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Queensland to review CCS after rejecting Glencore plan

  • Spanish Market: Coal, Emissions
  • 28/05/24

Australia's Queensland state government will review the long-term suitability of carbon capture and storage (CCS) following the rejection of a demonstration project planned by commodities producer and trading firm Glencore.

Queensland's Department of Environment, Science and Innovation late last week rejected the environmental impact statement for Glencore's CTSCo Surat Basin CCS project, which aimed to demonstrate carbon capture from a coal-fired power station and the permanent storage of carbon dioxide. The project was unsuitable to proceed because of the potential impact on groundwater resources in the Great Artesian Basin, the department said.

"The department's final decision on the EIS acknowledges the importance of the Great Artesian Basin to multiple stakeholders and makes it clear that other carbon capture and storage projects will not be viable in the Great Artesian Basin," it added.

The aquifer is used for agriculture, irrigation and stock watering, with Glencore's proposal sparking strong criticism from farmers and local groups. The decision to reject the project was a step in the right direction but not enough, said Queensland Farmers' Federation chief executive Jo Sheppard.

"We know that there are currently two companies with exploration permits for CCS in the Great Artesian Basin and we know that other companies globally are looking at the basin as a cheap way to conduct CCS at an industrial scale to manage their emissions," Sheppard said. "In the absence of federal policy, the Queensland government can and must now take a leadership role and put regulations in place to protect the Queensland component of the Great Artesian Basin from further CCS bids."

The rejection meant the state government has now "effectively banned" CCS projects in Queensland, Glencore said.

"It's a missed opportunity for Queensland and sends mixed messages on emissions reduction to industry who are looking to invest in low-emission technologies, including CCS," the company noted. "It's now up to the Queensland government to explain how it's going to meet its ambitious emissions reduction targets in the absence of CCS technology for heavy industry."

The state government will assess the suitability of CCS in the state following the "logical conclusion" on the CTSCo project, Queensland premier Steven Miles said on 27 May. "Cabinet will now have a conversation about what we think the longer term and wider application of those concerns should be. That is whether CCS should be allowed and under what circumstances."

Queensland last month approved two separate laws setting renewable energy and emissions reduction targets over the next decade. It set net greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets of 30pc below 2005 levels by 2030, 75pc by 2035 and zero by 2050. The government will receive advice from an expert panel on the measures needed to reduce emissions. It will need to develop and publish sector plans by the end of 2025 with annual progress reports to Queensland's parliament.


