Global coal expert to share outlook

An expert on global coal markets will share his outlook during a presentation planned for Grand Junction.

Steve Doyle, founder and former chief executive officer of a research company that tracks coal from mines to markets across the world, is set to speak at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 5 in the south ballroom of the Colorado Mesa University Center near 12th and Elm streets.

The World Affairs Council of Western Colorado will host the event, which will be free for members and students. Admission will be $10 for others. The doors are set to open at 5:45 p.m. For more information, visit www.wacwc.org.

Doyle’s presentation — titled “The Canary in the Coal Mine: Dead, Alive or in a Coma?” — will explore the role of coal in the global economy and how coal mined in Colorado and Utah fits into that role.

Doyle said he believes coal remains on pace to overtake petroleum as the primary energy source.

While the increased use of natural gas and renewable energy sources have reduced the proportion of coal-fired electricity production in the United States over the past 15 years from 52 percent to 34 percent, Doyle said he expects coal to remain at that level for many years to come. That means coal will remain the single most prevalent fuel source for electrical production.

Despite one of the worst troughs for the coal market ever, Doyle said an upcycle of epic proportion could be in the works.

Metallurgical coal also constitutes an essential ingredient to steel production, he said. “Try building a bridge, building, car, road, ship, pipeline, crane, tanker or even a wind turbine tower without steel. It isn’t realistic.”

Doyle founded Doyle Trading Consultants, an energy research firm that specializes in the coal sector and offers analysis of the U.S. and global coal markets to more than 200 clients.

Doyle sold his company in 2013 to London-based Informa PLC and remained with the firm until April. In May, he launched BtuBaron to serve as a platform for publishing his research.

Doyle previously worked with the Ruhrkohle Trading Corp., a German company that specialized in exporting U.S. coal around the world. Doyle also started coal trading desks for several energy firms, including Peabody Coal and Allegheny Energy.