WEEKLY COAL PRODUCTION & PRICE REPORT: August 15, 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, MAT, MA

CHARLESTON – Coal production in the U.S. for the week ending August 15 rose for the second Terry 2straight week, resuming a recent upward trend, but continues to fall short of last year according to the latest report from the Energy Information Agency (EIA).
Production in the United States was up by 70,000 tons (.5%) to finish the week at 18.30 million tons compared to last week’s total of 18.23 million tons. Meanwhile, production for the week is off by 2.1 million tons (10.3%) from the 20.40 million tons for the same week in 2014. Cumulative production for the year-to-date remains sharply down as of August 15, coming in at 564.67 million tons compared to 618.46 million tons last year – a decline of 53.79 million tons or 8.7%. Production for the previous 52 weeks also trended lower – finishing at 943.21 million tons compared to 984.25 million tons for the same period ending in 2014 (-4.2%).
Mirroring the coal production, the number of coal rail car loadings declined, finishing the week down 10.6% from same week in 2014 – to 106,339 carloads from 118,954 carloads last year. Coal loadings also continued their decline year-to-date – off 9.5% from the same period in 2014.
Coal exports were not updated this week.
Electric output was up 5.8% compared to the same week in 2014, with 88.04 MWH of electricity produced compared to 83.23 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 down 1.5% from the previous week, coming in at 1.74 million tons compared to 1.77 million tons last week with a capacity utilization factor of 73.9%.  However, steel production was down sharply from the same week last year, when 1.93 million tons were produced at a capacity utilization rate of 80.2%. Steel production continues its slide year-to-date – down 7.9% to 57.51 million tons produced compared to 62.41 million tons for the same period last year.
In terms of regional coal production, all three major basins were only slightly changed for the week ending August 15 compared to the previous week, but all continue sharply lower compared to the same week in 2014.
The Appalachian Basin finished at 4.77 million tons, up from 4.75 million tons last week (.04%). Interior Basin production also finished slightly up at 3.53 million tons compared to 3.51 million tons last week (.05%). Western production finished the week higher at 10 million tons from 9.96 million tons last week (.04%).  Production remains sharply below the same week in 2014. The Appalachian Basin is off by 11.2% from the same week last year. The Interior Basin is off 10.7% from 2014. And Western production is off 9.8% from the same period in 2014.
All three basins also continue to report significant declines in production year-to-date, with Appalachia down 12.4%, the Interior Basin off 7.6% and the Western Basin down 7.2%.
Looking at the previous 52 weeks, all three basins continue lower for the period ending August 15, with the Appalachian Basin down 7.9%, the Interior Basin down 2.2% and the Western Region down 3.0%. Production in the Interior Basin fell to 179.37 million tons from 183.44 million tons for the same period in 2014. Appalachian production fell for the period to 246.27 million tons from 267.47 million tons. Meanwhile, Western production is down to 517.57 million tons from 533.34 million tons in 2014.
According to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training, coal production in the state now stands at 58.79 million tons through August 20. Of that total, 46.87 million tons was mined by underground operations and 11.92 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 fell slightly to 15,069 total miners, with 12,235 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 2.03 million tons compared to 2.02 million tons for the previous week (.4%).  Meanwhile, West Virginia production is off by 10.1% from the same week in 2014.
Production was up in both the northern and southern coalfields of West Virginia compared to last week, by .04% and .02% respectively. However, production is off in both areas year-to-date, by 1.1% and 17.5% 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 16.0%. Meanwhile production in the state is off by 11.4% for the previous 52 weeks, with western Kentucky reporting a 9.7% decline and eastern Kentucky operations reporting a decline of 13.1% year-over-year.
Wyoming coal production was also down for the week, coming in at 7.27 million tons, compared to 7.24 million tons the previous week, but down from the 8.05 million tons produced for the same week in 2014 – a decline of 9.7%. For the previous 52 weeks, Wyoming production is down 2.3%.
Illinois production also finished unchanged at 1.20 million tons the same as last week. Illinois production remains up by 11.8% for the previous 52 weeks. Indiana production came in at 693,000 compared to 690,000 tons for the same week in 2014. Indiana production is down by 6.6% over the previous 52 weeks. Pennsylvania production for the week was also up, to just 1.14 million tons versus 1.13 million tons for the previous week, and production in the Keystone State is down slightly (-2.4%) for the previous 52 weeks.
Ohio production also finished slightly higher – at 377,000 tons compared to 376,000 tons the previous week. Ohio coal production is off 16.8% 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 250,000 tons compared to 249,000 tons for last week. Virginia production year-to-date is off by 16.5% and down for the previous 52 weeks by 15.0%.
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 $42.77 per ton compared to $42.88 per ton to last week, while Western Rail declined to $10.60 per short ton from $10.65 and Eastern Rail coal is up to $44.19 per short ton from $44.00 the previous week.
Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub rose 1 cent to finish the week at $2.88 per mmBtu. Natural gas producers again reported a significant increase in their stored reserves – up 65 billion cubic feet compared to the previous week, for a total of 2.98 trillion cubic feet in storage. This week’s working natural gas rotary rig count is up by 1 from last week to 885 working rigs. However, the count remains down b 1,011 rigs from a year ago – down 55.5%. This number includes rigs working in both oil and gas plays.

