Coal production and consumption statistics

Data extracted in July 2020.

Planned article update: July 2021.

Highlights
In 2019, the EU production of hard coal was 65 million tonnes, 77 % less than the 277 million tonnes of 1990.
Hard coal production

Source: Eurostat

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 brown coal. In addition the article gives some figures on the supply of coke oven coke.

Full article

Consumption and production of hard coal

As illustrated in Figure 1 inland consumption of hard coal in the EU decreased steadily in the 1990s. Starting in 1999 and for almost a decade, the yearly hard coal consumption stabilised at around 300 million tonnes. Then, it declined sharply in 2008 and 2009, and recovered only partially in the next three consecutive years reaching roughly 260 million tonnes in 2012. Since 2013, the consumption is steadily decreasing. The 2019 hard coal consumption of the EU is estimated to have reached 176 million tonnes.

Production of hard coal in the EU has decreased almost continuously from 1990 and this long-term decrease has been more severe than for consumption. In 2019, the EU production was 65 million tonnes, 77 % less than the 277 million tonnes of 1990. In 2019, 37 % of inland consumption could be covered by production in the EU, compared with 71 % in 1990. The 2019 figures are estimates based on early annual data.

Figure 1: Inland consumption and production of hard coal, EU, 1990-2019 (million tonnes)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_cb_sff)


In 1990, 13 Member States of the current EU were producing hard coal. In 2019 there were only two left: Poland and Czechia. Poland produced 61.6 million tonnes hard coal (95 % of the total EU production) and Czechia produced 3.4 million tonnes (5 %). Compared with 2012, which was the last peak in the EU hard coal production (123 million tonnes) with 2019, Poland decreased its production by 22 % and Czechia by 70 %. All other former hardcoal producers stopped their production.

Hard coal production

Source: Eurostat

Poland (39 %) and Germany (23 %) together accounted for more than 60 % of the total hard coal consumption of the EU in 2019, followed by France and the Netherlands (both 6 %). Figure 2 presents the hard coal consumption of the EU from 2014 to 2019 by Member State.

Figure 2: Inland consumption of hard coal by Member State, EU, 2014-2019 (million tonnes)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_cb_sff)

Consumption and production of brown coal

The 2019 consumption of brown coal in the EU is estimated at 308 million tonnes. Figure 3 presents the trend since 1990. In the 1990s, the consumption decreased rapidly, between 2000 and 2012 it was floating in the range of 400 to 450 million tonnes per year. Since 2013, the consumption trend is mostly declining.

The brown coal production trend is very similar to its consumption trend; the brown coal is mostly produced in the countries of the consumption, while imports and exports are negligible.

Figure 3: Inland consumption of brown coal, EU, 1990-2019
Source: Eurostat (nrg_cb_sff)


Germany represented 43 % of the total brown coal consumption of the EU in 2019, followed by Poland (16 %), Czechia (12 %), Bulgaria and Greece (both 9 %) and Romania (7 %). Figure 4 presents the brown coal consumption of the EU from 2014 to 2019 by Member State.

Figure 4: Inland consumption of brown coal by Member State, EU, 2014-2019 (million tonnes)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_cb_sff)

Deliveries of coal to power plants

A big part of hard coal (47 % in 2019) and the majority of brown coal (83 % in 2019) is used for power production. In 2019, 83 million tonnes of hard coal were delivered to power plants in the EU producing electricity and heat. For brown coal, this amount was 256 million tonnes.

Both series were decreasing in the 1990s, then remained mostly stable until 2012 but with significant decreases from 2008 to 2010 (see Figure 5). Since 2013, hard coal deliveries for power production show a clearly declining trend; in the electricity and heat production hard coal is more and more replaced by natural gas and renewable energy sources. Brown coal deliveries to power plants also show a declining trend since 2013, with a slight increase in 2017.

Figure 5: Deliveries of brown coal and hard coal to power plants, EU, 1990-2019 (million tonnes)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_cb_sff)

Deliveries of coal to coking plants and coke oven coke production

Hard coal (more specifically coking coal) is essential to produce coke oven coke for the steel and iron industry. The latest available annual figures show that in 2018 coking plants in the EU consumed 49 million tonnes of coking coal to produce 37 million tonnes of coke oven coke, keeping a similar level to 2016 and 2017 (see Figure 6).

Figure 6:Hard coal deliveries to coke ovens and coke oven coke production, EU-27, 2014 - 2018 (million tonnes)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_cb_sff)


Source data for tables and graphs

Data sources

The production and consumption data of hard coal and brown coal between 1990 and 2019 are based on annual data. Almost all 2019 figures are based on early annual questionnaires of solid fuels. These data are considered provisional estimates as the early annual questionnaires are less comprehensive in methodology and national data sources compared to the annual questionnaires. Only for the 'delivery of brown coal and hard coal to power plants' cumulative monthly data for 2019 were used. These data are also considered provisional estimates for the same reasons explained already above. The reporting of coal statistics is based on Energy statistics Regulation (EC) No 1099/2008.

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Energy Statistics - main indicators (t_nrg_indic)
Final energy consumption by product (ten00123)
Energy statistics - quantities (nrg_quant)
Energy statistics - quantities, annual data (nrg_quanta)
Supply, transformation and consumption - commodity balances (nrg_cb)
Supply, transformation and consumption of solid fossil fuels (nrg_cb_sff)
Energy statistics - quantities (nrg_quant)
Energy statistics - quantities, monthly data (nrg_quantm)
Energy statistics - supply, transformation, consumption (nrg_10m)
Supply and transformation of solid fuels - monthly data (nrg_101m)