Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Election Forecast 2015 - Opinion Polls Trending Towards Conservative Outright Win - Nadeem_Walayat
2.UK Solar Eclipse - End Time Sign, Judgement Day, Doomsday! - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Gold And Silver - When Will Precious Metals Rally? Not In 2015 - Michael_Noonan
4.Preparing for the Next Stocks Bear Market - Forecast 2015-2016 - Gary_Savage
5.Is a Stock Market Crash Imminent? - David Eifrig
6.Gold Price Slumps as US Dollar Soars, What's Next? - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Dollar Forex Pairs and Gold Chartology - Rambus_Chartology
8.Election Forecast 2015: The Day Labour Lost the General Election - Nadeem_Walayat
9.The ECB Should End QE Next Month - EconMatters
10.Silver Price Poised to Surge - Zeal_LLC
Last 5 days
Brazil Economy Victim of Vulgar Keynesianism - 27th Mar 15
Gold to Fuel Silver Price Upleg - 27th Mar 15
Gold and Silver Stocks Will Rise Again! - 27th Mar 15
Risk of ‘World War’ between NATO and Russia on Ukraine as Yemen Bombed - 27th Mar 15
FOMC Minutes Turned The Gold Tide - 27th Mar 15
Sheffield Hallam Election Battle 2015 - Lib Dems Go to War Whilst Labour Sleeps - 27th Mar 15
Gold Effect On Mining & Shale Wasteland - 27th Mar 15
How Stock Investors Should Play the 2016 Presidential Race - 26th Mar 15
MidEast Energy Alert: Why the Crisis in Yemen Could Get Ugly Very Fast - 26th Mar 15
Stock Market Downward Spiral of Dumbness - 26th Mar 15
The Monetary Approach Reigns Supreme - 26th Mar 15
Stock Market Large Gap Down, Despite the Algos' Push Back - 26th Mar 15
Crude Oil Surges, Gold price Spikes as Middle East Tensions Escalate - 26th Mar 15
The U.S. Housing Market Recovery Is Fabricated Optimism - 26th Mar 15
Why Yemen Is The Next Saudi-Iranian Battleground - 26th Mar 15
The Crude Oil Price Crash and China Economic Slow Down - 26th Mar 15
Global Financial Markets Are More Distorted Than Ever Before - 26th Mar 15
One More Stock Market Rally and Then a Huge Drop Expected - 26th Mar 15
Danger Will Robinson - Stock Market Crash Warning - 25th Mar 15
Learn the Basics of Corrective Elliott Waves - 25th Mar 15
Why CNBC Is Hazardous to Your Financial Health! - 25th Mar 15
Will Your Retirement Accounts Survive The Coming Tax Code "Revolution"? - 25th Mar 15
US Dollar - Americas Phoenix - 25th Mar 15
California’s Epic Drought: Only One Year of Water Left! - 25th Mar 15
What’s Wrong With Silver? - 25th Mar 15
SPX Futures Appear Weak. WTIC and Gold May Be at Max Retracement - 25th Mar 15
We’re at the Dawn of a “New Energy Age” - 25th Mar 15
A Very Weak U.S. Economic Recovery - 25th Mar 15
Zero UK CPI Inflation Rate Prompts Deflation Danger Propaganda For Fresh Money Printing - 25th Mar 15
Stock Market NYSE Hi-Lo Index Aggressive Sell Signal - 24th Mar 15
Palladium Commodity Price Forecast - 24th Mar 15
Bitcoin Price Gearing Up for a Fall - 24th Mar 15
Safety Deposit Boxes In UK Being Closed By ‏HSBC – Not Closing Gold Vaults - 24th Mar 15
Japan Short Term Gains And Long Term Disaster - 24th Mar 15
China's Fragile Evolution - 24th Mar 15
David Cameron Announces Resignation Even Before Being Re-elected, Handing Labour 6 Seats - 24th Mar 15
City of London's Ownership of American Colonies - 24th Mar 15
Stock Market Reversal May Have Begun - 24th Mar 15
Casey Gathers Top Gold Experts to Share Secrets for Making Money in Any Market - 24th Mar 15
Thoughts on The Current Crude Oil Market - 24th Mar 15
U.S. Economy Still on Life Support - What Your Governments Hiding From You... - 24th Mar 15
UK Election Forecast 2015 - Budget Bribes Fail, SNP Insurgency Catastrophe - Video - 24th Mar 15
Is Stock Market Minor Top Taking Hold? - 23rd Mar 15
Greece and EU Running Out of Time as Bank Runs Intensify - 23rd Mar 15
Stock Market Slightly Negative Expectations Following Last Week's Rally - 23rd Mar 15
This Rising Interest Rates Play Could Make You a Quick 55% - 23rd Mar 15
Platinum Commodity Price False Break Low - 23rd Mar 15
The Real Reason The American Dream is Unraveling - 23rd Mar 15
Election Forecast 2015 - Budget Bribes Fail to Impress Voters, Tory's Lose Seats in Opinion Polls - 23rd Mar 15
Silver Price Reliance During U.S. Dollar Rally - 23rd Mar 15
Gold Price Outlook Dramatic Improvement Following US Dollar Topping Action - 23rd Mar 15
Wall Street Doesn't Want You to Do This - 22nd Mar 15
The "Natural Interest Rate" Is Always Positive and Cannot Be Negative - 22nd Mar 15
Exploring The Gold Market: The Fed, The Charts. The COTS and GLD - 22nd Mar 15
Stocks Bull Market Continues - 22nd Mar 15
Gold And Silver - China's AIIB Spells U.s. Dollar Demise, Not Clear For Precious Metals - 22nd Mar 15
Cocoa Commodity Price Technical Outlook - 21st Mar 15
Yield Curve, Futures, Suggest No U.S. Interest Rate Hike Until December - 21st Mar 15
Three Iconic Stocks Are Poised for a Dive - 21st Mar 15
We're All Hedge Funds Now! - 21st Mar 15
Why Stock Market Seasonality May Be Critical in 2015 - 20th Mar 15
Yellen's Tiger Riding Dilemma Keeps Interest Rates Near Zero - 20th Mar 15
FOMC is boxed in, Gold and Silver - 20th Mar 15
Silver Price Poised to Surge - 20th Mar 15
Why Aren’t These Investors Worried About The Gold Price? - 20th Mar 15
Gold Price Downside $850/oz; Upside Jump to $2,000/oz on ‘Grexit’ - 20th Mar 15
Cheap Paper Money - Precious Metals Technical Outlook - 20th Mar 15
Best Cash ISA vs Budget 2015 Scrapping Tax on Savings Interest on First £1,000 - 20th Mar 15
GDXJ / Gold Ratio - 20th Mar 15
What the “Yellen Effect” Ultimately Means for Crude Oil - 20th Mar 15
Sharp Fall In USD Index And Its Implications - 20th Mar 15

