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Russia’s Coal Exports, Production Hit Five-Year High In 2018

Russia’s production and exports of coal hit last year their highest levels since 2013, according to S&P Global Platts estimates of data from Russia’s Energy Ministry.

Russian coal exports increased last year by 3.4 percent compared to 2017, to reach 191 million mt—the highest level since S&P Global Platts started collecting data on Russia’s coal industry in 2013.

Coal production also reached its highest level since 2013—at 431.76 million mt, Russia’s production increased by 6 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. 

According to Platts estimates and to thermal coal traders who spoke to Platts, Russian producers continue to seek domination on the European market and have been putting in a lot of effort to grab more market shares on the Asian markets such as South Korea and Taiwan.

Last year, the average free on board (FOB) coal prices for the Atlantic and Pacific markets were both higher compared to 2017, which could be a big incentive for Russia to continue producing and exporting more coal to seaborne destinations, according to Platts.

Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak briefed on Thursday President Vladimir Putin on the Russian energy sector production in 2018, saying that the coal production of around 433 million tons was planned to be reached in 2020. Russia plans to invest around US$22.4 billion (1.5 trillion Russian rubles) in its coal industry and port infrastructure, Novak told Putin. 

Russia’s oil production increased by 1.6 percent annually to 556 million tons last year, the energy minister said. Natural gas production beat an 18-year-old record as Russia produced 725 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2018, raising production by around 5 percent compared to 2017, Novak told Putin. 

Due to the OPEC+ production cuts, Russia’s crude oil production in 2019 could be lower than originally planned—at 552 million tons, or 11.085 million bpd, Novak said last month after the new OPEC/non-OPEC deal was struck. Originally, plans for next year were for Russia’s oil production to stand at 555 million tons-556 million tons, or 11.145 million bpd-11.165 million bpd, according to Novak.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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