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U.S. Coal Supply and Demand: 2010 Year in Review

Release Date: June 1, 2011   |  Next Release Date: Periodically   |   full report 

Production

Production
Figure Data
U.S. coal production increased slightly in 2010 by 1.0 percent to a level of 1,085.3 million short tons (Figure 1 and (Table 1), 10.4 million short tons more than the 2009 production total. Exclusive of refuse production, the Interior and Western Regions had increases in their production levels in 2010 of 7.4 percent and 1.1 percent respectively, while the Appalachian Region had a decrease of 2.1 percent (Figure 2 and (Table 2). The increase in Interior production was anchored by a 6.5 million short ton increase in Texas production. The decrease in the Appalachian Region production was 7.1 million short tons, while the increases in Interior Region and Western Region production in 2010 was 10.8 million short tons and 6.6 million short tons, respectively. Production by region
Figure Data

Appalachian Region

Coal production in the Appalachian Region ended 2010 at 334.3 million short tons, a decrease of 2.1 percent, or 7.1 million short tons. While the level of production in the Appalachian Region is still at a near-50-year low, the decrease from 2009 to 2010 was clearly not as dramatic as from 2008 to 2009. The recovery in domestic and international economies, combined with an increase in exports predominantly from this region, helped stabilize production.

Coal production in Ohio in 2010 decreased by 0.2 million short tons, or 0.8 percent to end the year at 27.3 million short tons. Even though there were mines in the state that had higher production in 2010, decreases at other mines were able to slightly offset these increases. The majority of the 2010 decrease in production was a result of lower production levels at three mines. Ohio Valley Coal's Powhatan No. 6 mine had a decrease of 0.4 million short tons in 2010. Ohio American Energy's Salt Run Mine No.1 had a decrease of 0.8 million short tons in 2010 and Rosebud Mining's Bergholz 7 mine had a decrease of 0.3 million short tons in 2010.

West Virginia, the largest coal-producing State in the Appalachian Region, and the second largest in the U.S., saw a decrease in production of 1.6 million short tons to end the year with a total of 135.6 million short tons, 1.1 percent below the 2009 level, and its lowest level since 1993 when a prolonged miners' strike affected coal production. The big story in West Virginia in 2010 was the explosion at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine. Twenty nine people were killed in the worst mining accident since 1970. Production at the mine ceased after the explosion, and was down 0.8 million short tons for the year. On a positive note for 2010, West Virginia enjoyed high export demand, and five of the largest mines had increases in production by more than 0.5 million short tons. Consolidation Coal's Shoemaker mine in particular had a large increase in production in 2010 of 3.6 million short tons.

Eastern Kentucky, which is identified as part of Central Appalachia, produced 67.4 million short tons of coal in 2010, a decrease of 9.7 percent or 7.3 million short tons below the 2009 level, and its lowest production level since the early 1970's. While there were no very large drops in production in 2010, many of the biggest mines had declines of 0.2 million short tons or more, including Frasure Creek Mining's Frasure Creek Mine No. 6 with a decline of 0.6 million short tons. However, in 2010 there was one mine in Eastern Kentucky that had an increase in its coal production level of 0.5 million short tons. Revelation Energy's S-1 Hunts Br. Mine had an increase in production of 0.6 million short tons.

TIn 2010, Pennsylvania produced 58.0 million short tons, a very slight increase of 0.1 percent from 2009, and still at its lowest level in over 100 years. The two largest mines in the State, Consol Energy's Enlow Fork mine and Bailey mine (also the two largest underground mines in the U.S.) went in different directions in 2010. The Enlow Fork mine decreased production by 1.2 million short tons, while the Bailey mine increased production by 0.4 million short tons. Coming off a decrease in production of 1.8 million short tons, and a period of idling in 2009, 2010 saw an increase of 0.7 million short tons at Consol Energy's Blacksville No.2 mine. (This mine is classified by the Mine Safety and Health Administration as a West Virginia mine which is where the mine first produced coal. EIA classifies it as a Pennsylvania mine because the mine has progressed north from its opening portal and the coal that is currently being mined is under the State of Pennsylvania.) There was also a decrease in production of 0.5 million short tons at Consol Energy's Mine 84 as it was placed into nonproducing status during the latter part of 2009, and did not produce in 2010. Decreases in coal production of 0.7 million short tons and 1.1 million short tons for the year at Alpha Natural Resources' Emerald No. 1 and Cumberland mines respectively, also contributed to the decline in coal production experienced in Pennsylvania in 2010. An increase of 0.5 million short tons at PBS Coals' Mine No.1 helped to minimize the decrease in Pennsylvania production.

