Alpha Natural Resources

IEEFA Research

IEEFA U.S. Coal Outlook 2017: Short-Term Gains Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses in Fundamentals

IEEFA U.S. Coal Outlook 2017: Short-Term Gains Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses in Fundamentals

Production Declining by as Much as 40 Million Tons; Prices Failing to Benefit Shareholders or Stimulate New Investment; Anemic Exports; Little or No Gain From Regulatory Relief; Increasingly Dim Employment Prospects

We’re out this morning with our annual outlook for U.S. coal markets, and the picture isn’t pretty. We see the potential for some short-lived strength in the current uptick for coal producers but the title of our assessment sums up the larger view: “Short-Term Gains Will Be Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses in Fundamentals.” You can […]

As Texas Coal-Fired Power Plants Close, Powder River Basin Mines Are Losing Their Largest Customers

Trends Will Force Closures and Complicate Efforts by Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal and Peabody Energy to Work Their Way Out of Bankruptcy

CLEVELAND, Aug. 3, 2016 (IEEFA.org) — The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis today published a report detailing how Powder River Basin coal producers are losing their largest customers as Texas power producers turn increasingly to other sources of energy. The report, “Texas’ Outsize Role in the Decline of the Powder River Basin Coal […]

August 2, 2016 Read More →
The Federal Government’s Coal-Leasing Program Is Broken: Here’s How to Fix It

The Federal Government’s Coal-Leasing Program Is Broken: Here’s How to Fix It

Appoint a Price-Setting Commission; Ban Exports; Cancel Some Leases; Eliminate Self-Bonding; Mandate Set-Asides for Mine Clean-up and Miner Pensions; Require Twice-a-Year Audits; Assume Smaller Markets

It’s time for the U.S. to modernize how it manages its publicly owned coal reserves. That’s the essence of comments we’ve filed today with the Department of the Interior as it begins a review of its federal coal-leasing program in the Powder River Basin, a program that has been mismanaged for years at taxpayer expense […]

For U.S. Coal, Market Realities Grow Increasingly Harsh

For U.S. Coal, Market Realities Grow Increasingly Harsh

Debt Hurdles, Reclamation and Pension Challenges, Abandonment by Hedge Funds

We distributed a briefing note this week that delves into some of the many pressing difficulties confronting U.S. coal producers. In the note (“Struggling U.S. Coal Companies Face Debt Hurdles, Complications From Reclamation and Pension Obligations, Pressure from Hedge Funds”) we talk about how the cumulative impacts of the industry’s many mounting liabilities—reclamation costs, pension […]

Report – No Need for New U.S. Coal Ports: Data Shows Oversupply in Capacity

Report – No Need for New U.S. Coal Ports: Data Shows Oversupply in Capacity

No Need for New U.S. Coal Ports: Data Shows Oversupply in Capacity (pdf) By Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance, IEEFA  

November 19, 2014 Read More →
Report: 20 Fourth-Quarter Questions for Powder River Basin Coal Producers

Report: 20 Fourth-Quarter Questions for Powder River Basin Coal Producers

20 Fourth-Quarter Questions for Powder River Basin Coal Producers (pdf) By Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

November 11, 2014 Read More →
Report – NYC and NYS pension funds should divest coal stocks: A shrinking industry, weak upside, and wrong on climate change

Report – NYC and NYS pension funds should divest coal stocks: A shrinking industry, weak upside, and wrong on climate change

NYC and NYS pension funds should divest coal stocks: A shrinking industry, weak upside, and wrong on climate change (pdf)

May 8, 2014 Read More →
Briefing note: Fossil fuels, energy transition, and risk

Briefing note: Fossil fuels, energy transition, and risk

Briefing note: Fossil fuels, energy transition, and risk (pdf) By Tim Buckley,  Director of Energy Resource Studies, Australasia, IEEFA

April 18, 2014 Read More →

More News and Commentary

Analyst: U.S. May Never Have an Investment Grade Coal Company Again

Taylor Kuykendall in SNL: Despite near-term improvements in the U.S. coal sector, getting investors excited about the industry may still prove a tough sell. “I don’t necessarily think we are ever going to get back to a situation where we’re going to have an investment-grade coal company again,” Chiza Vitta, an analyst with S&P Global Ratings, said […]

