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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: July 8, 2014  |  Next Release Date: August 12, 2014  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Coal

Coal Supply

EIA expects U.S. coal production will grow 2.7% to 1,011 million short tons (MMst) in 2014, driven by higher consumption. In 2015, forecast U.S. coal production falls by 0.9% to 1,002 MMst.

Coal Consumption

EIA projects total coal consumption growth of 2.8% to 951 MMst in 2014 because of higher electricity demand and power sector natural gas prices nearly 30% above their 2013 level. Total coal consumption is projected to fall by 2.8% in 2015, as retirements of coal power plants rise in response to the implementation of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, electricity sales growth slows to 0.1%, and natural gas prices fall relative to coal prices.

Coal Exports

In April, coal exports were 16.6% (1.6 MMst) lower compared with last year, with steam coal exports falling by 1.5 MMst (33.4%). Coal exports are projected to total 99 MMst in 2014, primarily because of slowing world coal demand growth and increasing coal output in other coal-exporting countries. In 2015, projected exports fall to 95 MMst.

Coal Prices

Annual average coal prices to the electric power industry fell over the past two years, from $2.39/MMBtu in 2011 to $2.35/MMBtu in 2013. Monthly average coal prices have increased by 10 cents per MMBtu since the beginning of the year, with the April price averaging $2.40/MMBtu. EIA expects average delivered coal prices to increase over the forecast period, with prices of $2.39/MMBtu in 2014 and $2.41/MMBtu in 2015.

U.S. Coal Summary
  2012 2013 2014 2015
Prices (dollars per million Btu)
Electric Power Sector 2.38 2.35 2.39 2.41
Supply (million short tons)
U.S. Coal Production 1016.4 984.0 1010.8 1001.7
Imports 9.2 8.9 11.2 10.8
Exports 125.7 117.7 98.7 94.8
Consumption (million short tons)
Electric Power Sector 823.6 858.4 884.7 854.6
Other Sectors 65.6 66.8 66.5 69.4
Total Consumption 889.2 925.1 951.0 924.0
End of Period Inventories (million short tons)
Electric Power Sector 185.1 148.0 124.3 127.3
Total Inventories 238.9 197.5 175.3 180.3

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