Turkey’s cement producers will import 30 per cent more coal by the end of next year compared with 2006, the chief coal purchaser for Turkey at concrete maker Cimpor Yibitas said.
Turkey is the third largest cement manufacturer among European nations, Askin Soyer said. A construction boom in eastern Europe and the Middle East is boosting the sector’s growth further.
"In 2008 coal consumption will be 7 million tonnes, then imports will account for 3.5Mt," Soyer, head of purchasing for Cimpor Yibitas, a Turkish cement company owned by Cimpor , told Reuters late on Monday in an interview on the sidelines of a McCloskey conference.
He declined to comment on the price of coal at the end of 2008, but said he expected prices to continue rising.
In 2006, he said, total coal consumption was 5.85 million tonnes, of which imports made up 2.7 million tonnes.
"In two years there will be an additional 10 million tonnes of clinker capacity, which would demand an additional one million tonnes of coal," he added.
GROWING TURKEY OFFSETS EUROPE
Increased demand for coal in the cement sector -- where coal is used as fuel and a raw material -- and in Turkey’s energy sector are seen partially offsetting a falling trend of coal imports into Europe.
Turkey has large reserves of coal, but its low calorific value of around 1,500 kilocalories/kg Net As Received (NAR) is too low for use in power production or cement manufacturing.
"Turkey will be the flag bearer for imports in Europe and that includes steam coal, and PCI (pulverised coal for injection)," Chairman Gerard McCloskey of coal consultancy McCloskey Group said, adding that he expected coal imports into Europe to fall by 14 million tonnes this year.
"That’s a big fall when there’s more Russian coal, more Colombian coal on the market," he said.
Steam coal is used for power generation while PCI is a high value product used in steel production.
Russian coal exporter KRUTrade has estimated Turkish coal imports would quadruple by 2010 to around 12 million tonnes, but with most of the demand coming from energy generation alone.
According to Turkey’s energy watchdog there are some 90 licences pending for new coal-fired or partly coal-fired power plants.
Analysts say such sharp growth in the Turkish market could upset the balance of supply and demand between European consumers and large suppliers, like Russia.
Russia generally sells its coal to Turkey at a higher cost than to Europe because Turkish ports cannot handle the large sizes of cargoes that travel to western European destinations and which help push down the cost of shipping.
Still, for Turkey Russian coal prices are generally lower as shipping distances across the Black Sea are shorter than from alternative sources such as South Africa.