Coal consumption statistics

From Statistics Explained

Data from May 2014. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.

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 2013 and figures on the supply of coke for 2012 and 2013.

As illustrated in Figure 1, the first early estimate of the 2013 consumption of hard coal in the EU-28 reaches 308 millions (Mt) which means a slight decrease as compared to 2012, after a clear downward trend from 2007 to 2009 and a small increase between 2010 and 2012.

Figure 1: EU-28 Gross inland consumption of hard coal 1990-2013 (1990=100)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_101a), (nrg_101m)
Figure 2: EU-28 Production of hard coal 1990-2013 (1990=100)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_101a), (nrg_101m)
Figure 3: EU-28 Gross inland consumption of lignite 1990-2013 (1990=100)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_101a), (nrg_101m)
Figure 4: Hard coal imports into EU-28 by country of origin, 2013 (% based on kt)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_122m)
Figure 5: EU-28 Coke-oven coke supply, 2012-2013 (in kt)
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, above all, in 2009, when gross inland consumption of hard coal in the EU-28 reached its lowest level at 294 Mt, 42 % less than in 1990. The most recent figures for 2013 indicate that, at least for the moment, the decrease in coal consumption is not continuing, since a slight increase (in the order of 4,6 %) was recorded compared with 2009.

Production of hard coal in the EU-28 has decreased almost continuously from 1990 to 2013, and this decrease has been more pronounced than for consumption: in 2013 production was only about 30 % of that for 1990 (see Figure 2). In 2013, about 35 % of gross inland consumption could be covered by production in the EU-28, compared with 74 % in 1990. Increasing imports explain the more stable period in consumption between 2000 and 2007.

Production and 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 onwards consumption of lignite slightly increased, a trend which now seemed to be stopped: in 2013 the estimated consumption decreased with 1 % comparing with 2012. The consummed lignite is almost for 100 % supplied by indigenous production which follows the same trend showing a small decrease in 2013 compared with 2012.

Imports of hard coal

According to the first estimates based on the 2013 monthly data the EU imported 223 Mt of hard coal, compared with 204 Mt in 2012. As shown in Figure 4 Russia and Colombia remained the two leading sources, with shares of 29.7 % and 22.6 % respectively (26.7 % and 24.9 % in 2012). Imports shares from the USA, Australia and South Africa remained rather stable: for the USA the import share in 2013 is estimated at 18.3 % versus 19 % in 2012, for Australia 8.9 % versus 8.1 % and for South Africa 7.2 % versus 6.9 %.

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 1.3 % in 2013 compared with 2012 (see Figure 5). Imports of coke in the EU-28 increased from 7.8 Mt to 9.3 Mt in 2013 and exports from the EU increased, but only slightly by 1.3 Mt from 2012 to 2013.

Data sources and availability

The production and consumption data of hard coal and lignite between 1990 and 2012 are based on annual data. All 2013 figures are based on the monthly questionnaires of solid fuels and are simply aggregated over the 12 months. These cumulative monthly data for 2013 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 2008-2013 lines. For the figures of coke both 2012 and 2013 data are based on the monthly coal questionniares.

The reporting of coal statistics is based on Energy statistics Regulation 1099/2008/EC.

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

  • Regulation 844/2010 of 20 September 2010 on energy statistics, as regards the establishment of a set of annual nuclear statistics and the adaptation of the methodological references according to NACE Rev. 2