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Today in Energy

December 18, 2015

EIA’s newly designed coal web pages provide easier access to coal data

graph of daily coal futures, weekly coal production, and monthly coal exports, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) redesigned the weekly Coal Production report and combined two price reports into a single Coal Markets product to improve access to EIA's coal data. Users can now access weekly coal production and prices and new monthly export data from a single place.

Prices. Contract prices for four coal futures and options are available based on data from the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex). Prices represent an agreed-upon price for coal delivered in the next quarter for a specified quantity, quality (including heat content and sulfur content), and transportation. Although delivery mode is specified, prices are free-on-board (FOB) at the rail or barge origin point. Weekly commodity spot price data are available for the five major U.S. coal production areas. Quality characteristics including heat content and sulfur are specified, as those characteristics affect the value of coal to consumers. Prices are FOB origin, indicating ownership and liability transfer to the seller before the coals are transported. Therefore, spot prices don't include transportation, insurance, or taxes. Prices are also shown on a dollar per million British thermal unit ($/MMBtu) basis.

Production. The redesigned product also includes weekly coal production estimates at a national, regional, and state level. Coal production data are available quarterly from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor. EIA uses quarterly data from MSHA, combined with Association of American Railroad weekly coal car loadings data, to estimate state, regional, and national weekly coal production. EIA publishes original and revised estimates as quarterly data are released.

Exports. New from EIA are monthly exports of coal and coke. They are shown in physical quantities (short tons). Quarterly and annual detailed trade data showing export destinations and average prices are also available in the Coal Data Browser.

Information provided in these new products complements existing data tools such as EIA's Coal Data Browser, which provides information on aggregate production by coal mine, mine-level data, and other coal mining series.

Principal contributors: JenAlyse Arena, John Krohn