WEEKLY COAL PRODUCTION & PRICE REPORT (September 25, 2015): US COAL PRODUCTION INCREASES FOR THE WEEK BUT REMAINS BELOW 2014

Coal Commodity Region/Fuel Avg. BTU SO2 Price Price/mmBTU
Central Appalachia 12,500 1.2 $48.65 $1.95
Northern Appalachia 13,000 3 $51.95 $2.00
 Illinois Basin 11,800 5 $34.35 $1.46
Powder River Basin   8,800 0.8 $11.55 $0.66
Uinta Basin 11,700 0.8 $39.70 $1.70
Natural Gas (Henry Hub)       n/a 0.01 n/a $2.70

By T.L. HEADLEY, MBA, MAT, MA

CHARLESTON – Coal production in the United States Terry 2increased this week.
Production in the United States was up by 438,000 tons (2.5%) to finish the week at 17.80 million compared to last week’s total of 17.37 million tons. Meanwhile, production for the week is off by 1.76 tons (4.6%) from the 19.59 million tons produced the same week in 2014.

Cumulative production for the year-to-date remains sharply down as of September 19th, coming in at 656.61 million tons compared to 715.69 million tons last year – a decline of 59.08 million tons or 8.3% – a slight narrowing of the gap. Production for the previous 52 weeks also continues lower from last year– finishing at 937.03 million tons compared to 981.43 million tons for the same period ending in 2014 (-4.5%) – a slight widening of the gap over the longer period.
Meanwhile, the number of coal rail car loadings remains sharply down from last year, finishing the week at 103,244 cars loaded, off 9.3% from same week in 2014.  Coal loadings also continued their decline year-to-date – off 9.1% from the same period in 2014.
Coal exports were not updated this week.
Electric output was up 3.5% compared to the same week in 2014, with 71.33 MWH of electricity produced compared to 74.68 MWH produced for the same period last year.
Domestic steel output, however, was down from the previous week.
According to numbers from the American Iron and Steel Institute, domestic raw steel production was up 0.7% from the previous week, coming in at 1.71 million tons compared to 1.69 million tons last week, with a capacity utilization factor of 71.4%.  However, steel production remains down sharply from the same week last year, when 1.88 million tons were produced at a capacity utilization rate of 78.1%. Steel production continues its slide year-to-date – down 8.0% to 64.36 million tons produced compared to 69.99 million tons for the same period last year.
In terms of regional coal production, all three major basins reported modest gains for the week ending September 19th compared to the previous week, but all continue sharply lower compared to the same week in 2014.
The Appalachian Basin finished at 4.57 million tons, up from 4.44 million tons last week (2.9%). Interior Basin production also finished slightly up at 3.46 million tons compared to 3.35 million tons last week (2.3%). Western production finished the week higher at 9.78 million tons from 9.57 million tons last week (2.1%).  However, production remains sharply below the same week in 2014. The Appalachian Basin is off by 11% from the same week last year. The Interior Basin is off 8.5% from 2014. And Western production is off 7.9% from the same period in 2014.
All three basins also continue to report significant declines in production year-to-date, with Appalachia down 11.9%, the Interior Basin off 7.4% and the Western Basin down 6.9%.
Looking at the previous 52 weeks, all three basins continue lower for the period ending September 19th, with the Appalachian Basin down 8.7%, the Interior Basin down 2.9% and the Western Region down 3.0%. Production in the Interior Basin fell to 178.17 million tons from 183.50 million tons for the same period in 2014. Appalachian production fell for the period to 244.12 million tons from 267.29 million tons. Meanwhile, Western production is down to 514.74 million tons from 530.64 million tons in 2014.
According to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training, coal production in the state now stands at 66.87 million tons through September 17th. Of that total, 53.60 million tons was mined by underground operations and 13.27 million tons was produced by surface mining. A total of 113 mines are now reporting production through July 2015.
According to WVOMHST, coal mining employment in West Virginia fell slightly to 15,036 total miners, with 12,202 working underground and 2,834 working on surface operations. The office does not report data for contract miners or preparation plant workers on a weekly basis.
According to EIA, West Virginia coal production for the week totaled 1.92 million tons compared to 1.89 million tons for the previous week (1.5%).  Meanwhile, West Virginia production is off by 11.1% from the same week in 2014.
Production was up in both the northern and southern coalfields of West Virginia compared to last week, by 1.3% and 2.6% respectively. However, production is off in both areas year-to-date, by 0.6% and 17.2% respectively.
Coal production in Kentucky for the week ending September 19th was sharply up compared to the previous week but remains down from the same period in 2014. Kentucky production for the week was reported at 1.30 million tons, up from 1.24 million tons last week but down from the 1.52 million tons for the same week in 2014. The eastern and western regions of Kentucky also increased week-over-week, but remain sharply lower from the same time in 2014.  Eastern Kentucky reported 637,000 tons produced for the week, up from 598,000 tons the previous week and off from 746,000 tons for the same week last year. Western Kentucky reported 666,000 tons of production, up from 645,000 tons the previous week and off from 775,000 tons in 2014. Year to date, production in Kentucky is off by 15.5%. Meanwhile production in the state is off by 12.4% for the previous 52 weeks, with western Kentucky reporting a 10.6% decline and eastern Kentucky operations reporting a decline of 14.2% year-over-year.
Wyoming coal production was up for the week, coming in at 7.12 million tons, compared to 6.98 million tons the previous week, but down from the 7.70 million tons produced for the same week in 2014 – a decline of 7.8%. For the previous 52 weeks, Wyoming production is down 2.2%. Illinois production also finished slightly up at 1.18 million tons compared to 1.16 million tons last week. Illinois production is up by 10.9% for the previous 52 weeks.

Indiana production came in at 669,000 compared to 659,000 tons last week and 751,000 tons for the same week in 2014. Indiana production is down by 6.5% over the previous 52 weeks. Pennsylvania production for the week was also slightly up, coming in at 1.09 million tons versus 1.07 million tons for the previous week and 1.18 million tons for the same week in 2014. Production in the Keystone State continued its slide, down 8.9 percent year-to-date and 3.8% for the previous 52 weeks.
Ohio production also ticked slightly higher – at 362,000 tons compared to 345,000 tons the previous week and 416,000 for the same week a year ago. Ohio coal production is off 16.0% year-to-date and down 13.8% for the previous 52 weeks, compared to the same period ending in 2014. Virginia production increased slightly this week – to 240,000 tons compared to 234,000 tons for last week and 285,000 for the same week in 2014. Virginia production year-to-date is off by 16.0% and down for the previous 52 weeks by 15.1%.
Coal prices on the spot market were mixed this week. Central Appalachian coal rose 5 cents a tons to $48.65 per ton or $1.95 per mmBtu. Northern Appalachian coal also added 5 cents, coming in at $51.95 per ton or $2.00 per mmBtu. Illinois Basin coal closed unchanged at $34.35 per ton or $1.46 per mmBtu, while Powder River Basin coal held at $11.55 per ton or $0.66 per mmBtu, and Uinta Basin coal prices were firm at $39.70 per ton or $1.70 per mmBtu.
Meanwhile, on the NYMEX Coal Futures board, Central Appalachian coal held at $42.50 per ton while Western Rail fell to $10.86 per short ton from $10.95 a week ago and Eastern Rail coal is down to $43.53 per short ton from $43.78 the previous week.
Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub fell 1 cent to finish the week at $2.69 per mmBtu. Natural gas producers once again reported a significant increase in their stored reserves – up 73 billion cubic feet compared to the previous week, for a total of 3.33 trillion cubic feet in storage. This week’s working natural gas rotary rig count shows gas producers continuing to take rigs out of service. The number of working rigs is down by four from last week to 838 working rigs. And the count remains down by 1,093 rigs from a year ago – a decline of 57%. This number includes rigs working in both oil and gas plays.

