BPP unfazed by war’s impact on coal supply

The lignite-fired Hongsa Mine Mouth thermal power plant in Laos, a joint venture between BPP, Ratch Group Plc and Lao Holding State Enterprise.

The Russia-Ukraine war, which has raised new fears of a coal supply disruption, will not have a serious impact on coal-fired power plants run by Banpu Power Plc (BPP), the power generation arm of non-oil energy conglomerate Banpu Plc.

BPP does not expect an unpleasant outlook though coal buyers are locking up supplies amid worries that Russia may respond to ongoing sanctions by reducing coal exports.

The company’s main revenue comes from several coal-fired power plants, including the 1,878-megawatt coal-fired Hongsa power plant in Laos and the 1,434MW coal-fired power plant in Rayong’s Map Ta Phut area.

It also operates three combined heat and power plants fuelled by coal in China, including the 139-MW Zhengding CHP, 227-MW Luannan CHP and 173-MW Zouping.

BPP can manage coal price fluctuations by making a balance of its short and long-term coal purchases, said Kirana Limpaphayom, chief executive of BPP.

China’s central government also fully controls the coal production supply through state-owned coal mines and gives priority to coal-fired power plants under long-term coal purchase contracts.

BPP believes all its coal-fired power generation facilities can continue to maintain efficient operations to supply electricity and steam to its clients.

The company set a new goal to increase its total electricity generation capacity from both fossil and non-fossil fuels to 5.3 gigawatts by 2025, up from 3.24GW at present.

Its large power plants under the independent power producer scheme are set to increase the capacity to 4.5GW from 2.86GW while renewable power plants will see their capacity increase to 0.8GW from 264MW, said Mr Kirana.

BPP has allocated capital expenditure worth US$700 million for this year to support new energy development projects and asset acquisitions. The budget is only intended for equity injection.

It plans to spend $300 million for thermal power plants and $400 million for renewable power business across Asia-Pacific.

Last year BPP acquired assets that added 457MW to its electricity generation capacity portfolio. They are the Temple 1 power plant in the US state of Texas, with capacity of 384MW, and the Nakoso IGCC power plant, with capacity of 73MW, in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture.

Temple 1 uses combined cycle gas turbine technology to ensure more efficient electricity production. Nakoso IGCC is also equipped with an integrated gasification combined cycle technology, allowing the plant to generate more power per tonne of coal with low emissions.

In the renewable energy segment, BPP added 94MW to its portfolio through asset acquisitions, development of new energy projects and a purchase of more stakes in an energy project in Japan.