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22/07/24

Vietnam’s 1H 2024 coal imports hit all-time high

Vietnam’s 1H 2024 coal imports hit all-time high

Singapore, 22 July (Argus) — Vietnam's coal imports reached an all-time high in the first half of this year despite an on-year drop in seaborne receipts in June from a relatively high base last year. A growth in seaborne receipts led by strong utility demand took Vietnam's coal imports to 33.43mn t in January-June, up from 24.1mn t in the same period last year, according to customs data. Vietnamese customs data do not differentiate between coking and thermal coal. The imports in the first half of this year hit the highest level since Vietnam imported 30.61mn t in January-June 2020, according to Argus' analysis of the customs data. Imports were at 6.36mn t in June, down from a revised 7.21mn t a year earlier and 6.5mn t in May . This was the first year-on-year drop in imports since January last year. Vietnam's strong imports in the first half of the year comes amid heatwaves in the region, which has boosted power consumption and coal-burn at utilities. Vietnam is leading the growth in imports in the southeast Asian region, a trend that is helping to partly offset a lukewarm demand trend in China — the biggest coal importer in the world. Vietnam could end up importing over 66mn t of coal this year at the current average rate of 5.57mn t/month, according to Argus calculations. This could be the country's highest annual imports since the 55mn t of coal it received in 2020, and up from 51.16mn t in 2023. The on-year dip in imports in June came from a high base a year earlier when strong demand from utilities took the monthly imports to a record high. The dip also came as the coal-fired generation dropped to 12.37TWh in June from 17.08TWh in May this year, while the hydro-power generation more than doubled to 9.55TWh last month on a month-on-month basis, according to Argus calculations based on the data from state-owned utility EVN. The country's coal-fired generation, which accounted for 57pc of overall generation in January-June, could come under pressure on a steady uptick in hydropower output, owing to heavy rains in some parts of the country. Overall generation rose by about 12pc on the year to 151.7TWH in the first half of the year, while coal-fired generation reached 86.34TWh, up from 66.76TWh a year earlier, EVN data show. Hydropower generation was at 28.63TWh during the period, down from 29.83TWh a year earlier, according to the EVN data. Vietnam's northern regions may face heavy rains until 24 July as typhoon Prapiroon heads towards Vietnam after making a landfall in south China's Hainan, according to the country's National Centre for Hydrometeorological Forecasting. Coal-fired generation rose to cater for higher electricity consumption resulting from continued economic recovery and an uptick in air-conditioning demand. Power demand continues to grow, and the peak capacity of the national power system reached 49.53GW on 19 June, up from 45.53GW a year earlier, it said. Peak capacity might increase further to over 52GW this month, it added. Authorities have directed EVN and state-owned coal producers to ensure stable supplies to meet the increased power consumption. The uptick in power consumption and coal demand during the first six months and during the second quarter of the year was also supported by an increase in economic activity. Vietnam's GDP grew by 6.93pc in April-June from a year earlier. The increase in receipts of seaborne coal also followed softness in international coal prices, especially for coal from Vietnam's preferred origins — Indonesia and Australia. Argus assessed Indonesian GAR 4,200 kcal/kg coal at $52.38/t fob Kalimantan on 19 July, with the price of the grade recovering from a 10-month low of $52.07/t on 12 July. Argus assessed the Australian NAR 5,500 kcal/kg coal market at $87.61/t fob Newcastle on 19 July, down from $96.59/t fob Newcastle on 1 March — the highest value for the grade in the year to date. Power saving EVN has advised local authorities, businesses, commercial and residential consumers to ensure economical and efficient use of electricity. It has asked commercial units and households to reduce consumption, and advised them to not set air-conditioner temperatures below 26-27°C. Vietnamese authorities have asked power consumers to pay special attention to electricity usage during peak hours between 11:00am to 3:00pm local time (04:00-08:00 GMT) and 7:00pm to 11:00pm. By Saurabh Chaturvedi Vietnam's coal imports (mn t) Vietnam's Jan-June generation mix (TWh) Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

South32 misses Australian coking coal output target


22/07/24
22/07/24

South32 misses Australian coking coal output target

Sydney, 22 July (Argus) — Australian-South African diversified resources company South32 was 2pc off its coking coal production target of 4.4mn t at its Australian Illawarra coal operations in the 2023-24 fiscal year to 30 June. The firm is on track to complete the sale of its Illawarra operations in New South Wales (NSW) state by the end of September, marking its exit from coal as it focuses on its non-ferrous metal portfolio. It completed three and started a fourth longwall move at the Appin and Dendrobium mines, leaving new owner Golden Energy and Resources and M Resources with a lower maintenance burden into 2025. South32's total coal production was down by 24pc in 2023-24 compared with the previous year, largely because of maintenance. The firm increased production in the fourth quarter and final half of 2023-24 after a weak first half but the quarter was still down by 15pc on April-June 2023. South32 expects its costs for 2023-24 to be around $150/t, which is in line with its guidance, which was raised from $140/t in February. It received an average price for its Illawarra coal of $275/t for its metallurgical coal and $113/t for its thermal coal for January-June compared with $276/t and $101/t respectively in July-December 2023. The firm's operating margins at its Illawarra metallurgical coal operations were $17/t on thermal coal and $152/t on metallurgical coal in 2022-23 when its operating costs were $127/t. It will release its 2023-24 results on 29 August. Argus last assessed the premium hard coking coal price at $229/t fob Australia on 19 July, down from $334.50/t on 19 January and close to the $235.50/t on 19 July 2023. It assessed the high-grade 6,000 kcal/kg NAR thermal coal price at $134.87/t fob Newcastle on 19 July, up from $128.09/t on 19 January and down from $129.18/t on 19 January 2023. South32 last year dropped plans for a $700mn expansion at Dendrobium, following a dispute with NSW's water agency over its potential impact on water quality . Dendrobium, which supplies coking coal to the Whyalla steelworks in South Australia and exports from NSW's Port Kembla coal terminal, is expected to close in 2028. By Jo Clarke South32 Illawarra Coal output (mn t) Apr-Jun '24 Jan-Mar '24 Apr-Jun '23 2023-24 2022-23 2023-24 guidance Met coal production 1.27 1.24 1.50 4.31 5.50 4.40 Met coal sales 1.36 1.05 1.53 4.17 5.40 Thermal coal production 0.21 0.16 0.25 0.63 1.02 0.60 Thermal coal sales 0.18 0.19 0.17 0.70 0.96 Total production 1.49 1.41 1.75 4.94 6.52 5.50 Source: South32 Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Trump vows to target 'green' spending, EV rules


