Energy 27 July, 2017 9:00 am   
Editorial staff

Baca-Pogorzelska: Coal in short supply

“Not that long ago we wrote about coal surplus and worried about the growing coal heaps. Today the situation has completely reversed. We need to say it out loud – we are running out of coal,” writes Karolina Baca-Pogorzelska from Gazeta Prawna daily.

32, 32, 32… the Polish Mining Group (PGG) is repeating this magic number like a mantra. They are talking about 32 million tons of coal. This is how much, or little PGG’s mines will produce this year, including the Katowicki Holding Węglowy’s (KWH) mines taken over on 1 September. I don’t know, perhaps I can’t count. Or mathematics is such a queen of science that I simply have to humble myself. But I cannot find these 32 million tons for the world. If after five months of this year, PGG’s mines extracted 10 million tons in total (during the first three months the result was lower – before taking over KHW), which is over 2 million tons less than the production plan, then how will they dig out 32 million tons in 2017? Perhaps it will be a miracle because PGG claims that in the first half of the year it produced 14.5 million tons. This would mean that in June alone it produced over 4 million 200 thousand tons per 24 hours. This is impossible and undoable, even if we consider opening new walls, whose total number today is higher than when the Holding’s mines were being taken over.

If this year PGG produces 28 million tons of coal, it will still be better than my, I admit pessimistic, calculations. Even if they do not repeat the “fun” where a combine drove into stone, as it recently has happened in the Ziemowit mine, and assuming that no unplanned stoppages will occur (and as we all know it seems impossible), I will not believe the magical “32”.

I will only add that rumor has it that Tauron Wydobycie is also experiencing problems because it may be 2 million tons short of the plan. However, the company ensured everything was fine.

After all, paper is patient, tables in excel can be corrected and truth be told, plans exist to change them. Right?

However, let us remind that Węglokoks’s import plans have been blocked after publications in Gazeta Prawna and Rzeczpospolita dailies and this begs the question – where will the missing coal come from? The Bogdanka mine, which has increased its extraction by a few hundred thousand tons will not help. While Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa will not aid the energy sector because it is the EU’s biggest producer of coking coal, which is the basis for steel production. And companies under the control of the State Treasury have a ban on imports. It is true that they have already forced Węglokoks to limit export, but only in the next year. And we will be short of coal in this one! We can only hope that winter will be mild, frost not too low and Poles need to learn to be energy efficient. But let’s be serious here – Houston, we have a problem…