A First-of-Its-Kind Clean Coal Plant May Not Burn Coal at All

23 Jun 2017   Coal

Mississippi wants deal that’d have plant fueled by gas only Southern has spent years constructing the Kemper coal plant A first-of-its-kind “clean coal” power plant that utility owner Southern Co. spent years constructing in Mississippi may end up burning no coal at all — and instead just run like a natural gas generator. After years of delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns, Mississippi regulators on Wednesday called on Southern to work up a deal that would have the Kemper plant fueled only by gas. The state Public Service Commission said in a statement that it’s looking for a solution that eliminates the risk to ratepayers “for unproven technology,” which involved converting coal into gas that could then be used to generate electricity — all while capturing emissions. Settling for gas only at Southern’s Kemper plant threatens to undermine the business rationale for the kind of clean-coal technology […]

A First-of-Its-Kind Clean Coal Plant May Not Burn Coal at All

22 Jun 2017   Coal

Mississippi wants deal that’d have plant fueled by gas only Southern has spent years constructing the Kemper coal plant A first-of-its-kind “clean coal” power plant that utility owner Southern Co. spent years constructing in Mississippi may end up burning no coal at all — and instead just run like a natural gas generator. After years of delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns, Mississippi regulators on Wednesday called on Southern to work up a deal that would have the Kemper plant fueled only by gas. The state Public Service Commission said in a statement that it’s looking for a solution that eliminates the risk to ratepayers “for unproven technology,” which involved converting coal into gas that could then be used to generate electricity — all while capturing emissions. Settling for gas only at Southern’s Kemper plant threatens to undermine the business rationale for the kind of clean-coal technology […]

Coal’s Decline Spreads Far Beyond Appalachia

20 Jun 2017   Coal

Far from the mines of Appalachia, the decline of coal is hitting communities that relied on coal-fired power plants for jobs and income. During the past five years, roughly 350 coal-fired generating units shut down across the U.S., ranging from small units at factories to huge power plants, according to data from the Energy…

Switching From Coal To Solar Could Save 50,000 Lives

20 Jun 2017   Coal, Solar

Replacing coal-fired power plants with solar power installations could save as many as 51,999 lives every year, a study from the Michigan Technological University has found. This is the number of people who will in all likelihood not die of things such as asthma and congestive heart failure resulting from harmful emissions from coal-fired plants. Coal currently accounts for 30 percent of the U.S. energy mix, according to the Energy Information Administration. In terms of consumption, however, coal only accounted for 15 percent, almost all of it going into power generation. The fossil fuel is quickly losing share to natural gas, but is still a solid contributor to CO2 and other pollutants emissions – solid enough, according to the study’s authors, Emily Prehoda and Joshua Pierce, to kill more than 50,000 people on an annual basis. Switching from fossil fuels to renewables is at the core of sustainability efforts. […]

World Coal Production Just Had Its Biggest Drop on Record

14 Jun 2017   Coal

Fossil fuel sees ‘decisive break’ from period of demand growth Carbon emissions show little or no growth for third year: BP It’s the end of an era for coal. Production of the fossil fuel dropped by a record amount in 2016, according to BP Plc ’s annual review of global energy trends. China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, burned the least coal in six years and use dropped in the U.S to a level last seen in the 1970s, the company’s data show. Coal, the most polluting fuel that was once the world’s fastest growing energy source, has been a target of countries and companies alike as the world begins to work toward the goals of the Paris climate agreement . Consumption is falling as the world’s biggest energy companies promote cleaner-burning natural gas, China’s economy evolves to focus more on services than heavy manufacturing and renewable energy like […]

Atlantic May thermal coal derivative volumes fall 55% on-year:

14 Jun 2017   Coal

May traded volumes of Atlantic market thermal coal derivatives fell 55.3% year on year to 129.55 million mt, which was up 19.9% from April’s record low, according to data from the London Energy Brokers’ Association (LEBA) Tuesday.  Of the total, 99%, or 128.67 million mt, was cleared — the largest percentage since April last year when all derivatives were cleared.  Volumes of Europe-delivered CIF ARA derivative contracts traded in May dropped 62% year on year to 97.39 million mt, although recovered 28% from the previous month’s record low. The entire quantity was cleared.  South African Richards Bay coal volumes at 8.48 million mt fell 43% year on year, but rose 9% month on month, with all the total cleared.  The data showed 23.68 million mt of Australian globalCOAL Newcastle futures contracts were traded during the month — increasing 25% year on year, but down 2% from April to a nine-month low. Of the total 96%, or 22.8 million mt, were cleared.

