India will soon become the number one importer of coal, which will set Queensland up as a premium supplier of its lower emission coal, according to a report released by the International Energy Agency.
In its 2015 World Energy Outlook, released overnight, the IEA observed that an energy transition was underway, but China would remain the largest producer and consumer of coal through to 2040.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said the outlook was positive for the Queensland resources sector across all commodities.
“The forecast demand from India comes as no surprise and the report found that India would contribute one quarter of global energy growth to 2040,” Mr Roche said.
“India will become the second largest coal producer in the world, and by 2020, the world’s largest coal importer.
“By 2040, Asia is projected to account for four out of every five tonnes of coal consumed globally.”
Mr Roche said the forecast is good news for Queensland, and in particular, good news for both the communities that already benefit from the resources sector across the state and those regions that are set to benefit.
“The sector already contributes $64.8 billion to the state’s economy, or one in $5 and one in six jobs, these forecasts from the world’s most reputable agency mean that we are set to benefit from our natural resources well into the future,” Mr Roche said.
“The forecasts also mean that we urgently need to fix our broken approvals system so we can bring on the new and expanded operations to tap into this huge market opportunity.
“That will mean more prosperity for Queenslanders in the form of jobs, business growth and royalties to fund government services, but will also help hundreds of millions of people across Asia and Africa who live without the luxury of electricity that we take for granted.”
According to the IEA, Australia’s coal exports are set to grow by over one-third, with 45 per cent of the growth being coking coal, which remains an essential ingredient in the making of steel.
“The good news for communities dependent on a thriving Bowen Basin coking coal sector is that Australia is set to grab a two-thirds share of the entire global trade in coking coal. Overall, Australia is set to regain the position of the world’s leading coal exporter,” Mr Roche said.
“The IEA confirms that there remains more opportunity to expand Queensland’s natural gas export sector, with demand for natural gas in Asia set to skyrocket by 160 per cent.”
Mr Roche said that the IEA has given a ringing endorsement to the way Queensland regulates its natural gas sector:
“Overall, the Queensland approach seems to embody many features of regulatory best practice, with cumulative, regional assessments revised regularly, purpose built institutions and a strong focus on water issues,” the QRC quoted the report.
Nuclear’s share of world electricity generation rises slightly from 11 percent in 2013 to 12 percent in 2040, with nuclear powered generation forecast to increase by 86 per cent.
“This forecast of strong growth in nuclear energy demonstrates conclusively that, with the right policy settings, Queensland does have a great opportunity to diversify its resource exports into uranium,” Mr Roche.
“The report shows that despite the naysaying by green activists, Queensland is in pole position to supply the strong demand for energy resources over the coming decades.”