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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

Few New Leases on Federal Coal Tracts 1 Year After Moratorium Reversal

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): A year after the Trump administration lifted a controversial moratorium on federal coal leases, both approvals and new applications are scarce as industry challenges show little sign of abating. “I don’t think there is a whole lot of interest in new coal leasing,” said Mark Squillace, director of the Natural […]

April 5, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA Update: America’s Coal Industry Is in Trouble

IEEFA Update: America’s Coal Industry Is in Trouble

Little Evidence That Exports Will Save the Day

American coal industry executives have been working hard to restore investor confidence by arguing for a business-recovery rationale based on increased demand in export markets. There’s not much evidence for this case. Exports did help the industry in 2017, as several companies noted in their latest earnings reports, but U.S. coal producers are facing major […]

Mining Companies Across Biggest U.S. Coal Region See More Declines in Production

S&P Global Market Intelligence: Top producers in the largest U.S. coal basin are guiding investors to further declines in coal volumes from the region in 2018. Three coal companies responsible for producing about three-quarters of the coal that comes out of the Powder River Basin issued guidance that collectively would equal a 1% to 6% […]

February 22, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Update: Financial Facts Don’t Support Coal Industry’s Claims of 2017 Recovery

Failed Deals, Financial Losses, and Cancelled Leases Contradict the Rosy Picture Offered by Industry Executives

As 2017 ended, coal industry leaders made a number of upbeat statements to the press and investors, citing what they saw as good news: regulatory rollbacks by the Trump administration, promises of future federal subsidies, improved profits, an increase in coal exports and metallurgical sales, a few loan closings, and a late year stock price […]

January 2, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA Update: Another Canary in the Coal Mine

IEEFA Update: Another Canary in the Coal Mine

Telling Details in a Deal That Transfers Two Wyoming Mines to an Appalachian Company

In the first negative-value transaction in the Powder River Basin proper, Contura Energy is planning to transfer two coal mines in Wyoming to another company in exchange for royalties from future sales and for the new owner assuming reclamation liabilities. Contura, formed when senior lenders took some assets during Alpha Natural Resources bankruptcy, Eagle Butte […]

December 13, 2017 Read More →

U.S. Coal, Nuclear Industries Seek Billions in Tax-Credit Bailouts

Axios: Two separate lobbying pushes are underway urging Congress to create new multi-billion dollar tax credits benefiting virtually all coal and nuclear power plants across the United States. The price tags: up to $65 billion for coal and $4.8 billion for nuclear. The efforts show the aggressive lengths companies are going trying to survive in […]

December 7, 2017 Read More →

St. Louis, Home of Peabody and Arch Coal, Votes to Move to Renewables

NBC News: St. Louis became the 47th American city to set a goal of getting all of its electricity from clean, noncarbon sources with a vote by local lawmakers Friday — a significant watershed given its long-standing ties to the fossil fuel industry. The unanimous vote by the Board of Aldermen commits the city to […]

November 1, 2017 Read More →

Administration Considers Easing Cleanup-Bonding Restrictions on 3 Recently Bankrupt U.S. Coal Giants

SNL: Limits on coal company self-bonding will be reconsidered by the Trump administration and possibly rescinded or revoked, the U.S. Department of Interior wrote in a recent report. Interior highlighted potential reversals of Obama administration initiatives in a report responding to an executive order calling for a review of actions that potentially burden domestic energy. […]

October 31, 2017 Read More →

Arch Coal, in Nod to Market Trends, Abandons Lease-Expansion Application

SNL: Arch Coal Inc. has withdrawn its application for a lease on a federal tract of land in Wyoming that would have expanded its Black Thunder mine. The request to lease the West Hilight tract was withdrawn at the end of August, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management confirmed in an email. “We currently have […]

September 25, 2017 Read More →

Moody’s: Much-Anticipated Federal Energy Report ‘Will Not Save Coal’

SNL: A fossil fuel-friendly federal government report “will not save coal,” according to a new note out from Moody’s. While the U.S. Department of Energy’s recent study of the U.S. electricity grid was generally written in a tone favorable to coal, Moody’s said, the report does not change expectations the sector will decline in the long term. Moody’s […]

September 5, 2017 Read More →