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 […]

and 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

IEEFA U.S.: Why exports won’t save American coal
and

IEEFA U.S.: Why exports won’t save American coal

Foreign thermal and metallurgical markets, fickle by nature, don’t account for much to begin with

Data published last week by S&P Global Market Intelligence shows U.S. coal exports fell by 28.1% in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. That headline number was underscored by an S&P estimate that exports from the Illinois Basin (Illinois, Indiana and western Kentucky) had fallen by 58.7% year-over-year, a […]

and February 28, 2020 Read More →

Contura Energy’s big bet on met coal is turning into a big bust

Bloomberg: U.S. miner Contura Energy Inc.’s $800 million bet on international coal markets is souring. In November 2018, when Contura bought Alpha Natural Resources and became America’s biggest supplier of metallurgical coal, global prices for the fuel were climbing — bolstered by demand, particularly in China. Since then, trade tensions have escalated, curbing purchases of […]

November 18, 2019 Read More →

Auction for bankrupt Blackjewel mines in Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming could commence this week

AP: A federal judge on Friday approved a bidding process for mines owned by bankrupt coal operator Blackjewel LLC. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank Volk in Charleston agreed with a motion by Blackjewel on a proposal made by Bristol, Tennessee-based Contura Energy. Contura has offered $20.6 million as the stalking horse bidder for three mines owned […]

July 29, 2019 Read More →

Contura may buy back Powder River Basin coal mines it paid to get rid of in 2017

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): Contura Energy Inc. will serve as the stalking horse bidder for the bankruptcy sale of Blackjewel LLC’s western coal assets through a $20.6 million offer that includes a cash deposit to allow the company to restart operations that were idled after initial attempts to fund the bankruptcy fell through. Contura […]

July 26, 2019 Read More →
IEEFA US: Financial chaos in Powder River Basin coal country

IEEFA US: Financial chaos in Powder River Basin coal country

Companies in turmoil; workers and communities are paying the price; power plants face supply disruptions

The way America generates its electricity has been shifting away from coal for a decade, as the falling cost of wind, solar and gas have taken market share at an accelerating rate. The way the coal mining industry is structured, however, has changed very little, even as domestic consumption fell by more than 400 million […]

Blackjewel files for bankruptcy, sends workers home from two Powder River Basin coal mines

Casper Star Tribune: Two coal mines in Wyoming closed and sent 700 workers home Monday afternoon after their owner filed for bankruptcy, the latest blow to a region that has been battered by an economic downturn in the fossil fuel sector. Blackjewel LLC, which operates Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines near Gillette, sent the […]

July 2, 2019 Read More →

Wyoming coal producer Cloud Peak files for bankruptcy

Casper Star Tribune: Cloud Peak Energy, the coal giant that operates two Wyoming mines, filed for bankruptcy Friday amid mounting debt and declining demand. The filing follows months of troubling signs for the Powder River Basin operator, which for a time avoided the economic difficulties of its competitors but had of late experienced growing financial […]

May 13, 2019 Read More →

Judge okays Westmoreland plan to come out of bankruptcy

Colorado Public Radio: One of the oldest coal companies in the U.S. said Monday it expects to emerge from bankruptcy in coming weeks after a judge approved a plan that will keep its mines running in Montana, New Mexico and several other states and Canadian provinces. Westmoreland Coal Co. will keep its name but get […]

March 6, 2019 Read More →

U.S. coal production falls for third straight quarter

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): Total U.S. coal production fell for the third quarter in a row, according to an analysis of the most recent federal data. Coal producers reported output of 180.8 million tons in the second quarter of 2018, down 3.7% from 187.6 million tons in the first quarter and 187.1 million tons […]

September 19, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Update: After Restatement of Reserves, U.S. Coal Investment Rationale Gets Weaker

Big Write-Offs by Arch and Peabody; More Are Likely

Coal reserves are considered the measure of a coal company. Insurers, investors, government officials, market analysts and so on have typically considered company-reported reserves an indication of what can actually be cashed in on someday. Digging into the data in coal company disclosure statements shows how some coal producers are now acknowledging that reserves have […]

April 10, 2018 Read More →