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U.S. COAL PRODUCTION SLIPS SLIGHTLY WEEK OVER WEEK: WEEKLY COAL PRODUCTION & PRICE REPORT: August 1, 2015

Coal Commodity Region/Fuel Avg. BTU SO2 Price Price/mmBTU
Central Appalachia 12,500 1.2 $49.95 $2.00
 Northern Appalachia 13,000 3 $52.25 $2.01
 Illinois Basin 11,800 5 $34.35 $1.46
 Powder River Basin   8,800 0.8 $11.55 $0.66
 Uinta Basin 11,700 0.8 $39.55 $1.69
Natural Gas (Henry Hub)       n/a 0.01 n/a $2.87

 By T.L. HEADLEY, MBA, MA

Coal production in the U.S. for the week ending August 1 slipped slightly off the rec
ent high set last week, and production continues to fall short of last year according to the latest report from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) for the week.
Production in the United States was down by 802,000 tons (.5%) to finish the week at 17.72 million tons compared to last week’s total of 17.82 million tons but significantly above the 16.40 million tons produced two weeks ago. Meanwhile, production for the week is off by 3.12 million tons (11.3%) from the 20.08 million tons for the same week in 2014. Cumulative production for the year-to-date remains sharply down as of August 1, coming in at 528.15 million tons compared to 578.46 million tons last year – a decline of 50.31 million tons or 8.7%. Production for the previous 52 weeks also trended lower – finishing at 946.73 million tons compared to 984.86 million tons for the same period ending in 2014 (-3.9%).
Mirroring the coal production, the number of coal rail car loadings declined, finishing the week down 11.9% from same week in 2014 – to 102,999 carloads from 116.881 carloads last year. Coal loadings also continued their decline year-to-date – off 9.5% from the same period in 2014.
Exports of coal continue far below 2014 levels. EIA reports that for the month of June the United States exported 3.95 million tons of metallurgical coal and 1.80 million tons of steam coal — down 32.2% and 35.8% from June 2014 respectively.
Electric output was up 10.6 percent compared to the same week in 2014, with 93.09 MWH of electricity produced compared to 84.20 MWH produced for the same period last year.
Domestic steel output, however, was up from the previous week.
According to numbers from the American Iron and Steel Institute, domestic raw steel production was up .05% from the previous week, coming in at 1.76 million tons compared to 1.75 million tons last week with a capacity utilization factor of 73.6%.  However, steel production was down sharply from the same week last year, when 1.91 million tons were produced at a capacity utilization rate of 79.6%.  Steel production continues its slide year-to-date – down 7.7% to 52.25 million tons produced compared to 56.62 million tons for the same period last year.
In terms of regional coal production, all three major basins reported slightly lower production for the week ending August 1 compared to the previous week, and all continue sharply lower compared to the same week in 2014.
The Appalachian Basin finished at 4.62 million tons, down from 4.65 million tons last week (-.07%). Interior Basin production also finished down at 3.41 million tons compared to 3.44 million tons last week (-.09%). Western production finished the week down at 9.69 million tons from 9.74 million tons last week (-.06%).  And production remains sharply below the same week in 2014. The Appalachian Basin is off by 13% from the same week last year. The Interior Basin is off 13% from 2014. And Western production is off 11.1% from the same period in 2014.
All three basins also continue to report significant declines in production year-to-date, with Appalachia down 12.6%, the Interior Basin off 7.5% and the Western Basin down 7.1%.
Looking at the previous 52 weeks, all three basins are also trending lower for the period ending August 1, with the Appalachian Basin down 7.5%, the Interior Basin down 1.8% and the Western Region down 2.8%. Production in the Interior Basin fell to 180.07 million tons from 183.32 million tons for the same period in 2014. Appalachian production fell for the period to 247.34 million tons from 267.40 million tons. Meanwhile, Western production is down to 519.32 million tons from 534.14 million tons in 2014.
According to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training, coal production in the state now stands at 52.57 million tons through July 30. Of that total, 42.01 million tons was mined by underground operations and 10.56 million tons was produced by surface mining. A total of 112 mines are now reporting production through June 2015.
According to WV OMHST, coal mining employment in West Virginia rose slightly to 15,251 total miners, with 12,439 working underground and 2,812 working on surface operations. The office does not report data for contract miners or preparation plant workers on a weekly basis.
According to EIA, West Virginia coal production for the week totaled 1.96 million tons compared to 1.98 million tons for the previous week (-.6%).  West Virginia production is off by 11.8% from the same week in 2014.
Production decreased in both the northern and southern coalfields of West Virginia compared to last week, by -.6% in both the northern and southern coalfields. Production is off in both areas year-to-date, by 1.1% and 17.7% respectively.
Coal production in Kentucky for the week ending August 1 was also compared to the previous week and remains down from the same period in 2014. Kentucky production for the week was reported at 1.30 million tons, up from 1.31 million tons last week but down from the 1.56 million tons for the same week in 2014. Both the eastern and western regions of Kentucky appear to have stabilized their production but the state continues to see significant declines in both fields year over year. Year to date, production in Kentucky is off by 16.1%. Meanwhile production in the state is off by 10.9% for the previous 52 weeks, with western Kentucky reporting an 9.2% decline and eastern Kentucky operations reporting a decline of 12.6% year-over-year.
Wyoming coal production was also down for the week, coming in at 7.04 million tons, compared to 7.08 million tons the previous week, but down from the 7.91 million tons produced for the same week in 2014 – a decline of 11%. For the previous 52 weeks, Wyoming production is down 2.2%.
Illinois production also finished lower, at 1.16 million tons compared to 1.17 million tons last week. Illinois production remains up by 12.4% for the previous 52 weeks. Indiana production came in at 671,000 compared to 675,000 tons for the same week in 2014. Indiana production is also down by 6.5% over the previous 52 weeks. Pennsylvania production for the week was also down, to just 1.1 million tons versus 1.11 million tons for the previous week, and production in the Keystone State is down slightly (1.7%) for the previous 52 weeks.
Ohio production also finished slightly lower – at 365,000 tons compared to 367,000 tons the previous week. Ohio coal production is off 17.1% year-to-date and down 13.7% for the previous 52 weeks, compared to the same period ending in 2014. Virginia production decreased slightly this week – to 242,000 tons compared to 243,000 tons for last week. Virginia production year-to-date is off by 16.6% and down for the previous 52 weeks by 14.8%.
Coal prices on the spot market held steady this week. Central Appalachian coal held at $49.95 per ton or $2.00 per mmBtu. Northern Appalachian coal held at $52.25 per ton or $2.01 per mmBtu. Illinois Basin coal closed unchanged at $34.35 per ton or $1.46 per mmBtu, while Powder River Basin coal held at $11.55 per ton or $0.66 per mmBtu, and Uinta Basin coal prices were firm at $39.55 per ton or $1.69 per mmBtu.
Meanwhile, on the NYMEX Coal Futures board, Central Appalachian coal is down to $42.88 per ton compared to $43.14 per ton to last week, while Western Rail rose to $10.34 per short ton from $10.22 and Eastern Rail coal is up to $43.73 per short ton from $42.27 the previous week.
Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub fell 2 cents to finish the week at $2.87 per mmBtu. Natural gas producers again reported a significant increase in their stored reserves – up 52 billion cubic feet compared to the previous week, for a total of 2.88 trillion cubic feet in storage. This week’s working natural gas rotary rig count is up by 10 from last week to 884 working rigs. However, the count remains down by 1024 rigs from a year ago – down 54%. This number includes rigs working in both oil and gas plays.

