The purpose of the article was to characterize the international steam coal market based on the latest available data. The information goes back to the first half of 2018. The article focuses on the description of the three largest exporters and importers of steam coal. Representatives in these categories were selected using the latest global statistics on 2017. In 2017, global production of steam coal amounted to 5.68 billion tons and exceeded production in 2016 by 4%. For several years, invariably the world’s leading exporters of steam coal are: Indonesia, Australia and Russia. In total, these three countries in 2017 supplied 73% of steam coal to the international market. However, for the 46% of global steam coal imports (data for 2017), three Asian countries are responsible: China, India and Japan. For each of the six listed countries (i.e. for: three major global exporters and three major global importers), the paper presents volumes related to coal production, export or import. The directions of deliveries or major coal exporters to a given country were also included. At the end of the article, the price situation was presented, as it appeared in the first half of 2018 on the European and Asian markets.
The paper analyzes the impact of potential changes in the price relation between domestic and imported coal and its influence on the volume of coal imported to Poland. The study is carried out with the application of a computable model of the Polish energy system. The model reflects fundamental relations between coal suppliers (domestic coal mines, importers) and key coal consumers (power plants, combined heat and power plants, heat plants, industrial power plants). The model is run under thirteen scenarios, differentiated by the ratio of the imported coal price versus the domestic coal price for 2020–2030. The results of the scenario in which the prices of imported and domestic coal, expressed in PLN/GJ, are equal, indicate that the volume of supplies of imported coal is in the range of 8.3–11.5 million Mg (depending on the year). In the case of an increase in prices of imported coal with respect to the domestic one, supplies of imported coal are at the level of 0.4–4.1 million Mg (depending on the year). With a decrease in the price of imported coal, there is a gradual increase in the supply of coal imports. For the scenario in which a 30% lower imported coal price is assumed, the level of imported coal almost doubles (180%), while the supply from domestic mines is reduced by around 28%, when compared to the levels observed in the reference scenario. The obtained results also allow for the development of an analysis of the range of coal imports depending on domestic versus imported coal price relations in the form of cartograms.