Investment in global coal supply chain to hit $115 bn in 2022, led by China and India

Rishi Ranjan Kala | Updated on: Jun 23, 2022

At over $80 billion, China and India are anticipated to make up the bulk of global coal investment in 2022, says IEA.

New Delhi

The investment quantum globally on coal supply chains is expected to grow by 10 per cent year-on-year to around $115.5 billion in the current calendar year, with China and India accounting for a major share, International Energy Agency (IEA) has said.

“Around $105 billion was invested in the coal supply chain in 2021, an increase of 10 per cent year-on-year, and a further 10 per cent rise is expected in 2022 as tight supply continues to attract new projects. This is a long way from the market situation implied by international climate goals and the Glasgow commitment to phase down coal. This increase is being led by China and India, the dominant players in global coal markets,” IEA said in the World Energy Investment report 2022.

Coal shortages and power rationing in China in 2021 made energy security the main priority in near-term Chinese policy, and more than 350 million tonnes (MT) per year of new coal mining capacity was brought on stream in the second half of the year. India is also looking to increase domestic coal supply in the face of a squeeze in 2022 that increased the use of more expensive imported coal, it added.

“Given the unprecedented rise in coal prices in 2022, a key question is whether this will trigger a new wave of investment in the coal supply chain. Outside China and India, it is not clear that such an increase in investment will take place,” the annual report said.

The report explained that the global coal supply investment is expected to grow by another 10 per cent in 2022 as tight supply continues to attract new projects. “At over $80 billion, China and India are anticipated to make up the bulk of global coal investment in 2022,” it added.

IEA said that India, the world’s second-largest consumer and coal producer, is seeking to increase coal production as its energy needs grow and the government looks to decrease imports. This is particularly the case because a supply squeeze in 2022 increased the use of more expensive imported coal.

State-run monopoly Coal India, which accounts for over 80 per cent of the national output, has a target to reach 1,000 MTPA production in the coming years, while also investing in washing plants and rail corridors. Other players include public companies (SSLC and NLC), captive producers and mine developer-operators (MDOs) who are increasingly working for Coal India, the report pointed out.

Under the Indian government’s Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, merchant producers can sell coal at free-market prices outside CIL’s monopoly. The first auction for commercial mining blocks was awarded in November 2020, with 19 mines allocated, representing over 3 billion tonnes of coal reserves and a peak capacity of over 50 MTPA.

“A number of additional auction rounds have been launched since. There is uncertainty about how rapidly private producers can navigate the approval process and the pace of development of the production capacity, but current high coal prices are likely to provide a strong incentive,” IEA said.

Published on June 24, 2022
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