US utilities’ coal consumption climbs in May: EIA

7 Jun 2017   Coal, USA

Warmer weather and higher natural gas prices helped to increase utility coal burn in May, the US Energy Information Administration said Tuesday. In its latest monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook, the EIA estimated coal consumption increased by 24.4% or 9.6 million st month on month to 48.9 million st. EIA said coal accounted for 27.6% of May generation, compared with 32% from gas-fired facilities. In April, coal accounted for 25% of generation and gas 31.5%. Platts Coal Trader provides the latest prices for key benchmark coals, as well as: Daily pricing for tons and allowances for SO2 and NOx emissions The exclusive Platts OTC Broker Index, a market assessment compiled from three of the largest and most respected coal brokers What happened in yesterday’s OTC markets, and why An analysis of coal price trends in all major U.S. producing areas Details of how major coal companies are trading in the […]

The War On Coal Is Over

6 Jun 2017   Coal

The war on coal has ended. Not because the U.S. exempted itself from the Paris Climate Accord, nor because President Obama no longer sits in the Oval Office. “King Coal” lost the so-called war for a sim-ple economic reason: it’s cheaper to make electricity with domestically produced natural gas. Back in 2008, with the economy in shambles and Obama just elected, natural gas prices set record high levels. No electricity producer should have wanted to burn gas. Coal should have had the market for generation locked up. Coal prices were steady and supplies plentiful while natural gas prices were rela-tively high and quite volatile. But as gas prices plunged, inefficient gas drillers went under and the survivors developed more effi-cient ways to extract their product. They learned to operate and even expand at prices previously con-sidered too low for profitable operation. The coal mining industry had no comparable technological […]

US coal train loadings continue to drop, reach 2017 low volumes: railroads

13 May 2017   Coal, USA

Sustained declines in coal train loadings from the Powder River Basin have pushed down total US volumes to a 2017-low weekly total, Surface Transportation Board filings showed. Data filed by the four major US railroads — BSNF, CSX, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific — for the week ending May 5 showed nationwide coal loadings averaged 82.4 trains/d, down from 89.2 trains/d the previous week. US loadings were last lower the final week of 2016 at 81.1 trains/d. PRB coal loadings averaged 44.5 trains/d, down from 46.7 trains/d the previous week. PRB counts have slipped for three straight weeks and were last lower 49 weeks ago on May 27 last year at 41.4 trains/d. Central Appalachia loadings fell for the first time in five weeks as volumes dipped to 15.2 trains/d from a year-high 17.4 trains/d the prior week. Northern Appalachia coal loadings slipped to 9.5 trains/d from 9.7 trains/d, […]

Natural gas has displaced coal in the Northeast’s generation mix over the past 10 years

12 May 2017   Climate, Coal, Shale Gas

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Power Plant Operations Report The generation fuel mix of electricity in the Northeast Census division of the United States has shifted dramatically over the past 10 years. In the nine Northeast states, natural gas nearly doubled its share of the region’s total generation to 41% in 2016, up from 23% in 2006. Coal-fired generation fell from 31% to 11% of generation over the same period. Nuclear-powered generation as a share of total generation remained relatively constant near 34%. Despite more than doubling over the same period, the share of nonhydro renewables remains relatively small. Overall, total generation in the region declined by 3% between 2006 and 2016. Increased access to low-cost natural gas from the Marcellus Shale and other regional shale plays has driven the switch away from coal in the Northeast United States. Environmental policies at the federal and regional level, such as […]

Murray subsidiary to lay off 255 employees at New Future coal mine in Illinois

29 Apr 2017   Coal

A Murray Energy subsidiary has notified an Illinois state agency that it plans to lay off 255 employees in three months in a move that industry sources say would likely shut one of the company’s top producing Illinois Basin mines. American Coal, a subsidiary of St. Clairsville, Ohio-based Murray, said in a federally required WARN notice to the state’s Department of Commerce that layoffs at the New Future mine in southern Illinois would begin July 21 and are “expected to be permanent.” Murray spokesman Gary Broadbent had cited “adverse mining conditions” in a statement Wednesday announcing 122 immediate layoffs at the New Future mine. Broadbent said in a statement Friday that the mine’s longwall system remains operational and service to existing customers will not be interrupted. The state requires a WARN notice for “mass layoffs,” defined as more than two-thirds of its workforce for a company that employs 25 […]

Why Is China Funding Unsustainable Coal Projects In Pakistan?

