Tickers in this Article: BTU, MEE, RTP, BHP
Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU) has major coal operations in Australia and the United States and should benefit from increased demand for energy as the Asian economies grow over the next decade. IN PICTURES: 20 Tools For Building Up Your Portfolio

Peabody Australia
Peabody Energy has more than two dozen mining operations located in the United States and Australia. The company produces both metallurgical coal used in steel making and thermal coal.

Peabody Energy operates nine mines in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia, and produced 22.3 million tons of both thermal and metallurgical coal in 2009. The company also has a five-year pipeline of expansion projects planned here to meet expected demand growth for coal. These projects will add from 15 to 20 million tons of capacity by 2015.

This capacity will be exported to meet the expected demand from Asia, as Australia becomes one of the largest exporters in the world, with exports reaching as much as 450 million tons by 2015. If everything goes according to plan, Peabody may possibly have a 10% share of those exports.

Other companies with coal operations in Australia include Rio Tinto (NYSE:RTP), which has four mines, and BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP), which operates the Mt. Arthur mine.

Peabody in the U.S.
In the United States, the company has operations in the Powder River Basin out west, and the Illinois Basin in the Midwest. The company produced 192 million tons in 2009 from these operations. Peabody Energy believes that the location of its operations give it a significant advantage over producers from Appalachia, where the company feels that costs are set to move higher over the long term. Some of these higher costs may come from increased regulation in the wake of the accident at the Massey Energy (NYSE:MEE) in West Virginia.

Coal Demand
Despite the antipathy that the world seems to have with fossil fuels and its role in global warming, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that global demand for coal will increase by 53% by 2030. This growth is expected to be led by the emerging economies of China and India.

Peabody Energy believes that as much as 90% of the future demand growth for coal will come out of Asia, and has reconfigured itself to meet that demand. The company has spent the seven years building a global footprint, buying assets and opening offices all over the world.

In 2010, 94 Gigawatts of coal generated electricity plants are set to come on line, requiring 375 million tons of new coal capacity.

Bottom Line
The world will see higher demand for coal from the emerging economies in Asia as these nations industrialize and bring a higher standard of living to its people. Peabody Energy will be a beneficiary of this growth as the company has positioned itself in Australia and the western U.S. (For more, see Forget Green Stocks, "Green" Will Do.)

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