U.S. coal consumption to drop below 600 Mt this year, EIA

ieefa.org Import & Export 2019-10-10 09:49:35

The U.S. Energy Information Administration is forecasting a 17% decline in fourth-quarter coal production from the year-ago period.


According to its latest "Short-Term Energy Outlook," the EIA expects total U.S. coal production to sink to 159 million tonnes in the final three months of the year, a decline of 34 million tonnes from the fourth quarter of 2018.


Declining coal demand, bankruptcies, ownership changes and mine closures have "contributed to a fluctuating production environment" in the western coal region, especially in the Powder River Basin, according to the report.


This year's coal production is expected to total 679.3 million tonnes, an increase from the administration's September projection of 673.9 million tonnes. But the EIA's 2020 production outlook fell from 617.3 million tonnes in September to 603 million tonnes in October.


For 2019, Western coal producers are forecast to see the largest percentage decrease in output from 2018, with an 11.6% reduction to 369.7 million tonnes. Miners in the interior region are expected to produce 8.5% less coal, totaling 125.5 million tonnes, and Appalachian producers are expected to see a 7.9% drop to 184.2 million tonnes.


EIA's report also includes a 12% decline in 2020 coal exports from its September forecast. The administration projected that coal exports will total 75 million tonnes, a 10 million-tonne reduction due to declining demand in the Atlantic Basin, a surplus of Eastern European coal supply and a lack of West Coast coal terminal capacity to reach the Asian markets.


This year, it expects U.S. producers to export 91.8 million tonnes of coal, an even starker outlook from the 94.2 million tonnes projected in September.


Coal consumption is expected to drop to 596 million tonnes this year and then to 544 million tonnes in 2020.


(Writing by Jessie Jia  Editing by Harry Huo)
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