China to Dominate the 2013 Coal Market


By John Daly

China is the world’s largest coal producer and consumer and currently accounts for about half of the global coal consumption.

The U.S. Energy Information Agency noted in its 2012 country analysis brief on China, “Coal supplied the vast majority (70 percent) of China’s total energy consumption of 90 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2009,” adding, “EIA projects coal’s share of the total energy mix to fall to 59 percent by 2035 due to anticipated higher energy efficiencies and China’s goal to reduce its carbon intensity (carbon emissions per unit of GDP). However, absolute coal consumption is expected to double over this period, reflecting the large growth in total energy consumption.”

The World Energy Council reported that China held an estimated 128 billion short tons of recoverable coal reserves in 2011, the third-largest in the world behind the United States and the Russian Federation, or roughly 13 percent of the world’s total coal reserves. Chinese coal production rose to over 3.8 billion short tons in 2011, making China the largest coal producer in the world.

Currently 27 Chinese provinces mine coal, and the country’s coal consumption is approximately three times higher than it was in 2000, with more than half of China’s coal is used for power and heat generation.

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