UPDATE 1-Colombia gov't forecasts 10 pct increase in 2015 coal output

martes 24 de febrero de 2015 18:17 GYT

(Adds coal prices, production by company, background)

BOGOTA Feb 24 (Reuters) - Colombia, the world's fourth-biggest coal exporter, expects to produce 97.8 million tonnes of the fossil fuel this year, up 10 percent from 88.6 million tonnes in 2014, the government's UPME energy planning department said on Tuesday.

Coal output last year fell only slightly short of the government's original target of 89.1 million tonnes even with long-running logistics strife affecting its second-biggest coal producer, U.S.-based Drummond Co Inc and sliding international prices.

Cesar province is expected to produce 54.3 million tonnes. Neighboring Guajira, where Colombia's top producer Cerrejon operates, would produce 36.6 million tonnes. The rest would come from other provinces with smaller output.

Most of Colombia's coal is shipped to Europe where countries including Germany, France and Italy burn it for power generation.

European API2 2015 coal futures edged up 0.3 percent to $61.20 a tonne on Tuesday, after rebounding in recent weeks from a nine-year low of $55.60 hit on Jan. 26. Prices last February were around $73 and around $99 this time two years ago.

Cerrejon, a joint-venture between Anglo American Plc , BHP Billiton Ltd and Glencore Plc produced around 34.4 million tonnes in 2014 according to the government.

Drummond followed with 26.8 million tonnes produced last year. Glencore's Prodeco produced about 12.6 million tonnes and Goldman Sachs Group Inc's Colombia Natural Resources mined just under 870,000 tonnes. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Peter Murphy; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)