American Electric Power's (AEP) Mountaineer coal power plant in New Haven, West Virginia, in 2009. Some coal power plants may be forced closed under EPA's proposed rules. Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

By Gareth Carpenter; Edited by James Leech
12 June 2013

London (Platts) – Coal remained the world's fastest-growing fossil fuel in 2012, despite the rate of consumption slipping below the 10-year average of 4.4% during the year, according to the BP 2013 Statistical Review of World Energy released Wednesday.

Total global coal consumption in 2012 rose 2.5% on the year to 3.73 billion mt of oil equivalent.

The Asia-Pacific region accounted for 69.9% of global coal consumption in 2012, burning 2.61 billion mt of oil equivalent.

Despite China's coal consumption growth rate falling to a below-average 6.1%, the country still accounted for all of the net growth in coal burn and accounted for more than half of global coal consumption (50.2 %) for the first time, BP said.

Total US coal consumption continued to fall, decreasing by 11.9% on-year to 437.8 million mt of oil equivalent.

In Europe -- where low-priced thermal coal continues to displace gas in the merit order -- coal burn increased by 2.2% on the year to 516.9 million mt, representing 13.9% of overall global consumption.

Global coal production grew by 2% to 3.85 billion mt of oil equivalent with the Asia Pacific region accounting for all of the net increase and for more than two-thirds of current global output, the report said.

US coal production -- which has been impacted by the rise to prominence of shale gas and consequent lower domestic natural gas prices -- declined by 7.5% over the year to 515.9 million mt of oil equivalent, representing 13.4% of the world's total output.

Coal remains world's fastest growing fossil fuel: BP review

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