Coal is the second only to oil in fossil fuel consumption and is very likely to have a greater use in the future as oil and gas production decline. The International Energy Outlook 2005 projects that coal consumption, which increased in production by 7.2% from 2003 to 2004, will increase by 2.5% per annum until 2015 and 1.3 % per annum from 2015 to 2025. The greater growth in the first period reflects the rapid growth of Asian economies during this time which are likely to slow down in the later period. Asia's demand for coal is expected to be moderated by increasing use of natural gas from pipelines from the Caspian Sea area that are now under construction and those that may be built in the future. EIA expects that their coal consumption will double by 2025, which will lower China's R/P considerably, indicating either increased imports, perhaps from the Russian Federation, or a shortfall in the following period. In the short term EIA expects U.S. demand for coal to increase by 4.5% in 2005 and remain at 2005 levels in 2006.
|COAL RESOURCE DATA|
|Location||Proved Anthracite & Bituminous Reserves||Proved Sub-bituminous & Lignite Reserves||Share of Total Re-serves||2004 Produc-tion||Change over 2003||Con-sump-tion||R/P ratio|
|million tonnes||million tonnes||%||million tonnes oil equiv.||%||million tonnes oil equiv.|
Data for the previous table is taken from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2005. Units for production and consumption are expressed in tonnes (2204.62 lb) of oil equivalent rather than tonnes of coal because the mix of various coals with different heat contents would make values on a strictly weight basis misleading. The heating values of lignite are quite a bit lower than for Anthracite; for a concise discussion of this see the International Energy Outlook in the section on reserves. Data for coal is rather straight foreword because the trade in coal is very limited except with Japan and South Korea which are the largest importers, much of it coming from Australia which is the largest exporter. Even the quantity that they import is rather small when compared to the worlds consumption.
The growth rate projected in the next few years by EIA seems to be a little low to me, with Asia increasing consumption 11.9% in 2004 and accounting for 54.2% of the world's total consumption. While Asia has plans to build nuclear power plants at a very aggressive rate, most are not going to be coming on line before 2012. U.S. coal consumption only increased by 0.3% in 2004 but it is likely to increase at a higher rate in a few years due to the high costs of natural gas and oil. Clean Coal power plants are starting to take off, but will not start coming on line in any quantity before 2015. In my judgment coal liquefaction in the U.S is not likely to have any real impact before 2020. So while Asia may slow down coal consumption after 2015 the U.S. is likely to start increasing consumption at that time.
BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2005, June 2005 - A free 41 page summary of this report may be ordered from the website.
International Energy Outlook - Coal , EIA, July, 2005
Short-Term Energy Outlook, EIA, Oct. 12, 2005