U.S. COAL PRODUCTION UP AGAIN WEEK OVER WEEK: WEEKLY COAL PRODUCTION & PRICE REPORT: JULY 24, 2015

Coal Commodity Region/Fuel  Avg. BTU  SO2  Price Price/mmBTU
Central Appalachia 12,500 1.2  $54.90 $2.20
Northern Appalachia 13,000 3  $53.20 $2.05
Illinois Basin 11,800 5  $34.35 $1.46
Powder River Basin   8,800 0.8  $11.55 $0.66
Uinta Basin 11,700 0.8  $39.35 $1.68
Natural Gas (Henry Hub)    n/a 0.01      n/a $2.75

By T.L. HEADLEY, MBA, MA

Coal production in the U.S. rose sharply for the week ending July 18, compared to the terryprevious week – continuing the positive trend of the past few weeks.  However production continues to fall short of last year according to the latest report from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) for the week.
Production in the United States increased by 801,000 tons (4%) to finish the week at 16.40 million tons compared to last week’s total of 16.40 million tons. Meanwhile, production for the week is off by 2.24 million tons (11.5%) from the 19.44 million tons for the same week in 2014. Cumulative production for the year-to-date remains down as of July 18, coming in at 492.60 million tons compared to 538.54 million tons last year – a decline of 45.94 million tons or 8.5%. Production for the previous 52 weeks also trended lower – finishing at 951.19 million tons compared to 985.32 million tons for the same period ending in 2014 (-3.5%).
Mirroring the coal production, the number of coal rail car loadings increased, finishing the week up 21% from the previous week – 99,975 carloads from 82,924 carloads last year. However, loadings remain down sharply compared to the 2014 (-11.6%). Coal loadings also continued their decline year-to-date – off 9.4% from the same period in 2014.
Export and import data was not updated this week.
Electric output was up 6.5 percent compared to the same week in 2014, with 88 MWH of electricity produced compared to 82.61 MWH produced for the same period last year.
Domestic steel output was also up over the previous week.
According to numbers from the American Iron and Steel Institute, domestic raw steel production was up by 0.7% from the previous week, coming in at 1.75 million tons compared to 1.74 million tons last week with a capacity utilization factor of 73.3%.  However, steel production was down sharply from the same week last year, when 1.91 million tons were produced at a capacity utilization rate of 79.6%.  Steel production continues its slide year-to-date – down 7.7% to 48.7 million tons produced compared to 52.79 million tons for the same period last year.
In terms of regional coal production, all three major basins again reported higher production for the past week compared to the previous week, however all continue sharply lower compared to the same week in 2014.
The Appalachian Basin finished at 4.48 million tons, up from 4.28 million tons last week (+4%). Interior Basin production also finished up at 3.32 million tons compared to 3.16 million tons last week (+5%). Western production finished the week at 9.40 million tons from 8.96 million tons last week (+5%).  However production remains sharply below the same week in 2014. The Appalachian Basin is off by 12.9% from the same week last year. The Interior Basin is off 11.8% from 2014. And Western production is off 10.9% from the same period in 2014.
All three basins also continue to report significant declines in production year-to-date, with Appalachia down 12.6%, the Interior Basin off 7.2% and the Western Basin down 6.9%.
Looking at the previous 52 weeks, all three basins are trending lower for the period ending July 18, with the Appalachian Basin down 7.0%, the Interior Basin down 1.2% and the Western Region down 2.5%. Production in the Interior Basin fell to 180.95 million tons from 183.16 million tons for the same period in 2014. Appalachian production fell for the period to 248.65 million tons from 267.30 million tons. Meanwhile, Western production is down to 521.59 million tons from 534.87 million tons in 2014.
According to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training, coal production in the state now stands at 50.40 million tons through July 9. Of that total, 40.68 million tons was mined by underground operations and 9.71 million tons was produced by surface mining. A total of 112 mines are now reporting production through May 2015.
According to WV OMHST, coal mining employment in West Virginia has now dropped to 15,200 total miners, with 12,401 working underground and 2,799 working on surface operations. The office does not report data for contract miners or preparation plant workers on a weekly basis.
According to EIA, West Virginia coal production for the week totaled 1.96 million tons compared to 1.82 million tons for the previous week (+5.4%).  However, this is off by 12.8% from the same week in 2014.
Production increased in both the northern and southern coalfields of West Virginia compared to last week, by 4.9% in the northern field and 4.8% in the southern coalfields. Production is off in both areas year-to-date, by 1.1% and 17.7% respectively.
Coal production in Kentucky for the week ending July 18 was also up compared to the previous week but remains down from the same period in 2014. Kentucky production for the week was reported at 1.26 million tons, up from 1.20 million tons last week but down from the 1.51 million tons for the same week in 2014. Both the eastern and western regions of Kentucky reported significant increases in production from the previous week but the state continues to see significant declines in both fields year over year. Year to date, production in Kentucky is off by 16.2%. Meanwhile production in the state is off by 10.2% for the previous 52 weeks, with western Kentucky reporting an 8.6% decline and eastern Kentucky operations reporting a decline of 11.9% year-over-year.
Wyoming coal production was also up for the week, coming in at 6.83 million tons, compared to 6.52 million tons the previous week, but down from the 7.66 million tons produced for the same week in 2014 – a decline of 14.9%. For the previous 52 weeks, Wyoming production is down 2.0%.
Illinois production was up, finishing the week at 1.13 million tons compared to 1.08 million tons last week. Illinois production is also up by 13.1% for the previous 52 weeks. Indiana production is up as well, coming in at 651,000 tons compared to 621.000 tons for the same week in 2014. Indiana production is also down by 6.3% over the previous 52 weeks. Pennsylvania production for the week also finished up, to just 1.07 million tons versus 1.02 million tons for the previous week, but production in the Keystone State is now down slightly (0.9%) for the previous 52 weeks.
Ohio production also finished slightly higher – at 355,000 tons compared to 338,000 tons the previous week. Ohio coal production is off 17.4% year-to-date and down 13.5% for the previous 52 weeks, compared to the same period ending in 2014. Virginia production increased this week – to 235,000 tons compared to 224,000 tons for last week. Virginia production year-to-date is off by 16.6% and down for the previous 52 weeks by 14.5%.
Coal prices on the spot market held steady this week. Central Appalachian coal finished at $54.90 per ton or $2.20 per mmBtu. Northern Appalachian coal held at $53.20 per ton or $2.05 per mmBtu. Illinois Basin coal closed unchanged at $34.35 per ton or $1.46 per mmBtu, while Powder River Basin coal held at $11.55 per ton or $0.66 per mmBtu, and Uinta Basin coal prices were firm at $39.35 per ton or $1.68 per mmBtu.
Meanwhile, on the NYMEX Coal Futures board, Central Appalachian coal is up to $43.13 per ton compared to $41.03 per ton to last week, while Western Rail fell 1 cent to $10.04 per short ton and Eastern Rail coal is up to $42.33 per short ton.
Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub added 14 cents to finish the week at $2.89 per mmBtu. Natural gas producers again reported a significant increase in their stored reserves – up 99 billion cubic feet compared to the previous week, for a total of 2.77 trillion cubic feet in storage. This week’s working natural gas rotary rig count is up by 19 from last week to 876 working rigs. However, the count remains down by 1007 rigs from a year ago – down 53%. This number includes rigs working in both oil and gas plays.

