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NTPC, BHEL look to expand presence in Africa

State-run power producer NTPC is exploring opportunities in Africa to get coal blocks under bilateral pacts between India and mineral-rich countries in the continent as it looks to secure fuel for its expanding local capacities.

During the upcoming India-Africa Summit forum in New Delhi starting October 26, the government proposes to give a big power push investment by Indian firms in energy rich Africa. Of 54 African states 52 have confirmed their participation, and 40 heads of state will represent their countries accompanied by high level delegations.

The agenda during the summit is to crack deals for two of its Maharatna PSUs NTPC and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL). The two companies have failed to expand their presence in Africa despite entering into MoUs for the development of power, coal, and oil and gas projects.

New Delhi has already started negotiations with the African Union to prepare a draft of the formal outcome of the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit which may be a declaration and an action plan. The plan is to give both sides an opportunity to identify areas of cooperation like development of power; mining; hydrocarbons; education; science & technology; agricultural productivity & food security; industrial growth; development in the health sector; and development of infrastructure, and to also come up with newer areas of cooperation.

According to officials, NTPC’s plan to get coal blocks in Africa under bilateral pacts imitate a similar strategy by state-run Coal India, the world’s largest coal producer, which is looking at such options in South Africa and Indonesia. Coal India’s only foreign assets so far are two coal blocks in Mozambique, which it got under bilateral pacts between New Delhi and Maputo.

NTPC is looking to invest in coal mines overseas and import the fuel to partly feed its power stations in India, as it plans to increase generation capacity to over 50,000 MW by March 31, 2017. The plan is to work toward building power plants and invest in other infrastructure in countries that offer coal blocks.

So far, BHEL has taken up construction of power projects in several African countries including Rwanda, Sudan, Libya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria. It is also looking at South Africa for selling its circulating fluidized bed combustion (CFBC) boilers, needed for power and industrial applications. With the expansion of its operations in Africa, the company is now looking at putting up a manufacturing facility for power equipment there.

Source : www.financialexpress.com
Posted On: 10/18/2015 12:00:00 AM

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