Coal consumption statistics

Data from June 2017. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: July 2018.

This article explains how consumption and supply of coal in the European Union (EU) has evolved, highlighting the trends in production and consumption of the main types of solid fossil fuels: hard coal and lignite. In addition the article gives a breakdown of the origin of hard coal imported into the EU in 2016 and figures on the supply of coke for 2015 and 2016.

As illustrated in Figure 1, the first early estimate - based on the monthy data - of the 2016 consumption of hard coal in the EU-28 reaches 239 million tonnes (Mt) which confirms the decrease since 2013, after the small upwards trend between 2010 and 2012.

Figure 1:EU-28 Gross inland consumption of hard coal 1990-2016 (1990=100)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_101a), (nrg_101m)
Figure 2: EU-28 Production of hard coal 1990-2016 (1990 = 100)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_101a), (nrg_101m)
Figure 3: EU-28 Gross inland consumption of lignite 1990-2016 (1990 = 100)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_101a), (nrg_101m)
Figure 4: Hard coal imports into the EU-28 by country of origin, 2016 (% based on kt).JPG
Source: Eurostat (nrg_122m)
Figure 5:EU-28 coke-oven coke supply, 2015-2016 (in kt)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_101m)

Main statistical findings

Consumption and production of hard coal

Gross inland consumption of hard coal in the EU-28 decreased steadily in the 1990s. Then, from 1999 to 2007, it remained relatively stable at between 360 and 380 Mt. Further large decreases in consumption were observed once again in 2008 and 2009. In 2016, gross inland consumption of hard coal in the EU-28 reached its lowest level at 239 Mt, 47.5 % less than in 1990.

Production of hard coal in the EU-28 has decreased almost continuously from 1990 to 2016, and this long-term decrease has been more severe than for consumption: in 2016 domestic production was only about 23 % of that for 1990 (see Figure 2). In 2016, about 36 % of gross inland consumption could be covered by production in the EU-28, compared with 74 % in 1990.

Consumption of lignite

Gross inland consumption of lignite in the EU-28 (see Figure 3) from 1990 to 2007 followed the same trends as hard coal, with a large decrease in the 1990s, followed by a more stable period up to 2007. The decrease in consumption from 1990 to 1999 (40 %) was somewhat more pronounced than for hard coal (29 %). From 2007 to 2010, consumption of lignite decreased further, but only by a small amount. From 2010 to 2012 consumption of lignite slightly increased, a trend which changed again in 2013 to 2016. The consumed lignite is almost for 100 % supplied by indigenous production which follows the same trend showing a small decrease in 2016.

Imports of hard coal

According to the first estimates the EU imported 164 Mt of hard coal, compared with 195 Mt in 2015. As shown in Figure 4 the 3 leading countries exporting to EU-28 are Russia, Colombia and Australia with shares of 32.5 %, 23.2 % and 15.8 % respectively 30.4 %, 23.7 % and 11.5 % in 2015. Imports shares from USA and South Africa slightly decreased respectively 14.3 % versus 17.4 % and 6.1 % versus 8.1 %.

Supply of coke

Besides the use of coal to generate electricity and heat, hard coal is essential to produce coke for the steel and iron industry. Production of coke in coke ovens decreased by 5.8 % in 2016 compared with 2015 (see Figure 5). Imports of coke in the EU-28 decreased from 9.3 Mt to 9.2 Mt in 2016 and exports from the EU increased slightly by 0.7 Mt from 2015 to 2016.

Data sources and availability

The production and consumption data of hard coal and lignite between 1990 and 2015 are based on annual data. All 2016 figures are based on the monthly questionnaires of solid fuels and are simply aggregated over the 12 months. These cumulative monthly data for 2016 are considered provisional estimates as the monthy questionnaires are less comprehensive in methodology and national data sources compared to the annual questionnaires. To highlight the trends based on the monthly questionnaires as well as the differences with the results of the annual questionnaires figures 1, 2 and 3 show also the 2008-2016 lines. For the figures of coke both 2015 and 2016 data are based on the monthly coal questionnaires.

The reporting of coal statistics is based on Energy statistics Regulation (EC) No 1099/2008.

See also

Further Eurostat information


Main tables

Energy Statistics - quantities (t_nrg_quant)
Gross inland energy consumption, by fuel type (tsdcc320)
Energy dependence (tsdcc310)


Energy Statistics - quantities, annual data (nrg_quant)
Energy Statistics - supply, transformation, consumption (nrg_10)
Supply, transformation, consumption - solid fuels - annual data (nrg_101a)
Energy Statistics - quantities, monthly data (nrg_quantm)
Energy Statistics - supply, transformation, consumption (nrg_10m)
Supply, transformation - solid fuels - monthly data (nrg_101m)
Energy statistics - imports (by country of origin) (nrg_12m)
Imports (by country of origin) - solid fuels - monthly data (nrg_122m)

Dedicated section

Methodology / Metadata

Source data for tables, figures and maps on this page (MS Excel)

Other information