The Philippines' coal consumption could grow by more than 1 million tonnes annually until 2020 as it expects to switch on more coal-fired power plants to support its economy, the head of a local industry group said.
The Southeast Asian country's consumption of the fossil fuel reached 22 million tonnes last year, and about 80 percent of that, or a record high 17.4 million tonnes, had to be imported almost entirely from Indonesia, the world's top seller of thermal coal used in electricity generation.
Higher Philippine coal demand could be good news for Indonesia though it might be insufficient to move prices in an over-supplied market.
The Philippines relies heavily on coal imports as domestic supply, mainly from mine operated by Semirara Mining Corp , is not enough and the heat content is too low to be used in most of the country's power plants. Imports in 2014 totalled 15.2 million tonnes, based on government data.
"We're looking at an increment of 1 million tonnes per year until 2020," Arnulfo Robles, executive director of the Philippine Chamber of Coal Mines, told reporters on the sidelines of a power industry forum.
"That's a very conservative estimate," he said. Robles welcomed Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi's policy statement earlier this month retaining coal as a core part of the country's electricity generation mix while at the same time pushing aggressively for clean energy.
Robles downplayed the impact of an Indonesian ban on coal shipments to the Philippines, saying only small vessels have so far been stopped from delivering coal. Supply to the country's power producers is delivered through large ships, he said.
Last month Indonesia said a halt on coal shipments to the Philippines would remain in place because of security concerns, after seven Indonesian sailors were kidnapped in the southern Philippines.
Source: Hellenic Shipping News