Asian Coal Demand To Offset EU And US Decline

  • Date: 24/02/18
  • Nikkei

BANGKOK — Demand for coal in developing Asian countries will offset a decline in Europe and the U.S., enabling the industry to continue growing, according to the head of the World Coal Association.

A number of Asian countries, including China, the world’s largest coal consumer, are increasingly turning to gas and renewables. But coal will remain a major energy source in the region due to its cost competitiveness and efficiency, said Benjamin Sporton, chief executive of the association.

The association, whose members include global producers such as as Glencore and Anglo American, estimates that Asia will account for 77% of global installed capacity of coal power plants in 2040, up from 66% in 2016 and 38% in 2000.

China will continue to account for nearly half of the total, while India’s capacity is projected to rise considerably. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is also set for growth as countries like Malaysia and Thailand diversify their fuel mix after years of relying on natural gas reserves.

“The center of the coal world is shifting toward Asia,” said Sporton, adding that this would help keep global demand on a growth track for several decades, albeit by “marginal” amounts.

Global coal demand dropped in 2015 and 2016, according to the International Energy Agency, due to lower demand in China, the U.S. and Europe.

Figures for 2017 are yet to be announced, but Sporton expects demand to have picked up after a rebalancing of supply and demand in China.

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