The 1960’s is a decade of crude oil. Even the re-closure of the Suez Canal in 1967 did not cause any disruptions in the supply of this resource. This was because of the growth of oil production in North Africa, as well as the construction of large tankers with a capacity of over 100 thousand tons which travelled around Africa still making profit.

In Sweden, which after the World War II was a huge consumer of coal (even in the late 40s and early 50s Poland sold more than 3 million tons there), there was a clear shift towards oil. In the 60s oil met nearly 3/4 of the energy needs. Almost all new residential buildings were equipped with oil heating. Research by the company AB Svenska Cellulosa showed that in the future it will be cheaper to build and operate power plants based on oil, rather than with hydropower, not to mention coal power stations.

The largest coal producers in the European Coal and Steel Community, asked the Community authorities in 1961 for financial assistance to implement the program of research on more efficient use of coal. The study included the construction of small automatic boilers to burn coal (retort boilers for “eco peas coal” popular in Poland today), which would be more economical than boilers designed to be fired with oil. Another direction was adopted by British manufacturers. NCB Coal Group completed the largest campaign of British coal in the history. Advertisements appeared in newspapers, radio and television. Well-known columnists went into ecstasies over the advantages of British coal. Not only that, British housewives could buy coal stained in different colours according to personal preference. NCB technicians have invented a way of dying coal rounds gold, silver, red, purple and green. Dyed coal was to eliminate the monotony which black coal allegedly offered, when burned in fireplaces of English dwellings. This example perfectly illustrates the scale of hysteria that cheap crude oil evoked in Western coal producers.

This however didn’t do any good. Coal production in Britain fell from 227 million tons in 1957 to 164 million tons in 1968, showing further downward trend in subsequent years. Similar downward trends were observed by coal producers in the Community. In 1956, total coal production in the countries of the EEC amounted to 249 million tons, only to drop in 1968 to 176 million tons, despite considerable state subsidies. The average amount of state subsidies for mining of 1 ton in 1969 amounted to $ 3.31. Decline in demand and prices led to a reduction of investment in coal mining, mine closures and gradual reduction of the staff. At the same time the fast pace of liquidation of coal mines has resulted in complications in the supply of fuel in many countries in the late sixties and early seventies. Coking coal, which could not be replaced by products made from crude oil became particularly sought after.

Due to the decline of mining in Britain and Germany (FRG), the first place among coal exporters were taken by the U.S. and Poland. In 1968, U.S. exports of coal (mainly for the European market) amounted to 46,6 million tons. The coal export through Węglokoks amounted to 26 million tons at that time.

In 1960, hard coal mining in Poland has exceeded 100 million tons for the first time in history. It was the result of huge investments among other things for modernization and mechanization of production. Poland, being a major exporter of coal, had to import a certain amount of coking coal from other countries since the end of 1956, because domestic production could not entirely cover the steel and coke industry demand for this resource. Since 1962, these imports exceeded 1 million tons per year and remained at that level until the early 70s. In this situation, the Mining Ministry paid particular attention to the construction of mines in the district of Rybnik, which provided valuable coking coal.

The beginning of the 60s brought stabilization of Polish coal exports. About 17 million tons of coal were sent abroad per year through the agency of "Węglokoks". At that time the lead of Polish coal importers (excluding socialist countries), was taken by Denmark, where about 2,5 million tons of coal went each year. More and better organization of commercial offices of "Węglokoks" meant that the Polish coal went to Africa, Asia and South America.

The main purchaser of coal in Latin America in the 60’s was Argentina. Local railway had in fact satisfied its demand only with Polish coal. And so, for example, for the local railways needs, we sold 650 thousand tons of coal to Argentina in 1960. Back in 1960, railway industry worldwide, was the second buyer of Polish coal in the countries – conventionally called – Western. At that time this sector was more important that the energy. More coal was sold by Poland only to the heat sector (mainly for individual households). Only the mass electrification of railway networks made the railway ceasing to be a major purchaser of Polish coal. But the importance of the energy and coke industry was growing. Interesting fact is that not long ago, in 2003 representatives of African Eritrea, asked for coal for their railway needs in "Węglokoks". The transaction was not concluded, given the small volume. It was only about seven thousand tons of coal.

Since 1964 a new period of prosperity for Polish exports of coal begins, contributed largely by the extension of trade offer for a new type of coal – coking coal from the Rybnik Coal District. In a short time Polish coking coal has gained a reputation among consumers, whose numbers began to increase rapidly. In 1965 it was already exported to 19 countries, mostly "Western". Among them was even Japan, which for years remained one of the leading purchasers of coal.

In the 1960s organizational structure of "Węglokoks" had already consolidated for good. Trading activity was grouped in seven sectors of industry, for which a geographic structure of exports was adopted. This meant that the responsibility of individual sections was exports and imports of all goods, which were the responsibility of "Węglokoks" for the specific destination (e.g., the Soviet Union, Scandinavian countries, Central and Western Europe, overseas, etc.). The scope of activities of these sections included the preparation and submission of tenders, trade negotiations, developing contracts and their execution. Most employees wanted to get to the Western department, because trips to the "western" countries, foreign exchange etc. were at stake. Węglokoks had already had several foreign outposts (in Moscow, Berlin, Prague, Helsinki, Dublin, Paris, Vienna and Tokyo). The company was also associated with mixed foreign companies such as Polkarbon in Vienna or Polimport in Copenhagen.

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