Power, Coal and Electricity
Mar 22 - Coal plant pipeline shrinks globally in 2016 - research
Construction of new coal plants fell sharply last year due to a clampdown on projects in China and less finance available in India, a report by three environmental groups said on Wednesday. By January this year, there was 570 gigawatts (GW) of coal power capacity in the pre-construction planning stage, down from 1,090 GW in January 2016, said the report by Greenpeace, U.S. group the Sierra Club and coal research group CoalSwarm. Click here to read full stories.
Mar 21 - French power far-curve premium over Belgium to remain amid nuclear doubt – traders (ICIS)
- A growing risk premium on French calendar year contracts over the Belgian power market is likely to remain until traders’ concerns over the reliability of EDF’s nuclear forecasts are laid to rest.
- The price premium between the two power markets flipped in mid-October last year when power incumbent EDF revised down its nuclear output targets for the rest of that year following a probe by the French nuclear safety authority into 12 reactor units. But since ASN ended the investigation on 24 February this year after approving the last nuclear unit for restart, the French Cal ’18, ’19 and ’20 have retained a premium over Belgium.
There are several factors driving the French premium, with consensus behind the first:
• Traders lack confidence in nuclear generator EDF’s output forecasts, which adds a risk premium to calendar year products on the forward curve (see EDEM 22 February 2017).
Besides this, other factors at play include:
• Uncertainty about French nuclear safety authority ASN’s decisions regarding the lifetime of the oldest nuclear units in France
• Further uncertainty over the next French president’s energy policy. The first round of polling takes place on 23 April
• Increased costs for nuclear plants, such as higher operating expenditure, maintenance costs and safety investments, highlighted by the French Cour des Comptes, or Court of Audit
• Sluggish liquidity on the French and Belgian far curves which may yield more volatility and poor price signals that do not reflect fundamentals as well as more liquid markets would, although this could mean products are underpriced as well as overpriced.
“The premium is likely related to EDF’s forecasts of nuclear availability and actual delivery,” one utility-based trader in north Europe said. “Delivery has been below the forecasts in previous years and until that is resolved, the market is going to price in a premium.”
Another trader based in France said: “I have some doubts EDF will be able to generate nuclear [power] at levels similar to 2014-15, mainly due to technical issues.”
For its part, EDF has published year-ahead output targets that it says “take into account” previous issues including “controls and investigations” related to its nuclear fleet.
- ICIS does not assess Belgian wholesale power prices on a daily basis, but collects and publishes over-the-counter trade data whenever transactions are reported. By comparing trades occurring on the same date, the French Cal ’19 Baseload has been on average 10.5% above the Belgian equivalent in the period 26 January-9 March. And an even higher premium applied to Cal’ 20. The French Cal ’20 Baseload stood at a 17% premium to the Belgian Cal ’20, which has only traded three times this year, on 2 March. While the French Cal ’20 changed hands at €37.10/MWh, the Belgian equivalent traded at €31.70/MWh – a difference of €5.40/MWh.
- French forward curve power prices have historically been cheaper than Belgium, particularly in 2015 when two of Belgium’s seven nuclear units – the 1GW Doel 3 and Tihange 2 – were forced to go offline for safety reasons, causing serious fears about a supply crunch in Belgium during the winter.
- But the Belgian plants were approved in November 2015 to continue operations, and the concern has since shifted to the state of the French nuclear fleet and owner EDF’s output forecasts, several traders told ICIS. Only in 2016 did the average French front-year price push above Belgium, mainly because of the increases in France in the latter half of the year.
- According to a plan published by the French energy ministry in summer 2016, annual nuclear generation is likely to drop by 10-65TWh in the period 2019-2023 from around 415TWh in 2015, depending on various factors such as the closure of the two 900MW Fessenheim reactors in 2018.
- More than half of total French nuclear capacity will reach 40 years of service by 2025 and extensions of at least part of the nuclear fleet will be necessary to guarantee security of supply. The number of units subject to ASN’s 10-year inspections is expected to jump from four in 2018 to seven in 2019 and 2020.
- However, two traders refuted the idea that a reduction in nuclear power was fuelling higher price premiums on the far curve, because this was already known to the market before October 2016 when the French premium to Belgium began to surge.
Some traders doubted that the premium will tail off in the medium- or long-term, even if the problem of unpredictable nuclear forecasts is solved.
- “That’s the million dollar question,” one trader said. “Despite the green light from the ASN regarding concerns on steam generators, there are a lot of uncertainties regarding future nuclear availability in France.
- “When it comes to policy, this would need an update post-French presidential election.”
Mar 21 - Toshiba's Westinghouse seeks U.S. bankruptcy financing - sources
Westinghouse Electric Co LLC, the nuclear power plant developer owned by Japanese electronics company Toshiba Corp, is taking offers for a financing package to help it go through U.S. bankruptcy, people familiar with the matter said on Monday. Toshiba is reviewing proposals from financial institutions and investment firms about a so-called debtor-in-possession loan, which would carry the company through a potential bankruptcy, said two people familiar with the situation. The size of this financing package is expected to exceed $500 million, the people added. Click here to read full stories.
Mar 20 - India's Adani to finalise Australia coal investment plan by June
India's Adani Enterprises said it would finalise an investment decision by June for its Carmichael coal project in the northern Australian state of Queensland, which has been delayed due to protests from environmental groups. For more than five years, Adani has battled opposition from green groups who fear the project will produce so much coal for export to India that it will require a mega-port expansion into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Click here to read full stories.
Mar 17 - U.S. judge says to approve Peabody's bankruptcy exit
Peabody Energy Corp, the world's largest private sector coal producer, said on Thursday it expects to exit its Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early April after a U.S. judge said he would approve its plan to slash over $5 billion of debt. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Barry Schermer said he was ready to sign an order to approve Peabody's bankruptcy emergence once language regarding a late settlement of certain U.S. Department of Justice complaints had been finalized. Click here to read full stories.
Mar 16 - EDF tries new fixes in effort to restart nuclear reactors
EDF is employing new techniques in a bid to restart four nuclear reactors that have been idled for months due to a series of glitches, a top executive at the French utility said. EDF had to close two of the reactors following the discovery of manufacturing problems and document falsification at the foundry of its supplier Areva, while the others were shut down by a sealing problem and an accident. Click here to read full stories.
Mar 16 - Coal India missing output target doesn't matter, mining millions of tonnes more does: Russell
What's more important? The fact the Coal India will once again miss its annual output target, or that it will produce over 31 million tonnes more than it did the previous year? Recent media reports have highlighted that Coal India Ltd (CIL), the state-owned behemoth that's the world's largest miner of the fuel, will likely miss its target of producing 598 million tonnes in the fiscal year ending March 31. Click here to read full stories.
Mar 15 - China cracks down on low-quality coal imports as traders report customs delays
China is ramping up controls on imports of low-quality coal due to concerns about smog and overcapacity in the world's top coal consumer, a government official said on Wednesday, as traders report some cargoes have been delayed by customs checks. "As long as coal meets standards, we don't forbid imports, but we are imposing controls on low-quality coal imports," said Zhi Shuping, head of the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine which oversees imports safety. Click here to read full stories.
Mar 14 - France likely a frequent power importer in years to come
For two straight months this winter, France was a net importer of electricity for the first time in five years, a trend that could continue during periods of peak demand no matter who wins the April-May presidential election. France, usually a net exporter of electricity, imported a record 950 gigawatt-hours of power on a net basis in January, the highest level since 1980, as a cold snap increased demand for heating amid a series of prolonged nuclear outages. Click here to read full stories.
Mar 14 - Musk's bold offer of Tesla batteries won't solve Australia's power problems: Russell
Australia is becoming an interesting microcosm on how to, or how not to, transition an economy from being predominantly powered by coal to more climate-friendly alternatives. The dramatic intervention by Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk last week is just the latest twist in an ongoing saga that pits business, government, farmers, government and environmentalists against each other. Click here to read full stories.
Mar 09 - Coal gets second wind as Australia battles power crisis
The rise of wind and solar power in Australia was supposed to be the death knell for coal use in the world's biggest exporter of the fossil fuel, but the shunned fuel is finding a new lease of life and may yet attract subsidies to keep the lights on. Growth in electricity demand and a drop in supply since 2014 have strained the Australian grid, triggering outages amid heatwaves and storms. The worst - an eight-hour blackout in South Australia last year - crippled industry for up to two weeks and provoked public outrage. Click here to read full stories.
Mar 02 - Trump poised to lift federal coal ban, other green rules - White House
U.S. President Donald Trump will target a handful of Obama-era green regulations, including a federal coal mining ban and an initiative forcing states to cut carbon emissions, in an executive order as soon as next week, a White House official told Reuters on Wednesday. Trump and his fellow Republicans who control Congress are seeking to unravel former Democratic President Barack Obama's initiatives to combat global climate change, which they say are costly for U.S. business and have hampered drilling and mining without providing any clear benefits. Click here to read full stories.
