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IEA: Global Coal Demand On Track To Match Record

July 30, 2022

By Paul Homewood


h/t Dennis Ambler





Soaring natural gas prices are giving rise to coal demand around the world, with consumption set to match this year the record-high from 2013, and further jump to a new all-time high next year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday.

The surge in natural gas prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine has accelerated a gas-to-coal switch and has made coal more competitive in many markets, driving a rise in coal demand and coal prices globally, the agency said.

This year, global coal demand is expected to rise by 0.7% to 8 billion tons if China’s economy recovers as expected in the second half of 2022, according to the IEA’s July 2022 Coal Market Update. This is despite an economic slowdown and still uncertain recovery in China after the COVID-related lockdowns in the second quarter of 2022. If the IEA’s forecast pans out, global coal demand this year will equal the demand from 2013, when coal consumption hit a record high.

Next year, coal demand is expected to rise further, albeit slightly by 0.3%, and hit a new record high, according to the IEA. Uncertainties about this projection have increased over the past few months, the agency noted.

India is a key driver of coal demand growth this year, while China—which alone accounts for more than half the world’s demand—is expected to see growing demand in the second half of 2022. This will likely bring Chinese coal consumption for the full year 2022 to the same levels as last year. China and India together consume double the amount of coal as the rest of the world combined, the IEA says. 

Coal consumption in Europe is also surging due to record gas prices and uncertainties over Russian gas supply. Europe accounts for just 5% of global coal demand, but its consumption this year is expected to rise by 7%, on top of last year’s 14% jump, according to the international agency.

“Several EU countries are extending the life of coal plants scheduled for closure, reopening closed plants or raising caps on their operating hours to reduce gas consumption,” the IEA said today.

For example, Germany will rely more on electricity generation from coal  to conserve gas and fill its gas storage by winter, its Economy Minister Robert Habeck said after Russia first slashed supply to Germany via Nord Stream in the middle of June. Austria plans to convert a reserve gas-fired plant to run on coal, while the Netherlands is set to ease its current restrictions on coal-fired power plants.

  1. Devoncamel permalink
    July 30, 2022 10:39 am

    The self-virtuous, alarmist agenda driven, energy policies of western governments is laid bare, again. The net result of Net Zero is holding us hostage to reality, with India and China looking after their own interests.

  2. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 30, 2022 10:53 am

    The future’s looking very black.

    • Martin Brumby permalink
      July 30, 2022 11:16 am

      Good pun.
      But I fear the morons who run the UK can’t even curtail the blatant GangGreen agit-prop disseminated endlessly by the BBC, let alone get fracking started or curtail the obscene subsidies to Big Wind.

      As for coal, it would be feasible to get some surface mines going relatively quickly with a determined government, but I am now very sceptical that we’ll ever see deep coal mines again in the UK, although I ensured that when several of the last deep mines closed in the UK, that the shafts were capped rather than filled.

      A decade has now passed. Not least of the challenges would be getting enough miners young and fit enough to run them, even if the cost and technical problems of reopening them could be resolved.

      There are certainly prospects for new deep mines (Snaith, Witham, North of York, for a start.)

      But none could be opened inside a decade even if we had a sensible government and could bring in Ukrainian miners.

      And the sensible government would have to be prepared to face down the GangGreen mobs determined to destroy the UK.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        July 30, 2022 1:51 pm

        Yep, regardless of government policy, the small army of useful idiots that have been brainwashed by the propaganda will undoubtedly make it impossible to exploit any new coal or gas reserves on the UK mainland. Putin is laughing and considering all the cash he funneled into the green groups money well spent.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        July 30, 2022 2:33 pm

        “Not least of the challenges would be getting enough miners young and fit enough to run them”

        I think you’ll find that modern coal mining practice has come a long way since the days when little pneumoconiosis-riddled Welshmen scraped coal out of fourteen inch seams with twelve inches of water in them!
        Drax for example was a very modern pit, highly automated and fitted with flue dust treatment equipment just before the conversion to burning trees.
        And then there’s in-situ gasification using the steerable drill technology that enabled the fracking revolution that produces an output very similar to the old town gas, ie hydrogen and carbon monoxide AKA Syngas, a major feedstock of the chemical engineering industry.
        Anyway, there are always the dinghy people, most of whom appear to be young fit men!

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        August 1, 2022 7:45 pm

        What is for sure is that coal prices that are ten times what they were not so long back makes a whole lot more resource economic. Of course, you can’t expect that price level to persist, but even a doubled price brings massively more resource into play.

  3. John H permalink
    July 30, 2022 11:02 am

    While Asian economy will surge ahead we are strangling ourselves with so called green ideas that are not really green. in 20 years time the UK and few other western countries’ economies will be basket cases if we press ahead with net zero.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      July 31, 2022 11:13 am

      20 years? It will be much quicker than that. Jo Nova showed how de-industrialising is going with demand for electricity dropping in the UK and the EU as manufacturing is outsourced, mainly to China. Sadly, the UK has been doing it faster than the EU. A lesson to be learnt from Sri Lanka is look what happens to your ability to import goods you need when you exports are killed off by a moronic president.

