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Global coal roundup: A weekly review of top international stories

A roundup of international coal news from July 31 to Aug. 7.

The Trump administration took a formal step toward severing U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement on climate change, submitting its intent to withdraw from the deal to the United Nations on Aug. 4. Although the U.S. plans to withdraw from the accord "as soon as it is eligible to do so," the administration repeated that Trump is "open to re-engaging in the Paris agreement if the United States can identify terms that are more favorable to it, its businesses, its workers, its people, and its taxpayers," according to a release from the U.S. State Department.

The historic Paris Agreement on climate change reached in December 2015 set an ambitious goal of limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century. That goal is not yet out of reach, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Washington, but it is increasingly unlikely. Published July 31 in Nature Climate Change, the study found that the chance of keeping the global temperature rise under the 2-degree threshold is only 5%. There is a 90% chance that the global rise will fall between 2.0 degrees and 4.9 degrees, the authors concluded.

Europe

Ukraine: Federal government officials touted news that a Ukrainian state-owned power generation company will purchase U.S. thermal coal ahead of the upcoming winter. The state-owned Centrenergo PJSC awarded a contract to Xcoal Energy & Resources to supply an unspecified amount of coal for arrival in late August or early September to stockpile for the winter heating season. According to the release, multiple U.S. government agencies and offices, including the U.S. Department of Commerce, were involved in the deal, and the partnership arose from a desire to diversify Ukraine's energy supply.

Asia

China: More than half of China's 37 listed coal companies have estimated profits during the first half of 2017 to double year over year, Xinhua News Agency reported Aug. 6. During the first five months, giant coal companies posted total profits of 123.4 billion yuan, increasing by 120 billion yuan compared to the same period last year, the report said.

Shenhua Group Corp. Ltd. and China Guodian Corp. submitted a merger plan between the two state-owned majors to the country's State Council, Chinese news agency Jiemian reported Aug. 2, citing a speech given by Guan Weizhu, head of safety production at China Guodian, at an alternative energy conference. Guan said the new group will be tentatively named National Energy Investment Group, with total assets estimated at over 1.8 trillion yuan and a debt ratio of more than 60%.

China's National Energy Administration unveiled plans to cut 20 GW of outdated coal-fired power capacity by 2020, on top of its earlier goal to suspend or halt construction of new power plants with a total capacity of 150 GW, Reuters reported Aug. 2.

Indonesia: Cokal Ltd. has updated the reserve for its Bumi Barito Mineral, or BBM, project in Indonesia to determine the economic open pit coal in the eastern portion of the project. The ASX-listed coal miner said Aug. 1 that the proved and probable reserve totals 20.2 million tonnes of open pit run-of-mine coal, which will produce 16.9 million tonnes of marketable reserves.

Australia

BHP Billiton Group and joint venture partner Mitsubishi Corp. are preparing to initiate a formal auction for their Gregory Crinum coal complex in Queensland, Australia, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk reported Aug. 2. Interested parties are set to participate in the auction for the asset, which has not produced coal since November 2015.

For a second week running, Glencore Plc locked out about 190 miners at its Queensland, Australia-based Oaky North coal operation who had been supporting the industrial action at the site since May, The Australian Financial Review reported July 31. The mine is being operated by contractors as the company and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union try to resolve the workplace dispute.

As of Aug. 4, US$1 was equivalent to 6.72 Chinese yuan.

This feature was updated at 11:17 a.m. ET on Aug. 7, 2017. Some external links may require a subscription.