Feb 28 - Coal revival means big stock bonuses at bankrupt Peabody
A year ago, Peabody Energy Corp's chief executive was presiding over $2 billion of losses as the world's largest private sector coal miner spiralled into bankruptcy. Now, CEO Glenn Kellow and other top executives stand to reap tens of millions of dollars in stock bonuses under Peabody's bankruptcy exit plan, which sets aside 10 percent of newly minted shares for employees. Click here to read full stories.
Feb 27 - Tepco increases bond sale size to 90 bln yen
Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said on Monday it has increased the size of its first bond offer since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster by nearly 30 percent, after investors showed strong interest. The company raised the sale to 90 billion yen ($803 million) from 70 billion yen, Tepco said in a filing on Monday. The company is now selling 40 billion yen of three-year debt and 50 billion yen of five-year bonds. Click here to read full stories.
Feb 24 - North Korea raps old ally China after China's ban on coal
North Korea issued a rare reproach of China on Thursday saying its main diplomatic backer was "dancing to the tune" of the United States for halting North Korean coal imports because of its nuclear and missile programmes. The North's state-run KCNA news agency did not refer directly to China by name but in an unmistakable censure it accused a "neighbouring country" of going along with North Korea's enemies to "bring down its social system". Click here to read full stories.
Feb 23 - Brazil's Petrobras denies Eletrobras gas for new power plant
State-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA has alerted Brazil's electricity sector regulator that it would not supply natural gas for a new thermoelectric power plant under construction in the Amazon region. In a letter to regulator Aneel seen by Reuters, Petrobras said it would not sign a contract with state-led power utility Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA, known as Eletrobras, because its subsidiary Amazonas Energia, which is building the plant in Manaus, owes it more than 2.5 billion reais ($814 million) for fuel supplies. Click here to read full stories.
Feb 22 - Power struggle: Australian smelters grapple with electricity uncertainty
Fed up with unpredictable and often exorbitant electricity prices, Sun Metals CEO Yun Birm Choi plans to invest A$183 million ($140 million) to build a massive solar farm to power his zinc refinery in the Australian outback. The decision by Sun Metals, owned by Korea Zinc Co, to turn to solar comes as Australia grapples with more frequent power failures and extraordinary price surges on its mainly coal-fired wholesale electricity markets. Click here to read full stories.
Feb 20 - China to suspend all imports of coal from North Korea
China will suspend all imports of coal from North Korea starting Feb. 19, the country's commerce ministry said in a notice posted on its website on Saturday, as part of its efforts to implement United Nations sanctions against the country. The Ministry of Commerce said in a short statement that the ban would be effective until Dec. 31. Click here to read full stories.
Feb 17 - China's North Korea import ban the latest gyrating coal policy: Russell
Coal markets could be forgiven for feeling slightly confused about the recent signals coming out of top importer China, with both bullish and bearish developments in evidence. The most obvious bullish news relates mainly to coking coal used in steel-making, and like many announcements in China it's political in nature. Click here to read full stories.
Feb 09 - Indonesia's Bumi targets coal output of 93-94 mln T in 2017 - Director
Indonesia's biggest coal producer, Bumi Resources, is targeting production of 93 million to 94 million tonnes of coal in 2017, its director, Dileep Srivastava, told Reuters on Thursday. That would be up to 9 percent higher than the 86.5 million tonnes produced in 2016. Click here to read full stories.
Feb 08 - ChinaCoal to divert 9,300 workers to new jobs in capacity cut
Chinacoal, China's second-largest coal producer, plans to divert around 9,300 coal workers, about 10 percent of its workforce, to new jobs, the company's spokesperson said on Wednesday. Part of a plan to reduce mining capacity by 17 million tonnes a year in 2017, ChinaCoal will offer the coal mine employees training and help them look for jobs with other companies, Jiang Chun, spokesman for ChinaCoal said. Click here to read full stories.
Feb 03 - Coal rule killed by U.S. Congress, others near chopping block
The U.S. Congress moved swiftly on Thursday to undo Obama-era rules on the environment, corruption, labor and guns, with the Senate wiping from the books a rule aimed at reducing water pollution. By a vote of 54-45, the Senate approved a resolution already passed in the House of Representatives to kill the rule aimed at keeping pollutants out of streams in areas near mountain top removal coal-mining sites. Click here to read full stories.
Jan 26 - Rio Tinto sale to Yancoal resets mood for Australian coal mine deals
Chinese-owned Yancoal's $2.45 billion purchase of the Coal & Allied division of Rio Tinto is setting the stage for more big-ticket coal mining acquisitions in Australia, where more than $10 billion in assets are waiting to be sold. Deals stalled last year when coal prices rocketed to nearly five-year highs and miners raised their expectations on bids for their assets, but with coal prices in retreat, deals are more likely to get done, merger and acquisition advisers said. Click here to read full stories.
Jan 25 - Rio Tinto sells coal assets to China's Yancoal for up to $2.45 bln
Rio Tinto Plc has agreed to sell its Australian unit Coal & Allied Industries Ltd to Chinese government-controlled Yancoal Australia Ltd for up to $2.45 billion in cash, it said on Tuesday. Analysts said the price was a good deal for selling off thermal coal assets, which Rio no longer views as core. Rio's share price rose 4 percent in London trade, just above gains of 3.5 percent for the wider sector. Click here to read full stories.
Jan 23 - Holiday on ice as coal mines get skates on to beat Beijing curbs
Chinese coal miners are so determined to cash in on a window of high prices that many are slashing holiday leave for workers and raising pay through the Lunar New Year celebrations before government introduces limits on output again. Prices in China, the world's biggest coal user, have slipped back 16 percent from their two-year peak of 610 yuan ($88.83) per tonne two months ago, but they are still profitably high after a couple of barren years for miners. Click here to read full stories.
Jan 17 - Europe spot power mixed with French day-ahead up 16 pct (Reuters)
- European prompt power prices were mixed early on Tuesday with French prices up as cold weather spurred demand while wind supply weighed on German prices.
- Day-ahead French baseload was up 16 percent at 124 euros ($131.96) per megawatt hour (MWh) while German prices were down 7 percent at 77.75 euros/MWh.
- Traders said the French system was on high alert and needed a high level of imports.
- A day earlier French electricity grid operator said no power cuts were immediately expected.
- Demand in France is set to rise by 1.4 gigawatts (GW) to 83.4 GW on Wednesday while demand in Germany is seen rising by 0.3 GW to 71.5 GW.
Jan 13 - High Romanian demand prompts power export ban talks (ICIS)
- A reduction or discontinuation of Romanian electricity exports is being considered, the country’s energy ministry confirmed late on Thursday.This measure would only be applied in case of doubts that the system will be able to cover local demand.
- On Tuesday, Romania’s transmission system operator (TSO) Transelectrica reported the highest electricity consumption in the country since 2001, hitting 9730MW in peak hours. Consumption is forecast to remain high over the next week, with levels likely to reach 9400MW during peak hours.
- Earlier in the week, the TSO had notified the ministry of energy and regulator ANRE about an “imminent appearance of a crisis”, the statement said.
- The supply concerns have been a result of severe weather conditions in the region, forecast to hit Romania particularly hard in the period between 17-20 January 2017. Extreme cold has been combined with a record low hydro generation in the county, with the Danube recently hitting its lowest level in recent years at around 1,800 cubic metres per second (cbm/s).
- Danube flows into Romania through the Bazias point stood at 2,250cbm/s on Friday, less than half of the average 4,950cbm/s for January.
- The weather is also likely to impair wind generation in Romania, further limiting production opportunities.
Transelectrica was given the green light to apply certain measures to keep the system safe if necessary.
Those measures would include:
- switching to alternative fuels for electricity production such as oil
- reducing or stopping electricity exports
- imposing consumption limitations on big industrial consumers.
Transelectrica was not able to provide a potential timeline as to when they may need to impose such measures.
- Given Romania’s key position as a net exporter, the whole southeast region may be destabilised if the country imposes export measures, one regional trader said on Friday. “The past week they exported around 1GW-1.5GW an hour. If they begin cutting exports, it’s going to have a huge impact on every country south of Hungary and Romania,” he said.
- Other countries in southeast Europe, such as Greece and Bulgaria both imposed export bans this week to guarantee the security of their systems.
Jan 10 - Top Australia coal state hits record exports for third straight year
Coal exports from Australia's Queensland state, one of the world's biggest suppliers to China, hit record levels for the third year in a row in 2016, data released on Tuesday showed.The state's coal shipments, representing around 60 percent of Australia's coal exports, reached 221 million tonnes last year, eclipsing 2015's record by 1 million tonnes, according to the Queensland Resources Council lobby group. Click here to read full stories.
Jan 09 - China top coal province sets out consolidation plan
China's Shanxi province, the country's top coal producer, plans to cap output and consolidate the industry around big producers over the next four years in a bid to boost effiency, according to a blueprint by the provincial government. Major producers will be set up with a separate focus on thermal coal, coking coal and anthracite, while smaller producers will be merged into larger ones, the local authority said on its official website. Click here to read full stories.
