Gas savings will drive global coal consumption

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Global coal consumption is likely to approach this year’s all-time high of eight billion tonnes set in 2013 as European countries look to save on natural gas due to problems with Gazprom, the International Energy Agency estimated on Thursday. Energy (IEA), informs AGERPRES, citing Bloomberg.

“Despite the slowdown in the world economy and the quarantines in China, the explosive increase in the price of natural gas after the Russian invasion of Ukraine is driving the use of coal worldwide this year,” the IEA said in a report published on Thursday.

All this high consumption comes at a time when coal prices have reached record values, and the expected embargo that would be introduced by the EU for coal imports from Russia will put new pressure on the supply side.

In the case of the European Union, the IEA expects a 7% increase in coal consumption this year, considering that the member states have few gas supply sources. The International Energy Agency predicts that the high demand for coal will continue in the second half of the year, given that several EU states have extended the operation of coal-fired power plants or reopened some power plants to ensure electricity supplies.

Moreover, the electricity production sector will be the biggest contributor to the increase in coal consumption of the European Union this year. The IEA estimates that coal demand for electricity production will increase by 16% in 2022.

Total coal consumption in Europe increased by 14% last year, as economies recovered from restrictions introduced during the pandemic, restrictions that led to a decrease in electricity demand.

Based on current economic trends, global coal consumption could increase by 0.7% to eight billion tons this year, assuming that the Chinese economy is expected to recover in the second half of the year, stated the IEA. More than half of global coal demand comes from China. Although China’s coal demand fell by 3% in the first half of the year, the situation would reverse in the second half.

The International Energy Agency is the main advisory body on energy issues of the 29 most developed countries. The agency was established in response to the first oil shock of 1973-1974, to coordinate the release of oil from reserve stocks.