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IEEFA Research

IEEFA update: Peabody Energy flirts with bankruptcy—again

IEEFA update: Peabody Energy flirts with bankruptcy—again

Bear market for coal, new financial pressures push world’s largest coal company towards default

Just three-and-a-half years after emerging from its previous bankruptcy, Peabody Energy—the world’s largest private coal miner—admitted to investors on Monday that it could face yet another trip to bankruptcy court in the coming months. Coal bankruptcies in the United States have become increasingly common. Cheap gas and renewable power have steadily replaced coal in the […]

IEEFA report: Powder River Basin coal industry  is in long-term decline

IEEFA report: Powder River Basin coal industry is in long-term decline

Fast-changing markets indicate deeper downturns to come in Montana and Wyoming

March 18, 2019 (IEEFA U.S.) — Coal producers in the Powder River Basin continue to lose customers as utilities across the U.S. embrace a shift toward cleaner and cheaper forms of power generation, according to a report published today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). The report — Powder River Basin Coal […]

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

Moody’s: U.S. utility sector coal consumption could fall more than 30% in 2020

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): Moody’s Investors Service expects “very weak” second-quarter earnings in the U.S. coal sector because of falling electricity demand amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying it sees 2020 coal consumption by power utilities shrinking more than 30%. “The U.S. coal industry has weakened after taking the brunt of lower electricity demand and […]

July 16, 2020 Read More →

Moody’s: Problems mounting for U.S. coal industry

Mining.com: US domestic demand for thermal coal will fall in the near term as individual states shut down much of the industrial economy to try and stem the coronavirus pandemic, and as slowing economic activity cuts US electricity demand in the second quarter of 2020, Moody’s Investors Services said Thursday in a research note, adding […]

March 27, 2020 Read More →
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 →

Federal regulators put a hold on planned Peabody-Arch PRB joint venture

CNN Business: Federal regulators filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to kill an alliance between America’s two largest coal mining companies. The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) decision, supported by two Republicans appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump, deals a blow to the turnaround efforts of Peabody Energy and Arch Coal from their 2016 bankruptcy filings. It […]

February 27, 2020 Read More →

S&P: Plant retirements expected to push U.S. utility coal demand down almost 20% by 2025

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): Nearly one in five of the tons of coal delivered to U.S. power generators in the first three quarters of 2019 went to power plants planning to close by 2025 or earlier. With no coal-fired power plants on the drawing board at home and diminished demand overseas, U.S. producers will […]

February 14, 2020 Read More →

Powder River Basin coal production fell 14% in fourth quarter compared to year earlier

Casper Star Tribune: Powder River Basin coal production fell nearly 14 percent last quarter compared to the same period the year before — the lowest production totals for the region in over two decades, new data Monday from U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration revealed. The basin’s 16 mines produced 72.3 million tons of coal […]

February 5, 2020 Read More →
and

IEEFA U.S.: Navajo-owned energy company is in trouble

NTEC, struggling to make a go of Montana-Wyoming coal venture, is on the ropes back home, too

Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) appeared to have bought into a house of cards last year when it acquired three struggling coal mines in the Powder River Basin (PRB) of Montana and Wyoming. Now comes word that the very foundation upon which the company was created seven years ago, and which was used as a […]

and January 31, 2020 Read More →

New York state pension fund considering divestment from 27 coal companies

Reuters: New York state’s top pension fund official said it was reviewing whether to divest from 27 coal companies and could make decisions on $98 million in holdings within two months. The reviews by the third-largest U.S. state pension system, with $211 billion under management, could set the tone for other retirement plans facing public […]

January 29, 2020 Read More →

S&P: Fourth quarter results for U.S. coal sector likely to be dismal

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): Fourth-quarter 2019 earnings reports are likely to be rough on U.S. coal producers yet again when miners begin reporting results over the next few weeks. Every major U.S. coal company is expected to report earnings per share for the period that is either worse than the prior quarter or year-ago […]

January 27, 2020 Read More →

Moody’s reaffirms its negative outlook on U.S. coal sector

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): Declining earnings and intensifying pressure from investors screening their portfolios for environmental, social and governance factors are weighing on the coal sector’s negative outlook, Moody’s Investors Service wrote Jan. 22. U.S. coal producers will see a significant deterioration in earnings and cash flow generation as coal export volumes continue to […]

January 23, 2020 Read More →