We sat down with Tim Wojtowicz of Dorchester Energy to discuss, among other things, the state of the industry and some of the things happening now – and what to look out for in the future.
As President at Dorchester Energy, Tim Wojtowicz needs to keep tabs on what is happening in mining, coke production and downstream. With more than 35 years of experience in project development, consulting and division management, Tim has a keen sense of where the industry is – and where it might be going. His days at SunCoke, Koppers Industries and coal subsidiaries of Enron and Occidental Petroleum highlighted the importance of keeping tabs on the commercial aspects of the industry and the technological side.
What factors do you see as important for the next five to ten years in the coke markets/industry?
Wojtowicz: Most important, not necessarily in order are coking coal demand requirements worldwide, the value of the US dollar, and the fall-out from the coking coal producer consolidation.
What are the biggest challenges facing the industry right now?
Wojtowicz: Next to the overarching supply/demand imbalance in the entire industry supply chain, the biggest challenge is the resultant consolidation of coking coal supply and the impact on future availability. As some of the major global mines are idled – or as more consolidation and closure happens – met coal availability becomes a major concern.
What are the most important factors influencing the coke market today?
Wojtowicz: Undoubtedly important is the coking coal demand requirements of China and India. China looks like it has become such a swing coke producer on the seaborne trade. I think that has potentially huge ramifications. And India looks like it might emerge as the next big thing – so we all need to temper expectations and prepare for the opportunities.
I also see as critical the value of the US dollar. I’m really looking forward to Bill Adams from PNC at this year’s Met Coke World Summit and his talk about currency effects – it’s really influencing the entire market.
Ultimately, one way forward might be that the worldwide economic engine needs to accelerate in order to drive steel growth thus improving the financial stability of the entire industry chain.
What thing do you see influence the industry most that didn’t exist (five/ten/twenty) years ago?
Wojtowicz: The world has become much more intertwined, making the worldwide economic engine a greater factor in our overall industry health. With consolidation in met coal, consolidation in steel, major implications of environmental regulations, the currency effects… our world seems to be getting smaller and it is forcing us to pay attention to macroeconomic trends and more than ever keep abreast of what is happening up and downstream.
What are you looking forward to most about the Met Coke World Summit?
Wojtowicz: I look forward to the speakers presenting their views on the state of the market, the technological innovations - and meeting up with so many industry friends.
Why is the Met Coke World Summit important for the industry?
Wojtowicz: This is the one unique Summit where the iron, met coal, and coke producers can come together with industry analysts, logistic providers, and other industry stakeholders to hear expert and peer presentations with open and frank discussions on the status and direction of the industry.