A Year and a Half Later, Still No Movement in Big Kentucky-India Coal Deal

The last time I checked in on that huge deal to ship nine million tons of Kentucky coal to India annually was in July, and at the time, the first shipment still hadn’t left Kentucky.

Now, Tom Loftus of the Courier-Journal is reporting that the deal is still stalled.

[Coal operator Jim] Booth said the holdup with the India deal is that the price of coal on the world market has plunged and the Indian conglomerate has bought coal from other sources, as is allowed in the contract.But the 25-year contract with Abhijeet Group — which essentially sets up a framework for trade — is still in place and has the potential to be as big a deal as originally announced, Booth said.

“I’m glad that we were able to enter into an agreement that got us on first base. We’re there, we’re ready,” he said. “When the market’s right and everything starts to click, we’ll be in the front row.”

State Rep. Keith Hall, a Phelps Democrat credited with helping to bring the deal together by acting as an adviser for a New Jersey-based trading company that linked the sellers to Abhijeet Group, is also optimistic.

“The contract is still in place, still there to be executed at a time when the pricing is better,” Hall said. “I think it can reach the original goal, but it’s probably five to 10 years away.”

Since the deal was announced in August 2012 to much fanfare by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, it’s had its share of problems. A few highlights:

Click here for more WFPL coverage of the Kentucky-India coal deal.

Erica Peterson

Erica Peterson reports on energy and the environment for WFPL.

@ericampeterson

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