Jan 06 - Coal India's 2017/18 production seen at 660 mln tonnes -coal secretary
State-owned Coal India Ltd, the world's largest coal miner, is expected to raise its production to 660 million tonnes in 2017/18 fiscal year, the coal secretary said on Friday.The miner is expected to achieve its 2016/17 production target of 575 million tonnes and aims to raise output to 1 billion tonnes by 2020, Susheel Kumar told television news channel CNBC-TV18 in an interview. Click here to read full stories.
Jan 06 - China's miners gamble on spot coal despite Beijing pressure
China's top coal miners have mostly resisted pressure from Beijing to sign long-term fixed-price deals this year, in a bet that there's more money to be made in the spot market before government efforts to ease a supply crunch take effect.Miners including two of the nation's largest, China Coal and Shenhua, have signed deals with utilities, the top consumers of thermal coal, for only about 40 percent of their 2017 output at discounts to the spot market, according to four sources familiar with the contracts. Click here to read full stories.
Jan 05 - France ready to save nuclear group Areva whoever wins presidency
A government-led rescue of French nuclear group Areva and the wider atomic energy industry may cost the state as much as 10 billion euros, but political support is almost certain whoever wins the presidential election in May. While taxpayers will ultimately pick up the huge bill, the main election contenders - from the Socialists and conservatives to the far-right National Front - broadly back the bailout, which involves splitting up Areva. Click here to read full stories.
Jan 04 - Smog-hit Beijing slapped with top "fog" alert for second day
The Chinese capital issued its highest red fog alert for a second day on Wednesday, keeping highways closed in and around the city which is already under a smog alert after weeks of choking winter pollution. China's weather bureau warned of visibility of less than 50 metres in some areas, leading many airports to cancel flights. Click here to read full stories.
Jan 03 - Indian coal mine death toll rises to 16, some still trapped
The death toll in an Indian coal mine collapse rose to 16 on Saturday and could rise further, officials said, as some people are still feared trapped at a coalfield run by state-owned Coal India Limited.The accident occurred in Jharkhand state on Thursday evening at the Lalmatia mine, one of the country's largest, which is owned by Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL). Click here to read full stories.
Dec 29 - Our best wishes for a serene (and decisively less turbulent) New Year 2017 to all friends, tweeps, readers, followers and clients.
Dec 23 - France inaugurates world’s first solar highway (AFP)
France on Thursday inaugurated the world’s first “solar highway”, a road paved with solar panels providing enough energy to power the street lights of the small Normandy town of Tourouvre. The one-kilometre (half-mile) “Wattway” covered with 2,800 square metres (30,000 square feet) of resin-coated solar panels was hooked up to the local power grid as environment minister Segolene Royal looked on.
“This new use of solar energy takes advantage of large swathes of road infrastructure already in use... to produce electricity without taking up new real estate,” Royal said in a statement.
The minister announced a four-year “plan for the national deployment of solar highways” with initial projects in western Brittany and southern Marseille.
An average of 2,000 cars use the road in Tourouvre each day, testing the resistance of the panels for the project carried out by French civil engineering firm Colas, a subsidiary of construction giant Bouygues.
The idea, which is also under exploration in Germany, the Netherlands and the US, is that roadways are occupied by cars only around 20% of the time, providing vast expanses of surface to soak up the sun’s rays.
Colas says that in theory France could become energy independent by paving only a quarter of its million kilometres of roads with solar panels.
Sceptics are waiting to see whether the panels can withstand the ravages of time and weather, as well as the beating they will take from big trucks.
Solar panels installed on a 70-metre stretch of a cycling lane north of Amsterdam experienced some damage last winter but the problem has been resolved, the project’s company TNO said.
The Wattway project, which has received a state subsidy of five million euros (dollars), began with four pilot sites around France, in parking lots or in front of public buildings, on much smaller surfaces of between 50 and 100 square metres each.
One drawback of the system is that solar panels are more effective when angled towards the sun, typically on slanted rooftops, than when they are laid flat.
And the cost question is far from being resolved. Each kilowatt-peak—the unit of measure for solar energy—generated by Wattway currently costs €17, compared with €1.30 for a major rooftop installation.
But Colas hopes to make the cost competitive by 2020, noting that the cost of producing solar energy decreased by 60% between 2009 and 2015 according to a French renewable energy association, SER.
Dec 23 - China's Nov coal imports from Indonesia surge, Australia slips
Chinese imports of coal from Indonesia surged 160 percent in November from a year earlier, in line with rising shipments to meet a domestic shortfall, but imports from Australia dipped 10 percent.Imports from Indonesia jumped to 5.15 million tonnes, still slightly below the 5.6 million tonnes shipped in from Austrlaia, customs data showed. Click here to read full stories.
Dec 23 - China's name and shame campaign fails to deter polluters
China has publicly named more than 20 enterprises it says broke environmental rules during this week’s outbreak of hazardous smog in the country's north, its latest attempt to bring lawbreaking firms to account by shaming them.The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) accused steel and paper mills, cement plants, power generators and chemical producers of a range of offences, including ignoring output suspensions, "maliciously" evading government inspections and falsifying production data. Click here to read full stories.
Dec 21 - China's steps to fight rampant pollution hits Asian coal demand
Asian thermal coal prices are set to come under pressure as a mild December in the Northern Hemisphere caps heating demand and China shuts power stations, factories, and even ports in a desperate fight against rampant smog.Coal markets had some of the steepest price rises on record earlier this year, with Australian Newcastle cargo prices gaining almost two-thirds within two months to over $114 per tonne by the start of November after Chinese authorities capped domestic coal mining, sending utilities scrambling for imports. Click here to read full stories.
Dec 14 - China coal output trend points to lower seaborne prices: Russell
When it comes to China's coal production, is it more important that output in November recorded yet another decline year-on-year, or that it rose for a second straight month? The inclination is often to take the number and interpret it in the way that best suits the narrative you wish to tell. If you want to be bullish on coal prices, the 5.1 percent decline in domestic coal production to 308.1 million tonnes in November from the same month in 2015 would be your focus. Click here to read full stories.
Dec 12 - China puts temporary ban on North Korean coal imports
China's Commerce Ministry said it will put a temporary ban on imports of North Korean coal as part of a U.N. Security Council resolution meant to deter Pyongyang from pursuing its nuclear weapons programme. The 15-member Security Council late last month put new sanctions on North Korea aimed at cutting its annual export revenue by a quarter after it carried out its fifth and largest nuclear test so far in September. Click here to read full stories.
Dec 09 - China's top coal province to shut 49 mln T a year in capacity by 2020
China's biggest coal-producing province Shanxi pledged to eliminate 49 million tonnes a year in capacity by shutting 39 mines over the next five years, according to documents posted on the website of the province's development and reform commission. The plan aims to replace outdated capacity with more advanced mines without increasing output. Shanxi produced nearly 1 billion tonnes of coal in 2015, accounting for about a quarter of China's total coal capacity. The local government has vowed to cut its annual coal capacity by a total of 110 million tonnes by 2020. Click here to read full stories.
Dec 05 - China coal mine disaster kills 32 - Xinhua
The death toll from a northern Chinese coal mine disaster rose to 32 on Sunday, state media reported, the latest accident in a country with a poor record of industrial safety. The blast took place on Saturday in a small mine in the Inner Mongolia region, next to Mongolia, Xinhua news agency said. A total of 181 workers were initially trapped underground and 149 of them were rescued, Xinhua said. Click here to read full stories.
Dec 05 - Peabody wants to repay term loan early thanks to improving coal prices
U.S. coal producer Peabody Energy Corp said it would seek court approval to repay a $500 million term loan ahead of schedule because it has enough cash to operate in bankruptcy thanks to a rise in coal prices. Peabody obtained an $800 million debtor-in-possession or DIP financing from both secured and unsecured creditors when it joined other large U.S. coal producers in bankruptcy in April, hit by a drop in coal prices. Click here to read full stories.
Dec 02 - China orders coal mines to conduct safety overhaul
China has ordered all of the country's coal mines to conduct a safety overhaul in the past month, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday, citing the deputy director of the country's work safety watchdog. Mines should not be operating over capacity and miners should not be asked to work overtime as mines pushed to the limits are prone to accidents, Song Yuanming, deputy director of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety, said at an annual coal trade summit in Hebei province, Xinhua reported.Click here to read full stories.
Dec 01 - Mongolia surge helps lift China Oct coal imports - customs
China's imports of coal from Mongolia more than tripled in October from the same month a year before, customs data showed, reflecting tight supply in the domestic market that stoked much bigger shipments from foreign producers to meet demand.Output from domestic miners has been shrinking as a result of China's campaign to cut back overcapacity in its coal industry. That helped overall coal imports last month climb 55 percent to 21.58 million tonnes - a number likely to add urgency to a new push by Beijing calling on miners to raise output. Click here to read full stories.
