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EIA forecasts US coal production to fall 7.2% in 2019

US coal production in 2019 will total 699.8 million st, the US Energy Information Administration forecast Tuesday, increasing its projection 2.3% from April.

EIA’s May Short-Term Energy Outlook shows 2019 production at agency’s highest forecast level since February, the last time it predicted US output above 700 million st. US coal production in 2019 would still be down 7.2% from last year’s output, according to the May STEO.

The EIA projected production of 638.1 million st in 2020, slightly below April’s forecast of 640.1 million st and the lowest projection yet. Based on the current forecasts, 2020 production would drop 8.8% from this year’s production.

US coal exports this year were projected at 97.9 million st in the May report, down 3.9% from April’s forecast, and the first time 2019 export forecast fell below 100 million st since August 2018.

Based on the forecast, exports this year would be down 15.3% from 2018 levels.

Exports next year were projected to total 93.3 million st, down 1.6% from April’s STEO, and down 4.7% from the current 2019 export forecast.

The EIA forecast power sector consumption to total 555.1 million st this year and 512.6 million st in 2020, up 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively, from April’s forecast. Based on the projections, 2019 electricity consumption would drop 12.8% from 2018 consumption, while 2020 consumption would be down 7.7% from 2019.

Total consumption was predicted in May to be 604.2 million st this year and 560.2 million st in 2020.

Compared with US coal-powered generation of 27.4% in 2018, the EIA predicts that coal generation share of 24% in 2019 and 22% in 2020, slightly below the April projection of 24.3% and 22.3%, respectively.

Natural gas generation’s share this year is projected to be 37% in the most recent STEO, up from 36.8% in April’s release, while the 2020 generation forecast remained flat month over month at 38%.

The EIA’s May STEO forecast gas production at 90.3 Bcf/d for 2019, up 8.3% from 2018 production, while the 2020 forecast was 92.2 Bcf/d, up 2.1% from the 2019 estimate. Power sector consumption this year was predicted to be 29.59 Bcf/d, up 2% from 2018 consumption, and 30.38 Bcf/d in 2020, up 2.7% year on year.
Source: Platts

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