December 10, 2013: CNBC is reporting:
In 2011 the World Energy Council estimated China's recoverable coal reserves at 128 billion short tons, the third largest in the world exceeded only by the United States and Russia Federation, equivalent to about 13 percent of the world's total coal reserves.
Chinese coal consumption is now roughly 300 percent higher than it was in 2000, reversing the decline seen from 1996 to 2000, with more than half of China's coal being used for power and heat generation. This soaring, relentless demand has meant that, despite its enormous reserves, China became a net coal importer in 2009 for the first time in over two decades.Thank goodness for China, saving us from a coming ice age.
Southeast Asia's power sector will tilt away from gas to use more coal by the end of this decade, chipping away at demand for liquefied natural gas as the region of more than 600 million people tries to cut costs to meet soaring electricity needs.
With a wave of LNG projects due to come online this decade, this shift in consumption from a region long expected to be a key growth market could help take some of the heat out of rising Asian prices of the cleaner fuel.
Gas prices in Asia are about five times more expensive than in the United States, driven by demand for LNG from countries such as Japan and South Korea - whose nuclear power sectors are in crisis, and China, where stringent pollution control measures are driving a switch from dirtier coal.
Demand for more coal could also help lift flagging prices of the fuel by at least partially compensating for China's move to cleaner energy sources.Presidents come and go. King Coal is here to stay.