European demand sees US wood pellet exports double

Wood pellet exports from the US almost doubled last year, from 1.6 million tonnes (approximately 22 trillion Btu) in 2012 to 3.2 million tonnes in 2013. This is according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Over 98% of these exports were shipped to Europe, and 99% originated from ports in the south eastern and lower Mid-Atlantic regions of the country.

In 2008 it was predicted that around 80% of US wood pellet production was consumed domestically. However, Europe's strong demand growth for wood pellets has resulted in a rise in domestic wood pellet production for consumption internationally.

The majority of this growth has been in states located in the southeast of the US, which are advantageous in terms of abundant material supply and cheaper shipping costs to Europe.

Last year, the top five importing countries of US wood pellets were: the UK, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Italy. The UK accounted for approximately 59% of these exports, more than tripling its imports from the US between 2012 and 2013.

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