WEEKLY COAL PRODUCTION AND PRICE REPORT 7/10/15: U.S. Coal Production Falls Sharply 

Commodity Region/Fuel Avg. BTU SO2 Price  Price/mmBTU
Central Appalachia  2,500 1.2 $54.80  $2.19
Northern Appalachia 13,000 3 $58.05  $2.23
Illinois Basin 11,800 5 $40.55  $1.73
Powder River Basin   8,800 0.8 $12.10  $0.69
Uinta Basin  11,700 0.8 $39.35  $1.68
Natural Gas (Henry Hub)     n/a 0.01   n/a  $2.79

By T.L. HEADLEY, MBA, MAT, MA

CHARLESTON — Coal production in the U.S. fell sharply for the week ending July 4. terryAnd the decline from last year steepened, with production off 16.6% from last year’s levels according to the latest report from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) for the week.

Production in the United States fell by 1.4 million tons (-9%) to finish the week at 14.15 million tons compared to last week’s total of 15.52 million tons. And production for the week is off by 2.8 million tons (16.6%) from the 16.96 million tons for the same week in 2014. Cumulative production for the year-to-date is also down sharply as of July 4, coming in at 459 million tons compared to 501.05 million tons last year – a decline of 42.05 million tons or 8.4%. Production for the previous 52 weeks also trended lower – finishing at 955.33 million tons compared to 985.78 million tons for the same period ending in 2014 (-3.1%).

The number of coal rail car loadings also fell sharply, finishing the week off 18.6% from the same period last year. Rail car loadings also continued their decline year-to-date – off 9.3% from the same period in 2014.

Coal export/import data was not updated again this week.

Electric output was down 4 percent compared to the same week in 2014. With 80.24 MWH of electricity produced compared to 83.61 MWH produced for the same period last year.

Domestic steel output, however, continued it’s near freefall this week.

According to numbers from the American Iron and Steel Institute, domestic raw steel production was down 11.4% for the week, at 1.68 million tons, with a capacity utilization factor of 71.2%, compared to the same week in 2014. And steel production continues its slide year-to-date – down 7.6% to 45.24 million tons produced compared to 48.96 million tons for the same period last year.

In terms of regional coal production, all three major basins reported sharply lower over the past week compared to the previous week, and all remain down sharply compared to the same week in 2014.

The Appalachian Basin finished at 3.76 million tons, sliding from 4.25 million tons last week (-11.6%). Interior Basin production also finished down, at 2.71 million tons compared to 2.93 million tons last week (-7.6%). Western production finished the week at 7.69 million tons from 8.34 million tons last week (-7.8%). And these numbers are sharply below the same week in 2014. The Appalachian Basin is off by 17.8% from the same week last year. The Interior Basin is off 16.2% from 2014. And Western production is off 16.1% from the same period in 2014.

All three basins also continue to report significant declines in production year-to-date, with Appalachia down 12.7%, the Interior Basin off 7% and the Western Basin down 6.7%.

Looking at the previous 52 weeks, all three basins are trending lower for the period ending June 20, with the Appalachian Basin down 6.5%, the Interior Basin down 0.7% and the Western Region down 2.2%. Production in the Interior Basin fell to 181.76 million tons from 183.05 million tons for the same period in 2014. Appalachian production fell for the period to 249.87 million tons from 267.18 million tons. Meanwhile, Western production is down to 523.69 million tons from 535.56 million tons in 2014.

According to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training, coal production in the state now stands at 44.05 million tons through July 2. Of that total, 35.27 million tons was by underground operations and 8.78 million tons was produced by surface mining. A total of 99 mines are now reporting production through May 2015.

According to WV OMHST, coal mining employment in West Virginia has now dropped to 15,296 total miners, with 12,459 working underground and 2,837 working on surface operations. The office does not report data for contract miners or preparation plant workers on a weekly basis.

According to EIA, West Virginia coal production for the week totaled 1.59 million tons compared to 1.78 million tons for the previous week (10.3%). And this is off by 16.7% from the same week in 2014.
Production declined in both the northern and southern coalfields of West Virginia compared to last week, by 9.6% in the northern field and 10.8% in the southern coalfields. Production is off in both areas year-to-date, by 1.1% and 17.7% respectively.

Coal production in Kentucky for the week ending July 4 was also down sharply compared to the previous week but remains down sharply from the same period in 2014. Kentucky production for the week was reported at 1.06 compared to 1.20 million tons last week and 1.34 million tons for the same week in 2014. Both the eastern and western regions of Kentucky reported significant declines in production from the previous week and the state continues to see significant declines in both fields year over year. Year to date, production in Kentucky is off by 16.3%. Meanwhile production in the state is off by 9.6% for the previous 52 weeks, with western Kentucky reporting an 8.1% decline and eastern Kentucky operations reporting a decline of 11.2% year-over-year.