19/07/24
19/07/24

Trump vows to target 'green' spending, EV rules

Washington, 19 July (Argus) — Former president Donald Trump promised to redirect US green energy spending to other projects, throw out electric vehicle (EV) rules and increase drilling, in a speech Thursday night formally accepting the Republican presidential nomination. Trump's acceptance speech, delivered at the Republican National Convention, offered the clearest hints yet at his potential plans for dismantling the Inflation Reduction Act and the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law. Without explicitly naming the two laws, Trump said he would claw back unspent funds for the "Green New Scam," a shorthand he has used in the past to criticize spending on wind, solar, EVs, energy infrastructure and climate resilience. "All of the trillions of dollars that are sitting there not yet spent, we will redirect that money for important projects like roads, bridges, dams, and we will not allow it to be spent on the meaningless Green New Scam ideas," Trump said during the final night of the convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Trump and his campaign have yet to clearly detail their plans for the two laws, which collectively provide hundreds of billions of dollars worth of federal tax credits and direct spending for renewable energy, EVs, clean hydrogen, carbon capture, sustainable aviation fuel, biofuels, nuclear and advanced manufacturing. Repealing those programs outright could be politically difficult because a majority of spending from the two laws have flowed to districts represented by Republican lawmakers. The speech was Trump's first public remarks since he was grazed by a bullet in an assassination attempt on 13 July. Trump used the shooting to call for the country to unite, but he repeatedly slipped back into the divisive rhetoric of his campaign and his grievances against President Joe Biden, who he claimed was the worst president in US history. Trump vowed to "end the electric vehicle mandate" on the first day of his administration, in an apparent reference to tailpipe rules that are expected to result in about 54pc of new cars and trucks sales being battery-only EVs by model year 2032. Trump also said that unless automakers put their manufacturing facilities in the US, he would put tariffs of 100-200pc on imported vehicles. To tackle inflation, Trump said he would bring down interest rates, which are controlled by the US Federal Reserve, an agency that historically acts independently from the White House. Trump also said he would bring down prices for energy through a policy of "drill, baby, drill" and cutting regulations. Trump also vowed to pursue tax cuts, tariffs and the "largest deportation in history," all of which independent economists say would add to inflation. The Republican convention unfolded as Biden, who is isolating after testing positive for Covid-19, faces a growing chorus of top Democratic lawmakers pressuring him to drop out of the presidential race. Democrats plan to select their presidential nominee during an early virtual roll-call vote or at the Democratic National Convention on 19-22 August. By Chris Knigh t Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Australia’s Whitehaven hits 2023-24 coal guidance


19/07/24
19/07/24

Australia’s Whitehaven hits 2023-24 coal guidance

Sydney, 19 July (Argus) — Australian coal producer Whitehaven met its production guidance for its New South Wales (NSW) mines in the 2023-24 fiscal year to 30 June, with managed run-of-mine (ROM) output from its newly acquired Queensland mines also meeting their guidance. Saleable coal production at Whitehaven's NSW-based assets totalled 16.7mn t for 2023-24, up by 6pc on the 15.7mn t recorded last fiscal year and within its guidance for 2023-24 of 16mn-17.5mn t. Saleable output from NSW for April-June was 4.3mn t, 11pc higher than January-March's 3.87mn t and above the year earlier figure of 3.83mn t. Saleable production from Queensland totalled 4mn t, Whitehaven's first quarter since acquiring Australian-Japanese joint venture BHP Mitsubishi Alliance's 12mn t/yr Blackwater and 4mn t/yr Daunia coking and thermal coal mines on 2 April. Queensland coal sales of 3.2mn t for the quarter reflected slippage into July-September because of now resolved, transition-related rail constraints from Daunia, Whitehaven said. A selldown of around 20pc of Blackwater to global steel producers is progressing, the firm reported, without providing further details. The first production and sales have been achieved at the 10mn t/yr Vickery mine , while operations ceased during April at the 2.5mn t/yr ROM capacity Werris Creek mine. Whitehaven's overall unaudited unit cost guidance, excluding royalties, for NSW in 2023-24 was A$114/t ($76/t), above the guidance range of A$103-113/t because of lower production at Narrabri and underlying inflation. Capital expenditure was A$380mn, below the 2023-24 guidance of A$400-480mn. The Argus high-grade 6,000 kcal/kg NAR price averaged $133.46/t fob Newcastle and the 5,500 kcal/kg NAR coal price $88.47/t during April-June compared with $126.74/t and $93.85/t respectively for January-March. Whitehaven's full-year results will be published on 22 August. By Tom Major Whitehaven results Apr-Jun '24 Jan-Mar '24 Apr-Jun '23 Volumes (mn t) Managed coal production 8.3 3.9 3.8 Managed coal sales 7.3 3.8 3.9 Managed coal stocks 2.7 1.0 1.5 Coal sales revenue mix (%) Metallurgical coal 59 13 5 Thermal coal 41 87 95 Prices achieved ($/t) NSW average 137 136 177 Queensland average 180 Source: Whitehaven Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Urgent action needed for UK to hit net zero goals: CCC


