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Coal wants to grow for export
Russia for the first time delivered more coal to the East than to the West. How it happened, and whether the trend will continue - the correspondent of EastRussia
For the first time this year, the volume of coal exports to the east has exceeded its exports to Europe. Such a statement was recently made at the International Coal Congress in St. Petersburg by the Minister of Energy of Russia Alexander Novak. This same achievement, he voiced at a recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "This year, for the first time, Vladimir Vladimirovich, our total volume of coal exports to the east exceeded the western direction. That is, before we had the western direction dominant, this year we have already reached 51 percent for the eastern direction at the expense of such countries as Japan, South Korea, India, Vietnam. This direction is developing, port infrastructure is developing, and exports in principle are growing, despite the fact that there are difficulties with prices ... for coal products, we have quite low prices for today, "Novak said.
The volume of coal mining by Russia in the first half of the year 2016 increased by 6%, to 186,2 million tons. Exports for January-June this year, according to the Ministry of Energy, exceeded the same period 2015 year by 8,2%, or 79,2 million tons. According to the forecast of the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation, in general, the export this year should be 159 million tons (with extraction of 390 million tons), adding to the indicator of last year almost 2%.
If you focus on the share of the "eastern direction", voiced by Novak at a meeting with the head of state, in the APR countries from Russia, in the first half of the year, almost 40 million tons of coal was spent. In Minvostokrazvitiya sure - the export of coal from Russia to the east will continue to exceed its delivery to the west. Due to the fact that consumption of coal as not the most environmentally friendly energy source in Europe is steadily declining (at present only energy coal is supplied to the West, coking does not pass through its quality components). At the same time, in the APR countries, coal continues to dominate the energy sector, due to relative cheapness and stable supplies. The needs of the macroregion in coal will only increase - according to some forecasts, to 2026 year to 625,7 million tons. The Far East will be able to cover the growing demand of the APR countries, since at present, projects on the construction and reconstruction of coal terminals are underway in its territory, the transshipment capacity of which will significantly exceed the existing freight traffic.
On the back of the talk that Russia is increasingly turning to the East, the excess of supplies in the Asian direction is more than a significant event. Since it indicates that loud words begin to be reinforced by real successes. However, it is important to understand that the excess of supplies can also be situational. And in general will not last long. Moreover, such a turn can not be caused by the efforts of Russia. Let's try to figure out whether it's too early to rejoice.
"The current excess of coal supplies in the east direction is largely the result of the actively pursued in Western Europe policies to reduce emissions, contributing to reducing the consumption of this fuel. To some extent, this phenomenon is also connected with the fact that in Western Europe there is an active replacement of coal with such fuel as gas - due to the fact that prices for it have significantly decreased. Both tendencies are also present in the East, but in this macroregion they are much less noticeable and significantly suppressed by the general increase in electricity consumption. Therefore, the further increase in the supply of coal from Russia to the East will undoubtedly continue, "explained the Adviser to the Director General of OAO" Russian Coal " Alexander Kovalchuk.
However, in general, the business community looks at the current development of coal supplies from Russia to the APR countries rather skeptically. "The increase in the supply of coal by Russian producers to the APR countries is based on the phenomenon that the freight market has now fallen very badly. At that time, as a year and a half ago the cost of the container service from Ningbo to Vladivostok was 1500 dollars, currently it is only 500 dollars, "the head of the railway transportation department of GC" SW-TRANSEXPO "explained to EastRussia correspondent Petr Chernousov.
"In recent years, exports have been much more profitable than the domestic market, and with the devaluation of the ruble, this benefit has become even greater. But modern supplies of HC "Yakutugol", a number of Sakhalin and Siberian companies, of which, in essence, the current increase in the export of coal to the East is taking shape, are carried out in the framework of projects that they started long before the crisis and were initially confined to export - in connection with their Geographical isolation. And, since by now, a significant amount of money has been invested in these projects, they will not wind down their companies, looking for all kinds of options for deliveries to foreign markets. And in general, if we talk about all those manufacturers who are planning to supply or are already delivering their products to the APR countries, they are completely looking for their own outlets on the market of this region. Moreover, the cost of Russian coal in dollar terms has become much more attractive than coal produced by foreign competitors, "an expert who asked to remain anonymous explained to EastRussia correspondent.
