The coal exporters – Australia, South Africa, Indonesia and Mosambique – have come out with regulations in the past few months that make the price of the fuel coming from these nations at similar levels.
On one side, the mineral-rich countries are becoming more conservative of taking away revenues generated from their land overseas. Other, they are making sure they sell at premium, even though prices have seen a downward rally recently.
This make the buyers such as India wonder are the coal producers also forming an OPEC-like cartel.
OPEC 'with collective vision' was born in 1960. Initially it was lead by two oil producing countries - Venezuela and Iran. The leaders in the cartel have seen several ups and downs including kidnapping of all oil ministers when OPEC was holding its meeting in 1975.
Now for instance, the Indian companies figured out that the Indonesian rules are such that they do not allow taking out that money from their country. They charge 45 per cent Income Tax, 13 per cent royalty, 10 per cent withholding tax and also around 15 per cent tax of dividend. Sometimes, it becomes tough to even grab the return on equity.
Even the unexplored nations in the African country are becoming smarter. Till few years back, they offered free access to their resources. But now they have understood clearly that their country money should not go out.
OPEC members also did the same way when they got together to decide oil prices. What keeps us away to believe that these countries who export coal to world over, gets together to decide coal prices. Everyone is coming ahead with same price through different mechanisms - carbon tax, HBA price and arms-length concept, among others.
Ultimately, all arrive at a same place. If oil producers can do it, why cannot coal exporters do it? After all there is carbon parity concept.