28 Apr 2017   China, Coal, Pakistan

On April 16th, Chinese investments in Pakistan through the much-vaunted China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) were revised upwards, from $46 billion to a whopping $62 billion . The project, part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative to invest in trade routes from Asia to Europe, has huge implications for Pakistan’s development prospects. As part of CPEC, Beijing plans to build new industrial parks, railways, and roads to link its Xinjiang region with Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar. But instead of giving cause for celebration, the colossal Chinese investments heading to Pakistan have sparked massive protests from locals and environmentalists. Why? Because of Beijing’s senseless decision to use part of the funds to build outdated coal power plants. Since Pakistan boasts more than 175 billion tonnes of coal (equal to Saudi Arabia’s oil deposits in terms of heating value), harnessing its energy reserves is crucial to ensure the country’s economic […]

Europe’s Coal Power Is Going up in Smoke — Fast

21 Apr 2017   Coal, Europe
Europe’s Coal Power Is Going up in Smoke — Fast

The long goodbye for coal in Europe is accelerating as the cost of shifting to green energy plunges.  Companies including Drax Group Plc, Steag GmbH to Uniper SE are closing or converting coal-burning generators at a record pace from Austria to the U.K., made obsolete by competition from cheaper wind and solar power. After more than 500 years of using the carbonaceous rock — which fueled the industrial revolution even as emissions warmed the atmosphere — the continent simply can’t afford it anymore and is moving on.  “It’s an entirely different fuel-price world,” said Johannes Truby, an analyst at the Paris-based International Energy Agency. Since 2012, the agency has cut its outlook for European Union coal use in 2030 by 12 percent and now expects just 114 gigawatts of capacity will remain by then, compared with 177 gigawatts in 2014, the latest annual data available.

Countries including the U.K., France, Portugal, Austria and Finland are phasing out coal with policies in place to end its use in power generation. Elsewhere in the world, the fossil fuel is in a life-or-death struggle because green energy produces cheaper electricity and employs more people. Even in the U.S., where President Donald Trump vowed to cut environmental standards to revive coal jobs, many plants can’t compete with abundant and low-cost natural gas.

Coal power dropping as natural gas, renewables grow, U.S. report finds

18 Apr 2017   Coal

The amount of electricity generated by coal since 2007 is down 40 percent as natural gas and renewable power capacity grows, the U.S. government reported. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a daily brief that coal accounted for about 30 percent of all of the electricity generated in the country last year. “As natural gas and renewables have increased their market shares of electricity generation over the past decade, coal generation has decreased,” the EIA’s report read. “Average annual net generation from coal-fired units reached an annual high of 2.0 billion kilowatthours in 2007 and has since fallen to 1.2 billion kilowatthours in 2016.” Energy-related CO2 emissions last year were down 1.7 percent from 2015 levels, consistent with […]

2 Tennessee Cases Bring Coal’s Hidden Hazard to Light

17 Apr 2017   Coal

The hulking Gallatin Fossil Plant sits on a scenic bend of the Cumberland River about 30 miles upstream from Nashville. In addition to generating electricity, the plant, built in the early 1950s by the Tennessee Valley Authority, produces more than 200,000 tons of coal residue a year. That coal ash, mixed with water and sluiced into pits and ponds on the plant property, has been making its way into groundwater and the river, potentially threatening drinking water supplies, according to two current lawsuits. Coal ash, the hazardous byproduct of burning coal to produce power, is a particularly insidious legacy of the nation’s dependence on coal. Unlike the visible and heavily regulated airborne emissions from power plant smokestacks, coal ash is largely unseen unless there is a major spill and, until recently, far less effectively regulated. More than 100 million tons of coal ash is produced every […]

Weekly US coal production estimate drops to lowest level of year: EIA

14 Apr 2017   Coal

Weekly US coal production totaled an estimated 13.77 million st in the week that ended Saturday, down 5% from the prior week but up 19.9% from the same week a year ago, US Energy Information Administration data showed Thursday. It was the lowest weekly estimate so far this year, coming in just below the Week 1 estimate of 13.78 million st. Through the first 14 weeks of the year, production appears to be mirroring last year, which started with a surge at the start of the year then dipped through spring as low natural gas prices curtailed coal demand. This year, natural gas prices are higher but coal demand remains low due to more-moderate temperatures. Platts Analytics’ Bentek Energy estimates stockpiles stood at 159.6 million st as of Thursday, down 18.2% from the year-ago week and down 4.1% from the five-year average for March. Article continues below… Platts Coal […]

Donald Trump and the Myth of the Coal Revival

31 Mar 2017   Coal

The President’s latest executive order would scrap regulations critical to addressing climate change. But would it also, as he promises, put miners “back to work”? On Tuesday, less than two weeks after the White House unveiled its “budget blueprint to make America great again,” which proposed to reduce the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding by $2.6 billion and lay off about a fifth of its workforce, President Trump took aim at the E.P.A. once more. On a dais in the Map Room of the agency’s D.C. headquarters, Trump gave a celebrating “a new era in American energy,” as thirteen “incredible coal miners” stood silently at his side, like shy and stocky pageant contestants. They were the physical embodiment of this new era—white, middle-aged, clean-shaven, strong—which was about to be signed into existence with a sweeping executive order on energy and environmental policy. Mining is what they “want to do,” Trump […]