Wyoming coal production was also down for the week compared to 2014, coming in at 5.58 million tons, compared to 6.02 million tons the previous week, and down from the 6.64 million tons produced for the same week in 2014 – a decline of 16%. For the previous 52 weeks, Wyoming production is down 1.8%.

Illinois production remains down, finishing the week at 921,000 tons compared to 973,000 tons last year. However, Illinois production is up by 13.8% for the previous 52 weeks. Indiana production is down as well, coming in at 539,000 tons compared to 655,000 tons for the week in 2014. Indiana production is also down by 6.1% over the previous 52 weeks. Pennsylvania production for the week finished down sharply, to just 889,000 million tons versus 1.04 million tons for the same week in 2014, and is now down slightly (0.1%) for the previous 52 weeks.

Ohio production is off as well – at 302,000 tons compared to 381,000 tons in 2014. Ohio coal production is off 13.3 percent for the previous 52 weeks, compared to the same period ending in 2014. Virginia production fell sharply this week – to just 199,000 tons compared to 254,000 tons for the same week in 2014 (-21.7%). Virginia production for the previous 52 weeks is off by 14.2%.

Coal prices on the spot market edged higher across the board this week. Central Appalachian coal rose slightly more than $1 to $54.80 per ton or $2.19 per mmBtu. Northern Appalachian coal jumped by $1.15 to come in at $58.75 per ton or $2.23 per mmBtu. Illinois Basin coal added 40 cents to close at $40.85 per ton or $1.73 per mmBtu, while Powder River Basin coal added 55 cents to close at $12.10 per ton or $0.69 per mmBtu, and Uinta Basin coal prices added 25 cents to finish at $39.35 per ton or $1.68 per mmBtu.

Meanwhile, on the NYMEX Coal Futures board, Central Appalachian coal was trading at $40.82 per ton while Western Rail was selling at $10.05 per short ton and Eastern Rail was selling at $41.33 per short ton.

Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub finished the week down $2.79 per mmBtu. Natural gas producers again reported a significant increase in their stored reserves – up 69 billion cubic feet compared to the previous week, for a total of 2.58 trillion cubic feet in storage. This week’s working natural gas rotary rig count remained at 863 up by one from last week and  down by 1,012 rigs from a year ago – down 54%. This number includes rigs working in both oil and gas plays.

WEEKLY COAL PRODUCTION AND PRICE REPORT 6/19/15: U.S. Coal Production Up 1.5 Percent Over Last Week

Coal Commodity Region/Fuel       Avg. BTU SO2 Price  Price/mmBTU
Central Appalachia          12,500 1.2 $52.75  $2.11
Northern Appalachia          13,000 3 $58.75  $2.26
Illinois Basin          11,800 5 $40.45  $1.71
Powder River Basin            8,800 0.8 $11.55  $0.66
Uinta Basin          11,700 0.8 $39.20  $1.66
Natural Gas (Henry Hub)             n/a 0.01   n/a  $2.78

By T.L. HEADLEY, MBA, MA
CHARLESTON — Coal production in the U.S. finished the week up again compared to theterry previous week. However production continues to be down from last year — off 17.3% from last year’s levels (18.57 million tons), according to the latest report from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) for the week ending June 13.

Production in the United States rose by 232 thousand tons (1.5%) to finish the week at 15.36 million tons compared to last week’s total of 15.10 million tons. Production for the week, however, is off by 3.31 million tons (17.3%) from the 18.57 million tons for the same week in 2014. Cumulative production for the year-to-date is also down sharply as of June 13, coming in at 409.38 million tons compared to 446.54 million tons last year – a decline of 37.16 million tons or 8.3%. Production for the previous 52 weeks also trended lower – finishing at 960.08 million tons compared to 985.94 million tons for the same period ending in 2014 (-2.6%).

The number of rail car loadings was remains down sharply, finishing the week down 18.4% from the same period last year. Rail car 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 percent 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 tons, with a capacity utilization factor of 73.9%, compared to the same week in 2014. And steel production continues its slide year-to-date – down 7.3% to 40.11 million tons produced compared to 43.28 million tons for the same period last year. As noted in previous reports, steel production is a strong indicator of the status of the broader economy and the continued declines we are seeing point to declines in durable goods orders and a softening of the national economy in the near- to mid-term.

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 4.20 million tons, ticking up from 4.14 million tons last week. Interior Basin production also finished up slightly, at 2.90 million tons compared to 2.85 million tons last week. Western production finished the week at 8.25 million tons from 8.13 million tons 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 June 13, 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 182.15million tons from 183.16 million tons for the same period in 2014. Appalachian production fell for the period to 255.05 million tons from 267.46 million tons. Meanwhile, Western production is down to 522.88 million tons from 535.32 million tons 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 ticked up for the week ending June 13.

According to EIA, West Virginia coal production for the week totaled 1.76 million tons compared to 1.73 million tons 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 percent in both areas, however year-to-date, production is off by 3% and 16% respectively.

Coal production in Kentucky for the week ending June 13 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 tons last week and 1.50 million tons for the same week in 2014, with the state seeing significant declines in both its eastern and western fields year over year. 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% year-over-year.

Wyoming coal production was up slightly for the week compared to 2014, coming in at 5.96 million tons, compared to 5.87 million tons the previous week, but was down from the 7.14 million tons 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 tons compared to 1.03 million tons for the same period in 2014. Indiana production is down as well, coming in at 591,000 tons compared to 729,000 tons for the week in 2014. Pennsylvania production for the week finished down slightly, to 1.04 million tons versus 1.18 million tons 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 tons compared to 476,000 tons in 2014. Ohio coal production is off 12.7 percent for the previous 52 weeks, compared to the same period ending in 2014. Virginia production was also off this week – to 222,000 tons compared to 298,000 tons for the same week in 2014. Virginia production for the previous 52 weeks is off by 13.2 percent.

Coal prices on the spot market were unchanged this week. Central Appalachian coal held at $52.75 per ton or $2.11 per mmBtu. Northern Appalachian coal held at $58.75 per ton or $2.27 per mmBtu. Illinois Basin coal prices held at $40.45 per ton or $1.71 per mmBtu, while Powder River Basin coal remained steady at $11.55 per ton or $0.66 per mmBtu, and Uinta Basin coal prices held firm at $39.20 per ton or $1.68 per mmBtu.

Meanwhile, on the NYMEX Coal Futures board, Central Appalachian coal was trading at $41.92 per ton while Western Rail was selling at $9.97 per short ton and Eastern Rail was selling at $38.82 per short ton.

Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub finished the week up slightly at $2.78 per mmBtu. Natural gas producers again reported a significant increase in their stored reserves – up 111 billion cubic feet compared to the previous week, for a total of 2.33 trillion cubic feet 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.