Coal production in Virginia increased in 2010 by 0.6 million short tons to a total of 21.6 million short tons, an increase of 2.9 percent, but still near its lowest level since the mid-1950's. After the largest decline in the state in 2009, Consol Energy's Buchannan mine rebounded with the largest increase in the state in 2010, with a 1.8 million short ton increase in production. Drops in production at Dickenson-Russell Coal's Roaring Fork No. 4 mine, Osaka Mining's Mine No.1, and A & G Coal's Preacher Creek Strip mine were able to keep Virginia's increase modest.

In 2010, coal production in Alabama totaled 20.2 million short tons, 7.6 percent higher than the 2009 level. Increases at Chevron Mining's North River #1 mine, Jim Walter Resources' No.7 mine, and Shannon's No.2 and No.3 mine of 0.3 million short tons, 0.5 million short tons, and 0.6 million short tons, respectively, accounted for a majority of Alabama's increase. Maryland increased production in 2010 to 2.5 million short tons, while Tennessee experienced a decline to 1.7 million short tons.

Interior Region

Coal production in the Interior Region in 2010 was 156.7 million short tons, 10.8 million short tons more than in 2009. This increase was led by Texas, with a 6.5 million short ton increase in production over 2009. Texas was able to regain its position as the number one coal-producing state in the Interior Region.

The second largest producer in the region, Western Kentucky also had increased levels of production in 2010 when compared to 2009. Its production increased by 4.3 million short tons to reach a total of 36.9 million short tons. This is the sixth year in a row that Western Kentucky experienced growth in coal production. After coming online in the second half of 2009, River View Coal's River View mine increased production by 5.3 million short tons during a full year of production in 2010. The level of production at the mine in 2010 was more than ten times the production level in 2009. Other notable increases were at Armstrong Coal Company's Parkway mine and Eastfork Surface mine, of 0.7 million short tons, and 0.9 million short tons, respectively. Both of these mines had their first full year of production in 2010.

Coal production in 2010 in Illinois decreased by 1.7 percent to end the year at a total of 33.2 million short tons. Although there were large increases from some mines, there were enough decreases to offset any gains. An increase in coal production in 2010 of 0.9 million short tons by Maryan Mining's Shay #1 mine, combined with a full year operating of Knight Hawk Coal's Prairie Eagle South mine was not enough to overcome large decreases. Peabody Energy's Willow Lake mine saw a production drop of 0.5 million short tons in 2010, and White County Coal's Pattiki mine saw a decrease of 0.8 million short tons.

Indiana produced a total of 35.3 million short tons in 2010, a decrease of 0.9 percent or 0.3 million short tons. A new mine in 2010, Peabody Energy's Bear Run mine had production of 3.0 million short tons. This mine is the largest surface mine in the eastern U.S. Black Panther Mining's Oaktown Fuels No.1 mine increased production by nearly 1.0 million short tons after a full year of mining in 2010. However, these increases could not offset large decreases in Solar Sources' Craney mine, and Peabody Energy's Viking mine, Francisco mine, and Farmersburg mine of 0.4 million short tons, 0.3 million short tons, 1.4 million short tons, and 2.0 million short tons, respectively.

Texas coal is lignite, the lowest rank of coal with the lowest amount of energy (or Btus) and the vast majority of the coal is used in the electric power sector, primarily at mine-mouth facilities. The amount of Texas-produced lignite consumed by the electric power sector in the State in 2010 increased by 9.6 percent, while the total amount of all types of coal consumed in the electric power sector in Texas increased by 5.1 percent. The discrepancy is due to the fact that the amount of subbituminous coal consumed for power production increased by only 2.7 percent. Total coal production in Texas for 2010 was 41.6 million short tons, an increase of 18.6 percent. Seven of the twelve mines in Texas had increases in coal production in 2010, with one mine accounting for the majority of the increase; Luminant Mining's Kosse Strip mine increased by 5.4 million short tons.

