Over the past two years, coking coal prices have been the most volatile among major bulk commodities. On the supply side, the most important factor determining the movement of coal prices were weather problems affecting the exports of coal from Australia (Queensland), where the production of the best quality coking coals is concentrated. On the demand side, an important factor is the growing role of China on the market, which, being the world’s largest producer and consumer of metallurgical coal, has also become its largest importer. The dominant, about 75% share of China in the global spot market has resulted in their level of activity influencing the periodic price decreases or increases in international trade and prices based on CFR China (along with Australian FOB prices) have become important indicators to monitor market trends and determine levels of negotiated benchmarks. The exceptional volatility on the market led to a change in the quarterly price fixing mechanism for hard-load hard coal contractors in mid–2017 to apply a formula that assumes the valuation of their quarterly volumes based on the average of the basket of spot price indices. This reflects the broader trend of the evolving market, with growing spot market activity. The article describes the current situation on the international coking coal market and presents short-term forecasts for hard coking hard coal prices (PHCC LV), which are a reference point for fixing prices of other types of metallurgical coal (hard standard, semi-soft, PCI).
Blockchain is a technology, which could revolutionize many industries in the future. A system like that is based on a chain of blocks that is used for storing and transferring various data, forming a decentralized ledger. Although various fundamental projects based on the blockchain system in the energy industry are in their early stage of development, as well as other solutions, applications of blockchain technology in the broadly understood power engineering sector are considered to have a very large potential. This paper presents a brief description of the blockchain technology, its general operating principle and the possibilities it brings. The next section of the article contains a characterization of two exemplary and possible blockchain technology applications, which in the perspective of time may have a significant impact on the power engineering sector. The first solution is related to carrying out energy transactions, which could be conducted in an easy way directly between energy producers and consumers. Thanks to blockchain technology, this could lead to a partial decentralization in that area. The second proposed example concerns energy resources origin tracking, which would allow fixed origin attributes and parameters affecting the environment to be assigned to the generated energy. By implementing that solution, it would be possible to construct a fuel footprint of individual generating units. The article also mentions examples of other potential applications of blockchain technology in the power engineering sector.