Nov 23 - Trump keeping 'open mind' on pulling out of climate accord
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said on Tuesday he was keeping an open mind on whether to pull out of a landmark international accord to fight climate change, in a softening of his stance toward global warming. Trump told the New York Times in an interview that he thinks there is "some connectivity" between human activity and global warming, despite previously describing climate change as a hoax.
Nov 22 - Electricity cross-border flows: Squeezed French supply margins remain top concern (ICIS)
France remained the focal point of the development of cross-border physical flows across Europe in October, extending a pattern that has been the theme of the second half of 2016. Further revisions to the availability of the country’s nuclear fleet, coupled with sub-average temperatures, resulted in France being one of the smallest net exporters in the region. Early flows and trading data suggest the trend will once again continue into November.
In other parts of Europe, markets faced increasing pressure from falling temperatures while some plant outages affected countries such as Switzerland and the UK. However their impact on the movement of power across borders was overshadowed by the developments in France. This was reflected in European spot prices with France frequently recording the highest values.
French net flows to reverse?
France was barely a net exporter in October with net outbound flows falling to their lowest level this year with 0.7GW/hour. This was a significant monthly fall of 65% and a yearly decline of 81%.
Unravelling nuclear availability heaped the pressure on France. On the final day of October nuclear availability reached a historic low of 41.4GW, or 65% of total capacity. Supply problems were also compounded by poor hydro availability while the demand-side was boosted by dropping temperatures. At present there are no signs that these trends will reverse significantly in the near term and this may lead to France switching to being net importer across all borders more consistently.
Empowered by the deteriorating margins, France imported power from Germany and Spain which reversed the direction of flows month on month. This is the first time this year that France has imported from both countries on a monthly basis.
A notable exception was along the French-Swiss border where France managed to increase net exports despite its own supply concerns. This was because nuclear availability in Switzerland was also severely restricted. Outages meant that available nuclear capacity was just above 50% for most of the month (see EDEM 17 October 2016). Hydropower generation and higher import volumes will be needed to overcome the subsequent shortfalls.
Elsewhere the other large net exporters, Germany and the Czech Republic, recorded an uptick in outbound flows. Germany was aided by stronger thermal generation and higher wind output while returning nuclear capacity supported Czech margins.
Net importers demand more
The net exporters of southern and southeastern Europe drew in more power from their northwestern neighbours at the start of the winter period.
Italy, the largest net importer of the region, saw net imports more than double month on month to 3.1GW/hour. Squeezed margins in northern Italy resulted in comparatively higher prices when compared to the country’s northern neighbours and resulted in higher imports. Internal restrictions meant that this could easily be offset by drawing power from southern Italy.
Meanwhile Hungarian net inbound flows climbed 17% month on month to 1.4GW/hour. Nuclear capacity was reduced from 17 October following a 500MW outage to the Paks plant.
Nov 22 - Will coal price retreat be a Dunkirk or Stalingrad?: Russell
It may be a tad early to call a peak in the price of thermal coal in top-consuming region Asia, but at the very least the momentum seems to have been lost from a commodity that has surged some 130 percent in the past 10 months. If coal prices have already peaked, the question is which of the World War II battles of Dunkirk or Stalingrad will the retreat most resemble. Click here to read full stories.
Nov 22 - Canada speeds up plan to phase out coal power, targets 2030
Canada will speed up plans to virtually eliminate traditional coal-fired electricity by 2030, the government said on Monday, a stance contrasting sharply with that of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who has pledged to revive the sector. Canada's Liberal government ran on a platform to do more for the environment. Its coal-cutting plan would help it meet the emissions reduction targets of the Paris agreement, which Parliament ratified last month. Click here to read full stories.
Nov 21 - Tidal power developers bet on sea change in Indonesia renewables sector
A well-connected Indonesian marine renewable energy company and OpenHydro, a unit of French state-owned naval defence company DCNS, aim to be the first to plug into the vast untapped tidal energy potential of the world's biggest archipelago. Renewables have so far played little part in Indonesia's power sector, despite the country sitting on the world's biggest geothermal reserves and being bathed in sunshine, crowded out by an abundance of cheap coal and bureaucratic bottlenecks. Click here to read full stories.
Nov 17 - Coal: After the surge, how low can it go?
A wave that has lifted some coal prices to more than double in the last six months may be about to ebb away, turned back by China's move to loosen the restrictions on domestic mining that first triggered the fuel's rise. Australian Newcastle cargo prices, Asia's benchmark, have fallen 7.8 percent in November already, slipping to $105.75 per tonne from almost $115 at the start of the month, their highest since 2012. Click here to read full stories.
Nov 16 - Wesfarmers seeks coal exit in sellers' market as prices soar
Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd is weighing a sale of its coal mines following an unexpected price surge that is turning coal into one of this year's hottest commodities. "Wesfarmers is continuing to consider a broad range of options, from operational to divestment initiatives, including recently seeking expressions of interest from external parties who may want to acquire the coal assets," it said in a statement. Click here to read full stories.
Nov 14 - China coal output extends decline despite govt call to reopen mines
China's October coal output fell 12 percent compared with a year earlier, data showed on Monday, even after the government gave operators the go-ahead to ramp up output and reopen mines in a bid to top up power producers' inventories ahead of winter. With the restart of shuttered mines taking time to kick in, the drop highlights concerns about tight supplies in the world's top consumer and producer of the fossil fuel, a factor that has fuelled a nearly year-long rally in thermal coal prices. Click here to read full stories.
Nov 11 - China coal fumble casts doubt on its global commodities pricing goal
Unprecedented steps by Beijing to snuff out a months-long rally in coal prices are casting fresh doubts on China's drive to become a global price-setting hub for commodities worth trillions of dollars. The world's top consumer of many raw materials has been pushing to boost its influence on pricing of everything from iron ore to oil, mainly through steps such as promoting Chinese futures contracts as regional or global benchmarks. Click here to read full stories.
Nov 09 - Under govt pressure, China's top coal miners to cut long-term prices
China's state economic planner said two of the nation's top coal mines signed long-term supply contracts with utilities at a quarter below current spot market rates, as the government ramps up its efforts to cool the red-hot market. Shenhua Energy Co and ChinaCoal Energy Co agreed to sell their coal at 535 yuan ($79) per tonne under long-term deals which start as soon as Dec. 1, Xu Kunlin, vice secretary general of the National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC), said at a briefing on Wednesday.
Nov 08 - French nuclear crunch causes European CCGT gas demand surge (ICIS)
- Demand for gas in power generation at many key European gas hubs surged in October, in response to nuclear supply problems in France and favourable clean spark spreads. This was a key factor in pushing Day-ahead contracts at many European gas hubs around 40% higher month on month.
- The main factor behind gas-fired generation demand rocketing in October was a series of outages at French nuclear generation facilities, which are the country’s dominant source for electricity. These supply concerns led to spikes in many European wholesale power markets.
- Looking ahead, the French Nuclear Safety Authority has said that four reactors will be taken offline between mid-December and mid-January, meaning nuclear availability will be restricted during a key demand period. A fifth reactor has already been taken offline.
- The supply crunch has impacted not only France, but neighbouring markets, and caused gas-fired generation in surrounding countries to ramp up in order to fill the supply gap.
- The combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) demand increase was a key factor in higher Day-ahead contracts at many European gas hubs, including the British NBP, Dutch TTF and French PEG Nord. Most Day-ahead contracts leapt by around 40% in October, with the TTF surging from €12.56/MWh on 3 October to €16.925/MWh on 28 October.
- Other factors contributing to the price rises included lower than normal temperatures across much of northern Europe, low send-out from British LNG terminals and uncertainty over British gas storage.
Nov 08 - China's rising coal generation is both a right and wrong step: Russell
China's future use of polluting coal for electricity shows the difficulty of dealing with news that presents multiple facts, thus allowing some to be highlighted over others. The National Energy Administration (NEA) announced on Monday its latest five-year plan for China's power market, and the anticipated mix of generation capacity. Click here to read full stories.
Nov 07 - China to cap coal at 55 pct of total power output by 2020 - NEA
China aims to cap coal-fired power capacity at 1,100 gigawatts by 2020, higher than the current ceiling but accounting for less of the country's total power supply as the top global energy market seeks to increase the use of cleaner renewable fuels. Announcing its five-year plan for the power industry, the National Energy Administration (NEA) on Monday said China aimed to have 2,000 gigawatts of electricity generating capacity by 2020, of which at least 320 gigawatts would come from solar and wind power and 110 gigawatts from natural gas.
Nov 04 - Mitsubishi CFO says expects a big drop in coking coal prices
Japan's Mitsubishi Corp sees the recent surge in coking coal prices as temporary and expects to see a big drop, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Kazuyuki Masu said on Friday. "It's abnormal to see such a spike. If the coal prices could surge this much in a short period, they could drop the same way," he told a news conference. Click here to read full stories.
Nov 04 - Glencore cleared to extend life of Australian coal mine to 2031
Glencore Plc said on Friday it has won approval from the New South Wales state government to extend the life of its Mount Owen coal complex in Australia by 12 years to 2031. The complex, which includes the Mount Owen and Glendell mines, produced 8.07 million tonnes of saleable thermal coal for power stations and semi-soft coking coal for steel mills last year. Click here to read full stories.
