Thursday, November 20, 2014

Coal export terminals operating at 34% capacity, says group critical of proposed new terminals

More U.S. coal export terminals—such as Ambre Energy's proposed terminal that was denied in Oregon—are unnecessary because current U.S. coal export terminals are only operating at 34 percent of capacity, said a report released Wednesday by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Lead author Tom Sanzillo "forecasts that total U.S. coal exports this year may not exceed 80 million tons, down from a peak of 125.6 million tons in 2012," Hal Bernton reports for The Seattle Times.

"Coal prices on export markets also have dropped sharply from 2012 levels, and the long-term prospect for a price rebound has dimmed as international coal growth has slowed, Sanzillo said," Bernton writes. He said that weakens the financial viability of the two major coal-export terminals in Washington and one in Oregon. (Platts map: Current and planned coal export terminals)

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis has often been critical of coal companies "and previously worked under contract for Power Past Coal, a coalition opposed to building new export terminals in the Northwest," Bernton writes. Proponents of coal-export terminals contest the findings in the report. (Read more)

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