Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Poor market conditions keeping Alliance from bringing 5 million short tons of coal online

"Poor market conditions are preventing Alliance Resource Partners from bringing online nearly 5 million (short ton) of thermal coal this year at several operations, according to Joseph Craft III, the company's president and CEO," Bob Matyi reports for Platts McGraw Hill Financial.

Craft told the National Association of Publicly Traded Partnerships in a webcast, "Production is pretty much flat because of current market conditions. We have investments at the new Gibson South mine that we haven't brought to full capacity. We have 4.7 million (short ton) we could bring online that the market has not allowed, and we had anticipated doing this year." He said the company would cut production by about 700,000 short ton for the remainder of 2015 to more closely align output with continuing weak demand.

Despite those numbers and the closure of coal-fired plants because of proposed rules to cut CO2 emissions for the closings, Craft said he felt there are "continued opportunities to invest in the coal business because it will continue to be the dominant supplier of fuel to the electric utility industry," Matyi writes.

Craft said, "In terms of what plants that will be left, we know we have the opportunity to supply those plants for at least 15 to 20 years. The primary issue going forward now will be the economy and natural gas prices." He said proposed rules will not have much impact on coal "for at least the next decade." (Read more)

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