China should produce less domestic coal, import more
Author:Network sources Source:Network sources Date:2013-03-13

China should take advantage of relatively low coal prices and import more to satisfy electricity demand in its most populous provinces, instead of relying on domestic coal, which is expensive to transport, according to a Chinese government report unveiled in the US on Tuesday.

China currently produces much of its coal from its northwest provinces and ships it by rail to populous provinces along the east coast, tying up rail and highway capacity, said Yang Yufeng, a senior researcher at China's Energy Research Institute, which published the report.

Meanwhile, coal prices in the Asia-Pacific region are low, due to lower demand and slowing economies. China's energy demand is projected to grow 4.7% annually to 2015, 2% less than its growth rate from 2006 to 2011, according to the report, Yang said.

"China should increase imports [of coal] to balance supply and demand of the east and west, so as to reduce pressures on transportation and to protect the environment," Yang said in a presentation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "The coal market is not very tight in the Asia-Pacific, so the price is very good."

He added that coal gasification and liquefaction projects are too expensive at the moment, and that China's coal companies project a 100-year domestic supply -- a prediction with which he personally disagrees.

"They say there is no problem [with domestic supply], but I, myself, think this is a mistake," he said. "The resources are more and more limited, and the environmental [concerns] are serious."

The recommendation is included in the 715-page China Energy Outlook, which was published in Chinese late last year and aims to project domestic and global energy trends through 2015.

Yang said this is the first time China has published such a report using its own studies and analyses, instead of relying on projections from the International Energy Agency and the US Energy Information Administration, and said an English translation will be available in a few months.


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