By T.L. Headley, MBA, MA, MA, BA
For the West Virginia Coal Association
Coal production in the United States was up 3.2 percent for the week ending October 18th from the same week last year, according to weekly figures released by the US Energy Information Agency (EIA). Production for the week was up slightly less than 600,000 tons to 18.7 million tons, from 18.1 million tons for the same week in 2013. Production for the previous 52 weeks, however, remains down, off by 6/10th of one percent or slightly less than 7 million tons, compared to the same period last year, 982 million tons.
West Virginia coal production fell for the 52 weeks ending October 18th by 2.2 percent compared to the same period last year – 111.7 million tons versus 114.2 million tons in 2013. Coal production in northern West Virginia for the same period was up significantly from 2013– by 7.8 percent – 45.7 million tons, up 3.4 million tons from the same period in 2013.
Meanwhile, coal production in the southern West Virginia coalfields was off for the 52 weeks by approximately 6 million tons from 2013, to 66 million tons for in 2014 versus 72 million in 2013 – off 8.2 percent.
The updated numbers for the exports and imports of coal were not provided in this week’s report.
Electric output was up by 1.4 percent for the week ending October 18th compared to the same week in 2013. The greatest increase in electric demand was seen in the Rocky Mountains, with a 7.9 percent increase from last year. Total U.S. demand last week totaled 69,899 GW.
Steel production continued to be below last year — down ½ of one percent for the week from the same period year last year. Steel production is considered a leading economic indicator, which signals a decrease in demand for construction and durable goods. This marks the fourth straight week of decline in steel production.
Central Appalachian coal remained steady on the spot market, selling for $56.30/ton. Meanwhile, Northern Appalachian coal held steady at $66.55/ton.
Illinois Basin prices held steady at $44.70/ton while PRB coal held steady at $11.55/ton, as did Uinta Basin coal prices at $37.75/ton.
Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub also remained steady at about $3.95/mmbtu. This price remains well below its $8 per million btu peak of January and February. Natural gas storage increased by about 94 billion cubic feet, up to 3,299 c.f. from 3,205 c.f. last week.
Utilities did not update their stockpile data for this week.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We will be adding production reports for Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, Indiana and Illinois beginning next week and then expanding the report to include other states over the next few weeks.