18/07/24
18/07/24

Urgent action needed for UK to hit net zero goals: CCC

London, 18 July (Argus) — The UK increased the rate at which it reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions last year, but "urgent action" is needed for the country to meet its targets in 2030 and beyond, independent advisory body Climate Change Committee (CCC) said in its progress report published today. The report assesses the UK's progress towards its net zero goals against policy set out by the previous Conservative government. The new Labour government, which has been in power since 5 July, has already set the scene for a stronger decarbonisation agenda , but it "will have to act fast to hit the country's commitments", the report says. The committee tracked progress on 28 key indicators. Of the 22 that have a benchmark or target, only five are assessed as being "on track". The UK's GHG emissions last year stood at 393mn t/CO2 equivalent (CO2e), down on the year by 5.4pc, or 22mn t/CO2e, provisional data show. This estimate excludes contributions from international aviation and shipping, as these are not included in the UK's 2030 target of a 68pc cut in GHG emissions from a 1990 baseline. And last year's reduced emissions resulted primarily from a drop in gas demand, the CCC says. Combined gas demand in 2023 averaged 156mn m³/d, down from nearly 175mn m³/d a year earlier. While progress has been made, the previous administration "signalled a slowing of pace and reversed or delayed key policies", the report says. The reduction in emissions last year is "roughly in line with the annual pace of change needed" to reach the 2030 target, but the average annual rate over the previous seven years is "insufficient", the committee says. The new government has placed strong focus on decarbonising electricity in its first days in office, but this is "not enough on its own", CCC acting chief executive James Richardson said. The average annual rate of GHG reduction outside the electricity supply sector over the previous seven years was 6.3mn t/CO2e, but this will need to more than double until 2030 if the UK is to meet its targets, the CCC says. In order to reach targets, "annual offshore wind installations must increase by at least three times, onshore wind installations will need to double and solar installations must increase by five times" by 2030. By comparison, oil and gas use should be "rapidly" reduced and the expansion of the production of fossil fuels should be limited, according to the report. The CCC also recommended that about 10pc of UK homes will need to be heated by a heat pump by 2030, in comparison with about 1pc today. The committee criticised the exemption of 20pc of properties from the 2035 phase-out gas boiler plan, saying it is "unclear" how the exemption would reduce costs as fewer consumers would have to pay to maintain the distribution grid. Gas-fired power generation in recent months has dropped on the back of high wind output and brisk power imports. Power-sector gas burn was 25mn m³/d in March-June, roughly half of the three-year average for the period. But if UK power demand increases with electrification, gas-fired power generation could maintain its role in the country's power mix, particularly if it is combined with carbon capture, use and storage technology, for which fast development and scale-up will need to happen this decade, the CCC says. "Biases" towards the use of natural gas or hydrogen must be removed where electrification is the most economical decarbonisation solution in an industry sector. Power prices need to be reduced "to a level that incentivises industrial electrification". Oil, gas industry to meet climate goals The UK's oil and gas sector "is on track to meet its own climate goals and is not slowing down", offshore industries association OEUK said today in reaction to the CCC's report. The UK needs a plan for reducing oil and gas demand and cutting its reliance on imports, according to OEUK chief executive David Whitehouse. "We should be prioritising our homegrown energy production," he said. The sector reduced its emissions by 24pc in 2022 from 2018, meaning it met its target to reduce emissions by 10pc by 2025 early. The industry halved its flaring and venting and cut methane emissions by 45pc in 2022 compared with 2018, Whitehouse said. OEUK plans to reduce emissions by a quarter by 2027 and by half by 2030 against 2018 levels. And it aims to achieve net zero by 2050. By Georgia Gratton and Jana Cervinkova Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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