The government is in a hurry to take coal from Russia to China

By 2025, the Russian government plans to increase the export of coal through the eastern ports to China to 195 million tons. Earlier the plan did not exceed 180 million tons.
At the meeting of the presidential commission for the fuel and energy sector, an even larger increase in coal exports to the east will be made at the end of August: earlier than 180 million tons by 2025, 195 million tons are said, and there are 240 million tons. To finance the development of railways these volumes of JSC Russian Railways may give the right to retain a net profit, dividends the monopoly will pay only on preferred shares. But, according to analysts, with the increase in capacity for export of coal to the east, you can miscalculate.

The Ministry of Energy held a meeting on the draft protocol of the meeting of the presidential commission for the fuel and energy complex, which is scheduled for August 27 in Kemerovo. As reported by "Kommersant", basically there they plan to consider the issues of the coal industry, but the list of tasks has changed markedly.

The outlook for coal exports has grown. Initially, the goal was "to realize the second stage of the development of the Eastern Range (BAM and Transsib)" in order to raise exports to 180 million tons per year. From the table of disagreements (there are "b") it follows that the Russian Railways proposed to increase the volume to 220-240 million tons, the final version included 195 million tons. The coal miners of Kuzbass had already submitted plans before 2025 - 126.5 million tons of coal in 2025 (see "Kommersant" on July 26). Russian Railways said it offered to realize the second stage of development of the Baikal-Amur Mainline and Transsib for transportation to the east to 195 million tons of coal - including exports and domestic consumption, based on shippers' requests and company forecasts.

As Alexey Shilo, the Director of Commercial Operations of Russian Railways, said last week, coal is now ahead of the plan: in January-July there was an increase of 4.9%, in August - by 10.2%, and the company expects that these trends will continue .

As he explained, the coal miners are building a production program, taking into account the capabilities of Russian Railways to export, now they have 7 million tons of storage in warehouses - the equivalent of a weekly pick-up. The extraction potential is higher and the capacity of the ports: in 2017, coal handling in ports increased by more than 13%, a shortage of port capacities for transshipment was recognized.

As the source of Kommersant, who is familiar with the discussion of the long-term development program (DPR) of Russian Railways, said, now it is being adjusted, including taking into account the growth in the forecasts for cargoes to the east. The plans for the development of the cargo base were given by Kuzbass and Khakassia, he said, and they are more than expectations of Russian Railways: by 2026 the base will grow not to 180 million tons, but to 210 million tons. Such figures have been in other articles of the DPR after 2023, notes the source of Kommersant. It is also expected that the capacity of the port facilities will increase to 172 million tons, the surplus will be 50 million tons. The DPR project is higher and the need for wagons, which now, according to expert estimates, is more than 100,000 units, and the total investment of the monopoly has increased from 7, 2 trillion rubles. up to 7.4 trillion rubles. At the same time, the amounts that Russian Railways planned to invest in the development of the Eastern landfill have regularly grown in recent years. In the long-term investment program of Russian Railways, the volume of these investments (including the Sakhalin bridge) is 1.37 trillion rubles.

Maxim Khudalov from ACRA believes that a large-scale growth in the export of coal to the east can be erroneous if the demand of China (the largest consumer) starts to stagnate against environmental constraints. He noted that China's obvious successor in this role is not visible: India could theoretically become it, but suppliers of Indonesia and Australia are closer to it, and Vietnam will not provide such high growth rates of demand as China in recent years. But Mr. Khudalov believes that the expansion of port facilities in the Far East will be beneficial, since the reduction in coal cargo traffic can be partially replaced by an increase in grain exports.

But, judging by the table of disagreements, most of the ideas on supporting the coal industry from the draft protocol were ruled out. Among them, the proposal on special interest contracts (fix tax privileges for ten years in exchange for investments) in the coal industry, the idea of ​​the priority of coal-fired power plants in the energy modernization program (the Ministry of Economy, in particular, noted that this generation will receive undesirable preferences), state support of energy equipment manufacturers, including for coal-fired TPPs. The idea of ​​accelerated development of heavyweight movement (cars with a load of 27 tons per axle) is also struck off. Also, at the initiative of the Ministry of Natural Resources, the development of a program for the licensing of coal deposits in 2021-2023, until December 31, 2019, was shifted, then rules for the development of deposits and preparation of technical projects for this purpose should be approved.


But new points are proposed in the protocol. For example, JSC Russian Railways and the Ministry of Transport proposed to allow the monopoly to pay dividends only on prefs - for the entire term of long-term tariffs until 2025. JSC Russian Railways has long been seeking this, but for 2017 will pay for ordinary shares (8.75 billion rubles.). This addition is proposed to be adopted, as is the point on the priority direction of net profit on investment projects. The Ministry of Transport stated that the profit of RZD should be directed to projects that are effective for the company with a macroeconomic effect. Also, Russian Railways and the Ministry of Transport offered to give the company funds for equipping crossings with video fixing means, transferring excises to diesel fuel paid for it (2017 - 17.6 billion rubles, forecast for 2018 - 21.6 billion rubles).

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