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Today in Energy

October 4, 2011

China dominates global coal production

graph of global coal production shares, 2010, as described in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Statistics.
Note: 2010 data for nations that in 2009 collectively produced approximately 1% of global coal were unavailable and were held constant at 2009 rates to calculate global coal production.

China produced almost half the world's coal in 2010, three times more than the United States, the world's second largest producer, and almost as much as the next 10 highest producing countries combined. While coal is found abundantly across the globe (outside of the Middle East), proven recoverable reserves and production are highly concentrated, with the top five producing nations accounting for over 75% of global production.

The top coal producers have remained relatively consistent since 2000. Among the top five producers, only the fifth rank has changed; Indonesia's coal production grew 368% from 2000-2010, moving it from 10th globally to overtake Russia as the fifth largest producer. China also saw strong growth, increasing production by 188% over that time period. U.S. coal production, on the other hand, increased by only 1% from 2000-2010.

Growth in global coal production was heavily concentrated among the top five producers. From 2000 to 2010, global coal production rose 66%, from five billion tons per year to over eight billion tons per year. However, combined production in the top five producing nations grew by 98% during this period, while production in the rest of the world grew by only 7% (see chart below).

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Statistics.
Note: 2010 data for nations that in 2009 collectively produced approximately 1% of global coal were unavailable and were held constant at 2009 rates to calculate global coal production.
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