Whitehaven pushes Australian coal growth

  • Market: Coal, Coking coal, Emissions
  • 24/08/23

Australian producer Whitehaven Coal plans to invest heavily in thermal and coking coal growth and production out to 2044.

Whitehaven will double its capital expenditure (capex) in the 2023-24 fiscal year to 30 June, as well as make a final investment decision on a longwall at its 11mn t/yr Narrabri mine that will allow thermal coal production to continue until 2044. The expansion includes extending its Narrabri and Vickery mines, as well as building the 17mn t/yr Winchester South mine, despite an increasingly difficult financial, regulatory and social environment for investing in new coal capacity.

It is also one of the parties looking to buy Australian-Japanese joint venture BHP Mitsubishi Alliance's Blackwater and Daunia mines, which have been up for sale since February.

Whitehaven has set itself a target of 16mn-17.5mn t of managed coal sales excluding purchased coal for 2023-24, having achieved 16mn t in 2022-23. This 2023-24 guidance is below its original target of 16.5mn-18mn t for 2022-23, partly because of the planned closure of the Werris Creek mine. But the firm will roughly double its capex to A$450mn-570mn ($290mn-370mn) in 2023-24 from A$241mn in 2022-23 as it looks for longer term growth.

The firm remains committed to thermal and coking coal output growth, despite rising royalties and other costs, an increasingly complex environmental regulation framework and many financial institutions pulling out of investing in at least thermal coal.

The firm made a profit of A$2.67bn in 2022-23, up from A$1.95bn in 2021-22, and had a net cash position of A$2.65bn at 30 June compared with debts of A$809mn two years earlier. It expects that the lack of new supplies, coupled with continuing firm demand for its higher quality thermal coal, will maintain above average coal prices during 2023-24 and allowing it to continue to generate cash for growth opportunities.

Whitehaven chief executive Paul Flynn expects thermal coal prices to rise for the rest of this year, particularly for high-grade thermal coal, as the northern hemisphere heads into winter. He is less clear on the short-term outlook for coking coal, citing the more variables involved.

Whitehaven's optimism about coal demand and prices came as the Australian federal government forecast that Australian thermal coal exports will fall to 80mn t/yr by 2030 if global warming is to remain less than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The Australian treasury modelling shows that Australian thermal coal exports will fall to around 120mn t/yr under a 2°C maximum warming scenario. Australian thermal coal exports fell to 178.27mn t in 2022 from 198.79mn t in 2021 and a peak of 212.08mn t in 2019, largely because of flooding in key coal mining regions.

Australian coal price comparisons ($/t)

Sharelinkedin-sharetwitter-sharefacebook-shareemail-share

Related news posts

Argus illuminates the markets by putting a lens on the areas that matter most to you. The market news and commentary we publish reveals vital insights that enable you to make stronger, well-informed decisions. Explore a selection of news stories related to this one.

News
27/05/24

Japan firms study carbon neutral fuels for auto sector

Japan firms study carbon neutral fuels for auto sector

Osaka, 27 May (Argus) — A group of Japanese companies are exploring the possibility of expanding the use of carbon neutral fuels — such as synthetic fuels, or e-fuels, and biofuels — in the country's automobile sector, aiming to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from internal combustion engine vehicles. Japanese auto manufacturer Toyota, engineering firm Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and refiners Idemitsu and Eneos said on 27 May that they had signed an initial agreement to jointly carry out a feasibility study by discussing scenarios, roadmaps and necessary regulations to introduce the clean fuels around 2030. The partnership assumes domestic production of e-fuels and biofuels to enhance the country's energy security. They plan to produce e-fuels from CO2 and renewable-based hydrogen, while biofuels will be derived from plants and other sources. But potential output capacity is still unclear. It is also unknown how they will buy feedstocks to produce the clean fuels, creating the possibility for imports and domestic purchases. Japan has pledged to ban sales of gasoline-only passenger cars and a shift to electric vehicles (EVs) by 2035, part of its 2050 net zero emissions goal. But EVs also include fuel-cell vehicles, plug-in hybrids and hybrid EVs. This suggests the country will need cleaner fuels to decarbonise engines burned by fossil fuels. Toyota has already introduced in Brazil since 2007 a hybrid, flex-fuel vehicle that can run on biofuels and gasoline. The company will invest 11bn real ($2.1bn) in Brazil over the next six years to decarbonise and electrify its fleet. But it is still unclear how many flex-fuel vehicles it will introduce in Japan, the company said. To help reduce CO2 emissions from the auto sector, Japan's trade and industry ministry already requires domestic refiners to use 500,000 kilolitres/yr (8,616 b/d) of the crude equivalent of ETBE or bioethanol. Brazil is currently the sole bioethanol supplier to Japan with 55,179 bl delivered in February. By Motoko Hasegawa Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Find out more
News

