U.S. Coal Finds Footing In European Markets
A report by the EIA indicated that coal exports—for both steam coal, used for power generation, and metallurgical coal, used for refining steel—have increased by 58 percent from Q1 of 2016 to Q1 of 2017. The majority of the increase was in steam coal, which grew by 6 million short tons (MMst).
The majority of the coal was shipped from ports on the Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast. The U.S. exported a total of 10.135 million short tons of steam coal during Q1. Steam coal exports were bound largely for European markets—which consumed approximately 50 percent of the U.S.’ total steam coal exports in Q1, 2017.
Out of the approximately 5.108 million short tons of steam coal exported to Europe, the Netherlands consumed approximately 2.530 million short tons—a little less than 50 percent.
Asian markets consumed approximately 31 percent of the total U.S. exports, with South Korea, India, and Japan making up the bulk of the demand.
According to a June report by the IEA, global natural gas demand will increase by 1.6 percent by 2022—with China fueling 40 percent of that growth. On the other end of the spectrum is the U.S., which is expected to produce 40 percent of the world’s new gas production out to 2022.
The IEA believes that by 2022, despite growth in domestic gas demand, the U.S. will export over half of its growing production in the form of LNG.
The EIA’s quarterly gas report indicated that U.S. natural gas exports via pipeline—which account for 92 percent of total gas exports—increased by 30 percent to 2,315 Bcf in 2016. LNG exports were accomplished through the Sabine Pass LNG terminal, which was completed in 2016 and was the only operational LNG terminal in the Lower 48 as of June 29th, 2017. Four more LNG terminals are schedule for completion by 2021—and will have a combined export capacity of 9.2 Bcf per day.
LNG exports—which totaled 187 Bcf during 2016—were directed to markets in 18 countries, of which exports to Chile, Mexico, and China accounted for approximately 40 percent of the total volume.
The U.S. imported only 9,850 thousand short tons of coal in 2016—a decrease of about 13 percent from 2015 imports. Natural gas imports increased by 11 percent with the vast majority—97 percent of U.S. gas imports—coming through pipelines from Canada.