Nov 04 - Japan's beleaguered utilities seek salvation in trading
Forced into action by falling customers due to market liberalization and a shrinking population, Japan's utilities are ditching old long-term coal and gas supply contracts in favour of more short-term, opportunistic trading. The move represents a sea change for the traditionally risk averse utilities as they seek to cut costs, but will make life harder for liquefied natural gas (LNG) producers who have relied on long-term sales to underwrite costly new projects and expansions. Click here to read full stories.
Nov 03 - France's Engie to shut Australia's dirtiest power plant
France's Engie said it will close Australia's dirtiest coal-fired power station in March 2017 as further investments in the ageing Hazelwood plant cannot be justified, and will look to sell two other Australian power plants. The long-anticipated move to close Hazelwood is the latest in a string of closures of coal-fired power stations in Australia amid a push toward cleaner energy and a drop in demand that has driven down electricity prices.Click here to read full stories.
Nov 02 - As first cold snap of winter grips China, utilities face coal crunch
As the first major cold snap of the winter grips northern China this week, utilities are desperately trying to overcome a shortage of the coal they need to produce power as customers crank up heating to fight the chill. With coal inventories languishing below 20 days of use, well under the five-year average, power companies will be forced to stick with their record pace of imports for the rest of the year, stoking an unprecedented rally that has seen international prices more than double in 2016.
Nov 02 - China's coal imports surge again, but how long can the party last?: Russell
China's imports of coal from the seaborne market surged again in October, thereby justifying the jump in prices but also raising questions as to how much more of the fuel the world's top buyer can suck in.Seaborne coal imports were 20.03 million tonnes for October, according to vessel-tracking and port data compiled by Thomson Reuters Supply Chain and Commodity Forecasts.
Nov 01 - Glencore to restart Australia coal mine as prices surge
Glencore said on Tuesday it would restart a coking coal mine in southeastern Australia that was shuttered more than two years ago, with a resurgence in prices for the commodity breathing new life into the sector. Less than a year after the coal industry was declared to be in terminal decline, markets for coal used to generate power and make steel have surged - boosted by moves in China to mine less of its own coal and import more. Click here to read full stories.
Oct 31 - Coal price rally comes to the rescue of commodity trading giants
An unprecedented surge in coal prices in the past few months to more than double their June levels is a big fillip for Glencore and Noble, who are among the biggest traders of thermal coal, which is used to produce electricity. They are taking advantage of their mine production, storage facilities and shipping fleets to provide users of coal with cargoes at short notice and at premium prices, sources familiar with recent deals told Reuters. They are also striking longer-term supply deals, also on rich terms, the sources said.
Oct 27 - China's Zhengzhou coal sinks as fee hikes trigger exodus
China's Zhengzhou coal futures sank almost 5 percent on Thursday and were on track for their biggest daily fall after a series of fee hikes by the exchange triggered an exodus of speculative cash, bringing an abrupt end to an historic rally.At 11:38 a.m. (0338 GMT), the most-active January contract was down 4.74 percent at 611.6 yuan ($90.25) per tonne after hitting an all-time high in the previous session. Click here to read full stories.
Oct 27 - Adani readies coal mine as Australia looks to curb green challenges
India's Adani Enterprises is preparing to start construction of a $7 billion coal mine in Australia in 2017 despite years of legal delays and rollercoaster coal prices, the conglomerate said on Wednesday."We are on schedule to start construction in the third quarter (of next year)," Adani spokesman Ron Watson said, although he added that billions of dollars in financing were still required, along with clearance from water authorities. Click here to read full stories.
Oct 20 - Coal exporters wary of end to Chinese benevolence: Russell
The problem with coal's spectacular rally this year is that it's largely a Chinese political phenomenon, and what Chinese politicians give they can just as easily take away. Australian thermal coal spot cargoes at Newcastle port for November this week breached $100 a tonne for the first time in 4-1/2 years, closing on Tuesday at $102.20 and taking this year's rally to almost 120 percent. Click here to read full stories.
Oct 19 - U.S. coal industry hopes for respite after perfect storm: Kemp
U.S. coal producers have been struck by a range of structural and cyclical factors that hit consumption hard and forced many of them to seek bankruptcy protection during 2015 and 2016. The problem of excess coal production and stocks built up gradually throughout 2014 and 2015 but the warm winter of 2015/16 pushed the industry into a crisis. Click here to read full stories.
Oct 13 - China goes on unexpected commodities binge even as concerns linger
China went on an unexpectedly big buying spree for crude oil, coal and iron ore last month, customs data showed on Thursday, even as Beijing cools its overheated property market and concerns linger about the health of the world's No. 2 economy. Daily crude imports hit an all-time high as the nation again overtook the United States as the world's top oil consumer, while iron ore imports were the second highest on record, propelling Shanghai rebar steel futures to five-week highs.
Oct 12 - Glencore to hire coal miners as prices rebound on Asia demand
Glencore will hire more than 200 workers at its Collinsville coal mine in Australia after scaling back its payroll earlier this year, amid resurgent demand for coal in Asia, the company said on Tuesday."We are now seeing increased demand from Southeast Asia for the specific type of coal produced by Collinsville," the company said.
Oct 11 - Nuclear uncertainty in France a long-term market issue - traders (ICIS)
- The French market needs to be prepared for longer nuclear maintenance periods in the years ahead, according to traders. Whereas the sharp drop in nuclear availability in the third quarter of 2016 may be unusual, a decline compared to previous years is likely given the age of most French nuclear reactors. “Even EDF has said as much and we are starting to see the consequences now,” one trader said.
- Equipment needs to be replaced more frequently and stringent safety requirements means that components could be delayed, as nuclear authority ASN imposes additional checks.
- This problem has already been demonstrated in the replacement of steam generators, which are susceptible to the same issue of high carbon content in the composition of the steel as the nuclear vessel at the new 1.65GW reactor at Flamanville.
- Demonstrating that the nuclear vessel is still viable despite the carbon content has proven difficult and protracted. The methodology was approved by France’s nuclear safety authority ASN on 12 December but the completion of the final safety case is not expected before the end of 2016, after EDF announced in April that further tests were needed.
- Of the 87 irregularities in safety documentation identified by Areva during an audit initiated last year, one concerns a new steam generator destined for reactor 5 at the Gravelines nuclear plant. The reactor is now scheduled to be offline for almost 12 months and is one of four reactors to be unavailable this winter.
- ASN is also still carrying out its analysis of irregularities of existing steam generators at reactor 5 at Bugey and reactor 2 at Fessenheim. The latter has had its serviceability certificate withdrawn, and EDF and Areva decided to carry out a programme of tests to have the suspension lifted.
- The longest maintenance period concerns reactor 2 at Paluel, where an incident, which occurred during the replacement of a steam generator, is now expected to keep it offline for over two years.
- A steam generator was also at fault during the longest maintenance period of 2015, when an insufficient safety case was submitted to ASN and kept the reactor offline for over 10 months.
- “The problem with issues like this is that you never know how long it’s going to last,” a second trader said. “We saw this least year in Belgium that it can take a long time to recover.”
- Two nuclear reactors at the Doel and Tihange nuclear power plants were offline from March 2014 after cracks were detected in the nuclear vessels. The green light to restart was only given in November 2015, demonstrating the potential time period involved in carrying out extensive tests and building up a safety case.
- “The uncertainty is adding to a general bullish mood, with risk premium spreading all across the curve,” a third trader said. “Anticipating nuclear availability has become a lottery and sellers on the fuel markets appear to be holding back in anticipation of even higher prices.”
- Weak nuclear availability in France is expected to boost demand for coal- and gas-fired generation in several European countries.
Oct 11 - China appears to push back on U.S. bid to choke N.Korea coal exports
China appears to have pushed back on a U.S. bid to close a U.N. loophole that allows North Korea to export coal for "livelihood purposes," saying the well-being of North Koreans is a priority in negotiations on possible new U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang. Since North Korea's fifth and largest nuclear test four weeks ago, the United States and China, a close ally of North Korea, have been negotiating a new draft Security Council resolution to punish Pyongyang. Click here to read full stories.
Oct 06 - Coal rises from the ashes, rally to last until 2017
Talk of coal's demise is proving premature, with prices soaring from 10-year lows this year and further rises on the cards into 2017 as the "dirty" fuel continues to be very much in demand for power generation. A global push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in favour of renewable energy has seen investors and funds ditch coal assets for cleaner sources. Click here to read full stories.
Oct 06 - Rains disrupt coal deliveries to Colombia's Puerto Nuevo export terminal
Coal deliveries to Colombia's Atlantic export terminals have been disrupted by heavy rains, further tightening a market that has already seen prices sky-rocket this year. Extremely heavy rainfall in Colombia's Caribbean coastal provinces, where almost all the country's coal mines and export terminals are located, has interfered with deliveries to the port, coal traders and shippers said.
