August 5, 2011 / 1:12 PM / in 9 years

UPDATE 1-India's NTPC mulling 25-yr coal import deal-chairman

* Plans to secure more coal mines in India

* Aims to add 25,000-30,000 MW generation capcity in Apr 2012-March 2017

* To invite price bids for 4 mln T coal imports in next few days (Adds details, quotes)

NEW DELHI, Aug 5 (Reuters) - India’s NTPC Ltd is looking for 25-year coal import deals to secure supplies and hedge against sharp fluctuations in prices, its chairman said on Friday, days after it abandoned a bid for Australian coal miner Bandanna Energy’s assets.

“Our first priority is not to acquire coal mines and make money, our first priority is to secure fuel,” Arup Roy Choudhury told a news conference.

NTPC last week did not submit a bid for Bandanna as the price was too high.

Choudhury said tax changes caused uncertainty in international prices and were a deterrent to his firm’s overseas coal mine acquisition plans. Australia last month announced it would levy a carbon emission tax that is seen denting miners.

NTPC, which is India’s biggest power producer, consumes 164 million tonnes of coal a year to fire over two-thirds of its about 35,000 megawatts (MW) installed capacity. In the five years to March 2017 it aims to add 25,000-30,000 MW capacity.

It plans to import four million tonnes on its own for the first time in the current fiscal year, besides buying 12 million tonnes through state-run trading agencies.

Choudhury said in the next few days, NTPC would invite price bids from six to seven companies that have been qualified to supply imported coal.

It is also in talks for 25-year coal import deals.

“Return on capital and investment, appreciation in coal mine is very difficult to know in advance. We don’t know how it will behave. It is very speculative. Long-term deals provide you an assured amount of coal at a predetermined prices,” he said.

The company aims to secure more coal mines in India, he said. NTPC aims to meet about 20 percent of its coal needs through captive mines by 2017, according to the company website.

The federal government has allotted seven mines to NTPC, including two blocks to be developed through joint ventures. (Reporting by Nidhi Verma and Sanjeev Choudhary)

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