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Weekly coal production and price report

Published by
World Coal,

Coal production in the U.S. continued to decline this past week according to the latest report from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) and the National Mining Association.

Production in the United States is down by more than 2.4 million t for the week ending 4 April compared to the same time last year. Production for the week stood at 17.41 million t compared to 19.75 million t for the same week in 2014. Cumulative production for the year-to-date also remained down as of 4 April coming in at 246.54 million t compared to 256.94 million t last year – a decline of 4%.

Rail car loadings also continued to decline, down 11.8% for the week from the same period last year, and they are down 3.2% year-to-date.

Electric output was up – by 0.3% for the week ending 4 April – and is down slightly (-0.5%) year-to-date. Steel output declined again for the week, down 13.7% for the week to just 1.60 million t produced and it continues its slide year-to-date — down 6.3% to 23.15 million t produced compared to 24.70 million t last year.

Looking at regional coal production, Appalachian Basin production was down for the week – at 4.76 million t from 4.99 million t the previous week. Interior Basin production was also down slightly for the week – settling at 3.27 million t from 3.42 million t last week. Western production also finished slightly lower this week, to 9.38 million t from 9.85 million t last week.

The Interior and Western Basins continued to show increased production for the previous 52 weeks ending 4 April. Production in the Appalachian Basin was down 1.5% for the 52-week period — to 264.12 million t from 268.20 million t in 2014. Interior Basin production increased 1.5% to 185.97 million t from 183.25 million t for the same period ending in 2014. Meanwhile, Western production was up 1%, to 536.61 million t from 578.15 million t in 2014.

According to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, coal production in the state for 2015 (reported through March 26, 2015) stands at 18.50 million t year-to-date, with 14.58 million t produced underground and 3.92 million t produced through surface operations. The number of mines reporting production in February increased to 107.

Coal production in Kentucky for the week ending 4 April ticked down to 1.34 million t compared to 1.43 for the same week in 2014, with the state seeing declines in both its eastern and western fields.

Meanwhile, coal production in Kentucky is off by 3.9% for the previous 52 weeks, with western Kentucky fields reporting production declines of 4.6% and eastern Kentucky operations reporting declines of 3.2%.

Wyoming coal production also ticked down for the week to 6.79 million t, off from 7.65 million t for the same week in 2014. For the year, Wyoming production is up slightly (0.3%). Illinois production is also up slightly for the week, coming in at 1.06 million t compared to 1.11 for the same period in 2014. Indiana production is down, coming in at 675 000 t compared to 781 000 t for the week in 2014. Pennsylvania production for the week is also down slightly, to 1.18 million t versus 1.26 million t for the same week in 2014, but is up 10.8% for the previous 52 weeks. Ohio production is off as well — dropping to 311 000 t compared to 490 000 t in 2014. Virginia production was also off this week – to 258 000 t compared to 321 000 t for the same week in 2014. Virginia production for the previous 52 weeks is off by 10.9%.

Coal prices on the spot market continued to hold steady this week. Central Appalachian coal remains unchanged at US$53.06 per t. Northern Appalachian coal likewise, remains unchanged at US$61.15 per t. Illinois Basin coal prices held at US$40.32 per t, while Powder River Basin and Uinta Basin coal prices also held steady – at US$11.55 and US$38.13 per t respectively. Coal prices have remained unchanged for the past five weeks.

Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub held steady to US$2.64 per million Btu. Natural gas producers reported an increase in their stored reserves – up 12 billion cubic feet compared to the previous week. Eastern fields reported a decline of 22 billion cubic feet while all other fields saw increased gas in storage. This week’s working natural gas rotary rig count also held steady at 1028. This number includes rigs working in both oil and gas plays.

Adapted from report by Joseph Green

Report by T.L.Headley

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