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Coal demand will slow down in the next five years (IEA study)

16 December 2013

The rate-of-rise of the world demand for coal shall moderate in the following years, as China will look for new sources of clean energy, USA shall direct to cheaper gas, and the temporary revival of the demand for coal shall end in Europe, estimated on Monday the International Energy Agency (IEA), reports AFP.

In its annual report related to the perspectives of the coal market on average term, IEA estimates that the annual demand for coal shall record an average rate-of-rise of 2,3% per year by 2018, less compared to the advance of 2,6% envisaged in the last year report and compared to a real rise of 3,4 % per year recorded between 2007 and 2012.

“In spite of a slower rate-of-rise, coal shall hold a larger part in the rise of the world demand for primary energy than oil and natural gas, carrying on a trend that is being recorded for more than a decade’, emphasizes IEA. ‘Whether we like it or not, coal shall remain an important source of energy for a long period of time”, stated IEA chair,  Maria van der Hoeven.

In 2012, the world consumption of coal was estimated at 7.697 milliard tons, by 170 million tons (or 2,3%) more than in 2011. However, in China, the largest global consumer, the rate-of-rise of the coal consumption halved from an advance of 9,4% in 2011 to a rise of 4,7% in 2012. ”Although China will be responsible for about 60% of the new global demand in the following five years, the government efforts to encourage energy efficiency and diversify the power production will slow down the rate-of-rise of the global demand”, states IEA.

In USA the total consumption of coal also dropped by 10,7% in 2012 compared to 2011 in the context of rising the shale gas production and of the drop of the natural gas price. According to IEA, the new environment regulations from USA”shall limit the construction of new plants operating on coal and will lead to a closure of the older ones, while the shale gas production will continue to encourage the trend of passing from coal to gas.”

As for Europe, although the demand for coal rose in 2012 compared to 2011, this revival is only temporary and the European demand shall drop by over 6% until 2018, states IEA. The 28 EU member states, import a coal quantity similar to China, and the European demand is vital for the mining companies from Russia and USA, where the internal demand dropped under the conditions that gas became a more attractive option.

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