Coaltrans blog
Year round comment on the global coal markets, its participants and future

TAKEAWAYS FROM COALTRANS USA AND COALTRANS INDIA: COMMERCIAL MINING, GOOD NEWS FOR COAL IMPORTERS, AND INCREASED INVESTMENT IN COAL PROJECTS

Published March 2018 by Harry Riley-Gould, Senior Conference Producer, Coaltrans Conferences 

 

Harry Riley-Gould from Coaltrans Conferences is the blogger for the March 2018 edition of the Coaltrans blog

The last month has been very busy for us at Coaltrans Conferences, with barely a moment to spare between the closing of Coaltrans USA and the opening of Coaltrans India .

 

However, writing from our London office where we are currently being with blessed with heavy snowfall, the charms of escaping to the suns of Miami and Goa can hardly be understated.

 

What’s more, both of the events were full of fascinating insights into the key market trends we should expect from the global coal industry in 2018.

 

What follows is a brief summary of the key themes emerging from both conferences this year.

 

USA

 

The mood at the conference was definitely positive compared with past years, with many of the key miners having made significant profits from exports over the past twelve months.

 

From the domestic perspective on the other hand, things were a little more sober – domestic usage may have seen a slight uptick this year due to higher gas prices, but on the whole the continued drop of coal as a proportion of US energy production should be expected, due to a combination of cheap renewable energy and the ongoing closure of aging coal plants.  

 

Probably the largest signal that the industry is on the mend however, was the high representation of investors at the conference. It was a sign that coal projects, whilst not quite where they were five years ago, are seeing a major increase in interest from banks and private investors, keen to get a slice of the profits from the seaborne market. This can only bode well for the financial health of the industry in coming years.

 

INDIA 

 

The first key takeaway from Coaltrans India was that whilst imports may still be slightly down for 2018, they are certainly unlikely to be out. In particular, the growing movement against petcoke has benefited coal importers, as legislators have led a crackdown on power generators burning the heavily polluting fuel. Additionally, cement producers, nervous of further curbs of the fuel, are increasing the proportion of coal in their energy consumption.

 

Meanwhile, regarding a perennial topic at Coaltrans India – infrastructure bottlenecks – the feeling was that things had not been quite cracked yet. While Coal India is making continued improvements in solving its coal evacuation architecture, internal targets are likely to be missed this year, with the shortfall being made up with imported coal.

 

Finally, there is the issue of commercial mining, which looks to be a potential game changer for the Indian coal. It is hard to predict exactly how the ending of Coal India’s forty year monopoly will impact the domestic industry, but the sense from delegates was strong that the decision is likely to have massive ramifications over the coming decade.


 

 

 

 

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