The other States in the Interior Region (Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Oklahoma), which together produced 9.6 million short tons of coal, accounted for a total of 6.1 percent of the entire region's production in 2010. Of these States, only Kansas had a decrease in its coal production from the prior year level.

Western Region

The Western Region is the largest coal-producing region in the U.S. In 2010 coal production increased by 1.1 percent to a total of 591.6. Even with the increase in production, the production level was still well below the 2008 level of 633.6 million short tons.

Of all the coal-producing States in the Western Region, Alaska, with one mine, has the smallest level of production. However, in 2010, it had the largest percentage increase in production, increasing 0.3 million short tons, or 15.6 percent and ended the year with a total of 2.2 million short tons. North Dakota produced 28.9 million short tons of coal in 2010, a decrease of 1.0 million short tons or 3.3 percent. There are four mines in North Dakota, and in 2010 three of the mines, BNI Coal's Center mine, Falkirk Mining's Falkirk mine and Coteau Property's Freedom mine, had decreased production levels.

Wyoming, the largest coal-producing State in the nation, a position it has held for two decades, continues to dominate the U.S. coal production picture. In 2010, coal production rose in Wyoming after falling for the first time in 17 years in 2009. Total coal production in Wyoming in 2010 was 442.5 million short tons, an increase of 11.4 million short tons, or 2.6 percent. As an illustration of how much Wyoming dominated the U.S. coal supply in 2010, it accounted for 74.8 percent of the Western Region production total; was 108.2 million short tons more than the entire Appalachian Region; was almost three times the Interior Region; and was more than 40 percent of the total U.S. coal production for the year. Thunder Basin Coal Company's Black Thunder mine overtook Peabody Energy's North Antelope Rochelle mine as the largest coal mine in Wyoming and the U.S. in 2010, producing a total of 116.2 million short tons. This one mine produced more coal than any one State in the nation except West Virginia. Peabody Energy's North Antelope Rochelle mine also had a large increase, at 7.5 million short tons. Wyoming mines that had large decreases in 2010 coal production were: Alpha Coal's Belle Ayr mine down 2.6 million short tons; Peabody Energy's Rawhide mine down 4.6 million short tons; and Peabody Energy's Caballo mine down 5.5 million short tons.

In 2010, Montana, the second largest coal-producing State in the Western Region, produced a total of 44.7 million short tons, an increase of 13.3 percent or 5.2 million short tons. Three mines had large increases in coal production in 2010, which were more than enough to offset the decrease of 1.5 million short tons at Decker Coal Company's Decker mine. Spring Creek Coal's Spring Creek mine had an increase of 1.7 million short tons, Western Energy's Rosebud mine had an increase of 1.9 million short tons, and Signal Peak Energy's Bull Mountain No.1 mine had an increase of 3.6 million short tons. Colorado had a decrease in coal production for the fourth year in a row in 2010. Production declined 3.1 million short tons from 2009 levels, or 11.0 percent to end 2010 at 25.2 million short tons. Although four of the ten mines in the State had increases in coal production in 2010, the decrease in Colorado's total production was accounted for primarily by two mines. Colowyo Coal's Colowyo mine had a decrease of 1.0 million short tons and Oxbow Mining's Elk Creek mine had a decrease of 1.9 million short tons.

Utah production declined for the third year in a row in 2010. Production declined by 11.2 percent to end the year at a total of 19.3 million short tons. The majority of the decrease in coal production in 2010 in Utah was the result of the declines at two mines: Energy West Mining's Deer Creek mine and Canyon Fuel's Dugout Canyon mine, which had decreases of 0.9 and 0.8 million short tons, respectively. Total coal production in Arizona increased in 2010 by 0.3 million short tons, and total coal production in New Mexico declined in 2010 by 4.1million short tons.