Trump Can’t Save Coal

30 Mar 2017   Coal

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday that will begin a lengthy process of dismantling former President Obama’s signature achievement on climate change – regulations that put limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Trump boasted about a new era of American energy, telling coal miners standing behind him, “You know what it says, right? You’re going back to work.” The Clean Power Plan aimed to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. But removing the Clean Power Plan is not as easy as signing an executive order. It will take years even if things go well. The EPA can’t just ignore or scrap the rule; the administration will have to craft a repayment plan and justify it with science. And the rulemaking process is not always a smooth one. With environmental groups promising legal action, it will likely […]

Policy Shift Helps Coal, but Other Forces May Limit Effect

29 Mar 2017   Coal

Many fossil fuel executives are celebrating President Trump’s move to dismantle the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. But their cheers are muted, because market forces and state initiatives continue to elevate coal’s rivals, especially natural gas and renewable energy. In coal’s favor, there is the new promise that federal lands will be open for leasing, ending an Obama-era moratorium. Easing pollution restrictions could delay the closing of some old coal-fired power plants, slowing the switch by some utilities to other sources.

Trump to offer federal coal to industry awash in reserves

29 Mar 2017   Coal

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has billed his move to re-open federal lands to new coal leases as a win for miners seeking to expand production. But a review of company filings shows that coal miners with the most to gain already have enough leases in hand to last well over a decade.  Trump will sign a decree on Tuesday to reverse former President Barack Obama’s 2016 ban on new federal coal leases, part of a wide-ranging executive order to sweep away green regulations his administration says have hobbled the drilling and mining industries.  “When we evaluate energy, let’s look at the social cost of not having a job,” Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a Twitter post on Tuesday ahead of the executive order.  But companies focused on coal deposits below federal lands, such as Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, and Cloud Peak, have enough coal in the ground on existing leases to last an average of more than 17 years at 2015 sales levels, earnings reports show.

Despite Trump Move, Utilities’ Shift From Coal Is Set to Continue

29 Mar 2017   Coal

The Trump administration’s expected move to roll back President Obama’s signature climate-change policy may extend the life of some aging coal-fired power plants, but companies and energy experts say it is unlikely to reverse the U.S. utility industry’s shift to natural gas, solar and wind as leading sources of electricity. President Donald Trump is expected Tuesday to sign an executive order that would begin to reverse the Clean Power Plan, which would have required utilities to reduce power-plant carbon-dioxide…

NEW REPORT: Global Coal Plant Development Freefall Sparks Renewed Hope On Climate Goals

24 Mar 2017   Coal

On the heels of the 250th coal-fired power plant retiring in the United States yesterday, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and CoalSwarm have released their third annual survey of the global coal plant pipeline, Boom and Bust 2017: Tracking The Global Coal Plant Pipeline . The report’s findings include a 62 percent drop in new coal plant construction starts globally, a 48 percent reduction in worldwide pre-construction activity, and an 85 percent decline in new Chinese coal plant permits. Overall, the number of coal-fired power plants under development worldwide saw a dramatic drop in 2016. This is mainly due to shifting policies in Asia, including a dramatic clampdown on new coal plant projects by Chinese central authorities and financial retrenchment by coal plant backers in India. In China and India, construction is now frozen at over 100 project sites. In addition the decline in new plant development, […]

Weekly US coal production dips 4.4% as coal demand slows

24 Mar 2017   Coal

Weekly US coal production totaled an estimated 14.1 million st in the week that ended March 18, down 4.4% compared with the prior week, but up 6.9% from the year-ago week, US Energy Information Administration data showed Thursday. Apart from the holiday-shortened week at the start of the year, the most recent estimate was the lowest so far this year. Warmer-than-normal weather has slowed demand for coal , and stockpiles remain relatively flat. Platts Analytics’ Bentek Energy unit estimates stockpiles stood at 154.8 million st in the week that ended March 16, down 0.5% compared with the previous week. Article continues below… Platts Coal Trader provides the latest prices for key benchmark coals, as well as: Daily pricing for tons and allowances for SO2 and NOx emissions The exclusive Platts OTC Broker Index, a market assessment compiled from three of the largest and most respected coal brokers What happened […]

