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Interview: Mike Nelson, Global Head, Petcoke & Coal, Reliance Industries Limited

Mike talks to Coaltrans about the recent increase in coal prices, India’s changing coal import dynamics, and the potential for increasing petcoke’s market share in power production.

Coaltrans Conferences (CC): Thermal coal has been one of the best performing commodities of the year. Do you think that the current price is sustainable or do you expect a market correction in the coming months?

Mike Nelson (MN): While I think there was some expectation of an increase in coal prices, I don’t think anyone was expecting such a run so quickly. The increase in Met coal prices and the increased imports to China have helped drive some of these increases. Regarding a market correction, there seems to be some rationale for a break in the current upward price trend. Whether or not we will see a downward correction of some significance, remains to be seen.

CC: Will high international prices cause thermal coal buyers in India to look to incorporate more domestic reserves into procurement strategies?

MN: We have already seen some dip in the import demand in India as Coal India (CIL) has increased production and International prices have surged in recent months. We are definitely seeing some changes in buying behaviour, especially in the middle of the country where there may be a distinct advantage taking domestic coal over imports.

CC: How is Coal India’s domestic production surge changing coal import dynamics, and do you think such changes are permanent?

MN: Eliminating the need for coal imports has been a widely publicized mantra of the Coal Ministry in India.  CIL is looking to increase the quality of their coal with washing plants and become more competitive against some of the imported higher CV coals. Infrastructure improvements will also help domestic movements of coal compete on a longer term basis against imports.

CC: Petcoke currently has only a limited market share in power production. Do you think that we’re likely to see this share increase in coming months?

MN: Cement has been a large consumer of petcoke for many years due to the sulphur capture in clinker production. Power plants face difficulty in using or increasing petcoke use due to the high sulphur content unless they invest in sulphur recovery / scrubber technology to conform to the environmental limits on SO2.

CC: And finally, you’re joining us for Coaltrans India as a speaker in February. What session are you most looking forward to?

MN: I think all the sessions have timely topics as I believe India is in a unique position of economic growth. Having the opportunity to hear from all the speakers regarding the future plans for the country to achieve this growth as it moves forward is exciting.

You can hear more from Mike at the 16th Coaltrans India on 20 – 22 February in New Delhi, where he will be participating in a panel discussion on ‘Can coal compete with petcoke in cement production?’



This content is provided by Coaltrans Conferences for informational purposes only, and it reflects the market and industry conditions and presenter’s opinions and affiliations available at the time of the presentation.

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