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US coal production for week ending 19 April

Published by , Editor
World Coal,

T.L. Headley. West Virginia Coal Association.

According to the latest report from the US Energy Information Agency (IEA) and the National Mining Association (NMA), coal production in the US continued to decline this past week. Production for the week stood at 16.99 million short t compared to 19.12 million short t for the same week in 2014, declining 2.2 million short t.

Cumulative production for the year-to-date is also down sharply as of 11 April. It was 281.54 million short t compared to 295.7 million short t last year – a drop of 14.16 million short t (4.8%).

Steel production output continued to decline, by 10.1% for the week, to 1.66 million short t with a capacity utilization factor of 70%. It declined 6.9% to 26.42 million short t produced compared to 28.38 million short t the same time last year.

The number of rail car loadings also declined steeply, down 12.5% from the same period last year. Rail car loadings are also down sharply year-to-date – off 4.1% from the same period in 2014.

Electric output increased slightly by 0.1% for the week, but is down (0.4%) year-to-date.

There is a mixed outlook for regional coal production, ?The Appalachian Basin was down by 0.27 million short t from the previous week. Interior Basin production declined from 3.40 million short t the previous week to 3.20 million short t. Western production is also down this week, to 9.13 million short t from 9.68 million short t last week. All three basins report substantial declines in production year-to-date, with Appalachia down 5.8%, the Interior Basin off 4.9% and the Western Basin down 4.2%.

Looking at the previous 52 weeks, Interior and Western Basin production remain up for the period ending April 18, at 1.1% and 0.3% respectively. Production in the Appalachian Basin is down 2.2% for the period — falling from 268.59 million short t in 2014 to 262.74 million short t. Interior Basin production increased to 185.51 million short t from 183.57 million short t for the same period ending in 2014. Meanwhile, Western production improved by 1.66 million short t, reaching 534.70 million short t from 533.04 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 April 23, 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 surface operations. The number of mines reporting production in March fell to 93. The numbers of mines reporting production may change as further reports are submitted. The number of active miners working increased to 15 656 compared to 15 585 last week. Underground operations had 12 706 direct mining employees, while surface operations had 2 950 employees. This is also subject to change with additional reports.

Coal production in Kentucky for the week ending April 11 declined to 1.31 million short t compared to 1.55 million short t for the same week in 2014, with declines in both the state’s eastern and western fields. Overall, coal production in the state is off by 4.5% for the previous 52 weeks, with western Kentucky fields reporting production declines of 5.0% and eastern Kentucky operations reporting declines of 4.1%.

Wyoming coal production finished down for the week to 6.59 million short t, off from 7.83 million short t for the same week in 2014 – down 17%. For the year, Wyoming production is down 0.4%. Illinois production is decreased for the week, with 1.04 million short t compared to 1.06 million short t for the same period in 2014. Indiana production has also declined, coming in at 654 000 short t compared to 754 000 short t for the week in 2014. Pennsylvania production for the week last decreased slightly to 1.15 million short t versus 1.22 million t for the same week in 2014, but is up 9.7% for the previous 52 weeks. Ohio production dropped to 374 000 short t compared to 493 000 t in 2014. Virginia production decreased to 246 000 short t compared to 308 000 short t for the same week in 2014. Virginia production for the previous 52 weeks is off by 11.4%.

Coal prices on the spot market were unchanged this week. Central Appalachian coal held steady at US$52.88/short t or US$2.12/million Btu. Northern Appalachian coal likewise, 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 $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$2.61/million Btu. Natural gas producers reported an increase in their stored reserves – up 15 billion ft3 compared to the previous week. This week’s working natural gas rotary rig count dropped sharply to 932, from 954 last week and 1861 a year ago. This number includes rigs working in both oil and gas plays.

Utilities did not issue updates to their stockpile reports once again this week.

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


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