Indonesian coal producer Indika eyes biomass market


27/05/24
News
27/05/24

Indonesian coal producer Indika eyes biomass market

Singapore, 27 May (Argus) — Indonesian coal producer Indika Energy is venturing into biomass, as it diversifies into more environmentally-friendly businesses and reduces its reliance on conventional fuel revenues. Indika, which produced 30.1mn t of coal in 2023 through its subsidiary Kideco, last year completed construction of a wood pellet factory in Paser, east Kalimantan, the company said in its 2023 sustainability report. The biomass business is part of its subsidiary Indika Nature that is preparing its first batch of production. It is aiming to produce 150,000 t/yr wood pellets by 2025. These will have an average calorific value of 4,200-4,750 kcal/kg that is suitable for biomass-based power plants or for co-firing in a thermal power plant. It is planning to export the pellets to Japan. [Japan imported 531,500t of wood pellets in March](https://direct.argusmedia.com/newsandanalysis/article/2562604), up by 47pc from a year earlier, according to preliminary data released by the country's finance ministry on 26 April. This was also higher by 9pc from February. Imports from Indonesia rise to 59,353t in March, more than a fivefold increase from 10,796t a year earlier. This exceeded the previous record high of 35,516t in January. Indika will become the first biomass company in Indonesia with a comprehensive value chain, it added. Indika Nature cultivates a commercial forest in east Kalimantan that provides biomass for carbon-neutral energy generation. It is aiming to cultivate this year 7,500 hectares of calliandra, a woody plant that is a source of biomass. The group's commodity trading arm also started trading of palm kernel shells, a by-product of palm oil production that is used as a fuel in biomass power plants. Its customers included trading firms in Indonesia, Japan and Portugal. Indika Energy has set a target for 50pc of its revenues to come from its non-coal business by 2025, as a part of its long-term goal to entirely transition away from coal and expand its presence in renewables and the non-energy space. It has been reducing its presence in coal-related businesses, while becoming more involved in electric mobility, gold mining and digital technologies. It decided to sell a 100pc stake last year in its Mutu coal mining unit to domestic firm Petrindo Jaya Kreasi. Indika earned almost 87pc of its $3.02bn revenues in 2023 from coal compared with nearly 89pc in 2022. By Ajay Modi Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Brazil Climate Fund can grow threefold: Bndes


24/05/24
News
24/05/24

Brazil Climate Fund can grow threefold: Bndes

Sao Paulo, 24 May (Argus) — Demand for Brazil's Climate Fund is three times larger than the R10.4bn ($2.02bn) it currently holds, the president of the country's development bank Bndes said on Thursday. "We have a growing demand [for the fund]", president Aloizio Mercadante said during an event held by Rio de Janeiro state's industries federation. "We will perhaps expand the fund, because demand is already three times greater than what we have." Mercadante called on industries and entrepreneurs to present "good, bold projects." The Climate Fund is linked to Brazil's environment ministry and managed by Bndes. It was created in 2009 and uses resources from oil and natural gas exploration to mitigate and combat climate change. By Lucas Parolin Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Indonesia plans 15mn electric vehicles on roads by 2030


