Coal consumption statistics

Data from June 2016. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: July 2017.

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 2015 and figures on the supply of coke for 2014 and 2015.

As illustrated in Figure 1, the first early estimate - based on the monthy data - of the 2015 consumption of hard coal in the EU-28 reaches 269 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 1990-2015 (1990 = 100).PNG
Source: Eurostat (nrg_101a), (nrg_101m)
Figure 2: EU-28 Production of hard coal 1990-2015 (1990 = 100).PNG
Source: Eurostat (nrg_101a), (nrg_101m)
Figure 3: EU-28 Gross inland consumption of lignite 1990-2015 (1990 = 100).PNG
Source: Eurostat (nrg_101a), (nrg_101m)
Figure 4: Hard coal imports into EU-28 by country of origin, 2015 (% based on kt).PNG
Source: Eurostat (nrg_122m)
Figure 5: EU-28 Coke-oven coke supply, 2014-2015 (in kt).PNG
Source: Eurostat (nrg_101m)

Main statistical findings

Production and consumption 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 2015, gross inland consumption of hard coal in the EU-28 reached its lowest level at 269 Mt, 47 % less than in 1990.

Production of hard coal in the EU-28 has decreased almost continuously from 1990 to 2015, and this long-term decrease has been more severe than for consumption: in 2015 domestic production was only about 26 % of that for 1990 (see Figure 2). In 2015, 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 and 2014. In 2015 the estimated consumption remained stable. The consumed lignite is almost for 100 % supplied by indigenous production which follows the same trend showing a small decrease in 2015.

Imports of hard coal

According to the first estimates the EU imported 195 Mt of hard coal, compared with 220 Mt in 2014. As shown in Figure 4 the 3 leading countries exporting to EU-28 are Russia, Colombia and USA with shares of 30.4 %, 23.7 % and 17.4 % respectively 29.2 %, 20.2 % and 20.8 % in 2014. Imports shares from Australia slightly increased 11.5 % versus 9.4 % and sligthly decreased for South Africa 8.1 % versus 10.7 %.

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 3.6 % in 2015 compared with 2014 (see Figure 5). Imports of coke in the EU-28 decreased from 10.2 Mt to 9.3 Mt in 2015 and exports from the EU decreased too, but only slightly by 0.8 Mt from 2014 to 2015.

Data sources and availability

The production and consumption data of hard coal and lignite between 1990 and 2014 are based on annual data. All 2015 figures are based on the monthly questionnaires of solid fuels and are simply aggregated over the 12 months. These cumulative monthly data for 2015 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 2008-2015 lines. For the figures of coke both 2014 and 2015 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