U.S. sees drop in coal exports in 2014
Weaker coal demand from Europe and increased supply from other nations have led to a decline in US coal exports since 2012, according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) energy brief published Friday.
During the first half of this year, shipments of the commodity totalled only 52.3 million short tons (MMst), a 16% fall compared to the same period in 2013.
In contrast, production of metallurgical coal — used in the production of steel and steam coal and commonly used to fuel boilers — represented less than 8% of production, but 56% of total US exports in 2013.
According to the agency the drop reflects both lower European demand for steam coal and increased steam coal supply from Australia and Indonesia.
Increased coal supplies from Australia, Canada, and Russia are also responsible for the cumulative decline in coal exports, the IEA said.
Europe, which is leading metallurgical coal imports, and second top consumer Asia accounted together for nearly 80% of such US exports in the first half of 2014.
Steam coal, mainly used to generate electricity but also used at combined heat and power plants, accounted for more than 90% of domestic coal production in the US.
However Europe received 8.8 MMst of US steam coal exports this year – a 7.4MMst fall from the same period in 2013.