Optimism pervades US coal industry amid fewer regulations: forum

9 Mar 2017   Coal

Optimism pervaded the coal industry Wednesday as it gathered at the American Coal Council’s Spring Coal Forum in Clearwater, Florida, as the early days of the Trump administration have brought regulatory relief for an industry struggling to regain its edge. Early signs of the Trump administration’s focus on energy-related regulations have been positive for the industry, including a bill signed last month that eliminated the Stream Protection Rule, as well as executive orders on other energy-related issues, said Michael Nasi, a partner with Jackson Walker, a Dallas-based environmental law firm. Doing nothing in terms of federal intervention would be a major change for the industry compared with the Obama administration, which issued 57 federal implement plans over eight years. The FIPs are typically reserved for extraordinary circumstances under the Clean Air Act, which attempted to give more control to the states. “If all the president does is to stop […]

China will not force big coal output cuts if prices reasonable: NDRC

7 Mar 2017   China, Coal

China will not force coal mines to cut output on a large scale if prices remain within a reasonable range, the country’s state planner said on Tuesday, the latest comments from the government on its efforts to tackle excess supplies and smog. In a statement, the National Development and Reform Commission said provincial governments and relevant agencies will decide whether to implement cutbacks at mines that are not considered “advanced”. It did not say what price range it would consider reasonable. (Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Writing by Josephine Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

Coal exports from Hampton Roads, Virginia, continue to climb in February

7 Mar 2017   Coal, USA

Coal exports from terminals in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region totaled 2.8 million st in February, up 8.2% from the prior month and up 50.7% from the year-ago month, according to export data released Monday by the Virginia Maritime Association. It was the highest monthly total since March 2015, and the fifth straight month of higher exports, as higher seaborne prices increased demand for US thermal and metallurgical coals . At the three individual terminals in Hampton Roads, Lambert’s Point, also known as Pier 6, exported 1.16 million st in February, up 0.5% from January and up 23.5% from last year. It was the also highest monthly total for the Norfolk, Virginia, terminal — which is owned and operated by Norfolk Southern — since March 2015. Article continues below… Platts Coal Trader provides the latest prices for key benchmark coals, as well as: Daily pricing for tons and allowances for […]

Early surge in coal usage in 2017 may not last

3 Mar 2017   Coal

There are signs utilities are buying more coal this year than last thanks to a late-year surge in natural gas prices, but the black rock still isn’t expected to regain its crown from gas as the leading fuel source for power generation. That’s even as President Donald Trump has said repeatedly that he wants a revival of coal production, a dirtier fuel than gas that has seen its fortunes decline thanks to a shale boom that has boosted gas production. Gas prices rose in late December, and analysts have been predicting an improved outlook for 2017 for coal, as higher gas prices make coal the cheaper fuel for some power generators, according to analysts and government studies. The Association of American Railroads (AAR) said on […]

Trump to lift federal coal ban, other green rules, next week: White House

2 Mar 2017   Coal

U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to sign an executive order next week that lifts a ban on new federal coal mining leases and starts the process of killing other Obama-era initiatives to combat global climate change, a White House official said. “Rescinding federal coal leasing moratorium is part of that executive order, which has lots of different components, including the Clean Power Plan,” the official told Reuters on Wednesday by email, confirming the order was scheduled to come next week. The Clean Power Plan is former President Barack Obama’s centerpiece initiative to combat climate change, and requires states to slash emissions of carbon dioxide. (Reporting by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Coal Industry Casts Itself as a Clean Energy Player

27 Feb 2017   Coal

President Trump has questioned the science behind climate change as “a hoax” in positioning himself as a champion of coal. The three largest American coal producers are taking a different tack. Seeking to shore up their struggling industry, the coal producers are voicing greater concern about greenhouse gas emissions. Their goal is to frame a new image for coal as a contributor, not an obstacle, to a clean-energy future — an image intended to foster their legislative agenda. Executives of the three companies — Cloud Peak Energy , Peabody Energy and Arch Coal — are going so far as to make common cause with some of their harshest critics, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Clean Air Task Force. Together, they are lobbying for a tax bill to expand government subsidies to reduce the environmental impact of coal burning. The technology they are promoting is carbon capture […]

North Korea says China ‘dancing to the tune of the US’

24 Feb 2017   China, Coal, North Korea

Coal exports to China are a key source of cash for the politically isolated nation North Koreans look over coal exports in the border town of Siniuju N Korea condemns Kim death investigation ‘Hunt’ for refugees who helped Snowden Japan ‘baldies’ hold annual get-together

Coal Is Just Too Damn Expensive

24 Feb 2017   Coal

President Trump is ready to start signing executive orders that roll back Obama-era regulations on climate and water pollution: While both directives will take time to implement, they will send an unmistakable signal that the new administration is determined to promote fossil-fuel production ….One executive order — which the Trump administration will couch as reducing U.S. dependence on other countries for energy — will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to begin rewriting the 2015 regulation that limits greenhouse-gas emissions from existing electric utilities. It also instructs the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing. ….Trump, who signed legislation last week that nullified a recent regulation prohibiting surface-mining operations from dumping waste in nearby waterways, said he was eager to support coal miners who had backed his presidential bid. “The miners are a big deal,” he said Thursday. “I’ve had support from […]

