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30 Sep, 2021 13:50

Europe & China DID NOT request boost in Russian coal supplies – Energy Ministry

Europe & China DID NOT request boost in Russian coal supplies – Energy Ministry

Moscow has not received requests for increased coal exports from the EU or China, Russia’s Energy Ministry says, brushing off media reports to the contrary.

The Russian Energy Ministry has not received any appeals from China and European countries on increasing coal exports from Russia,” the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

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Earlier, Bloomberg published an article claiming that European electricity producers were asking Russia for more coal to tackle the energy crisis amid record-breaking gas prices. The news outlet cited representatives of two Russian companies, the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company and the Siberian Coal Energy Company, which reportedly told Bloomberg that Europe wants more Russian coal because its renewable energy sources are unable to meet the growing demand while natural gas storage facilities are only partially full. The cost of gas is also an issue, having smashed a historic record of $1,100 per 1,000 cubic meters earlier on Thursday.

Unlike Europe, which has been trying to move away from coal in recent years, China is still highly reliant on the fuel in its power generation. Since January, the price of thermal coal in the country has jumped due to increasing demand and limited supply by nearly two-thirds, from about 670 yuan ($104) per ton to around 1,100 yuan ($170) in September. Thermal coal futures in China hit an all-time high of 1,376.8 yuan ($212.92) per ton on Wednesday.

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The rise in coal prices has become one of the main reasons for the shortage of electricity in the country, resulting in blackouts and forcing more than 20 provinces to set restrictions on electricity consumption. According to RIA Novosti, Beijing this week asked Russian energy holding Inter RAO to boost electricity exports to China.

The Chinese side turned to Inter RAO with a request to increase the supply of electricity due to the shortage in the northern provinces. We are currently completing the discussion of the technical possibility of a significant increase in supplies – the volumes will be determined on an hourly basis, depending on demand,” the company said in a statement to RIA.

90% of the coal used by China is mined domestically. Moreover, China is the world’s top coal producer, accounting for roughly 50% of global mining. In comparison, the second-largest coal producer, Indonesia, has a global share of just 9%, data from Statista.com shows. However, coal inventories at China’s six largest power groups this month were at the lowest seasonal level since 2017, down 31.5% from last year.

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