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US Coal Production Continues To Plunge, According To IEEFA

US coal production is running more than 30% below the same period in 2015, continuing the industry’s historic downward trend, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

According to a new ‘Data Bite’ from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), production of US coal is currently running 30% below the same period a year earlier, reflecting what the IEEFA describes as “an historic shift in both the coal industry and the electric power sector it serves.”


As can be seen, coal production has been plunging each year since its peak production year in 2008. Add in weekly production statistics from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) showing that the decline has in fact increased even more so recently, and the US coal industry is likely to be shaking in their soot-stained boots.

Earlier this year, the EIA published figures showing that US coal production had reached its lowest levels since 1986, dropping 10% in 2015.

To put the recent weekly decrease in perspective, in the week ending April 2, the US coal industry produced only 11 million tonnes of coal. While this is a lot, it still pales in comparison to previous years — 38% less than the same week in 2015, and half the amount mined in the comparable week in 2008. According to the IEEFA, it amounts to what “is most likely among the lowest weekly output figures in decades.”

The IEEFA also notes that the “pressures on production aren’t likely to end soon” either. On top of low prices, coal company bankruptcies, and mine closures, figures from the Energy Information Administration revealed that year-end coal stockpiles at electric plants were the highest in 25 years, due to the warmest winter on record minimizing electricity demand.

To top it all off, US coal exports fell 23% in 2015 — the third consecutive year of declines.

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