WEEKLY COAL PRODUCTION AND PRICE REPORT 6/12/15: U.S. Coal Production Essentially Unchanged from Last Week

Coal Commodity Region/Fuel          Avg. BTU SO2 Price  Price/mmBTU
Central Appalachia              12,500 1.2  $52.75  $2.11
Northern Appalachia              13,000 3  $58.75  $2.26
Illinois Basin              11,800 5  $40.45  $1.71
Powder River Basin                8,800 0.8  $11.55  $0.66
Uinta Basin              11,700 0.8  $39.30  $1.68
Natural Gas (Henry Hub)                 n/a 0.01       n/a  $2.78

By T.L. HEADLEY, MBA, MAT, MA
CHARLESTON — Coal production in the U.S. finished the week up slightly compared to terrylast week, but continues to be down from last year. Production for the week ending June 6th rose 3/10ths of one percent from last week, but remains 18% below last year’s levels, according to the latest report from the Energy Information Agency (EIA).
Production in the United States rose by 56 thousand tons to finish the week at 15.12 million tons compared to last week’s total of 15.07 million tons. Production for the week, however, is off by 3.31 million tons from the 18.44 million tons for the same week in 2014. Cumulative production for the year-to-date is also down sharply as of June 6, coming in at 394.03 million tons compared to 427.99 million tons last year – a decline of 33.96 million tons or 7.9%. Production for the previous 52 weeks also trended lower – finishing at 963.29 million tons compared to 987.50 million tons for the same period ending in 2014 (-2.5%).
The number of rail car loadings was also down sharply, finishing the week down 19% from the same period last year. Rail car loadings also continued their decline year-to-date – off 7.6% from the same period in 2014.
Coal exports (reported through April) are sharply lower compared to the same week last year. Metallurgical exports were down 15.6% to 4.23 million tons compared to 5.01 million tons for the same week in 2014. Steam coal exports were down 5.4% to 2.91 million tons compared to 3.07 million tons compared to last year. Imports of coal were also down – off 5.4% to 879,000 tons compared to 930,000 tons in 2014.  However, year-to-date imported coal to the U.S. is up 15.1 percent to 3.89 million tons, compared to 3.38 million tons in 2014.
Electric output was off 6 percent compared to the same week in 2014. With 74.76 MWH of electricity produced compared to 79.56 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 1.72 million tons, with a capacity utilization factor of 72.8%, compared to the same week in 2014.  And steel production continues its slide year-to-date – down 7.3% to 38.36 million tons produced compared to 41.39 million tons for the same period last year. As noted in previous reports, steel production is a strong indicator of the status of the broader economy and the continued declines we are seeing point to declines in durable goods orders and a softening of the national economy in the near- to mid-term.
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 4.14 million tons, ticking up from 4.13 million tons last week. Interior Basin production also finished up slightly, at 2.85 million tons compared to 2.84 million tons last week. Western production finished the week at 8.12 million tons from 8.10 million tons 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 16% 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 9.6%, the Interior Basin off 7.1% and the Western Basin down 7.4%.
Looking at the previous 52 weeks, all three basins are trending lower for the period ending June 6, with the Appalachian Basin down 4.5%, the Interior Basin down 0.5% and the Western Region down 2.1%. Production in the Interior Basin fell to 182.64 million tons from 183.52 million tons for the same period in 2014. Appalachian production fell for the period to 256.10 million tons from 268.08 million tons. Meanwhile, Western production is down to 524.55 million tons from 535.90 million tons in 2014.
According to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, coal production in the state for 2015 (reported through June 11, 2015) stands at 40.53 million tons year-to-date, with 32.76 million tons produced underground and 7.77 million tons produced through surface operations. The number of mines reporting production dropped to just 111. The number of mines reporting production is subject to change as additional reports are submitted.
The number of active miners working, however, ticked down, coming in at 15,395 compared to 15,461 last week. Underground operations had 12,512 direct mining employees while surface operations felt to 2,878 employees. Again, we expect those numbers to change with additional reports.
Production rose slightly in both the northern and southern coalfields of West Virginia compared to last week, by 4/10ths of a percent in both areas, however year-to-date, production is off by 2.7% and 15.5% respectively.
Coal production in Kentucky for the week ending June 6 was up slightly from the previous week but remains down sharply from the same period in 2014. Kentucky production for the week was reported at 1.17 compared to 1.16 million tons last week and 1.49 million tons for the same week in 2014, with the state seeing significant declines in both its eastern and western fields year over year. Year to date, production in Kentucky is off by 10.9 percent.
Meanwhile, coal production in Kentucky is off by 6.6% for the previous 52 weeks, with western Kentucky reporting a 6.2% decline and eastern Kentucky operations reporting a decline of 6.9% year-over-year.
Wyoming coal production was down sharply for the week compared to 2014, coming in at 5.87 million tons, compared to 5.85 million tons the previous week, but was down from the 7.08 million tons produced for the same week in 2014 – a decline of 17.1%. For the previous 52 weeks, Wyoming production is down 2.7%. Illinois production also finished sharply lower for the week, coming in at 927,000 tons compared to 1.02 million tons for the same period in 2014. Indiana production is down as well, coming in at 582,000 tons compared to 724,000 tons for the week in 2014. Pennsylvania production for the week finished down slightly, to 1.03 million tons versus 1.17 million tons for the same week in 2014, but remains up 5.6% for the previous 52 weeks. Ohio production is off as well – dropping to 333,000 tons compared to 473,000 tons in 2014. Ohio coal production is off 12.5 percent for the previous 52 weeks, compared to the same period ending in 2014. Virginia production was also off this week – to 219,000 tons compared to 296,000 tons for the same week in 2014. Virginia production for the previous 52 weeks is off by 13.1 percent.
Coal prices on the spot market were unchanged this week. Central Appalachian coal held at $52.75 per ton or $2.11 per mmBtu. Northern Appalachian coal held at $58.75 per ton or $2.27 per mmBtu. Illinois Basin coal prices held at $40.45 per ton or $1.71 per mmBtu, while Powder River Basin coal remained steady at $11.55 per ton or $0.66 per mmBtu, and Uinta Basin coal prices held firm at $39.20 per ton or $1.68 per mmBtu.
Meanwhile, on the NYMEX Coal Futures board, Central Appalachian coal was trading at $44.3per ton while Western Rail was selling at $9.95 per short ton and Eastern Rail was selling at $41.87 per short ton.
Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub finished the week up down 13 cents to $2.65 per mmBtu. Natural gas producers again reported a significant increase in their stored reserves – up 132 billion cubic feet compared to the previous week, for a total of 2.23 trillion cubic feet in storage. This week’s working natural gas rotary rig count remained at 868, down by 7 from last week and down from 1,860 a year ago – down 53.4%. This number includes rigs working in both oil and gas plays.

