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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

CIS region may see coal revival as gas prices, Asian demand increase

Analysts from JLT Specialty recently completed an assessment of the risk factors facing potential investors in the Russian and CIS coal industry that indicated the region may see a coal revival stemming from rising gas prices and demand from East Asia.

Elizabeth Stephens and Adam Nash looked into such factors as regional coal production, supply restrictions, government interference and Russia's expanding influence in their assessment of the industry, World Coal reports.

According to the report, Russia is looking to use coal to meet 31 percent to 38 percent of its domestic electricity demands by 2020. Since January, the country has seen a 1.5 percent increase in production and an approximate eight percent increase in exports of coal.

Ukraine and Uzbekistan are also increasing their coal production. The countries, however, have experienced infrastructural weaknesses that are negatively influencing the growth of the coal industry. These include an oversupply of rail wagons which results in delays in coal transportation, according to World Coal.

Another factor affecting the situation is the Asian coal market, which strongly influences government decisions and investor partnership. Last August, the sale of Conoco Philip's 8.4 percent stake in the North Caspian Operating Co. to India's Oil and Natural Gas Organization was pre-empted by the Kazakhstan government.

The government opted to re-sell it to the Chinese National Petroleum Corp., reinforcing the government's predilection to intervene in the energy industry to better position itself in Asian markets, World Coal reports.

Additionally, Russia's involvement in the crisis in Ukraine could have an uncertain affect on the development of the coal industry in the region, according to the analysis.