24/05/24
News
24/05/24

Indonesia plans 15mn electric vehicles on roads by 2030

London, 24 May (Argus) — The Indonesian government aims to have 2mn four-wheeled electric vehicles (EVs) and 13mn two-wheeled EVs on its roads by 2030, to cut emissions and save energy. This will bring about energy savings of 29.79mn bl of oil equivalent (boe) and cut exhaust emissions by 7.23mn t of CO2 in 2030, according to special staff to the minister of energy and mineral resources (ESDM) Agus Tjahjana. Indonesia's transport sector makes up around a third of the country's energy consumption and the 11mn cars on Indonesian roads produce more than 35mn t/yr of CO2, while trucks emit more than 50mn t/yr, according to ESDM secretary general Dadan Kusdiana. The country's vehicle fleet is likely to grow in coming years because of its economic development, so decarbonising the transport sector is critical to achieving net zero emissions by 2060, said the ESDM. Greater electrification of transport will also allow Indonesia to reduce its fossil fuel imports. Indonesia is keen to develop the EV battery supply chain from upstream to downstream, in view of its large nickel resources that can support the development of the industry, said Agus. Indonesia currently has nine facilities processing nickel ore into nickel and cobalt sulphate, which is one of the materials used in making EV batteries. Out of these, four are already operational while three are in the construction stage, and the remaining two are still undergoing feasibility studies. The next step is to promote the manufacture of battery precursors, cathodes, battery cells and batteries, considering that the electric charging and battery recycling industries already exist, said Agus. But there is still a large price gap between EVs and conventional vehicles, said Dadan. The Indonesian government is hence providing tax incentives and subsidies for electric cars, hybrid cars and electric motorbikes to cover this gap. "Indonesia has prepared $455mn to subsidise the sale of electric motorbikes," said Dadan, adding that the subsidy covers the sale of 800,000 new electric motorbikes and the conversion of 200,000 combustion engine motorbikes. The government estimates that 32,000 charging stations will be needed to meet demand by 2030. The total number of charging stations available was 1,566 as of April, said Agus, adding that the government aims to add up to 48,118 charging stations by 2030. The ESDM has just approved 204 nickel mining work plans for exploration and production. The country produced 175.6mn t of nickel ore output in 2023. By Prethika Nair Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Sumitomo, Reti to develop CCS project in Canada


24/05/24
News
24/05/24

Sumitomo, Reti to develop CCS project in Canada

Osaka, 24 May (Argus) — Japanese trading house Sumitomo and Canadian low-carbon energy developer Reconciliation Energy Transition (Reti) have agreed to jointly develop a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Alberta, Canada. The firms are targeting to start operations in the April 2026-March 2027 fiscal year and store up to 10mn t/yr of CO2 in east Calgary of Alberta. The project is expected to involve building compression capacity, a CO2 pipeline network, as well as injection and monitoring wells to support permanent CCS in deep saline aquifers. The project is currently only looking at CO2 emitted by Canadian firms, and not considering CO2 exports from Japan, Sumitomo told Argus . Sumitomo will mainly take on the role of seeking Japanese partners and arranging financing for the project. The project also envisions injecting CO2 captured from potential sustainable aviation fuel and direct air capture projects in the Calgary region, which are currently under feasibility studies by Sumitomo and Reti. Fellow Japanese trading house Marubeni is also participating in developing a CCS project in Alberta with Canadian private-sector firm Bison Low Carbon Ventures. Bison is developing the Meadowbrook CCS project near Edmonton and targeting a CO2 storage capacity of 3mn t/yr. By Motoko Hasegawa Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Generic Hero Banner

Business intelligence reports

Get concise, trustworthy and unbiased analysis of the latest trends and developments in oil and energy markets. These reports are specially created for decision makers who don’t have time to track markets day-by-day, minute-by-minute.

Learn more