By: DAWN REED GUEST COLUMNIST
August 16, 2012
JULIA ROBERTS GOAD
At a time of instability in the coal industry due to layoffs, a weak market and permit delays, the news of a 25-year export market for Appalachian coal is being hailed as the first inroad to a “monumental” export market.
“We have been beat to death,” Kentucky Representative W. Keith Hall said. “We have had so sue our own government, this couldn’t come at a better time.”
FJS Energy LLC signed an agreement this week with Abhijeet Group, and Indian consortium, to purchase coal from West Virginia and Kentucky, a $7 billion deal that will send nine million tons of both metallurgical and steam coal to India.
India is a booming energy market, and Rep. Hall said he feels the contract with Abhijeet is only the beginning of a strong and lucrative relationship.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the country needs an additional 200 million tons of coal a year to meet their energy needs, Hall said.
“The first seed has been planted,” Hall said. “They have been getting coal from Indonesia and South Africa, now they will be getting it from the U.S.”
FJS Energy chairman of the Board, M.P. Narayanan said the agreement is a win-win.
“Besides strengthening trade and business relationships between the countries, this will benefit both the companies,” Narayanan said. “Abhijeet Group is a client for coal producers and suppliers in the U.S. and is one of the fastest growing companies in India.”
Hall has been working to bring parties involved together, and said the Indian delegation has been impressed with American technology.
“They were blown away by how modern and professional our mining industry is, with our cleanliness and production” Hall said.
“Our energy team looks forward to working with our Indian counterparts to provide access to coal reserves in Kentucky,” Jim Booth of Booth Energy said. “We are pleased that we have forged a partnership that meets their demand abroad and creates and sustains Kentucky jobs.”
“This is just the beginning of what can be done in India,” Hall said.