WEEKLY COAL PRODUCTION AND PRICE REPORT 5/25/15

Coal Commodity Region/Fuel Avg. BTU SO2 Price  Price/mmBTU
Central Appalachia 12,500 1.2  $52.85  $2.11
Northern Appalachia 13,000 3  $58.90  $2.27
Illinois Basin 11,800 5  $40.45  $1.71
Powder River Basin   8,800 0.8  $11.55  $0.66
Uinta Basin 11,700 0.8  $39.30  $1.68
Natural Gas (Henry Hub)     n/a 0.01     n/a  $2.72

By T.L. HEADLEY, MBA, MAT, MA

CHARLESTON — Coal production in the U.S. continued to fall this past week. Production for the week ending May 15 was fully 14.2% below last year’s levels, according to the latest report from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) and the National Mining Association.

Production in the United States is down by 2.66 million tons for the week ending May 15 compared to the same time last year. Production for the week stood at 16.28 million tons compared to 18.69 million tons for the same week in 2014. Cumulative production for the year-to-date is also down sharply as of May 15 coming in at 347.78 million tons compared to 371.47 million tons last year – a decline of 23.69 million tons or 6.4%.  Production for the previous 52 weeks also trended lower – finishing at 973.53 million tons compared to 986.40 million tons for the same period ending in 2014 (-1.3%).

The number of rail car loadings was also down sharply, finishing the week down 15.3% from the same period last year. Rail car loadings are also down sharply year-to-date – off 6.1% from the same period in 2014.

Electric output was down slightly – by 0.62% for the week ending May 15 – and also down slightly (-0.3%) year-to-date. Steel output continued its decline, down 8.3% for the week, finished at 1.71 million tons produced, with a capacity utilization factor of 72.1%, and it continues its slide year-to-date — down 7.2% to 33.21 million tons produced compared to 35.79 million tons for the same period last year. As noted in previous reports, production is a strong indicator of the status of the broader economy and the continued declines we are seeing point to declines in durable goods orders and a softening of the national economy in the near- to mid-term.

In terms of regional coal production, all three major basins reporting essentially unchanged production from the previous week.

The Appalachian Basin held steady for the week – at 4.39 million tons. Interior Basin production was also unchanged for the week –finishing at 3.02 million tons. Western production was down slightly this week, to 8.61 million tons from 8.62 million tons last week. All three basins continue to report significant declines in production year-to-date, with Appalachia down 7.8%, the Interior Basin off 5.8% and the Western Basin down 5.8%.

Looking at the previous 52 weeks, Appalachian and Western Basin production continued to be down for the period ending May 15,  declining 3.3% and 0.9% respectively. Meanwhile production in the Interior Basin was up 0.4% for the period — increasing slightly to 184.21 million tons from 183.52 million tons for the same period in 2014. Appalachian production fell for the period to 259.44 million tons from 268.27 million tons. Meanwhile, Western production is down to 529.88 million tons from 534.61 million tons in 2014.

According to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, coal production in the state for 2015 (reported through May 14, 2015) stands at 33.31 million tons year-to-date, with 27.01 million tons produced underground and 6.29 million tons produced through surface operations. The number of mines reporting production remained steady at 125. The number of mines reporting production is subject to change as additional reports are submitted. The number of active miners working ticked down, coming in at 15,512 compared to 15,624 last week. Underground operations had 12,604 direct mining employees while surface operations finished up at 2,908 employees. Again, we expect those numbers to change with additional reports.

Coal production in Kentucky for the week ending May 15 dropped to 1.23 million tons compared to 1.51 for the same week in 2014, with the state seeing significant declines in both its eastern and western fields.

Meanwhile, coal production in Kentucky is off by 5.5% for the previous 52 weeks, with both western Kentucky and eastern Kentucky operations reporting declines of 5.5% year-over-year.

Wyoming coal production was also significantly down for the week compared to 2014, coming in at 6.22 million tons, off from 7.18 million tons – or a decline of 13.4%. For the previous 52 weeks, Wyoming production is down 1.5%. Illinois production also finished sharply lower for the week, coming in at 982,000 tons compared to 1.03 million tons for the same period in 2014. Indiana production is down as well, coming in at 617,000 tons compared to 734,000 tons for the week in 2014. Pennsylvania production for the week is also down sharply, to 1.09 million tons versus 1.20 million tons for the same week in 2014, but remains up 7.6% for the previous 52 weeks. Ohio production is off as well — dropping to 353,000 tons compared to 479,000 tons in 2014. Virginia production was also off this week – to 232,000 tons compared to 300,000 tons for the same week in 2014. Virginia production for the previous 52 weeks is off by 12.2 percent.

Coal prices on the spot market remained mostly steady this week. Central Appalachian coal held at $52.85 per ton or $2.11 per mmBtu. Northern Appalachian dipped $2.00 per ton to $59.90 from $60.90 per ton or $2.27 per mmBtu. Illinois Basin coal prices were firm at $40.45 per ton or $1.73 per mmBtu, while Powder River Basin coal remained steady at $11.55 per ton or $0.66 per mmBtu, and Uinta Basin coal prices were unchanged at $39.30 per ton or $1.70 per mmBtu.

Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub finished the week up 13 cents to $2.88 per million Btu. Natural gas producers again reported a significant increase in their stored reserves – up 111 billion cubic feet compared to the previous week, for a total of 1.9 trillion cubic feet in storage. This week’s working natural gas rotary rig count dropped to 885, from 888 last week and 1,860 a year ago. This number includes rigs working in both oil and gas plays.

About the Author: T.L. Headley is an award-winning, veteran public relations professional and former business journalist. He has more than 23 years of experience in mass communications, including service as managing editor of several newspapers, senior writer for a business journal, director of public relations for two major state agencies as well as managing the public relations and communications for the largest state coal mining trade association in the nation, and as an independent public relations consultant.

WEEKLY COAL PRODUCTION AND PRICE REPORT 5/1/15

Commodity/Fuel Avg. BTU SO2   Price Price/mmBTU
Central Appalachia 12,500 1.2  $ 52.88  $ 2.12
Northern Appalachia 13,000 3.0  $ 60.92  $ 2.34
Illinois Basin 11,800 5.0  $ 40.77  $ 1.73
Powder River Basin   8,800 0.8  $ 11.55  $ 0.66
Uinta Basin  11,700 0.8  $ 39.82  $ 1.70
Natural Gas (Henry Hub)     n/a 0.01      n/a  $ 2.50

By T.L. HEADLEY, MBA, MAT, MA

CHARLESTON — Coal production in the U.S. again finished lower this past week, terryaccording to the latest report from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) and the National Mining Association.