North Korea’s Regime In Jeopardy As China Bans Coal Imports

21 Feb 2017   China, Coal, North Korea

On Saturday, China said that it was suspending all imports of coal from North Korea as part of its effort to implement United Nations Security Council sanctions aimed at stopping the country’s nuclear weapons and ballistic-missile program. The ban, according to a statement posted on the website of the Chinese Commerce Ministry, takes effect on today and will last until the end of the year. While China will hardly suffer material adverse impacts, Chinese trade – and aid – have long been a vital economic crutch for North Korea, and the decision strips North Korea of one of its most important sources of foreign currency. The ban comes six days after the North Korean test of a ballistic missile that the Security Council condemned as a violation of its resolutions that prohibited the country from developing and testing ballistic missile technology. In the test, – which took place during […]

China coal firms to discuss moves to stabilize output on Tuesday: media

21 Feb 2017   China, Coal

China’s top coal producers will meet on Tuesday to discuss plans for stabilizing output this year, the official Shanghai Securities News reported. The meeting organized by the China Coal Association will assess current operations and explore further measures to ensure stable output, the newspaper said in a report on its website on Monday. Talk in the market that the government will reinstall daily limits on coal mining output after the winter heating period pushed up thermal coal futures last week. Coke and coking coal futures rose on Monday after Beijing suspended imports of North Korean coal as part of its efforts to implement United Nations sanctions against the country. The output cuts, introduced in April 2016, ordered mines to limit the number of days they operate each year to 276 from 330 […]

China steel mills caught on the hop by North Korea coal ban

21 Feb 2017   China, Coal

China’s steel mills and traders were scrambling to find alternative supplies of coking coal for steel making on Monday after Beijing slapped a surprise ban on coal imports from its isolated northern neighbor. Chinese prices of steel, coking coal and coke all rallied, as traders and analysts said mills will likely be forced to buy more expensive domestic material or seek alternatives further afield from Russia or Australia, driving up costs. While North Korea accounts for only a small portion of China’s total coal imports, it is the main foreign supplier of high-quality thermal coal, called anthracite, which is used to make coke, a key ingredient in steelmaking. “This news really took us by […]

China’s North Korea import ban the latest gyrating coal policy: Russell

20 Feb 2017   China, Coal, North Korea

Coal markets could be forgiven for feeling slightly confused about the recent signals coming out of top importer China, with both bullish and bearish developments in evidence. The most obvious bullish news relates mainly to coking coal used in steel-making, and like many announcements in China it’s political in nature. China said on Feb. 18 that it will suspend all imports of coal from its nuclear-armed neighbor North Korea until Dec. 31, a move that, if implemented, would bring a dramatic halt to cargoes from China’s fourth-biggest supplier of imported coal. The statement from the Ministry of Commerce was brief and didn’t go into reasons for the ban, although it came shortly after Pyongyang tested an intermediate-range ballistic […]

As coal shortfall looms, miners enjoy unexpected boom

10 Feb 2017   Coal

Many a swan song has been sung for thermal coal markets as renewable power generation and a push towards using more natural gas have gained traction. Yet a coal price spike last year, driven by a Chinese change in regulation that capped local mining operations, has shown how easily markets can swing from oversupply to shortfall. While many analysts and investors see the long-term outlook for coal as bleak due to policies and technological advances that favor cleaner natural gas and renewable in power generation, the shorter-term outlook for the industry has seen a sharp reversal of fortunes. This year, strong demand growth in Asia’s emerging markets will create a supply shortfall for the first time in at […]

Warm winter weather in US withering CAPP coal enthusiasm

14 Jan 2017   Coal

The optimism prevalent through the US Central Appalachian coal industry heading into the New Year has started to temper as an expected cold January has failed to materialize. While thermometers dipped last weekend and will do the same during the next few days in some areas as a winter storm moves in, most of the US East has experienced above-average temperatures this month. Days below or even at seasonably normal temperatures have been sporadic, making coal burn inconsistent, utilities said. Multiple market players told S&P Global Platts this week the pattern brings back bad memories of winter in early 2016, when a few cold days were followed by many days of mild temperatures. One CAPP fuel buyer said many utilities already have started to rethink expectations of strong first-quarter 2017 coal consumption. “Everybody’s attitude seems to have changed really quickly,” the buyer said. “Everybody thought we’d have a really […]

