A South Korean explains his country's need for cleaner U.S. coal

Posted by JOHN STARK on January 13, 2014 

South Korea would likely be eager to buy more Powder River Basin coal as the country looks to diversify its sources of supply and find a cleaner-burning product, says Lee Kyungro, managing director of the Fuel and Resources Strategy Division for Korea East West Power Co. in Seoul.

In this report Kyungro authored for UPI, he notes that South Korea is already getting Powder River Basin coal via the Westshore Terminal just north of the U.S. border in British Columbia.

But lack of export capacity on the West Coast of the U.S. is preventing South Korea from increasing purchases of U.S. coal.

Discussion of the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal coal shipping port has focused on Chinese demand. Kyungro's report indicates that other countries are also interested.

This report from Reuters says that Chinese coal imports were up 13.4 percent in 2013. That is well below the rate of growth in coal imports for 2012, but still a big number. The Reuters report says market watchers expect the rate of growth in Chinese coal imports to slow still more in 2014. Note that they are predicting a decline in the rate of growth--not a decline in imports overall.

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