Production in the United States is down by 2.2 million tons (11.6%) for the week ending April 25 compared to the same time last year. Production for the week stood at 16.92 million tons compared to 19.14 million tons for the same week in 2014. Cumulative production for the year-to-date is also down sharply as of April 25 coming in at 298.36 million tons compared to 314.85 million tons last year – a decline of 16.49 million tons or 5.2%.  Production for the previous 52 weeks was also lower – finishing at 980.67 million tons compared to 113.31 million tons for the same period ending in 2014.

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 sharply year-to-date – off 5.2% from the same period in 2014.

Electric output was up slightly – by 1.1% for the week ending April 25 – but is down (-0.3%) year-to-date. Steel output continued its decline, down 7.3% for the week, finished at 1.71 million tons produced, with a capacity utilization factor of 76.6%, and it continues its slide year-to-date — down 6.9% to 28.12 million tons produced compared to 30.22 million tons for the same period last year. A decline in steel production is considered a leading indicator of the broader economy and the continued declines we are seeing in steel production usually translate into declines in durable goods orders and a softening of the national economy.

Looking at regional coal production the results were mixed.

The Appalachian Basin ended down for the week – at 4.61 million tons from 4.66 million tons the previous week. Interior Basin production was down for the week –finishing at 3.17 million tons from 3.20 million tons last week. Western production was also down this week, to 9.04 million tons from 9.13 million tons last 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 were down for the period ending April 25, 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 tons from 183.72 million tons in 2014. Appalachian production fell to 261.93 million tons from 268.75 million tons for the same period ending in 2014. Meanwhile, Western production is down to 533.55 million tons from 533.84 million tons 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 tons year-to-date, with 21.24 million tons produced underground and 5.44 million tons produced through surface operations. The number of mines reporting production in March fell to 93. The number of mines reporting production is subject to change as additional reports are submitted. The number of active miners working ticked upward, 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 2,950 employees. Again, we expect those numbers to change with additional reports.

Coal production in Kentucky for the week ending April 25 ticked down to 1.30 million tons compared to 1.55 for the same week in 2014, with the state seeing declines in both its eastern and western fields.

Meanwhile, coal production in Kentucky is off by 4.9% for the previous 52 weeks, with 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 tons, off from 7.36 million tons for the same week in 2014 – down 12%. For the year, Wyoming production is down 0.7%. Illinois production is also down for the week, coming in at 1.03 million tons compared to 1.06 for the same period in 2014. Indiana production is down as well, coming in at 647,000 tons compared to 752,000 tons for the week in 2014. Pennsylvania production for the week is also down slightly, to 1.14 million tons versus 1.23 million tons for the same week in 2014, but is up 9.1% for the previous 52 weeks. Ohio production is off as well — dropping to 371,000 tons compared to 491,000 tons in 2014. Virginia production was also off this week – to 243,000 tons compared to 307,000 tons for the same week in 2014. Virginia production for the previous 52 weeks is off by 11.7 percent.

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

Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub fell to $2.50 per million Btu. Natural gas producers reported an increase in their stored reserves – up 90 billion cubic feet compared to the previous week. This week’s working natural gas rotary rig count dropped to 932, from 954 last week and 1,861 a year ago. This number includes rigs working in both oil and gas plays.

WEEKLY COAL PRODUCTION AND PRICE REPORT 4/24/15

Commodity/Fuel Avg. BTU SO2   Price Price/mmBTU
Central Appalachia 12,500 1.2  $ 52.88  $ 2.12
Northern Appalachia 13,000 3.0  $ 60.92  $ 2.34
Illinois Basin 11,800 5.0  $ 40.77  $ 1.73
Powder River Basin   8,800 0.8  $ 11.55  $ 0.66
Uinta Basin  11,700 0.8  $ 39.82  $ 1.70
Natural Gas (Henry Hub)     n/a 0.01      n/a  $ 2.69 

By T.L. HEADLEY, MBA, MAT, MA

CHARLESTON — Coal production in the U.S. finished sharply lower this past week, accordingterry to the latest report from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) and the National Mining Association.

Production in the United States is down by 2.2 million tons (11.6%) for the week ending April 19 compared to the same time last year. Production for the week stood at 16.99 million tons compared to 19.12 million tons for the same week in 2014. Cumulative production for the year-to-date is also down sharply as of April 11 coming in at 281.54 million tons compared to 295.7 million tons last year – a decline of 14.16 million tons or 4.8%.

The number of rail car loadings was also down sharply, finishing the week down12.5% 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 was up slightly – by 0.1% for the week ending April 19 – but is down (-0.4%) year-to-date. Steel output continued its decline, down 10.1% for the week to just 1.66 million tons produced, with a capacity utilization factor of 70%, and it continues its slide year-to-date — down 6.9% to 26.42 million tons produced compared to 28.38 million tons last year. A decline in steel production is considered a leading indicator of the broader economy and the continued declines we are seeing in steel production usually translate into declines in durable goods orders and a softening of the national economy.

Looking at regional coal production, the picture remains mixed.

The Appalachian Basin finished down for the week – at 4.66 million tons from 4.94 million tons the previous week. Interior Basin production was also down for the week – settling at 3.20 million tons from 3.40 million tons last week. Western production is also down this week, to 9.13 million tons from 9.68 million tons last week. All three basins report significant 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 to 262.74 million tons from 268.59 million tons in 2014. Interior Basin production increased to 185.51 million tons from 183.57 million tons for the same period ending in 2014. Meanwhile, Western production is up to 534.70 million tons from 533.04 million tons 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 tons year-to-date, with 21.24 million tons produced underground and 5.44 million tons produced through surface operations. The number of mines reporting production in March fell to 93. The number of mines reporting production is subject to change as additional reports are submitted. The number of active miners working ticked upward, 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 2,950 employees. Again, we expect those numbers to change with additional reports.

Coal production in Kentucky for the week ending April 11 ticked down to 1.31 million tons compared to 1.55 for the same week in 2014, with the state seeing declines in both its eastern and western fields.

Meanwhile, coal production in Kentucky 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 tons, off from 7.83 million tons for the same week in 2014 – down 17%. For the year, Wyoming production is down 0.4%. Illinois production is also down for the week, coming in at 1.04 million tons compared to 1.06 for the same period in 2014. Indiana production is down as well, coming in at 654,000 tons compared to 754,000 tons for the week in 2014. Pennsylvania production for the week is also down slightly, to 1.15 million tons versus 1.22 million tons for the same week in 2014, but is up 9.7% for the previous 52 weeks. Ohio production is off as well — dropping to 374,000 tons compared to 493,000 tons in 2014. Virginia production was also off this week – to 246,000 tons compared to 308,000 tons for the same week in 2014. Virginia production for the previous 52 weeks is off by 11.4 percent.

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

Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub fell to $2.61 per million Btu. Natural gas producers reported an increase in their stored reserves – up 15 billion cubic feet compared to the previous week. This week’s working natural gas rotary rig count dropped sharply to 932, from 954 last week and 1,861a 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.

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