Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Stanford University


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COALMOD-World: A Model to Assess International Coal Markets Until 2030

Working Paper

Clemens Haftendorn - Researcher and PhD Candidate at German Institute for Economic Research and TU Berlin
Franziska Holz - Senior researcher at German Institute for Economic Research
Christian Von Hirschhausen - Professor of Economics and Research Director at TU Berlin and German Institute of Economics Research

Issued by
Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, September 2010

This paper introduces a tool to analyze the future developments of the international steam coal market, the "COALMOD-World" model. Steam coal is a major fuel for electricity generation today and its use is expected to grow dramatically in the coming decades, despite the potential negative external effect on the climate through the CO2 emissions.

In tandem with the growth of global coal usage, the volume of the international trade coal market has been increasing in recent years. This trend is expected to continue, and an increasing global trade means that many countries will rely on imports. Identifying how the trade flows will develop and where steam coal will come from in the future - a primary purpose of the model - can help us better assess possible energy security issues.

The combination of model theory and detailed market analysis provides the ground for the development and the implementation of the model.  The model setup follows the organization of the value-added chain of the steam coal sector. The value chain is complex and there are various types of players involved at each stage. Producers can be large national and sometimes state-owned companies. There are a few large multinational coal companies but also many smaller companies, usually operating in one country only. Transport infrastructure can be built by the mining company or by another entity. Often, it consists of rail infrastructure but in some countries trucks or river barges are used. Export ports can be dedicated to one company or be operated by another company. Traders as intermediaries also play a role as they can be vertically integrated or contractually connected to every stage of the industry. This modeling framework allows for detailed analysis of how the global coal trade may evolve in the coming decades.