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A Response to the Editorial of August 5 by the Charleston Gazette-Mail: Appalachia not forgotten in EPA rules

By T.L. HEADLEY, MBA, MAT, MA
I would agree wholeheartedly that the EPA has “not forgotten” Appalachia in makingterry its new rules. In fact, it has TARGETED Appalachia with those rules, doing its best to destroy an entire industry and the communities that depend on it.
I would also say, echoing my dear, sweet grandmother, “it is better to remain silent and have people believe you a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
In making their assertion for the umpteenth time that “there is no war on coal,” the Gazette editors show they are either ignorant of reality or actively involved in attempts to deceive the public.
Fact 1: In 2008, one year before Obama, West Virginia produced 160 million tons of coal and there were 24,000 people actively employed directly as coal miners in the state. Each of those 24,000 jobs supported another five jobs for a total of 120,000 indirect jobs.
Fact 2: Obama said clearly that he plans to “bankrupt” those who want to build coal-fired power plants during the campaign. Joe Biden makes clear there will “be no coal-fired power plants here.”
Fact 3: Literally the day after Obama takes office the EPA begins a regulatory assault on coal mining that continues to this day — an assault that goes far beyond the congressionally mandated authority provided to EPA.
Fact 4: Regulations like the MATS Rule, like the Existing Source and New Source Performance Standards, and many, many others have resulted in the closure or pending closure of hundreds of coal fired power plants. It has also essentially stopped the construction of any new power plants or any major overhauls to existing ones that might trigger NSPS standards.
Fact 5: Even today, that “cheap natural gas” is higher on a per million Btu basis than any coal. Despite this, “cheap natural gas” is trading at least 50 percent below its market breakeven price (the price to produce it). IF any of you have the slightest knowledge of basic market economics, you will understand that this cannot continue and the “cheap natural gas” will have to “skyrocket” in price.
Fact 6: Utility executives are warning that the forced changes are endangering the grid. In fact, Mark Dempsey of Appalachian Power said in no uncertain terms at a recent meeting in Charleston that “if we have another winter like we had the last two years there WILL be blackouts and brownouts.”
Fact 7: According to those same utility executives, consumer rates for electricity in West Virginia have doubled in the past seven years — yes, they are up 100%+ since Obama took office and still more increases are pending. These increased rates are creating energy poverty in the state, taking more and more of the monthly income of retirees and those on fixed income to simply pay for their electric bills.
Fact 8: Obama Administration officials have themselves characterized the regulatory assault on coal as a “war on coal.” I would think they would know better than the editors of the Gazette their policy goals.
Fact 9: Today, as a direct result of the Obama policies, West Virginia’s coal production has declined to just 116 million tons (down 30 percent) from its 2008 levels of 165 million tons. Likewise, coal mining employment has fallen from 24,000 direct coal miners in the state to just 15,000 today (down 37.5 percent) from 2008. And those 9,000 lost coal mining jobs translate into a further loss of another 45,000 support jobs in the state, most of which are in the poorest, most rural areas of the state, where replacement jobs are non-existent.
Fact 10: As a result of the run up in unemployment due to coal industry and related job losses, unemployment rates across the coalfields are in excess of 12 percent with highs of 15-16 percent in several counties. And by extension, the levels of childhood poverty have skyrocketed in the state along with all the problems that result.
Fact 11: The wages and taxes lost as a result of the Obama regulatory assault on coal are measured in the BILLIONS of dollars annually. Obama’s “help” is a small fraction of a single year’s economic contribution of the coal industry. It is essentially throwing a few table scraps to the “poor West Virginians” and then telling them to go away and be grateful for even being acknowledged.
Fact 12: West Virginians deserve better from their government AND their media than their condescension. They especially deserve a media that doesn’t push a political agenda at the expense of truth.

http://www.wvgazettemail.com/arti…/20150805/…/150809810/1103

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.

A Response to Pope Francis’ Encyclical On Faith, the Environment and the Modern Industrial Economy

By BILL RANEY, president

West Virginia Coal Association

Today, Pope Francis issued a call for major changes in our lifestyles and our energy

Sierra Exif JPEG
      Bill Raney

consumption as part of a worldwide effort to combat climate change. Francis based his call on the duty of man to act as good stewards towards God’s creation.

I agree with the Pope that mankind has a duty to act as good stewards of this world God has entrusted to our keeping.  And, I feel many aspects of today’s modern America indicate we have, as best as we can with human frailty, been good stewards.  I would point to the fact that the modern industrial economy has created the greatest standards of living the world has ever known.

Today, we have fewer people working in agriculture than any time in the history of the world, but more than enough food to feed the planet. We have conquered diseases, alleviated poverty from much of the world and we have increased human life spans exponentially.

