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An independent energy research company has forecast the coal price to rise above $US500 ($680) per tonne in 2022, as the world cuts off Russian resources.

Rystad Energy has grown to have more than 20 offices globally since it began in 2004, providing data, analytics and support to energy companies, suppliers, financial professionals and governments.

Now, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Rystad vice president of coal Steve Hulton said things were set to escalate for the coal market.

“There is simply an almost complete absence of surplus thermal coal available globally. Prices have shot past $400 and the $500 per tonne mark seems to be in play,” he said

Russia has been Europe’s largest supplier of thermal in recent years, providing about 36 million tonnes in 2021, representing 70 per cent of imports.

As a result, the premium for Australia’s high-quality thermal coal has skyrocketed, increasing more than $150 in one week to surpass $400/t in early March. It now sits around $380/t at time of writing.

The three months to January 2022 showed Australian coal exports were 159 per cent higher than the same period a year earlier, worth $24.27 billion.

Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt said Australia’s thriving resources sector continues to be a significant contributor to the strength of the national economy.

“Recent requests from Poland to Australia for coal from sources alternative to Russia show the world is increasingly looking to Australia for the resources needed to provide energy security,” Pitt said.

“In uncertain times, our resources sector’s outstanding reputation as a leading and reliable supplier is providing stability here and abroad.

“Coal was a stand-out performer with $67.42 billion in total exports for the 12 months to January, up 60 per cent on the previous year.”