"There has not been any serious increase in the supply of Russian coal to the East today. Just some fluctuation in its deliveries occurred, which are not uncommon if we consider 5-7 summer periods of its delivery. If you look closely at them, you can see that the same geography as a whole does not take a month for a month - because coal, as one of the main commodities, flows from corner to corner as soon as, so immediately after Desire of the owners. At the same time, one should understand what the dynamics of Russian coal today was not, it does not influence the world market, since it does not exceed 5-7% in terms of the volume of supplies, and less than 2% in consumption and production. Of course, there are opportunities for a certain growth today, as, for example, Japan currently purchases not only energy, but also coking coal, as well as India and China. On the last, however, it is better not to count, since he still reduces his purchases of coal today. And you can begin to develop the export of Russian coal almost with the entire foreign world. Considering the fact that today the shoulder of delivery is not the decisive factor - due to the low cost of freight. At the same time, Russia has the capacities necessary for the export of coal abroad, although in a limited number. There are only two large terminals, Daltransugol and Vostochny, "says Alexey Bezborodov, General Director of the Infranews research agency.
However, the prospect of Russia becoming the largest supplier of coal to the APR countries is unlikely. "Australia will remain the main and main supplier of this fuel to the APR countries. Due to its geographical location, simple logistics arrangement and relatively cheap coal mining. It impedes Russia's leadership in the supply of ATR coal and the fact that its main consumers in the region - Japan, Taiwan, South Korea - clearly diversifying their basket, will never allow anyone to monopolize in this area. At the same time, it should be noted that, although Russia has some advantages in supplying coal to the Asia-Pacific countries to some extent, due to the short delivery shoulder, but not enough to become the dominant supplier of this resource to the region, "says Alexander Kovalchuk.
Nevertheless, to refuse ambitious plans to enter the circle of leaders on the supply of coal to the countries of the APR of Russia is clearly not worth it. But every effort should be made to develop the infrastructure of existing ports and create new ones. The construction of the port is a costly and long process. It is more likely - with sufficient funding - to reconstruct existing terminals. Also, in order to increase the supply of coal to the east, it is necessary to achieve normal arrangements for the parties involved in the transportation of this resource with the owners of the cars - for example, mandatory payment for wagons and their washing. However, the port issue can not be considered separately from the railway. Since at present the capabilities of the Russian Railways network are already far behind the possibilities of ports. If further the scale of coal supplies from Russia to the APR countries will increase, the port capacities of the Far East will become an obstacle.
"As for the level of Russian infrastructure, which contributes to the increase in the supply of coal from Russia to the APR countries, unfortunately, this is not the case in the country. Since those are the only domestic ports that are today confined to coal - the Far East, despite the fact that they have a lot of coal terminals - with modern volumes passing through them are poorly handled. Including because of the operation of extremely bad technology. And the expansion of the network of coal ports in the Far East is unlikely, since the coal terminals that operate in Russia now do not want to give up their volumes to others. Therefore, while 10% of coal shipments will continue to go through such Far Eastern ports as Vanino, Nakhodka and Vladivostok in the next 70 years, some significant increase in the volume of coal supplies to the APR countries in comparison with what is now, for sure Will not be, "says Petr Chernousov.
"The prospect of Russia becoming the leader in the supply of coal to the APR market is unlikely in the medium term. For the most part, in connection with the chemical properties of the Russian resource, a number of unpleasant consequences from which, from time to time, pushes away the data of the country. A striking example is that when loading Russian coal in the winter, a large amount of dust takes place (it is also said that coal "dusts"), which is unacceptable for Japan. Therefore, in winter Japan practically does not buy Russian coal. In turn, a factor that will increase the supply of Russian coal to the Asia-Pacific region may be an increase in freight costs. In this case, coals from the Russian Far East will have a competitive advantage - the smallest leverage on logistics in the APR countries and insignificant freight costs. But this factor is unlikely to be in the near future, since in the last couple of years the freight is cheap (3-4 a dollar from a ton), and even more than, since, for example, back in 2008, its cost reached 40 Dollars from a ton, "- said the expert, who asked about anonymity.
Russia has significant explored reserves of coal - 193,3 billion tons, including brown - 101,2 billion tons, stone - 85,3 billion tons, anthracite - 6,8 billion tons. Currently, coal production is carried out in 25 regions of the Russian Federation and 16 coal basins. Mining is performed by 121 mine and 85 mines with a total production capacity of about 383 million tons of coal per year. But, at the same time, due to the fact that over the course of five years the price of a ton of coal in the world falls, the export value (in dollars) of Russian coking coal fell 2,2 times over the period, thermal coal ñ 1,6 times. Even taking into account the collapse of the Russian currency, the cost of a ton of Russian coal has thus decreased (in rubles) by 21% over this period.