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

US Economy Still on Life Support

China Reaches Peak Coal

Commodities / Coal Mar 23, 2012 - 03:25 PM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop

Commodities

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleCoal presently supplies about 67% of China's commercial energy but its National Energy Administration, 21 March, released its five-year 2011-2016 plan for Chinese coal, which features a near-term peak, and then decline of coal in the energy economy. The world’s largest user and producer of coal intends to limit domestic output and consumption of the commodity by 2017, to reduce pollution and to curb reliance on this fuel, which also faces a rising number of supply problems from reserve depletion to coal import costs, infrastructure and transport needs.


The NEA announced that coal demand growth will be restricted to zero, and consumption to a maximum of around 3.9 to 4.1 billion metric tons a year by or before 2017.

China's coal consumption, including a growing amount of imports estimated at about 25 million tons this year but forecast to increase to 200 million tons a year by 2015, totaled about 3.75 billion tons in 2011. At that rate and for China's estimated 1.33 billion population, this is a consumption rate of 2.8 tons per person a year, which we can compare with the coal consumption peaks attained by early industrializing Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1913 for example, the UK attained its all-time coal peak at about 215 million tons a year. For its 1913 population this was close to 5 tons per person a year. Current US coal consumption of almost exactly 1 billion tons per year yields about 3.3 tons of coal per person each year.

China is the world’s biggest producer of carbon emissions and coal-related pollutants, and its authorities intend cutting both of these by as much as 17% per unit of GDP through the period to 2017, but its coal path remains locked-on to its economic growth. Throughout the period since 2000, Chinese coal demand growth has tracked the economy with a 1-for-1 relationship, resulting in coal demand growing at more than 8% a year, doubling the nation's need for coal every 7 years.