Oct 04 - Coal prices hit 30-month high as Newcastle cargoes surge over $80
Key thermal coal prices have jumped to fresh two-and-a-half year highs as stricter rules in China for transporting the world's most important power generation fuel add to the impact of earlier Chinese caps on coal mining.Coal prices began to soar after China introduced regulations to rein in rampant overcapacity in April, limiting the numbers of days that miners can operate. Click here to read full stories.
Oct 04 - Canada unveils carbon price, energy-producing provinces unhappy
Canada's federal government on Monday vowed to bring in a minimum price on carbon emissions by 2018, prompting one energy-producing province to threaten legal action and another to demand approval of an oil pipeline in return.Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who took power last November promising to do more to protect the environment, said carbon pollution would cost C$10 a tonne in 2018, rising by C$10 a year until it reaches C$50 in 2022.
Sep 30 - Brazil's Vale agrees to new terms with Mitsui for coal mine stake
Vale SA said on Thursday it has agreed to new terms for the sale of stakes in a coal mine and railway project in Mozambique to shareholder Mitsui & Co, in a deal that will raise $768 million and could help Vale free up to $2.7 billion in funding commitments for both projects. The sale of Vale's stakes in the Moatize coal mine and the Nacala Corridor railway and port hinge on the approval of a project finance plan, Rio de Janeiro-based Vale said in a statement. The deal reworks terms of a prior accord over the mine and the infrastructure project.
Sep 28 - EDF board confirms approval for Hinkley Point decision
The board of French state-controlled utility EDF on Tuesday confirmed its approval to go ahead with the Hinkley Point nuclear project in Britain, EDF said in a statement.EDF Chief Executive and chairman of the board Jean-Bernard Levy had submitted the project to a vote again after the British government earlier this month imposed limits on EDF's right to sell its two-third stake in the project. Click here to read full stories.
Sep 23 - China's state planner to meet with coal industry on supply, prices
China has called regulators and company executives from the country's major coal producing regions to an "urgent" meeting on Friday, the second in as many weeks as Beijing tries to overhaul the industry while maintaining supplies to major consumers.China is trying to cut inefficient coal production as part of efforts to reduce pollution and trim excess capacity. But tighter supplies and increased consumption during the summer have pushed up prices. Click here to read full stories.
Sep 23 - Goldman lifts coal price view after frenzied rally on China's reform push
Goldman Sachs has sharply raised its price forecasts for coking coal for the next two years, after this year's frenzied rally fuelled by a shortage in China that should revive idled mines from Mozambique to the United States. China's push to tackle a coal glut by imposing a 276-day cap on domestic coal mines earlier this year created a significant deficit, lifting the country's coking coal imports by 18 percent over January to August. Click here to read full stories.
Sep 22 - China's major coal producers start raising output - media
Major Chinese coal producers have started raising production, the China Securities Journal reported on Wednesday, unleashing up to 15 million tonnes of new supply each month onto the market and potentially derailing a sharp rally in prices this year.The move followed a meeting earlier this month to draw up a draft proposal that would allow miners to raise daily output by 500,000 tonnes if prices hit 500 yuan ($74.94) per tonne for two weeks. Click here to read full stories.
Sep 22 - China Aug coal imports from Australia up 35 pct on yr - customs
Chinese imports of coal from Australia increased 35.2 percent in August from a year earlier, data from China's General Administration of Customs showed on Thursday, reflecting strong demand as Beijing cuts back inefficient domestic mines.On Wednesday, benchmark Australian Newcastle coal prices hit their highest since March last year at $73.60 a tonne, boosted by soaring Asian consumption. Click here to read full stories.
Sep 19 - Most U.S. states on track to meet emissions targets they call burden
The 27 states challenging Obama’s Clean Power Plan in court say the lower emissions levels it would impose are an undue burden. But most are likely to hit them anyway.Already, Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and South Dakota appear to be meeting the CPP's early targets. And changes in the power market, along with policies favoring clean generation, are propelling most of the rest toward timely compliance, according to researchers, power producers and officials, as well as government filings reviewed by Reuters. Click here to read full stories.
Sep 16 - GE wins $1.9 bln order from UK's Hinkley Point nuclear plant
General Electric Co said it will receive $1.9 billion for a contract to supply steam turbines, generators and other equipment to the Hinkley Point C project, the United Kingdom's first new nuclear power plant in decades. By approving Hinkley Point on Thursday, the UK government cleared the way for GE to begin building two 1,770-megawatt Arabelle steam turbines and generators capable of powering six million homes and supplying about 7 percent of the UK's power generation needs for 60 years, GE said. They will replace older coal-fired plants, GE said. Click here to read full stories.
Sep 13 - Arch Coal agrees on mine cleanup coverage plan to exit bankruptcy
U.S. coal miner Arch Coal has agreed to set aside collateral to cover future mine cleanup costs as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan, according to a court filing, ending its controversial use of "self-bonds."For decades the largest U.S. coal companies have used a federal subsidy known as "self-bonding," which exempts companies from posting bonds or other securities to cover the cost of returning mined land to its natural state, as required by law. Click here to read full stories.
Sep 12 - Australian coal soars to premium of more than $10 over Europe
A 40-percent rally since June in prices for Australian thermal coal due to a jump in Chinese imports has pushed its premium over Europe to more than $10, offering miners with easy access to the Atlantic and Pacific basins opportunities for arbitrage.Australian cargoes from its Newcastle terminal, a benchmark for Asia/Pacific, currently cost $70 per tonne, levels last seen over a year ago. Click here to read full stories.
Sep 09 - Hungry for power, Myanmar bets on hydro in new energy plan
Electricity-starved Myanmar is looking to overhaul its long-term power strategy, aiming to hike the planned share of hydropower in its energy mix at the cost of polluting coal as it tries to attract foreign investment.The new democratically-elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi has made job creation one of its top priorities in what is Asia's sixth-poorest country. However, with half of its people without access to electricity and major cities experiencing blackouts, finding investors is tough. Even tougher is getting them to back coal-fired plants given environmental concerns. Click here to read full stories.
Sep 06 - Coal leads surge in European energy exchange trading in first half 2016 - study
Coal lead a surge in trading volumes on west European energy exchanges in the first half of this year as traders took advantage of low commodity prices, research company Prospex said on Monday.Wholesale trading of coal on the exchanges soared 46 percent from a year earlier to 3.5 billion tonnes, according to Prospex. Click here to read full stories.
Sep 05 - No imminent UK decision on Chinese-backed nuclear plan as PM May heads to China
Prime Minister Theresa May will not announce her keenly awaited decision on a partly-Chinese funded nuclear power project in the coming days, a British official said on Saturday as May flew to China to meet President Xi Jinping at her first G20 summit.May will make her major international summit debut on Sunday after Britain's shock vote in June to leave the European Union ousted her predecessor David Cameron and thrust her into control of the world's fifth-largest economy. Click here to read full stories.
Sep 01 - China's Inner Mongolia cuts coal output by 10 pct in Jan-July
Inner Mongolia, China's biggest coal producing region, cut its output of the commodity by just over 10 percent in the first seven months of the year as part of its efforts to close 3.3 million tonnes of capacity this year. By the end of August, the region had shut seven coal mines, Wang Binjun, the director of Inner Mongolia's Economic and Information Commission, was cited as saying by local state media. The region plans to close a total of 65 mines by 2020 to curb crippling overcapacity in the sector.
Aug 31 - Glencore restarts Australia coal mine after fatality
Glencore said it was gradually restarting operations at its Newlands coal mine in Australia on Thursday, after a worker died at the site two days earlier. "The restart began today and will take place in a staged manner in both maintenance and production areas," a Glencore spokeswoman said.
Aug 30 - China faces massive closures of small thermal power plants - media
China's power generation companies will have to contend with massive closures of their smaller coal-fired power plants as government plans to shut excessive coal and steel capacity deprives the plants of customers, local media reported.China Guodian Corp, one of the country's top five state-owned power companies, might stumble as less-efficient "zombie" power plants are no longer economically viable, said Zhang Shumin, Guodian's chief economist, on Saturday, as cited by Chinese financial publication Lengjing on their website.
Aug 18 - After years of pain, coal becomes one of the hottest commodities of 2016
Less than a year after the coal industry was declared to be in terminal decline, the fossil fuel has staged its steepest price rally in over half a decade, making it one of the hottest major commodities.Cargo prices for Australian thermal coal from its Newcastle terminal, seen as the Asian benchmark, have soared over 35 percent since mid-June to more than one-year highs of almost $70 a tonne, pushed by surprise increases in Chinese imports.
Aug 17 - UK watchdog says may revoke ICE's $650 mln Trayport takeover
Financial and commodity markets operator Intercontinental Exchange should consider reversing its $650 million takeover of commodities trading software house Trayport to avoid reducing competition in European energy trading markets, Britain's competition watchdog said on Tuesday. ICE beat arch-rival CME Group to buy London-based Trayport in December last year but the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an in-depth investigation in May after deciding that the tie-up might be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition.