July 11, 2017 Read More →

IEEFA Swamp Watch: Discord Within the Fossil-Fuel Industry Over What to Do Now

Wrangling, and Uncertainty, Over the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

The swamp is becoming quite the quagmire as arguments bubble up among coal, oil, and gas interests about whether the U.S. should withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. With the Trump administration in power, the fossil-fuel industry now has the keys to the kingdom. Yet its giants appear confused and in disarray. Whatever […]

U.S. Coal Execs Rake in Millions While Pushing Miners Into $17-an-Hour Temp Work

New York Times: Glenn Kellow, the coal executive who led Peabody Energy through bankruptcy, just collected an estimated $15 million stock bonus. John Eaves at Arch Coal, another recently bankrupt coal giant, got an award valued at $10 million. The view from the coal pits is far less rosy. An analysis of recent government data […]

May 3, 2017 Read More →

‘Coal Investors Unlikely to Support Deals or Growth Projects’

Platts: Publicly traded US coal producers aren’t likely to splurge on acquisitions or growth projects in the coming years, and instead should distribute their earnings to shareholders, an equity analyst report said Tuesday. Seaport Global’s Mark Levin said a number of producers, including Peabody Energy, Arch Coal and Contura Energy, have emerged from reorganization with […]

April 19, 2017 Read More →

The Coal Company Formerly Known as Alpha Natural Resources Agrees to End Questionable Self-Bonding Scheme for Cleanup Costs

Casper Star Tribune: Contura Energy will ditch its collateral bonds in favor of secure insurance to guarantee the cleanup of its Wyoming coal mines after local environmental advocates pushed for stricter accountability. The clash of interests follows a long series of battles during the coal downturn. Coal companies, environmentalists and state and federal regulators frequently […]

April 18, 2017 Read More →

Congressional Democrats Move to Block U.S. Coal Industry’s ‘Self-Bonding’

SNL: A new bill from Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate aims to reform federal laws that allow the coal sector to self-bond its environmental liabilities. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Penn., joined other colleagues in the House and Senate to introduce the Coal Cleanup Taxpayer Protection Act. “As coal companies […]

April 3, 2017 Read More →

U.S. Coal Industry: ‘Prospects for Jobs Are Weak’

The Washington Post: The battered U.S. coal industry is showing flickering signs of life. Yet the prognosis for Big Coal remains dim. Coal prices are about double what they were a year ago. Rail car deliveries of coal are up 16 percent this year. The more than 50 coal mining firms that went bankrupt over […]

March 17, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA Update: Elections Have Consequences, but Perhaps Few That Can Save Coal

IEEFA Update: Elections Have Consequences, but Perhaps Few That Can Save Coal

Market Forces Are What Matter Above All

We didn’t make it this year to the Coaltrans USA conference last week in Miami, but we heard tell of some smart talk at the event by two of the industry’s CEOs, Bob Murray of Murray Energy and Kevin Crutchfield of Contura Energy, né Alpha Natural Resources.    The conference, where executives and analysts gather […]

February 9, 2017 Read More →

Op-Ed: Taxpayers Gain if Federal Coal-Lease Reforms Stand

Meredith Fowlie for The Conversation: The federal coal program is supposed to manage vast federally owned coal reserves, which account for more than 40 percent of U.S. coal production, “for the benefit of current and future generations.” But the program has, for a long time, been criticized for selling taxpayers short. For this and other […]

January 23, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA U.S. Coal Outlook 2017: Short-Term Gains Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses in Fundamentals
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IEEFA U.S. Coal Outlook 2017: Short-Term Gains Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses in Fundamentals

Production Declining by as Much as 40 Million Tons; Prices Failing to Benefit Shareholders or Stimulate New Investment; Anemic Exports; Little or No Gain From Regulatory Relief; Increasingly Dim Employment Prospects

We’re out this morning with our annual outlook for U.S. coal markets, and the picture isn’t pretty. We see the potential for some short-lived strength in the current uptick for coal producers but the title of our assessment sums up the larger view: “Short-Term Gains Will Be Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses in Fundamentals.” You can […]