T.L. Headley, West Virginia Coal Association
Coal production in the US finished the week up again compared to the previous week. However, it continues to be down y/y – off 17.3% from last year’s levels (18.57 million short t), according to the latest report from the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) for the week ending 13 June.Production in the US rose by 232 000 short t (1.5%) to finish the week at 15.36 million short t compared to last week’s total of 15.1 million short t. Production for the week, however, is off by 3.31 million short t (17.3%) from the 18.57 million short t for the same week in 2014. Cumulative production for the year-to-date is also down sharply as of 13 June, coming in at 409.38 million short t compared to 446.54 million short t last year – a decline of 37.16 million short t or (8.3%). Production for the previous 52 weeks also trended lower – finishing at 960.08 million short t compared to 985.94 million short t for the same period ending in 2014 (-2.6%).
The number of railcar loadings remains down sharply, finishing the week down 18.4% from the same period last year. Railcar loadings also continued their decline year-to-date – off 8.3% from the same period in 2014.
Coal exports data was not updated this week.
Electric output was up 7.2% compared to the same week in 2014. With 83.87 MWh of electricity produced compared to 78.26 MWh produced for the same period last year.
Domestic steel output finished sharply down for the week, returning to its long-term downward trend.
According to numbers from the American Iron and Steel Institute, domestic steel production was down 8.8% for the week, at 1.75 million short t, with a capacity utilisation factor of 73.9%, compared to the same week in 2014. Steel production continues its slide year-to-date – down 7.3% to 40.11 million short t produced compared to 43.28 million short t for the same period last year.
In terms of regional coal production, all three basins reported slight increases in production over the past week compared to the previous week; however all remain down sharply compared to the same week in 2014.
The Appalachian Basin finished at 4.2 million short t, increasing from 4.14 million short t last week. Interior Basin production also finished up slightly, at 2.9 million short t compared to 2.85 million short t last week. Western production finished the week at 8.25 million short t from 8.13 million short t last week. However, these numbers are sharply below the same week in 2014. The Appalachian Basin is off by 21% from the same week last year. The Interior Basin is off 15% from 2014 and Western production is off 17.5% from the same period in 2014.
All three basins also continue to report significant declines in production year-to-date, with Appalachia down 10%, the Interior Basin off 7.4% and the Western Basin down 7.8%.
Looking at the previous 52 weeks, all three basins are trending lower for the period ending 13 June, with the Appalachian Basin down 4.6%, the Interior Basin down 0.6% and the Western Region down 2.3%. Production in the Interior Basin fell to 182.15 million short t from 183.16 million short t for the same period in 2014. Appalachian production fell for the period to 255.05 million short t from 267.46 million short t. Meanwhile, Western production is down to 522.88 million short t from 535.32 million short t in 2014.
The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training did not update production number this week due to a state holiday, but EIA numbers for the state show coal production increased for the week ending 13 June.
According to EIA, West Virginia coal production for the week totalled 1.76 million short t compared to 1.73 million short t for the previous week. However, this is off by 20.3% from the same week in 2014. ?Production rose slightly in both the northern and southern coalfields of West Virginia compared to last week, by 1.5% in both areas; however year-to-date, production is off by 3% and 16% respectively.
Coal production in Kentucky for the week ending 13 June was also up slightly compared to the previous week but remains down sharply from the same period in 2014. Kentucky production for the week was reported at 1.18 compared to 1.17 million short t last week and 1.5 million short t for the same week in 2014, with the state seeing significant declines in both its eastern and western fields y/y. Year to date, production in Kentucky is off by 11.4%. Meanwhile, production in the state is off by 6.7% for the previous 52 weeks, with western Kentucky reporting a 6.3% decline and eastern Kentucky operations reporting a decline of 7.2% y/y.
Wyoming coal production was up slightly for the week compared to 2014, coming in at 5.96 million short t, compared to 5.87 million short t the previous week, but was down from the 7.14 million short t produced for the same week in 2014 – a decline of 17.5%. For the previous 52 weeks, Wyoming production is down 2.9%. Illinois production also finished sharply lower for the week, coming in at 941 000 short t compared to 1.03 million short t for the same period in 2014. Indiana production is down as well, coming in at 591 000 short t compared to 729 000 short t for the week in 2014. Pennsylvania production for the week finished down slightly, at 1.04 million short t versus 1.18 million short t for the same week in 2014, but remains up 5.2% for the previous 52 weeks. Ohio production is off as well – dropping to 338 000 short t compared to 476 000 short t in 2014. Ohio coal production is off 12.7% for the previous 52 weeks, compared to the same period ending in 2014. Virginia production was also off this week – to 222 000 short t compared to 298 000 short t for the same week in 2014. Virginia production for the previous 52 weeks is off by 13.2%.
Coal prices on the spot market were unchanged this week. Central Appalachian coal held at US$52.75/short t or US$2.11/million Btu. Northern Appalachian coal held at US$58.75/short t or US$2.27/million Btu. Illinois Basin coal prices held at US$40.45/short t or US$1.71/million Btu, while Powder River Basin coal remained steady at US$11.55/short t or US$0.66/million Btu, and Uinta Basin coal prices held firm at US$39.20/short t or US$1.68/million Btu.
Meanwhile, on the NYMEX Coal Futures board, Central Appalachian coal was trading at US$41.92/short t, while Western Rail was selling at US$9.97/short t and Eastern Rail was selling at US$38.82/short t.
Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub finished the week up slightly at US$2.78/million Btu. Natural gas producers again reported a significant increase in their stored reserves – up 111 billion ft3 compared to the previous week, for a total of 2.33 trillion ft3 in storage. This week’s working natural gas rotary rig count remained at 859, down by nine from last week and by 995 rigs from a year ago – down 54%. This number includes rigs working in both oil and gas plays.
Written by T.L. Headley. Edited by Harleigh Hobbs. This article first appeared in the WV Coal Seam blog of the West Virginia Coal Association.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/coal/22062015/continued-yearly-decline-in-us-coal-production-for-the-week-ending-13-june-2451/