US coal exports higher in November, including China-bound cargoes

7 Jan 2017   Coal

US coal exports totaled 5.95 million mt in November, up 34.8% from the prior month and up 39.2% from the year-ago month, US Census data showed Friday. The month also showed the first significant US exports of bituminous coal to China since February 2014. For overall US coal exports, November was the highest monthly total of the year and the highest monthly total since May 2015. Each of the major categories — metallurgical, bituminous and subbituminous — of US coal showed year-to-date highs in November. The increase was due to the rally in seaborne prices for both thermal and met coal that opened up more export opportunities for US coal. S&P Global Platts’ assessment for thermal coal delivered into Northern Europe (CIF ARA, 15-60 day) averaged $80.73/mt in November, up 1.3% from the prior month as the price continued to rally from a low monthly average of $43.59/mt in […]

US coal carloads counts fall 12.5% week on week, drop 20.1% year on year

5 Jan 2017   Coal

US coal carload volumes fell in the final week of 2016, putting year-end totals 20.1% below 2015 counts, railroad and Association of American Railroads data showed Wednesday. For the week that ended Saturday, the AAR reported 68,939 coal carloads traveled US railways, down 12.5% from the previous week but up 3.3% from the same week a year ago. Total 2016 volumes of nearly 4.1 million carloads slid 1.03 million st, or 20.1%, from the previous year. Canadian railroads — which include the US operations of Canadian National, which serves several mines in the Illinois Basin, and Canadian Pacific — originated 7,176 coal carloads for the week, up 2.7% from the prior week and 6.4% from the same week a year ago. Article continues below… Platts Coal Trader provides the latest prices for key benchmark coals, as well as: Daily pricing for tons and allowances for SO2 and NOx emissions […]

This $4.3 Billion Warning Sign Is Flashing In China’s Coal Business

2 Jan 2017   China, Coal

Coal has been one of the big stories of 2016. With this beat-down market taking flight during the last half of the year — lifting stocks of major producers like Peabody Energy to over 700% gains in a matter of weeks. Check out the chart below. (Click to enlarge) A late rebound in the coal market this year lifted Peabody Energy from below $2 per share to over $16 very quickly And news this week suggests things could be looking up further for international producers in this market. With problems apparently mounting in the world’s largest producing nation: China. Chinese coal miners are still struggling under the burden of lower global prices. Which this week forced major lender Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to step in and bail out two big producers. That was Datong Coal Mine Group and Yangquan Coal Industry. Which ICBC said Monday will […]

Outlook For Coal Unlikely To Improve

30 Dec 2016   Coal, USA

The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States has a lot of implications for a lot of different segments of the economy – coal may not be one of them. The uphill battle for coal in the U.S. appears to be getting even steeper with Western States starting to increasingly look to natural gas and renewable energy for power consumption rather than coal. Moreover, the change is being driven by economics rather than regulatory requirements or concern over the environment. President Trump will have a lot of power – power to enact new rules, power to push new legislation, and power to remove old regulations. None of that will help to change the fundamental economics of coal which are increasingly pointing to more mine closures . Renewable power is consistently becoming cheaper, and the glut of natural gas continues to make it one of the most […]

Peabody extends debt deadline amid creditor support

30 Dec 2016   Coal

Peabody Energy Corp said on Thursday it extended a deadline for creditors to join financing deals aimed at bringing the largest U.S. coal miner out of bankruptcy amid growing creditor support for its plan of reorganization. Last week, Peabody unveiled its plan to eliminate more than $5 billion of debt and raise capital from creditors with a $750 million private placement and a $750 million rights offering. The financing agreements were funded by key creditors that signed on to a plan support agreement with Peabody, although a portion of those deals were reserved for other noteholders if they agreed to back Peabody’s plan by Wednesday. Peabody said in a statement the deadline was extended to Friday for Peabody […]

China to cap 2017 energy consumption at 4.4 bln tonns coal equivalent

29 Dec 2016   China, Coal

China aims to cap total primary energy consumption at around 4.4 billion tons of coal equivalent in 2017, the director of the National Energy Administration (NEA) said on Wednesday, close to 2016 levels as the country continues a push to use cleaner fuel. The world’s biggest consumer of energy plans to lift the ratio of natural gas in its energy mix to 6.8 percent next year from 5.9 percent in 2015, Nur Bekri, director of the NEA told a conference in Beijing. He said the goal was to reduce coal consumption to around 60 percent of the total next year from 64 percent in 2015. His remarks came as China enters the third year of a “war on pollution”, with previous years of blistering energy demand growth putting China’s environment […]

Rule Tightens Restrictions on Coal Mining Near Streams

20 Dec 2016   Coal, Water

The Interior Department on Monday issued a rule putting tighter restrictions on coal mining near streams, one of several environmental rules President-elect Donald Trump has targeted to undo once he takes office in January. The department has been working on the rule, which sets tougher standards for water quality and requires companies to restore streams more comprehensively after mining activities, for nearly all of President Barack Obama’s time in the White House. It is one of several regulations the administration is releasing in the 11th-hour of Mr. Obama’s eight-year presidency. Deriding the rule as “excessive,” Mr. Trump cited it as one of several he would rescind as president on his transition website soon after his surprise victory in the presidential contest. On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump often accused Mr. Obama of waging a […]