The main problem is therefore China's vast coal energy-dependence, and growing coal import dependence comparable to the OECD group's heavy dependence on declining and high-priced supplies of imported oil.

CHINA MULLS COAL ALTERNATIVES
China's coal demand growth will definitely slow, and reach a set limit, not only because of environmental concerns but also because of China's value-added and technology-based industrial and economic strategy. Coal remains cheap, is basic to iron and steel production, and for electricity production, but has nothing like the flexibility, ease of use and lower environmental impact of oil and gas energy. However, due to China's massive dependence on coal, achieving zero growth for coal by or before 2017 is a difficult goal unless the government substantially trims economic growth and accelerates its programme for phasing out energy-intensive industries, which are hard to reconcile.

Simply due to more than 66% of China's current electricity being produced from coal, with little potential for raising China's already impressive hydro output, and with the gas alternative currently based only on high-priced LNG imports, China's coal demand growth is locked-on to its economic growth. Breaking that link will in no way be easy and the short timeframe for achieving major change may indicate that China will engage a massive energy transition plan away from coal, and may be constrained to import more oil in the short-term.

 The Chinese government is considering a wide range of alternatives to coal, both on the economic structure side, and on the energy supply side. China's annual growth of windpower and solar electric generating capacity is now running at about one-quarter of its annual 90 GW increase in power capacity, this annual increase being equivalent to two-thirds of Germany's total installed power capacity, and may rise further. This however will not be enough to achieve transition away from coal, and the nuclear option remains dogged by very high costs and long lead times.

Under any scenario however, Its now official goal of cutting the role of coal energy “significantly” will have major impacts. Coming adjustments to the nation’s energy economy and energy structure, as well as new and tighter environmental protection measures, will cause impacts that can affect global energy.

The especially include China's rapidly building hopes for shale gas development, its alternate energy industries and its oil demand.

REPLACING COAL
China's NEA says that it is able to expand coal production and import capacity by 750 million tons a year in the short term, and might attain an ultimate peak of 4.1 billion tons a year, by about 2015, of which as much as 200 million tons/year could be imported. The role of China's coal imports, for energy traders, is almost as important as China's ever rising import demand for oil. This is due to both of Asia's giant emerging economies, India and China, being increasingly obliged to import coal due to their overstretched national coal mining and transport industries facing cost and infrastructure limits and their mines facing coal depletion issues. At the same time, coal import demand by Europe is rising, despite its clean energy programmes, and import demand remains strong in developed Asia. Coal export prices, which at oil parity would attain about $500 per ton, may however hit a ceiling due to rising LNG gas availability and declining gas prices triggered by US shale gas development, enabling China and India to import more coal at prices that cease to grow.

While costly high-tech LNG infrastructures like regasification terminals are rapidly being built by China and India, the gas alternative to coal for both countries mainly concerns their hopes for domestic shale gas development, but this is not growing at anywhere near the pace needed to phase out coal, or even cover their annual growth of coal demand. The net result is that both coal and oil import demand, by China, will likely tend to grow faster than previously anticipated and forecast.

Despite the Chinese target of cutting the energy intensity of its GDP by 17% over 5 years, coal demand growth has been running at 8% or more, per year, and this sets the "energy gap" for non-coal alternatives at around 300 million tons a year of coal, equivalent to 1.5 billion barrels of oil energy, by or before 2017. Replacing this 0.3 Mtce (tons coal equivalent) with either gas or oil will have major impacts on world energy trades, leaving the green energy and energy conservation option as a major rational choice for Chinese planners.

To be sure, Chinese hopes for shale gas are high, with the US EIA crediting China with the world's largest national resources, but without major gas transport infrastructures and shale gas E&P only at a very early stage, Chinese hopes are not matched by results on the ground. LNG import expansion is also problematic for China, for infrastructure reasons and due to present very high LNG prices for Asian destinations, sometimes above $18 per million BTU, driven by sustained import demand from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and other ASEAN countries.

As a net result, it is likely China's oil import demand may grow more than currently forecast - rather than tend to stagnate - with major impacts on global oil prices, going forward

By Andrew McKillop

Contact: xtran9@gmail.com

Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2012 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2015 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014