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Europe doubles use of North American wood pellets

WEB EXCLUSIVE

Europe doubles use of North American wood pellets
In 2010, an estimated 1.6 million tons of pellets were shipped from Canada and the United States to the Netherlands, the UK, and Belgium, a doubling in volume compared to 2008.


March 10, 2011
By Hakan Ekstrom | Wood Resources International

Mar. 10, 2011, Seattle, WA – Over the past
two years, North America has become a major supplier of wood pellets to Europe.
In 2010, an estimated 1.6 million tons of pellets were shipped from Canada and
the United States to the Netherlands, the UK, and Belgium, according to the
North American Wood Fiber Review. This is a doubling in volume compared to
2008.

The European Union has stated that by 2020,
at least 20% of total energy consumption should be supplied by renewable energy
resources. In an effort to reach this target, many countries have increased
their consumption of woody biomass in the form of both wood chips and pellets
over the past few years. In 2010, just over 11 million tons of wood pellets
were consumed, which was about seven% higher than in 2009.

Demand for wood pellets in some European
countries, including Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Denmark, and the
UK, has outpaced domestic production over the past few years. This has resulted
not only in increased imports from neighbouring countries, but also from North
America. Over the past ten years, Canada has been the major overseas supplier
of pellets to Europe, reaching about one million tons in shipments in 2010,
according to the North American Wood Fiber Review. The United States did not
start exporting pellets until 2008, when 85,000 tons were shipped to the
Netherlands. Exports have since taken off, reaching almost 600,000 tons in
2010. In fact, the total shipments from Canada and the United States have
almost doubled in just two years.

The majority of North American pellets were
shipped to the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Belgium, with occasional
shipments to Sweden and Denmark. In 2010, almost 50% of the Atlantic trade was
destined for the Netherlands; another one-third landed in ports in the UK.

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Higher demand for oil by Asia and Latin
America and the uncertain situation in the oil-producing counties in the Middle
East and northern Africa has boosted oil prices about 28% in the past three
months. Higher oil prices will benefit wood pellet exporters in North America,
and shipments to Europe are expected to increase during 2011.


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