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Banpu braces for strong demand from Japan

Thailand’s largest coal miner, Banpu, is confident of strong demand from Japan in the next few years as the country will either have to increase the capacities of existing power plants or build new ones to make up for the shutdown of the disaster hit Fukushima nuclear plant.

Banpu chief executive officer Chanin Vongkusolkit yesterday said some power plants in Japan were not running at full capacity. They will have to increase their generation capacities soon to make up the loss of electricity from the Fukushima plant. It is possible that some operators might set up new power plant for the same reason.

Besides, the problems at the Fukushima plant have raised serious conฌcerns about the safety of nuclear power. This is an opportunity for other types such as coalfired and gasfired power plants to replace nuclear plants in Japan. Banpu believes that the demand for coal in Japan in the next two or three years will be good.

Chanin said Banpu’s annual shipment of 5 million tonnes of coal to Japan’s power plants had not been affected by the decline in consumption following damage to power plants in the earthand tsunamiaffected areas of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.

The company normally exports about 500,000 tonnes to these areas. The volume of coal shipment now has been shifted to other ports in Japan.

Chanin said global coal prices had declined because of the Tsunami and quake in Japan, with prices currently at about US$120 (Bt3,600) per tonne. Banpu’s revenue in the second quarter may decline slightly from the first quarter, with global coal prices staying high. But the prices are expected to recover in the third quarter, and the average price throughout the year will stay at a high level.

Banpu targets the coal price this year at more than $80 per tonne.

Source: The Nation

ThaiVest Editorial Team