There are many reasons for these improvements, but none, perhaps as vivid, as the electrification of parts of our world, which came most successfully with the continued and improved use of fossil fuels.  I am concerned the Pope does not acknowledge that with his challenge to all of us to improve the way we use the indigenous resources our Lord has blessed us with in this world.

In other examples of progressive stewardship, we have some of the most verdant and healthy forests in the world, our streams and air are cleaner today than they were 50, 75 or 100 years ago.  And this is in spite of having more than six billion people on this earth.

I absolutely agree that we all need to do everything possible to alleviate poverty and the suffering that accompanies it.  In my mind, that is doing everything we can to insure that everyone who can physically work has a job, as opposed to advocating policies that put skilled, professional coal miners out of work.

I wish Pope Francis would have traveled to Logan, Mingo or any of our other West Virginia counties where miners have been put out of work because of the uncertainty created by polices that mandate impossible requirements that reach beyond today’s technology.  The suffering of that unemployment is vivid, stark and extremely concerning.

As someone who has been so blessed to be a part of this country’s coal industry for many years, I have watched the hard work and pride our people put into the fulfilling our responsibility as stewards of our Earth’s resources, I can say unequivocally that our coal miners are the greatest practicing environmentalists in the world.

I invite the Pope to come to West Virginia and take a look at the wonderful work our people are doing.  I am confident he would be impressed by both the work and by the people doing the work.

Hamilton discusses future of coal at Rotary meeting

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Photo by Brett Dunlap
Chris Hamilton, vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association, speaks to the Rotary Club of Parkersburg Monday about the impact coal mining has on the state and it being the backbone of the state’s economy as well as the policies being put in place to curtail coal as a cheap and viable source of energy.

PARKERSBURG– Coal mining is a vital part of the economy of the state of West Virginia and benefits the entire state, including Wood County, which does not see a lot of mining in its immediate area, a coal official told the Rotary Club of Parkersburg Monday.

Chris Hamilton, senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association, spoke about the impact coal mining has on the state and it being the backbone of the state’s economy as well as the policies being put in place to curtail coal as a cheap and viable source of energy. Hamilton has previous experience as a miner and a mine foreman as well as operated his own mine safety consulting company.
”Coal has been one of the state’s leading industries forever and a day,” he said.

Mentioning the state recently marking its 150th anniversary, Hamilton said coal mining has been going on for all 150 years and back to when West Virginia was still apart of Virginia.
”We have been around for quite awhile,” he said. ”The fiscal impact and the jobs that have been created and sustained over the years has brought millions and millions of dollars into the regional economies.”When you break it down, what our 20,000-some miners do is provide our state, our region and the world with low-cost and reliable household and industrial power 24/7. That is what has helped build this nation.”
In Addition
Coal is expected to surpass oil in the next year or so as the world’s leading fuel of choice, which could have benefits for West Virginia if the state is able to take advantage of it.
”We will continue to be one of the leading coal producing states in the nation,” Chris Hamilton said.

However, policies are being put in place to cut down on coal use domestically and new laws are being passed where certain standards have to be met to use coal, but the technology has not caught up with the requirements, leaving a lot of potential business for the state’s coal industry in limbo, Hamilton said, adding it has halted many plans for new coal- fired plants from being built.

”This administration has issued or established policy after policy that has served to inhibit or stop the use of fossil fuel and coal production within this country,” he said. ”That has resulted in around 3,500 miners who have been furloughed and unemployed. Many mining permits have been held up over the last five years. We are seeing out tax base cut by about 25 percent.”
The state has traditionally mined 160 million tons of coal, but we are now down to 120 million tons … all of this over the last five years.There have been 300 coal-fired power units taken out of service or set to be taken offline because of new air-quality standards being put into place. Around 25 percent of the coal-fired plants nationwide are shutting down because the cost of bringing them into compliance with the new standards is too high. Technology has lead to cleaner ways to burn coal and harness its energy while reducing airborne emissions, Hamilton said.
”There will be more gains made as our existing technology improves, he said.
Hamilton said the silver lining for the state’s coal industry is the number of foreign coal exports has increased, especially to Asia.
West Virginia is the second largest coal producing state in the nation behind Wyoming.
Due to West Virginia’s proximity to eastern ports, West Virginia accounts for one out of every two tons of coal that is being exported.
”We represent just shy of 50 percent of the U.S. total,” Hamilton said. ”We have some of the best coal found in the world. Coal is being used in those countries to support their growing industrial base. Exports have doubled over the last five years.”
Coal is expected to surpass oil in the next year or so as the world’s leading fuel of choice, which could have benefits for West Virginia if the state is able to take advantage of it.”We will continue to be one of the leading coal producing states in the nation,” Hamilton said.

– See more at: http://www.parkersburgnews.com/page/content.detail/id/577246/Hamilton-discusses-future-of-coal-at-Rotary-meeting.html?nav=5061#sthash.9XpOavgU.wnXtwUf0.dpuf