Aug 15 - Undermining China: towns sink after mines close
Deep in the coal heartlands of northern Shanxi province, people in Helin village are fighting a losing battle as the ground beneath them crumbles: patching up cracks, rebuilding walls and filling in sinkholes caused by decades of coal mining. Around 100 pits in Helin - buried in the hilly rural outskirts of the city of Xiaoyi - have been exhausted, and cluttered hamlets totter precariously on the brittle slopes of mines. But while local authorities have begun evacuating hundreds of thousands of residents most at risk elsewhere in Shanxi province, Helin's situation – though serious - isn't yet considered a priority. Click here to read full stories.
Aug 12 - U.S. coal use may rise, but unlikely to unseat natgas as power king
Demand for U.S. coal is projected to recover slightly in 2017 after years of decline, but it will not reclaim the crown it held for more than a century as the leading fuel behind U.S. power generation, analysts said. An expected rise in natural gas prices, thanks to overseas demand, should boost use of cheaper coal by power generators. However, energy companies and analysts said they expected gas to remain the dominant fuel for producing electricity in the United States for years.
Aug 11 - Australia to pay BHP $170 mln to repurchase coal exploration permit
New South Wales agreed to pay BHP Billiton A$220 million ($170 million) to buy back a coal exploration licence that extends under prime farmland in the state's eastern Liverpool Plains, the government said on Thursday. "After careful consideration, the NSW Government has determined that coal mining under these highly fertile black soil plains... poses too great a risk for the future of this food-bowl and the underground water sources that support it," Premier Mike Baird said in a release.
Aug 10 - U.S. must bury coal to save miner jobs - Interior secretary
From Appalachia to Wyoming, surging demand for cheap natural gas, tougher environmental regulations and multiple coalcompany bankruptcies have left behind a devastated coal business, lost jobs and billions of dollars in cleanup work. Many of the jobs are gone for good, but ex-miners can repair the damaged land and shape a post-coal economy, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said on a recent visit to coal country, offering up a future starkly different from Donald Trump's.
Aug 05 - Australia's top coal state weighs shortfall for coal mine clean-ups
The state of Queensland, Australia's biggest coal producer, could face a A$3.2 billion ($2.4 billion) shortfall in funding to rehabilitate coal mines when they close, according to a preliminary estimate done for a state agency. Anti-coal group Lock the Gate Alliance, which released the leaked government study, said the report showed that the state needed to step up financial assurances from coal companies to avoid a hefty clean-up bill on taxpayers.
Jul 25 - China sets up coal asset management firm to push overcapacity cut
China has set up a coal asset management firm as part of its effort to reduce excess capacity in the sector, China's state-owned assets regulator said. China Shenhua Group, China National Coal Group Corp, China Reform Holdings Corp and China Chengtong Holdings Group have jointly set up the firm, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission said in a website statement. click here.
Jul 22 - Not all coal rallies are equal as quality grades shine: Russell
Not all coal rallies are created equal, with fairly stark differences emerging in the gains this year for various grades of the fuel, suggesting buyers are becoming more selective. In some ways it's surprising that coal of any grade has staged a rally this year, given the market remains over-supplied and major consumers such as China and India are actively trying to cut consumption or imports, or both. click here.
Jul 21 - China June coal imports from Indonesia up 53.6 pct on year - customs
China's imports of coal from Indonesia reached 2.89 million tonnes in June, up 53.6 percent from a year earlier, data from China's General Administration of Customs showed on Thursday. Imports from Mongolia surged 78.8 percent in June from a year earlier to 2.34 million tonnes, and are up 45.9 percent in the first six months of this year, compared with the same period in 2015, at 10.4 million tonnes. click here .
Jul 15 - Coal prices bounce back this year, but not for good
A rally in thermal coal prices over the past few months, after years of decline, should continue into next year but a cloud still hangs over the market in the form of weakening global demand due to more clean energy and increased energy efficiency.All major benchmarks for thermal coal have risen above $60 a tonne in the past few weeks, an increase of around 50 percent since record lows earlier this year, due to output cuts, supply disruptions, and increases in demand in some parts of the world. click here .
Jul 14 - India's coal shift a double whammy for Indonesian exporters
For many coal miners in Indonesia's resource-dependent economy, a surprise shift in India's coal industry - from big importer to potential exporter - could not have come at a worse time.Prices have slumped over the past five years and a slowing China is buying less. Now, Indonesia faces an Indian double whammy: not only is its main export market producing so much coal that it aims towind down imports in two years, it's also set to start exporting for the first time - to a market dominated by Indonesia. click here .
Jul 08 - Rio Tinto sells Australian coal mine for a dollar
A small Australian miner on Monday bought Rio Tinto's Blair Athol coal mine in Queensland state for a token A$1, swooping in as big miners offload unprofitable assets after years of low coal prices. TerraCom Ltd, a subsidiary of Orion Mining Pty Ltd, said it will also receive A$80 million ($60.10 million) from the mining giant to meet rehabilitation costs at the site. click here .
Jul 07 - Coal miner Alpha says near bankruptcy deal with U.S. government
Alpha Natural Resources said on Wednesday it expects to reach a deal with the U.S. government over responsibility for the cost of cleaning upmining sites, removing one of the most significant hurdles to the coal company's exiting bankruptcy. Over the past few weeks, the fourth-largest U.S. coal miner and a slew of government agencies appeared to be heading for a showdown in court on Thursday, when Alpha is scheduled to ask a federal judge to approve its plan over objections. click here .
Jul 06 - South Korea to shut 10 ageing coal-fired power plants by 2025
South Korea plans to shut 10 ageing coal-fired power plants by 2025, as Asia's fourth-largest economy seeks to cut its reliance on dirtier fuels after a pledge at last year's Paris climate summit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Coal accounts for 40 percent of South Korea's electricity supplies, but in a tilt towards cleaner fuels Seoul recently said it was targeting $37 billion in renewable energy investment by 2020. click here.
Jul 01 - Russian coal output seen hitting 390 mln T in 2016 - energy minister
Russian coal production is seen at 390 million tonnes this year, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Tuesday, up from 373 million tonnes in 2015. He also said that Russian coal exports to China had declined by a quarter since the beginning of the year.According to energy ministry data, Russian coal exports to China stood at 15 million tonnes in 2015. click here .
Jul 01 - India's coal imports fell 5 pct in April-May - coal secretary
India's annual coal imports fell by about 5 percent in April-May to 35.85 million tonnes on increased local production, Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said in a Twitter post. The country imported 37.72 million tonnes in April-May 2015, he said. The government saved 42.85 billion rupees ($631.21 million) equivalent of foreign exchange due to the lower imports in the first two months of the fiscal year to March 2017, Swarup said. click here .
Jun 29 - Indonesia faces environmental time bomb after coal bust
Thousands of mines are closing in Indonesia’s tropical coal belt as prices languish and seams run dry. But almost none of the companies have paid their share of billions of dollars owed to repair the badly scarred landscape they have left behind. Abandoned mine pits dot the bare, treeless hillsides in Samarinda, the capital of East Kalimantan province on Indonesia's part of Borneo island. It is ground zero for a coal boom that made Indonesia the world's biggest exporter of the mineral that fuels power plants. Abandoned mining pits have now become death traps for children who swim in them, and their acidic water is killing nearby rice paddies. click here.
Jun 27 - Blackout, price risks loom as wind power prevails in South Australia
Rapid growth in wind and solar power in South Australia is raising the spectre of blackouts and soaring prices for businesses like global miner BHP Billiton as cheaper renewables have pushed traditional thermal power plants to close. South Australia uses wind farms and rooftop solar panels for 40 percent of its power, more than any part of the country. However, businesses that depend on the steady power provided by coal- and natural gas-fired generators are concerned about disruptions as the state relies more on intermittent renewable energy. click here .
Jun 21 - BHP Billiton steps up coal output, slices costs, eyes acquisitions
Top global miner BHP Billiton outlined plans to boost coal output by 8 percent over the next three years while slashing costs, and said it would only consider premium, lowest-cost assets for any acquisitions. BHP Billiton, the world's top exporter of coking coal used in steelmaking and also a producer of energy coal, is in the enviable position of running profitable coal mines at a time when more than half the world's coal mines are losing money. click here.
Jun 17 - Japan doubles down on coal power as trading houses curb investment
As most developed economies turn their back on coal, Japan is burning record amounts for electricity generation and plans to use even more of the dirtiest fossil fuel to fill the gap after the Fukushima disaster paralysed its nuclear sector. But as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government pushes coal power, both at home and through exporting technology abroad, some of Japan's powerful trading houses are cutting or freezing coal investments over concerns about the environmental fallout. click here .
Jun 09 - U.S. solar market to nearly double in 2016, led by utilities
The U.S. solar energy market will nearly double new installations this year to 14.5 gigawatts, led by utility projects that developers scrambled to bring online in anticipation of the expiration of a key federal tax credit, according to a report published on Thursday. Solar installations rose 24 percent in the first quarter, accounting for 64 percent of all new U.S. electric generating capacity during the period, the report by GTM Research said. click here.
