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Coal production will decline due to its reduced share in the power generation mix and lower global demand for US coal exports in 2018 and 2019, the Energy Information Administration said Tuesday.

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Coal production is projected to be 738 million st in 2018, a decline of 5% from 2017, the EIA said in its Short-Term Energy Outlook. The production decrease is largely due to lower forecasts of coal use in the electric power sector, down 4% in 2018, EIA said.

The forecast electricity generation share from coal averages 29% in both 2018 and 2019, down from 30% in 2017, the EIA said. The nominal average delivered coal price is $2.17 for 2018 and $2.21 for 2019.

Compared to the share of coal the share of US total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas-fired power plants will rise to 34% in 2018 from 32% in 2017. The share will remain stable at 34% in 2019.

Dry gas production is projected to hit 82.8 Bcf/d in 2018, up 12.1% from 2017 and up 2.1% to 82.8 Bcf/d in 2019. Total gas consumption is estimated to be at 78.49 Bcf/d in 2018 and 79.26 in 2019. The Henry Hub Spot price for gas is expected to average $3.10 for 2018 and $3.19 in 2019.

In 2017 EIA estimated that wind generated an average of 697,000 MWh/d and that this will rise to 735,000 MWh/d in 2018 and to 779,000 MWh/d in 2019.

If factors such as precipitation and snowpack remain as forecast, conventional hydropower is projected to generate 732,000 MWh/d in 2019, making it the first year that wind generation would exceed hydropower generation in the US, EIA said.

Lower expected global demand for US coal exports in 2018 and 2019 also contributes to the forecast of lower coal production. EIA expects production to then increase slightly by 1.3% to 748 million st in 2019.

--Veda Chowdhury, veda.chowdhury@spglobal.com
--Edited by Richard Rubin, richard.rubin@spglobal.com