China coal output trend points to lower seaborne prices

14 Dec 2016   China, Coal

When it comes to China’s coal production, is it more important that output in November recorded yet another decline year-on-year, or that it rose for a second straight month? The inclination is often to take the number and interpret it in the way that best suits the narrative you wish to tell. If you want to be bullish on coal prices, the 5.1 percent decline in domestic coal production to 308.1 million tonnes in November from the same month in 2015 would be your focus. If you wanted to be bearish, the fact that coal production rose 9 percent from October, the second straight monthly gain, is more vital. October’s coal output was 281.85 million tonnes, meaning that in volume terms China mined 26.25 million tonnes more in November. […]

Peabody Bondholders Tout Donald Trump’s Plan to Roll Back Emission Rules

14 Dec 2016   Coal, USA

President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to roll back the Obama administration’s signature proposal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be a boon to creditors of Peabody Energy Corp., according to bondholders who want a say in the coal miner’s debt restructuring. The bondholders cite Mr. Trump’s election , as well as a rally in coal prices, to argue in a recent court filing that the value of Peabody’s business has “increased dramatically” since the miner sought chapter 11 protection. As a result, the bondholders say there should be ample value to pay them at the conclusion of Peabody’s restructuring. According to one company shareholder, metallurgical coal prices have increased 235%, and thermal coal prices have increased 77% since Peabody filed for bankruptcy in April. Peabody’s bondholders, however, are also buoyed by Mr. Trump’s promises to […]

Growth in global coal demand to slow over next five years: IEA

12 Dec 2016   Coal

Growth in global coal demand will slow over the next five years due to lower consumption in China and the United States and as renewable energy sources gain ground, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Monday. The IEA said last year that the world’s top coal consumer, China, could be facing peak coal demand for the first time due to measures to cap coal use to tackle air pollution and curb excess supply. “In China, coal demand is in structural and slow decline driven by a new economic growth model and diversification of coal,” the Paris-based IEA said in its medium-term coal market report. Even though China’s consumption is likely to have peaked, the country will still be […]

Trump needs to think long term to really help coal: industry executives

7 Dec 2016   Coal

A Donald Trump White House will likely give a boost for the US coal industry and do away with key current and pending environmental regulations, but significant policies need to be put in place to make long-term improvements to the coal business, industry executives said Tuesday. Fred Palmer, partner at Total Spectrum/Steve Gordon and Associates and former senior vice president of government relations at Peabody Energy, and Richard Reavey, vice president of public affairs at Cloud Peak Energy, each spoke at the Coal Trading Association’s 15th annual Coal Trading Conference in New York about how President-elect Trump could bring life into an improving but long-ailing industry. Palmer called the election of a Trump “a key moment in US history” and said he expected the country will move forward and support his pro-coal energy policies. “It will be an American Renaissance; an energy Renaissance; a fossil fuel Renaissance, and coal […]

Trump’s Cruel Promise to Bring Jobs Back to Coal Country

5 Dec 2016   Coal

Paul Lewis and Tom Silverstone asked out-of-work coal miners why they supported Donald Trump. The answer was simple. Hillary Clinton literally promised that if she were elected, there would be “a lot of coal miners out of work.” Donald Trump promised to reopen the coal mines and get miners back to work. But that’s unlikely to happen. A Brief History of Coal US coal production dropped 10.3 percent year over year in 2015. It’s now below 900 million short tons, the lowest annual production level since 1986. EIA Coal Report In late 2015 and early 2016, Peabody Energy , Arch Coal , Alpha Natural Resources and Patriot Coal all filed for bankruptcy. In a statement announcing the bankruptcy, Peabody blamed “a dramatic drop in the price of metallurgical coal, weakness in the Chinese economy, overproduction of domestic shale gas, and ongoing regulatory challenges” for the “unprecedented” industry downturn in […]

Coal price surge sets miners against activists by English seaside

28 Nov 2016   Coal, United Kingdom

In northeastern England, a battle is raging between grass roots campaigners and a company intent on digging a new open cast mine as world coal prices soar. A year after Britain closed its last deep coal mine and pledged to phase out coal-fired power generation, the economics of mining have been transformed. Coal prices have risen by well over 100 percent this year to $100 a tonne. Some mining stocks have risen even more, spurred by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s pledges to revive coal and pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Some wonder how long the coal price surge will last, but in Northumberland, the Banks Group is pressing ahead with plans for a new mine despite opposition from local environmentalists. Northumberland […]