Jun 08 - BHP Billiton sells Indonesian coal assets to Adaro
BHP Billiton said on Tuesday it has agreed to sell its coal assets in Indonesia to its partner, Adaro Energy, following a slump in prices for metallurgical coal. BHP did not disclose the price for its 75 percent stake in IndoMet Coal, which it first flagged was up for sale in April.click here.
Jun 08 - Coal, like oil, lifted by supply squeezes and record demand
All major benchmarks for thermal coal - the world's second most important energy fuel after crude oil - have pushed back above $50 a tonne for the first time this year, driven by output cuts, supply disruptions and increased demand. After years of declines, tightening fundamentals have been supported by a surge in oil prices and a weakening dollar, while storms in some producing regions and hot weather in Asia have exacerbated price movements.click here.
Jun 02 - India, Westinghouse in 'advanced' talks to close nuclear deal -ambassador
Toshiba Corp's Westinghouse Electric and India are in "advanced discussions" for the company to build six nuclear reactors there, the country's ambassador to the United States said on Wednesday, ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's planned visit to Washington next week. A deal with Westinghouse would be the first such contract reached under the 2008 U.S.-India civil nuclear accord. click here.
Jun 01 - Coal industry shouldn't get carried away with new-found optimism: Russell
Something has changed in the coal industry. For the past 22 years Asia's coal producers, traders and buyers have gathered in the Indonesian resort island of Bali to discuss the state of the sector.In recent years these have been pretty depressing affairs as participants bemoaned the ongoing slump in prices, prayed that things couldn't get any worse and then lamented when they did. click here.
May 19 - China April coal output down 11.0 pct on year – stats bureau
China produced 268 million tonnes of coal in April, down 11 percent on the year, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Saturday, with producers cutting back in a concerted effort to shore up prices.China's coal sector has been struggling with a massive capacity glut and miners have been encouraged to cut production to shore up domestic prices, which plummeted around 30 percent last year. The country has promised to shed 500 million tonnes of surplus capacity in the next five years. click here.
May 13 - China to boost energy storage 10-fold to cut power waste - industry
China is expected to raise its power storage capacity by ten-fold to 14.5 gigawatts by 2020, as the world's second-biggest economy tries to cut massive waste from renewable energy projects, an industry association said. China is the world largest wind and solar power producer, but some regions are estimated to be losing more than 40 percent of their power because of technical restraints and bottlenecks in the grid, alongside weak power demand growth. click here.
May 06 - China vows stronger action against illegal coal mining
China will take stronger action against illegal coal projects as it tries to tackle a massive capacity glut in the sector, the country's state planning agency said, after ordering the closure of 38 projects. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) had ordered the immediate closure of the projects for breaching industry policies, it said in a notice posted on its website on Friday. click here.
May 03 - India's coal efficiency drive risks ire of powerful unions
Plans by India's coal monopoly to buy billions of dollars of new machinery and outsource work are facing resistance from powerful unions worried about job losses, in a potential blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promise to bring electricity to all. State-run Coal India Ltd, the world's biggest coal miner, has already doubled output growth since Modi came to power two years ago, owing to the removal of hurdles to production like environmental clearances and land acquisition. click here.
May 03 - Countries eyeing coal-fired plants must reassess energy strategy - IRENA
Countries that plan to build coal-fired power plants need to reassess their energy strategy because such facilities may not be a viable investment, the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said on Monday. Many industry analysts see natural gas and renewables as the biggest growth sectors in energy, yet most Asian countries including Japan are still expanding coal faster than gas. click here.
May 02 - Australia coal mines brace for floods as La Nina looms
Five years ago floods linked to a La Nina weather pattern nearly brought Australia's coal industry to a standstill. With another of the sea-cooling events now forming and the risk of heavy rains returning, mining companies say they are ready. They have bought pumps, fortified levees and brushed up on procedures to deal with the deluge of water that a La Nina can bring, the companies say. click here.
Apr 28 - Polish state-controlled firms agree to put $620 mln into coal group
Six Polish state-controlled firms have agreed to put $620 million into a newly-established state coalmining group PGG, they said on Tuesday, as part of an effort to save the European Union's largest coal miner Kompania Weglowa from bankruptcy. Kompania is on the brink of bankruptcy as a result of record-low coal prices and high labour costs. Kompania's liabilities and debt, estimated at billions of zlotys meant the company could run out of money this month. click here.
Apr 27 - How some SunEdison creditors scored a safe, lucrative debt deal
When a group of hedge funds agreed to lend $725 million to SunEdison Inc - three months before it filed for bankruptcy last week - they secured an unusually generous concession from the U.S. renewable energy company and its other lenders. The funds, which at the time included Tennenbaum Capital Partners LLC and Candlewood Investment Group LP, put themselves in a prime position to handle so-called debtor-in-position financing in the event of a bankruptcy. click here.
Apr 25 - Yieldcos enabled SunEdison's debt-fueled acquisition spree
At an early 2015 investor conference, SunEdison’s then-chief financial officer, Brian Wuebbels, trumpeted the profit potential in the solar developer’s relationship with a venture it had recently spun off. SunEdison had established TerraForm Power Inc as a “yieldco,” a complex financing vehicle to purchase energy projects from SunEdison and other developers. TerraForm lured investors with the promise of reliable dividends based on long-term power contracts. click here.
Apr 21 - BHP Billiton weighs getting out of Indonesian coal
BHP Billiton is considering quitting its coal assets in Indonesia, where it recently started shipping steel-making coal from a small mine, amid uncertainty over Indonesian regulations and a weak outlook for coal. BHP owns a 75 percent stake in the IndoMet Coal project, having sold the rest to Indonesia's Adaro Energy in 2010 for $335 million. Coal asset prices have collapsed since then, and analysts said BHP would be lucky to fetch $200 million now for the stake in a largely undeveloped resource. click here.
Apr 20 - BHP Billiton sees iron ore, coal prices dropping back
BHP Billiton does not expect recent rise in iron ore and metallurgical coal prices to hold for more than a few months, as more low cost supply is set to hit the market, its Australian chief said on Thursday. There has been a genuine pick-up in demand for steel in construction, which is partly seasonal, and in turn iron ore and coal, coming on the heels of a period where inventories were run down, BHP Billiton Minerals Australia president Mike Henry said. click here.
Apr 19 - China to strictly control credit for new coal, steel projects
China will strictly control credit available for new capacity additions in the steel and coal sectors, both of which are suffering from price sapping supply gluts, according to a government statement issued on Thursday. China's central bank, along with other government bodies, said China would also strengthen support for the export of coal and steel in a bid to ease domestic overcapacity. click here.
Apr 13 - China's March coal imports up 15.6 pct as restocking begins
China imported 19.69 million tonnes of coal in March, up 15.6 percent on the year, the country's customs authority said on Wednesday, as power plants sought to replenish stocks ahead of the peak summer consumption period. Imports in the first quarter reached 48.46 million tonnes, down 1.2 percent from the same period of last year, according to the General Administration of Customs. click here.
Apr 08 - Adani wins state approval for Australian coal project
India's Adani Enterprises Ltd was granted approval by Australia's Queensland state government on Sunday to proceed with its proposed A$10 billion ($7.7 billion) Carmichael coal project in the Galilee Basin. Queensland Premier Annastascia Palaszczuk said the approvals gave Adani permission to mine coal reserves estimated at 11 billion tonnes and to build roads, workshops, power lines and pipelines associated with the mine. click here.
Apr 08 - Australia's green groups keep heat on Adani after mine approval
Environmental campaigners say they hope two outstanding court cases can still stop India's Adani Enterprises Ltd from developing a A$10 billion ($7.6 billion) coal project, even after it received a key state government approval. The granting of a mining lease by the state government marked another step in Adani's long-running bid for approval to mine and ship an estimated 11 million tonnes of coal reserves, building roads, power lines and pipelines to do so. click here.
Apr 01 - Vale says Mitsui not reconsidering Mozambique coal venture
Brazil's Vale SA, the world's No. 2 mining company, said on Thursday that partner Mitsui & Co Ltd has no plans to revise the terms of a coal venture project in Mozambique, as reported by a newspaper. Rio de Janeiro-based Vale said in a securities filing that a recent decision to reduce the accounting value of assets in the project "does not directly impact Mitsui's investment decision" in the asset, adding that both companies are working to conclude long-term financing for the venture. click here.
Mar 28 - India to rely on state miners to meet coal target – minister
India will meet its target of doubling coal production by 2020 without the help of private miners, the country's coal and power minister said, ruling out new measures to entice cash-strapped companies to begin mining the commodity. India wants to produce 1.5 billion tonnes of coal by 2020 to power its economy and reduce imports. State-owned Coal India Ltd, the world's largest coal miner, has raised production in line with reaching a target of 1 billion tonnes a year within four years and the government wants private miners to produce much of the remainder. click here.