The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2011, to be published on 9 November, will highlight shale gas developments and how Asia will drive demand for coal.

While the OECD’s coal demand could stagnate, China and India may lead the development of more than 600 GW of coal fired plants globally, IEA senior energy analyst Pawel Olejarnik told the Coaltrans World Coal conference in Madrid on 17 October.

“A drop in coal-fired generation in the OECD is offset by big increases elsewhere, especially China, where 600 GW of new capacity exceeds the current capacity of the US, EU and Japan,” said the IEA presentation.

The impact of the Fukushima incident could also benefit coal fired generation at the expense of nuclear plants.

But the new report will highlight the possibility of a “golden age” for natural gas, driven by shale and coal bed methane projects.

By 2030 natural gas could overtake coal as the second largest contributor to the primary fuel mix, as shale gas developments in China, Europe and North America as well new LNG facilities in Australia help boost supplies from unconventional gas sources, said the IEA.

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