      • dave permalink
        August 1, 2022 9:27 am


        It is elementary ECONOMICS (‘O Level’ in my day) that making and exporting Good A and then importing and consuming Good B is just an indirect way of making and consuming Good B. If you lose the ability to make and sell Good A you must – if you still wish to consume Good B – relearn how to make Good B. That does not sound too bad, but ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY says there is more to it than that.

        The exports of a region may only represent 10% (say) of its economic activity*, with the other 90% being internal buying and selling and collectivised government activity. But the 10% will, in an age of specialisation, be VITAL to the region. It is called ‘the export base’ of the region The whole economy will collapse if it is removed.

        Of course there is a silver lining. All the parasite piggies with which we are plagued at present with their noses in the trough, politicians and handbag designers (the latter being my personal bete noire,) will suddenly be ruined.

        * Specifically, its exchange activity. Much of our activity is work we do for ourselves (just doing the washing-up is important economic activity with immediate hedonic benefit); and unless society moves from being socialist (the present regime) to totalitarian green (the danger) we as individuals will at least be able to live.

  4. GeoffB permalink
    July 30, 2022 11:04 am

    Comeuppance….. For the woke west.

    A negative outcome which is justly deserved
    Revenge exacted for an insult, injury, or other wrong
    A formal expression of disapproval
    The consequence of an action, irrespective of good or bad
    A significant or total loss of power, prosperity, or status

  5. Brian Smith permalink
    July 30, 2022 11:08 am

    If only there was gas under the sea or, even better, under our feet eh?

  6. Cheshire Red permalink
    July 30, 2022 1:11 pm

    Ah look; economic reality meets Net Zero fantasy and surprise, economic reality wins hands down.

    After untold billions and many years of runaway Green climate propaganda coal is back to being king. If this isn’t seen as the biggest reality check for Net Zero zealots then they’ll never understand.

    Sensible voices must now intervene and re-assess UK’s Net Zero targets. Scrapping it altogether won’t happen but a compromise of deferral to 2075 should be the minimum new time target.

    All retro-fit domestic air source pump targets should be ditched, perhaps with a trial rollout for new builds only.

    ICE vehicles given should get a stay of execution to at least 2050 and preferably 2075, which means no time pressure for a national charging grid and reduced pressure on National Grid capacity itself.

    This is all so obvious it hurts, assuming politicians are on our side. And that’s the problem; it’s quite clear they’re not.

    • Dave Andrews permalink
      July 30, 2022 4:03 pm

      Not sure coal ever really stopped being king. After all coal fired power production in the world doubled between 2000 and 2020.

      Currently there are c.700GW of coal plants 0-9 years old, 650GW10-19 years old, 200GW 20-29 years old and 500GW over 30 years old including 120GW over 50 years old.

      Then there are all the new plants being built by China, India and Indonesia.

      Seems to me that the future of coal is pretty robust and has a long life in front of it,

      • Dave Andrews permalink
        July 30, 2022 4:05 pm

        This was a reply to Martin Brumby but seems to have gone astray

  7. catweazle666 permalink
    July 30, 2022 2:37 pm

    So, after literally trillions pee’d up the wall on innumerable crackpot ecologically disastrous “unreliables” and mendacious green propaganda, Old King Coal still reigns supreme…
    Such is life!

    • Gerry, England permalink
      July 31, 2022 11:32 am

      I often wonder what mankind could have achieved with all the money wasted of all the green crap over the last 30 years as it amounts to tens of trillions?

      Can anyone think of a green solution that has actually been any good and better than what we already had? Or are actually a new idea. Reusable containers? Door step milk deliveries going back to the early part of last century. Battery powered delivery vehicles? Milk floats, and although Muller are supposed to be using battery vehicles my milkman drives a diesel Transit.

  8. jimlemaistre permalink
    July 30, 2022 5:11 pm

    Yup . . . King Coal reigns Supreme . . . because all of the ‘Clean Up’ in the west just transfers the ‘Dirty Old Pollution’ somewhere else, Out of Site, Out of Mind !

    I have been waging a war to these ends for over ten years . . . To Deaf Ears . . . The Media and their subservient Politian’s Do Not Want to know . . . The Propaganda of ‘Clean Green Energy’ sells Sooo well to the Ignorant Masses . . . why kill the Goose that lays the golden egg . . . the story that gets the hits, the story that people flock to . . . Ah . . . screw the truth . . . That’s just a bunch of ‘Drivel’ from those ‘Deniers’ . . . what do they know ? . . . We have ‘God’ on our side . . . The Almighty $$$ . . . .

  9. Chaswarnertoo permalink
    July 30, 2022 5:15 pm

    All that electric car fuel that could be used to stop pensioners freezing…

  10. marlene permalink
    July 30, 2022 6:42 pm

    So Biden can sell US coal to Europe at twice the price while Americans freeze in winter? Sounds like a plan.

    • dave permalink
      August 1, 2022 9:33 am

      “Sounds like a plan.”

      It is the plan. Or at least a lucky result. Hurting the unwoke majority until they are completely demoralised.

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