05.08.2013

US long-term coal exports to remain strong – Consol Energy

 


(Montel) Europe will remain a key buyer of US thermal coal over the long-term, despite a likely fall in US exports this year from 2012's record, Consol Energy said on Monday.Early government data for the second quarter showed thermal exports 30% below levels over the same period one year ago, with H1 exports 10% down, the company said in a statement.

“Low international pricing, in combination with a stronger domestic market, contributed to the decline. However, longer-term fundamentals for US thermal coal exports remain favourable as subsidized mining in Europe is phased out, nuclear growth plans are curtailed, and coal continues to maintain a cost advantage over other more expensive oil-linked fuels.”

Over the second quarter, the company exported 0.5m short tons of thermal coal at an average sales price of USD 68.68/st, down from 2.3m short tons at an average price of USD 55.09/st for the three months ended June 30, 2012, Consol Energy said. Meanwhile, over the first half of the year, the company exported 1.5m short tons at an average sales price of USD 61.67/st, compared to 3.3m short tons at an average price of USD 57.12/st ton for the H1 2012.

Stronger domestic market
A rise in natural gas prices above USD 4 per million British thermal units drove an increase in coal-fired generation over the second quarter this year, the company said in a statement.

“Early government estimates show that coal-fired generation produced 39% of US power during the second quarter compared with 34% during the same period in 2012, and 40% in the first quarter 2013,” added the company, noting that utility coal stockpiles declined throughout the quarter versus 2012 periods.

However, in the longer term, the outlook for domestic thermal coal continues to face regulatory challenges, the company added.

“In line with president Obama’s climate change initiative and the upcoming 2015 deadline for the US Environmental Protection Agency's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (Mats) rule, utilities are retiring non-compliant coal-fired units and less efficient coal-fired units.”

James Allen

james@montel.no
18:18, Monday, 5 August 2013


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