US 2013 coal production below 1 billion st, lowest in two decades: EIA

Houston (Platts)--20 Jan 2015 326 pm EST/2026 GMT

Total US coal production in 2013 fell below 1 billion st for the first time in two decades, the US Energy Information Administration said Tuesday.

Coal production fell 3.1% to 984.8 million st, the first time production had dropped below 1 billion since 1993, as both the Appalachian and Western regions declined in their production levels, EIA said in a report.

The Interior region, which includes coal from the Illinois Basin, had an increase in production of 3.7 million st, or 7.6%, to 52.1 million st. It was the fourth consecutive annual increase for the region, according to the EIA.

"Overall, all of the basins were declining other than the Illinois Basin," said JenAlyse Arena, an EIA survey statistician. "We know that is the basin we expect the most out of next year. That and the Powder River Basin, which we expect to remain static."

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Appalachian coal dropped by 22.3 million st, or 7.6%, to a total of 269.7 million st. The largest decline in the region came from Kentucky, which fell 10.5 million st. Eastern Kentucky accounted for 89% of the state's drop, according to the EIA.

Coal production in the Western region dropped 13 million st, or 2.4%, to end 2013 at 530.2 million st, according to the EIA.

Wyoming declined 13.5 million st, or 3.4% to end the year at 387.9 million st, while Montana increased its coal production by 5.5 million st, or 15%, to 42.2 million st, according to the EIA.

2013 also marked a year in which US coal consumption increased by 4%, or 35.6 million st, to a total of 924.8 million st, according to the EIA.

The increase in coal consumption, which mostly came through electricity, came as a result of the "polar vortex" effect that took effect last winter, Arena said.

US coal stocks ended the year at 200.4 million st, a decrease of 16.1% from 2012.

--Jeffrey McDonald,
--Edited by Richard Rubin,

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