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Coal consumption to hit new peak this year

Photo: Unsplash coal power station with ships in foreground.jpg
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting disruption to energy supplies has pushed global coal consumption to a new record this year, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA).

The world will consume more than eight billion tonnes of coal this year, climbing 1.2% and exceeding the previous record year of 2013, the IEA said in a report at the end of last week. Indian coal demand is set to climb by the biggest margin – 7% – followed by the European Union at 6% and China, 0.4%. 

The Agency’s director of energy markets and security, Keisuke Sadamori, commented: “Coal demand is stubborn and will likely reach an all-time high this year, pushing up global emissions … The world is close to a peak in fossil fuel use, with coal set to be the first to decline but we are not there yet.”

The world’s three largest producers – China, India, Indonesia – will all set production records this year. However, increases in domestic consumption account for much of the extra production. Despite high prices and significant margins for coal producers, there is no sign of surging investment in export-driven coal projects, the IEA noted.

Meanwhile, European coal demand has risen sharply this year because of disrupted gas supplies from Russia. Global coal-fired power generation is likely to hit a new peak of 10.3 terawatt hours in 2022 as global coal production also sets a new record, rising by about 5.4% to 8.3bn tonnes.

Listen the Seatrade Maritime Podcast on the dry bulk shipping outlook for 2023

Changes to the world’s energy supply chain have significant implications for shipping. Increases in dry bulk tonne-mile demand relating to global coal movements are significant, according to shipping analysts, with volumes up on coal trades from South Africa, South America, and Australia.

Meanwhile, latest market reports indicate that Turkey has ramped up its imports of Russian energy, both coal and oil.      

TAGS: Europe Asia coal