21 pm

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2019-06-17 22:19:05 BdST

Govt set to ink maiden coal import deal today

Indonesia's PT Bayan Resources is set to supply around 4.0 million tonnes of coal annually for generating electricity in the 1,320-megawatt (MW) coal-fired thermal power plant at Payra in Patuakhali for ten years.

The Bangladesh-China Power Company Limited (BCPCL), the power plant executing agency, is going to sign a deal in this regard with the Indonesian company at a city hotel today (Monday).

This would be the country's first-ever deal for importing coal to generate electricity.

First consignment of coal from the Indonesian firm is expected to reach Payra Port by late July or early August, A M Khorshedul Alam, the BCPCL Managing Director, told the FE on Sunday.

The imported coal price would be tagged with the NewCastle international coal price index, with discount of up to 60 per cent depending on price movement.

The rate of discount would increase, if coal price in the international market goes up, and would decrease if the price slides, he said.

Initially, the BCPCL would import coal from Indonesia directly with half-loaded 'Supramax' coal-carrying cargo, having the volume of around 25,000 tonnes per cargo.

After successful construction of transshipment facility in the Andaman, mother cargo would be able to carry coal for the power plant, he also said.

Apart from the Indonesian firm, the Bangladesh-China joint venture company would also import coal from Australian coal supplier - the Yancoal.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has already been inked with the company to import coal.

The 1,320-MW Payra thermal power plant would be the first one to be run with imported coal.

Some 180,000 tonnes of coal would be required every month to run each unit of the power plant. It would need around 12,000 tonnes of coal daily to generate electricity.

Around 4.0 million tonnes of coal would be required to run the power plant being built at a cost of US$ 1.98-billion.

The first unit of the Payra power plant, having the capacity of 660 MW, would go into operation by December 2019, and the second unit, having the same capacity, by June 2020.

The BCPCL is a 50:50 joint venture between the North-West Power Generation Company Ltd (NWPGCL) of Bangladesh and the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC) of China.

The proposed power plant is some 320 kilometres south of Dhaka, and close to the proposed Payra Port.

The BCPCL is providing 20 per cent equity to implement the power plant project, and the remaining 80 per cent is being sourced as loan from the Exim Bank of China.

The government has issued state guarantee worth $1.0 billion in favour of the Chinese loan for the power plant project.

It has allocated 998.77 acres of land to the NWPGCL for implementing the project on a turnkey basis by using eco-friendly ultra supercritical technology.

The country would start importing a huge quantity of coal due to non-availability of local coal.

Currently, the country has five coalmines, but coal extraction is limited to only one coalmine at Barapukuria in Dinajpur, utilising the underground coalmining method.

The Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Ltd (BCMCL) is annually extracting around 1.0 million tonnes of coal, most of which is used in the nearby Barapukuria thermal power plant.

According to the power system master plan, the government has a target to generate around 50 per cent of the country's overall electricity using coal as fuel, officials said.

To implement the plan, the government will have to generate around 12,000 MW of electricity from coal by 2024, around 20,000 MW by 2030, and around 30,000 MW by 2041.

The country currently has three coal-fired power plants, having the total generation capacity of only 524 MW, against the total installed capacity of 17,685 MW.

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