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US coal production for the week ending 25 April

Published by
World Coal,


T.L. Headley, West Virginia Coal Association.

According to the latest report from the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) and the National Mining Association (NMA), US production declined 2.2 million short t (11.6%) for the week ending 25 April compared to the same week in 2014. Production for the week stood at 16.92 million short t compared to 19.14 million short t for the same week in 2014.

Cumulative year-to-date production now stands at 298.36 million short t compared to 314.85 million short t last year - a drop of 5.2%.

The number of rail car loadings was also down sharply, finishing the week down 13.2% from the same period last year. Rail car loadings are also down year-to-date – off 5.2% from the same period in 2014.

Electric output saw a slight increase by 1.1% for the week – but is down (-0.3%) year-to-date. Steel output continued its decline, down 7.3% for the week, finishing at 1.71 million short t produced, with a capacity utilisation factor of 76.6%. It also it continues its slide year-to-date — down 6.9% to 28.12 million short t produced compared to 30.22 million short t for the same period last year. A decline in steel production is considered a leading indicator of the broader economy and the continued declines seen in steel production usually translates into declines in durable goods orders and a softening of the national economy.

The results were mixed for regional coal production.? The Appalachian Basin ended down for the week – at 4.61 million short t from 4.66 million short t the previous week. Interior Basin production was down for the week – finishing at 3.17 million short t from 3.20 million short t last week. Western production also decreased this week to 9.04 million short t from 9.13 million short t the previous week. All three basins report significant declines in production year-to-date, with Appalachia down 6.4%, the Interior Basin off 5.2% and the Western Basin down 4.7%.

Looking at the previous 52 weeks, Appalachian and Western Basin production results declined for the period ending 25 April at 2.5% and 0.1% respectively. Production in the Interior Basin is up 0.8% for the period - increasing slightly to 185.20 million short t from 183.72 million short t in 2014 - while Appalachian production fell to 261.93 million short t from 268.75 million short t for the same period ending in 2014. Meanwhile, Western production decreased to 533.55 million short t from 533.84 million short t in 2014.

According to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, coal production in the state for 2015 (reported through 23 April 2015) stands at 26.68 million short t year-to-date with 21.24 million short t produced underground and 5.44 million short t produced through opencast operations. The number of mines reporting production in March decreased to 93. The number of mines reporting production is subject to change as additional reports are submitted. The number of active miners working increased, coming in at 15 656 compared to 15 585 last week. Underground operations had 12 706 direct mining employees while surface operations finished up at 2950 employees. These numbers are also anticipated to change with further reports.

Coal production in Kentucky for the week ending 25 April fell to 1.30 million short t compared to 1.55 million short t for the same week in 2014 with declines in both its eastern and western fields. Meanwhile, coal production in the Bluegrass state is off by 4.9% for the previous 52 weeks, with the western Kentucky fields reporting production declines of 5.2% and eastern Kentucky operations reporting declines of 4.5%.

Wyoming coal production finished down for the week to 6.53 million short t, down 12% from 7.36 million short t for the same week in 2014. For the year, Wyoming production fell 0.7%. Illinois production is also down for the week, coming in at 1.03 million short t compared to 1.06 million short t for the same period in 2014. Indiana production is down as well, coming in at 647 000 short t compared to 752 000 short t for the week in 2014. Pennsylvania production for the week is also down slightly to 1.14 million short t versus 1.23 million short t for the same week in 2014, but has seen an increase of 9.1% for the previous 52 weeks. Ohio production has seen a decrease, dropping to 371 000 short t compared to 491 000 short t in 2014. Virginia production also fell this week to 243 000 short t compared to 307 000 short t for the same week in 2014. Virginia production for the previous 52 weeks is off by 11.7%.

Coal prices on the spot market were unchanged again this week. Central Appalachian coal held steady at US$52.88/short t or US$2.12/million Btu. Northern Appalachian coal also held steady at US$60.92/short t or US$2.34/million Btu. Illinois Basin coal prices was firm at US$40.77/short t or US$1.73/million Btu, while Powder River Basin coal was unchanged at US$11.55/short t or US$0.66/million Btu, and Uinta Basin coal prices held at US$39.82/short t or US$1.70/million Btu.

Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub fell to US$2.50/million Btu. Natural gas producers reported an increase in their stored reserves – up 90 billion ft3 compared to the previous week. This week’s working natural gas rotary rig count dropped to 932, from 954 last week and 1861 a year ago. 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/mining/06052015/us-coal-production-for-the-week-ending-25-april-coal2235/


 

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