September US Coal Exports of 8.07 mil Mt Highest Since March 2014: US Census
US coal exports totaled 8.07 million mt in September, up 3.7% compared with August’s shipments and up 108.1% from the year-ago month, US Census Bureau data showed Friday.
It was also the highest monthly total since March 2014.
In the first three quarters of 2017, US coal exports totaled 62.4 million mt, up 68% compared with the same period last year, and would total 83.2 million mt on an annualized basis, which would mark a 52% increase from the 2016 total of 54.7 million mt.
The surge is being driven by higher demand for both metallurgical and thermal coal, as seaborne prices continue to support export opportunities for US producers.
Through Friday, Premium low-vol met coal FOB Australia has averaged $182.30/mt in 2017, compared with $116.90/mt in the year-ago period, while the Platts CIF ARA assessment for thermal coal delivered into Northern Europe (basis 6,000 kcal/kg NAR) has averaged $82.93/mt, compared with $54.62/mt in the same period last year.
September met coal exports totaled 4.9 million mt, up 4.7% compared with August and up 92.2% from the year-ago month, the Census Bureau data show, and the highest monthly total since October 2014.
Through the first nine months of 2017, met coal exports totaled 36.7 million mt, up 38.2% from the same period in 2016, and would total 48.9 million mt on an annualized basis.
Read more →
US Hampton Roads Coal Exports Total 3.1 million st in October: VMA
Coal exports from terminals in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region totaled 3.08 million st in October, down 1% from the prior month but up 83.1% from the year-ago month, according to data released Thursday by the Virginia Maritime Association.
It was the first drop in month-over-month exports since June, when exports fell 15.2% from May. The region’s three terminals primarily ship metallurgical coal.
The drop in exports corresponded with an 8.8% month-over-month drop in low-vol met coal FOB FOB USEC prices in October, according to S&P Global Platts data.
Through October 31, low-vol metallurgical coal FOB USEC has averaged $172.22/mt this year, compared with $105.22/mt in the year-ago period.
For the year to date, exports through the region’s three terminals totaled 29.1 million st, up 64.9% from last year.
Read more →
Judge Sides with Developers of Washington Coal Terminal
A Washington state judge on Friday handed a victory to the developers of a massive proposed coal-export terminal on the Columbia River, saying the state acted arbitrarily when it blocked a sublease sought for the project.
The decision, by Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning, followed a series of recent setbacks for Millennium Bulk Terminals, including the state Ecology Department’s decision to deny it a needed water-quality permit.
The $680 million terminal, which would ship coal from Montana, Wyoming and other states to Asia, could boost U.S. coal exports by 40 percent. The plans are reviled by environmentalists and Indian tribes because of concerns about global warming, coal dust pollution and potential damage to fisheries on the river.
“This decision validates our argument that when the law is fairly applied and facts are impartially weighed, Millennium’s project meets environmental standards and should be approved,” Wendy Hutchinson, the company’s vice president of government and public affairs, said in a news release after Friday’s decision.
The ruling overturned a decision made by outgoing Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark early this year. Goldmark, as head of the Department of Natural Resources, had denied permission for the project to use docks at a former aluminum smelter, saying Millennium hadn’t provided enough information about its finances, among other concerns.
Read more →
IEA Says Southeast Asia Will Keep Coal Demand High
The International Energy Agency (IEA) says the need for cheap electricity in Southeast Asia will drive global demand for coal for power generation through 2040, even as many countries continue to retire coal-fired plants and cancel projects for new coal facilities.
IEA, which is set to release its World Energy Outlook 2017 on November 14, this week said India and Southeast Asia will account for the majority of the use of coal in the coming years, as those areas’ economies continue to grow and demand for electricity rises.
“Coal maintains a strong foothold in [Southeast Asia’s] projected consumption, not only because it is markedly cheaper than natural gas, but also because coal projects are in many cases easier to pursue as they do not require the capital-intensive infrastructure associated with gas,” the IEA said in a report in advance of the release of the November outlook.
The agency said about 100 GW of new coal-fired power generation capacity is expected to come online in Southeast Asia by 2040, increasing the region’s installed capacity to about 160 GW. The IEA said 40% of the new capacity will be built in Indonesia. The group said Vietnam, the second-largest consumer of coal in Southeast Asia behind Indonesia, will become the region’s largest importer of coal by 2040.
A report this week by Wood Mackenzie, a UK-based research and consulting firm with offices worldwide, including five in the U.S., said thermal coal imports by Southeast Asia will more than double to 226 million metric tons by 2035, up from 85 million metric tons today. The group said imports into Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and other parts of South Asia will jump to 284 million metric tons during that period, a 72% increase from this year’s levels.
Read more →
Japan Eyes Millennium Bulk Terminals to Fulfill Energy Needs
More than six years after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Facility disaster, Japan is looking to the United States as a viable option for a fossil fuel partnership to meet its increasing energy demands. According to a 2017 policy paper, a West Coast port would perfectly fill the need while preparing for decreased Indonesian coal exports.
Fortunately for Washington state, one Japanese engineer said his country is interested in the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) export terminal project in Longview as a mutually beneficial opportunity for economic growth and clean coal alternatives.
“The United States is an important trade partner and ally to Japan,” said Wendy Hutchinson, MBT’s Vice President of Government and Public Affairs. “Millennium’s coal export terminal will play a critical role in ensuring Japan is able to diversify its coal supply, which improves their energy security.”
The coal traveling through the export terminal is a much cleaner alternative that what is burned in Asia, according to the United State Geological Survey (USGS).
“Using a cleaner coal product from the United States will make their state-of-the-art facilities operate with even greater efficiency and assist them in meeting their climate goals,” said Hutchinson. “Powder River Basin coals are lower in mercury and ash than Indonesian coal, and they are well suited for the new Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) Plants that are being built in Fukushima.”
Read more →