The European Union (EU) member states imported 47 percent of its thermal coal from Russia in 2017, according to the International Energy Agency's Coal Report on Tuesday.
The report showed that EU member states imported 152 million tonnes (Mt) of thermal coal and 44 Mt of met coal in 2017.
According to the report, with a share of 47 percent, Russia was the EU's main thermal coal supplier, followed by Colombia with 24 percent and the U.S. with 15 percent.
Compared with 2016, imports increased by a strong 14 percent or 10 Mt, from Russia and 20 percent or 4.5 Mt from the U.S.
"Imports from Colombia, however, dropped by a substantial 46 percent (17 Mt) to 36 Mt, with Colombian cargo finding alternative buyers in Turkey, Mexico and even Asia," the report noted.
The IEA also said that although met coal imports from Australia declined 10 percent with 2 Mt, it was still the EU's main supplier, providing 43 percent equivalent to 19 Mt in 2017.
"Imports from the U.S. and Russia each increased one Mt, boosting the U.S. market share to 30 percent (13 Mt) and Russia’s to 13 percent (6 Mt). Canada exported 4 Mt of met coal to the EU, an increase of 1 Mt from 2016," the report showed.
By country, Germany was still the European Union’s largest coal importer in 2017, although its thermal coal imports dropped more than 10 Mt from 2016 as capacity retirements and a partial coal-to-gas switch led to lower hard coal-fired power generation.
Germany imported 35 Mt of thermal coal and 13 Mt of met coal.
Spain imported 17 Mt of thermal coal - 5 Mt more than in 2016 as coal-fired generation scaled up.
Hard coal shipments to Italy declined by 1 Mt to 15 Mt in 2017, while the United Kingdom’s hard coal imports stayed roughly flat at 9 Mt.
By Murat Temizer