The Morrison government might be busy warning the Tsar over Russian threats to invade Ukraine, but Australia's fossil fuel companies might not be too upset to see a continuation of tensions in Eastern Europe.
Fossil fuel companies like Woodside, Santos, Origin, Chevron, Beach Energy (30% owned by Kerry Stokes’ Seven Group Holdings), Glencore, Whitehaven and a host of small thermal coal miners such as the Chinese-controlled Yancoal Australia, Stanmore Resources, New Hope and Coronado Global Resources are already benefiting from the tensions over Russia's build-up of forces on the borders of Ukraine, which have forced up energy prices.
As an energy exporter, Russia benefits from the very geopolitical tension it is creating. But so do we. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is costing around $US25-30 per million British thermal units (BTU). It was below US$20 as recently as August. At the end of 2021, the price of thermal coal exported through Newcastle (tracked by the ICE Newcastle Coal Index) was around $US136 a tonne. The price last week was $US258 a tonne, which is down to the fears about Russia’s actions around Ukraine, the shortage of gas in Europe, and that Russia could cut gas supplies into the European Union and nearby markets.